In 1890 physician Dewell Gann Sr. moved to Saline County from Atlanta to begin his medical practice. His three-room office had two waiting rooms for patients, one for men and one for women, and an examining room. Though the building’s twin-gabled design made it a suitable companion to the family’s adjacent multigabled, wooden Queen Anne house (SA4), for his office building Gann wanted to celebrate the particular geology of Saline County—bauxite—a material that is rarely used in construction due to its softness and mixed composition. The Gann Building’s exterior walls of bauxite blocks in various mottled shades of browns and creams were quarried with handsaws, many by Gann’s patients who settled their medical bills in this way. To offset the softness of bauxite, Gann allowed the blocks to “cure” for a period of time and then laid them with cement mortar, and the material has proved to possess a durability exceeding that of ordinary clay brick. A foundation of local granite supports this unusual building, and the wood framing forming its five gables has an exterior finish of imbricated wood shingles and scrollwork ornament, with a roof of slate shingles.
In 1946 Gann’s son, Dewell Gann Jr., donated the building to the City of Benton for use as a library, and a concrete-block room was added to provide more space. In 1967, after the library moved to a larger facility, the City designated the Gann Building a museum for both itself and Saline County.