Home History Q&A Cantrell’s elegant 1900s home
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Cantrell’s elegant 1900s home

Published on May 18, 2012 by in History Q&A
Question: Several elegant homes were built in Boone County about the turn of the century – is it possible for your column to tell the history of some of them?
Answer: The Heritage Museum has information on several homes, the families who once lived in them, and, as requested, this column will discuss one such home this week:
T. R. Cantrell, a popular and well-known general merchandiser in Lead Hill, had a remarkable home in that village about the turn of the century. According to a May 1905 issue of the Harrison Times, his store was the largest stocked store in Boone County, literally crammed with all the latest designs and patterns of ladies and gentlemen’s goods – and anything needed about the house or on the farm. So great was his business that carpenters were busy in May of 1905 remodeling the large store room of the store.
Home of T. R. Cantrell, Lead Hill Home of T. R. Cantrell, Lead Hill – 1905.
Lead Hill was a trading point for a large number of prosperous and thrifty farmers who did their business there. It is hard to imagine cotton being grown in large quantities in Boone County, but Lead Hill had a great cotton market with 4,000 to 5,000 bales handled annually by the merchants. The town had cotton gins and a flour mill, which did a large business, and a number of merchants who carried an unusually large stock of goods.
Mining operations existed in the area, but were small and usually produced only modest amounts of pig lead. Smelters had been built near the town site, but the hopes by merchants for Lead Hill to become a major mining center never materialized, mainly because of no rail service and prohibitive costs involved.
The history of the Dubuque Landing, north of Lead Hill, and shipping on the White River can be read in Sammie Rose’s and Pat Wood’s Steamboats and Ferries on the White River: A Heritage Revisited. This book gives you a look at the importance of the White River to Lead Hill, to north Boone County and the merchants in that area.
Now back to T. R. Cantrell and his home.
The Harrison Times stated, “one of the best proofs of Cantrell’s faith in his town has been the erection of a fine $7,000 residence at the edge of the town.” The home had all the modern conveniences of a home in the large cities – hot and cold water in the various rooms, a bath room, closets, etc., with sewerage, making it one of the most convenient and best appointed houses in north Boone County.
In the same time period, Mr. Cantrell had several thousand acres of land to sell – “to the right kind of people and parties who were seeking new locations in any of the various walks of life.” This responsible gentleman was a self-made man who started life with no capital. By his business ability, with honest and excellent judgment, he became one of the most substantial men of Boone County.
The Heritage Museum, located on the corner of South Cherry Street and Central Avenue, welcomes pictures of old homes to add to its present collection. The museum is now observing winter hours, and is open only on Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Copies of History of Boone County Arkansas, with a narrative by Roger V. Logan, Jr. are still available, and would make an excellent Christmas gift. Stop by and spend a Thursday at the Heritage Museum.
This column appears Fridays in the Harrison Daily Times. Mail questions to Boone County Heritage Museum, P. O. Box 1094, Harrison, AR 72601. Marilyn Smith can be contacted at bchm@windstream.net
 
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