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Old Minikin Stores

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1879; 1886. 134–136 W. Main St
  • (Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, A Division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, Mason Toms, photographer)

These adjoining buildings represent Batesville’s status as a regional commercial and transportation hub in the late nineteenth century. Their builders employed stone construction rather than brick, popular elsewhere, and the buildings, plain in design, rely on the material rather than ornament to make a statement. The two-story sandstone facade at 134 W. Main is broken by round-arched window openings with flush facings supporting keystones. Its slightly later neighbor, at number 136, continues the line of the lower part of the older building’s facade, but with narrower arches, and on the second story the windows are rectangular, not arched. George Minikin came to Batesville from Pennsylvania before 1840 as a child with his family, and by 1860 he was listed in the Batesville census as a grocer.

Across the road at 115 W. Main the Melba Theater was built as an opera house in 1875, then later became a store. In 1940 it was remodeled as a movie theater, at which time it acquired a triangular marquee with neon lights and a prominent vertical sign announcing the building’s name in the center of the upper facade. The theater closed in the 1990s, briefly reopened as an events venue, closed again, and is currently being restored.

Writing Credits

Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors


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Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors, "Old Minikin Stores", [Batesville, Arkansas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Arkansas

Buildings of Arkansas, Cyrus A. Sutherland and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018, 82-82.

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