Adding More History to Downtown Batesville

January 22, 2007 -- Posted at 5:05 p.m. CST

BATESVILLE, AR -- A group in Batesville is taking extra steps in preserving the past.

The Batesville Preservation Society has applied to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to have a six block section of a residential area of downtown Batesville designated as a historic district.

Many residents say that Batesville is the second oldest city in the state, and the oldest surviving city.

Mayfan and Clint Thomas own one of the 27 structures that would be in the proposed historical district.

The School Addition is just off of Main Street.

"We talked about the history of the various houses and the men just sort of laid down an area that they thought would come into the same era," said Mayfan Thomas.

The era that the homes were built in is from 1850 to 1957.  A home has to be 50 years old in order to be considered "historic".

One reason the current homeowners want their homes added to the national registry is to honor the original homeowners.

"This neighborhood has so much history.  The house on the corner was Governor Elisha Baxter's house," said Thomas.

There are two other historical districts in Batesville, including Main Street.

"It means a lot to the citizens here.  We're proud of our heritage and it's only fitting that we would have a huge historical district both residential and commercial," said Donna Ernerst of Main Street Batesville.