Friday, May 15, 2015

TOP STORY >> The Old White House

The renovated Old White House at the corner of East Mountain Springs Road and Locust Street is being used as a place for weddings and photo shoots. The house is more than 100 years old.
Leader staff writer

One of Cabot’s few historic homes, the Old White House beside Northside Elementary, is getting a new lease on life.

Owners Sheila and Leonard Grinstead purchased the 100-year-old-plus house in May 2014. They along with their son, Kevin, have worked on renovating the structure to its original state.

They are turning the house and the grounds into a picturesque setting for weddings, meetings, quinceaƱeras and parties. People can use their own caterers, because the Grinsteads will not be serving food.

“Everybody has stopped by and thanked us for keeping it in its original shape. A lady said we should use it as an events center,” Shelia Grinstead said.

Erik Brun of Austin is a University of Arkansas at Little Rock graduate student who is working on a degree in public history. He has studied the Old White House and recently wrote a research paper on it.

Brun classifies the house as turn of the 20th Century. It is a Queen Anne Victorian cottage style in a classical design with columns. He said the house was likely built from a design book that could be ordered for the builder.

According to Brun’s research, the property goes back to a land grant to veterans of the War of 1812. The 168-acre parcel of land was awarded to Abraham Bennett. It was later held by a member of the Sanders family of the Old Austin community, sometimes referred to as Sandersville.

“The house had gone through 12 property owners and a handful of families: Bostics, Butterworths and Skillerns,” Brun said.

One of the interior doors has writing with the Bostics’ name on it.

Brun said the house was built on the property so that it would be seen, at the intersection of East Mountain Springs Road and Old Tates Mill Road (now Locust Street) that was the old way out of town.

The wood floors and doors in the house are originals. Many of the wavy glass windows were saved. The wallpaper was removed in several rooms to show the old wood plank walls.

A student’s homework project — timeline of authors from colonial times to 1914 —was found in the house and is now preserved and hanging on the meeting room’s wall.

The Grinsteads have saved the bricks from the collapsed chimneys and repurposed them into walkways. The bricks are imprinted with Dickinson Little Rock. According to Brun’s research paper, Dickinson was a hardware store from 1885 to 1904 in what is now the River Market area.

“Bricks were made to order back then,” Brun said.

For information about rental prices and reservations, call 501-843-5670 or visit