Given the predominance of Victorian architecture through the Midwest before the dawn of the 20th century, it is no surprise to see the same styles in early businesses in Fayetteville. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the former Bank of Fayetteville still graces the original town square and to this day remains a part of the banking community. The bartizan type turret stands guard over a corner of Center Street and presently guards the front entrance.
On Washington Street near Fayetteville's genealogical library stands the Washington-Willow Historical District. Homes in this area are especially attractive from their varied architecture and some from their antebellum design. Like many old neighborhoods, the sidewalks teem with towering maples, which are fitting accessories to these old fine homes.
Homes in many historical districts seem to repeat the same basic styles ad infinitum. A certain kind of Victorian architecture seems prominent, especially on Washington Street between Lafayette and Dickson, though several other styles are represented.
Associated with the period 1848 to 1913 and still functioning as a modern house of worship, the First Christian Church of Fayetteville lies directly against the new county courthouse. Of all Fayetteville's churches, the First Christian boasts the best stained glass, though you should call ahead to make sure someone will admit you into the sanctuary for the purpose.
Perhaps better associated with some of the antebellum mansions of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, the American Colonial style is not far from the Washington-Willow Historic District, though much less numerous than the Victorian and other styles.
A mural with 44 representations of historical events and personages in Fayetteville's history stands somewhat inconspicuously across from the town's mail library near the Washington-Willow Historic Districts. Truth be told, most of Arkansas' illustrious past is unknown to most Arkansans, which roughly speaks true for any other state. The mural overlooks the library parking lot, and the library itself contains a rich genealogical collection.
Today, the Headquarters House offers a variety of books featuring local Arkansas history and information on local and county matters, both present and historical. Visitors are asked to sign the guestbook, and the tour of the remainder of the house is self-guided. In case you happen to miss the wounds to the home from the Civil War, the attendants will be happy to point them out. Admission is nominal, and photography is encouraged.
Not far from the courthouses is the so-called Headquarters House, built by Jonas Tebbetts in the late 1850s. Used by the Federal forces during the battle of Fayetteville (1863), portions of the house still bare scars from musketry and cannon fire. Though not much to smile at from the outside, the gardens are fine and the interior well-preserved. Headquarters House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in 1904 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Washington County's original Courthouse stands prominently in Victorian (if not Romanesque) style at the corner of Center and College Avenues. The huge church-like steeple still tells the time, while the ambitious and ornate front facade still face one of the better preserved remnants of Fayetteville's "Main Street" sections. A new courthouse of plain red brick was built to continue the county business only a few blocks farther up College Street.
Looking directly from the steps of the old courthouse is a remnant of Fayetteville's historic Main Street. Similar in style to "main street" districts throughout the Midwest, the facades along Center Street do not present their original dates or much of their original purposes. This detail, along with the congestion of parked vehicles along every curb, somewhat marrs the view and obscures the notion that county activity once centered in this "special" enclave.
Near the original courthouse stands the original Washington County jail, a simple structure in the same style as the courthouse though less ornate. The turrets and simple stonework make the structure look more like a museum piece, but perhaps this is a result of the historical preservationists in Fayetteville. Serving as the official county lockdown until 1972, the building now ironically houses a law firm.