Researching This (Really) Old House
We know a little more about Arkansas history thanks to the research of University of Arkansas honors undergraduate Kaylee McAdoo.
McAdoo, an Honors College earth sciences senior, spent a good chunk of 2017 working to accurately determine the age of the Ficklin-Imboden Log House, thought to be the oldest residential structure in Lawrence County, Arkansas, tucked in the state’s northeast corner. The log house is one of several historical buildings at Powhatan State Park, a nine-acre preserve that showcases 19th-century life in this once-bustling town on the bank of the Black River. Historic records including deeds and census documents put the log house’s construction date at circa 1850. Park officials believed that an addition to the house, probably used as a kitchen to keep heat from cooking away from the living quarters, was added sometime later. Records show the house’s first owners – John and Lusinda Ficklin – used it as a home by 1851.
The work refined the house’s history more than it changed it. Nonetheless, the science led to a conclusion McAdoo says she hadn’t considered. “What we thought would be the case was that the two structures were different,” she said. “When we found out they were built at the same time, it was a surprise.”