KAWX News

Polk County Museum Plans Stalled

Plans for a Polk County Museum housed in the old Polk County Library building, that also served as an early Mena school, were revealed to the Polk County Quorum Court at the July meeting. (See the original article here.) The item was tabled until organizer Shirley Manning, president of the Polk County Genealogical Society, could provide additional information to the Justices of the Peace. Concerns included the re-location of the building to the Polk County Library property, which is actually owned by the City of Mena, and just how much the County would need to insure and maintain the building. 

 

In a news release today, Manning said: 

 

"After several meetings with the quorum county, county judge, mayor, and the Library Board, it has been determined that the old school/library building cannot be located behind the current library. The Library Board felt that the space would be too cramped and if the current library needed to expand there would not be enough space to do so. Therefore, the purchase of the building has come to a halt, unless another acceptable lot can be found that would be suitable, and issues of ownership and maintenance worked out with the city and county."

 

The complete news release can been seen below.

 

8-17-20 1:00 PM KAWX.ORG 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Polk County Genealogical Society

 

 

August 17, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

The purchase and moving of the old Sunshine House Day Care building for use as a Museum.

 

The Polk County Genealogical Society proposed to purchase the old Sunshine House Day Care building and move it to the back of the Polk County Library for the purpose of establishing a museum.

 

Work has been underway for some time to gather information and to work with those involved with moving and placement of the building on the library lot.

 

The building is important to the history of Mena and the county in that it was Mena’s first high school, and then the first county library. It was first located on the school lot (where the First Baptist church is located, at the intersection of Port Arthur and Eighth Street.) The old building, was constructed by the Townsite Company in 1898, at a cost of $1,700.

 

The building was purchased by the Women’s Literary Society in 1904 and moved across Eighth Street to the present location of the library. It then became Mena’s first library, opening in October, 1905. When the current library was constructed in 1970, the old school/library was sold to Tom Coplin for $300 and moved to the corner lot at Janssen and Tenth Street. It served as a residence for several years before being converted into a day care. The Sunshine House Day Care closed in 2018 and the building was placed on the market for sale, along with the other buildings and property belonging to the owners.

 

The Genealogical Society, as a 501-C-3 non profit, proposed to raise the funds to purchase the building and then give it to the county. The museum would have been under the management of the Polk County Library Board.

 

After several meetings with the quorum county, county judge, mayor, and the Library Board, it has been determined that the old school/library building cannot be located behind the current library. The Library Board felt that the space would be too cramped and if the current library needed to expand there would not be enough space to do so. Therefore, the purchase of the building has come to a halt, unless another acceptable lot can be found that would be suitable, and issues of ownership and maintenance worked out with the city and county.