Tuesday, February 10, 2015

TOP STORY >> Sherwood home gets special tour

Leader staff writer

About 300 people walked from cars lining both sides of a narrow street in Sherwood on Friday to get a glimpse of the Matthews-Clauson-McCullough House during the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s “Sandwiching in History” tour.

The 5,000-square-foot home was built in the Tudor Revival and Craftsman architecture styles about 1927 by Justin Matthews, tour guide Rachel Silva told the large crowd.

The house at 10226 Miller Road was constructed in the Pope Place Addition of Sylvan Hills, which would later become incorporated as the city of Sherwood.

Silva said the addition was named for territorial Gov. John Pope because Matthews, known for developing Park Hill and Sylvan Hills, admired Pope for being the first governor to move his family to the Arkansas territory when it was considered dangerous.

The guide noted that, although the addition contained 81 residential lots, only two houses were constructed before the Great Depression halted development.

The first owner of the Matthews-Clauson-McCullough House was Eloise Lenow Maloney, who financed it in 1928. She paid $2,000 toward the total price of $7,500 and probably used it as a country estate or weekend getaway/vacation home because the family’s primary residence was in Little Rock.

Her husband, John, served as Pulaski County chancery clerk, circuit clerk and state insurance commissioner before he died in 1929. Eloise lost the house after he passed.

The next owner was Otis Fuller, who had it for seven months, Silva said. He likely received the house as payment for work. He gave Metropolitan Trust Company $1 for it and the other house down the street.

The home was a rental property during the 1930s, Silva continued. According to her, Tom Eubanks — son of the Cleetus Clinton (C.C.) Eubanks who built houses for Matthews and lived nearby — the renters operated an illegal moonshine business from its attic.

The legend, which Silva said couldn’t be verified by documentation, goes that the renters were caught and barrels of liquor were poured onto the yard through second-story windows.

Supposedly, the moonshiners kept hogs to eat the corn mash after it was used to make the liquor. It is said they were arrested and the hogs, drunk from the liquor in the yard, were released into the countryside.

In 1944, Donald B. and Evelyn Clauson bought the house for $5,500. He was a coach at West Side Junior High, later becoming a principal at another Little Rock school, and she was a Pulaski Heights Junior High teacher. The couple commuted to downtown Little Rock every day. Their two sons, Evelyn’s parents and a lodger also lived at the Sylvan Hills estate.

The sons’ initials are stamped into the concrete steps on the west side of the house, Silva added.

The house was sold again in 1950 to Murray and Martha McCullough, who had seven children. Murray loved to ride horses, so the country home was ideal, the guide continued.

The family had owned a fleet of trucks in South Bend, Ind., but tired of cold weather there that caused poor driving conditions and maintenance issues.

The U.S. Postal Service in Little Rock hired Murray as a “screen wagon mail contractor.” His fleet of trucks and 12 drivers hauled mail to and from train stations, bus stations, post offices and the airport.

Murray worked as a chemist at the Maumelle Ordnance Plant during World War II and, returning to his full-time trucking job after the war.

He was later hired by Winthrop Laboratories as a pharmaceutical sales representative and consistently placed among the company’s top three salesman nationally. Murray had studied medicine in college, Silva noted.

According to his daughter, Nancy McCullough Clark, neighbors visited to have him diagnose their ailments.

Murray’s wife was an environmentalist and active in many civic and volunteer projects. Nancy has also been involved in environmental advocacy in Pulaski County.

Martha died in 1984 at age 76. Her husband, 98, died in 2006.

The house was left to their son, John, who died last year at age 70.

John’s nephews — Murray Clark, Brett Clark and Mark Rushing — inherited the home that is now for sale for $299,000.

It has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, a breakfast room, a floored attic, a full basement, a back porch and a two-car garage.

Architectural characteristics include the front-facing cross gable with false half-timbering, stone around the front door, the Tudor arch above the front door, a prominent chimney, banks of casement windows and leaded-glass windows with diamond-shaped panels, Silva noted.

The inside features a grand staircase, two sets of French doors and a brick-mantle fireplace, she said.

The porch and two upstairs bedrooms are not original. The bedrooms were added before the McCulloughs bought the house. When the home was first built, the ceiling of the living room went all the way up to the second floor, Silva said.

Nancy McCullough Clark told the guide what she remembered most about growing up in the house was enjoying country life — the woods, the sounds of owls at night, the whippoorwills in the springtime, taking walks on the road and watching the fireplace in the evenings.