Crossett Municipal Building

 

The Crossett Municipal Building at 307-309 Main Street, listed in September, 2007, is an excellent example of the Art Deco style in Crossett. The building is also significant for its associations with the efforts of the town to provide governmental facilities for the community after it ceased to be a company town and for its associations with early self-governance in Crossett.

Prior to 1953, all Crossett's municipal facilities, city hall, fire station, police station, jail and library, were scattered around the community. These facilities were inefficient and needed to be updated. At this point, Crossett had been a company town for nearly half a century. For the first time in the history of Crossett, the town's voice was heard through an election of a bond issue for municipal improvement. The first bond issue proposal for the construction of a $200,000 Municipal Building appeared before the voters in 1952 but was defeated by only 35 votes.

In 1953, a group of citizens joined to again seek passage of this bond issue. All forms of communication were used to get the message to the citizens of Crossett. Civic groups were contacted, newspaper editorials were published, and extensive research was conducted to prove to the average citizen that the new municipal building would save the citizens money. Voter education was centered on the facts of why the proposed municipal building would benefit the town.

On September 15, 1953, Crossett citizens in a special election passed the bond issue for the $200,000 municipal building and a new fire engine by a vote of 391-261.

The Crossett Municipal Building was dedicated on May 14, 1954, with a luncheon, a parade and a ceremony with then Governor Orval Faubus as guest speaker. Construction costs for the new structure totaled $185,000.

The library was housed in the north end of the building, where spacious rooms were decorated in blonde wood. This area boasted an abundance of daylight thanks to the skylights. The library was moved out of this building in the mid-1960s.

The north end of the building has served as home to the city's police department since then. The center area of the building originally housed the mayor's office and conference rooms, judge's chamber, treasurer's office, and police chief's office. These rooms were decorated with blonde wood paneling and green carpet in the offices. The courtroom is located in the center of this building. Located in the south end of the building is the fire department. The second story of the building, constructed of "cut-proof" steel, originally housed the city jail.

The Crossett Municipal Building remains the centerpiece of the community's government. The building is still an important building to the Crossett residents and occupies a prominent location on Main Street. The continued use and preservation of the building is a testament to Crossett's government and residents.

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