The Masonic Lodge on Cherry Street was demolished on Friday, June 30. According to Mark Hodge of The Johnson County Historical Society, the building, built around 1896, was the home of the First Baptist Church at Clarksville before serving as the Masonic Lodge. The church was organized in September 1893 by Rev. Maynard and Rev. Welcher. Sarah Rogers donated the lot on the northeast corner of Cherry and Central streets on which the wooden frame church was built. During demolition, the original wood siding was exposed, giving a glimpse of the original frame structure which had fallen into disrepair due to a flood-prone basement and mold growth in the walls. The removal of the building makes way for a future coffee shop. An engraved stone plaque and some of the bricks from the structure were salvaged with an eye toward incorporating them into the new construction.
The Baptist Church is shown on the Sanborn Fire map of Clarksville, published in May 1896. The Aid and Missionary Society of the church was enrolled during the year 1897 with Mrs. Sarah Rogers serving as the first president. Mrs. Rogers served until her death two years later and was succeeded by Mrs. C. B. Rhodes (from “History of Johnson County Arkansas by Ella Molloy Langford, December, 1921).
–Cover photo courtesy Mark Hodge
–Gallery photos courtesy Mark Hodge and Julie Moore