The Wilhauf House, a historic property in downtown Van Buren owned by the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, recently received a $600,000 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resource Council to continue renovating the property.
The funds will continue the university’s work of restoring the house to showcase exhibits and provide historical interpretation learning opportunities. The locale will also house the Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Station, which is currently located at the Echols Building on UAFS campus. Archeological work is also being done at the site, focusing around a recently-discovered cellar that dated to earlier in the house’s history.
Estimated to be the second-oldest house in Van Buren behind the Drennen-Scott House – which is also owned by UAFS – the WIlhauf House is on the National Register of Historic Places and was built by German immigrant Leonard Wilhauf, who ran a bakery in Van Buren in the mid-nineteenth century.
The house, located at 109 N. 3rd Street south of the Drennen-Scott Historic Site, marks an expansion effort of the university’s footprint in Van Buren. UAFS acquired the property in 2015, after Sandra Pearson and Melissa Wick, whose parents owned the house previously, donated it to the university. UAFS also received a $350,000 grant from the ANCRC shortly after acquiring the property to begin renovations and received a $250,000 grant in 2016 to continue the project.
Tom Wing, director of the Drennen-Scott Historic Site who is overseeing the Wilhauf renovations, said the university was honored to receive the grant.
“This grant by ANCRC shows their approval of our work so far and will allow us to move the restoration much further towards completion,” he said. “We are honored to have such great support by ANCRC.”
Wing estimated the restorations will be completed in 2019.