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Houses on West Washington Street

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1850s–1920s. 400–900 blocks of W. Washington St.
  • (Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, A Division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, Ralph Wilcox, photographer)

West Washington Street has been a preferred and fashionable address for generations of Camden’s prominent and affluent residents, and their houses display a fascinating array of architectural styles. At 404 W. Washington, the two-story house for Sidney A. and Edna Umsted was designed in 1923 by Witt, Seibert and Halsey, with Eugene C. Seibert as the project architect. Umsted had become wealthy overnight, after he struck oil in nearby Smackover. The eclectic beige brick house, with limestone trim, is fronted by a single-story porch that extends on one side to form a porte-cochere. Above the central entrance is a Palladian window set within a Mission-styled gable that rises above the green tile hipped roof, which is dotted with four tall chimneys with elaborate stone tops. Unfortunately, Umsted had little time to enjoy his house, and wealth, for he died in an accident in 1925.

Major Joseph M. and Mary Graham commissioned the two-story frame house of 1858 at 710 W. Washington. The house is notable for its picturesque full-width porch that features a triple arch marking the central entrance with lyre-shaped stickwork ornament on each side. On the same block at number 761 is the wooden two-story Greek Revival house built for Judge James Elliot in 1857. A two-story porch has a delicate latticework railing on its upper level.

The house at 926 W. Washington was built for North Carolinian Peter McCollum in 1847 on his land grant and sold in 1858 to stagecoach owner and mail contractor John T. Chidester. One story in height with a full-width veranda on wooden piers, the house has exterior end chimneys and lower recessed wings. The Ouachita County Historical Society maintains the house as a museum. To the rear of the house is a small wooden structure with a pedimented front porch that was relocated here from downtown in 1963. Constructed c. 1850 as a law office for William W. Leake, it became the office serving a five-county area for the Freedmen’s Bureau after the Civil War, and from 1906 to the 1950s it was Camden’s public library.

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, "Houses on West Washington Street", [Camden, 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, 200-200.

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