Clayton House and Belle Grove Historic District
The anchor of the Belle Grove Historic District, Clayton House belonged to William Henry Harrison Clayton and now serves as a small museum operated by the Fort Smith Heritage Foundation. The museum interprets the history of Fort Smith at the turn-of-the-century through exhibits as well as guided tours, special events, and themed fundraisers that are held throughout the year such as the "Gaslight Gala." The Belle Grove Historic District is a 22-square block area on the northwestern side of Fort Smith, Arkansas that included numerous homes that date back to the late 18th century.
Backstory and Context
The Belle Grove Historic District consist of 22-square blocks of homes from the late 1800s along with brick-lined streets and contributing properties that date back to as early as the antebellum period. Many of these homes belonged to political leaders, merchants, attorneys, bankers, and physicians of early Fort Smith. This historic district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1973.
One of the most notable homes in the district, Clayton House, belonged to William Henry Harrison Clayton. Clayton was the chief prosecutor for Judge Isaac C. Parker and purchased this antebellum home and transformed into an Italianate-style mansion. The home fell into disrepair in the 20th century and would have likely been demolished had it not been for the efforts of local resident Julia Yadon. Today Clayton House is home to a local history museum that offers a variety of exhibits as well as a guided tour thanks to the Fort Smith Heritage Foundation.
“Belle Grove Historic District.” Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/national-register-listings/belle-grove-historic-district (accessed December 13, 2019).
“Belle Grove Historic District.” Fort Smith, Arkansas. https://www.fortsmith.org/belle-grove-historic-district/ (accessed December 13, 2019).
“Hours and Location/Tours.” The Clayton House. http://claytonhouse.org/visit/hours-and-location-tours/ (accessed December 13, 2019).
“Welcome to the Clayton House!.” The Clayton House. http://claytonhouse.org (accessed December 13, 2019).