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Sherwood | Roundtop receives grant to complete renovations

The Roundtop Filling Station on July 8 received a $78,000 grant to complete Phase Two of the rehabilitation project.

“That’s great news for Sherwood,” said Darrell W. Brown, chairman of the Sherwood History Committee.

Shortly following the announcement, Mayor Virginia Hillman, Sherwood Police Chief Jim Bedwell, and Brown officially accepted the grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program which is administered through the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

The revenues for the grant came from state the Arkansas Real Estate Transfer Tax.

In a June 23 letter to the city of Sherwood, Mayor Hillman was told by Gov. Mike Beebe, “Congratulations and many thanks for your commitment to the preservation of Arkansas’ cultural historic resources. I look forward to hearing of the successful completion of your project.”

While restoring the Roundtop has been talked about for several years, recent efforts to promote it and bring the station to the public eye have paid off.

In early June, city officials and Brown started to circulate history brochures at the Roundtop which is located on Trammel Road.

At the site of the Roundtop, passers-by can see a small display with a sign which reads, “Free Roundtop Information: Take One!” The display has copies of a brochure detailing the Roundtop’s history and contact information on how to get ahold of Brown if someone wants to help with the effort.

About a month and a half ago, Phase One of the Roundtop Filling Station Restoration Project was completed. The first phase consisted of securing and stabilizing the structure, replacing the concrete floors, laying the underground plumbing, new roofing courtesy of Fraley Roofing, Inc., the removal of the old birdhouse that was placed on top of the dome in the 1990s, and other misc. items.

Phase Two is taking place following the approval for the $78,000 grant.

Some of the professionals who have helped restore the Roundtop include Philip Quandt of Taggart Architects, North Little Rock. He has served as the Roundtop’s project manager. Brown said Sherwood officials are grateful for Taggart’s hard work and leadership.

PDC Construction of Little Rock did a lot of work in the Phase One Restoration Project. PDC Construction’s Project Superintendent was James Phillips for Phase One.

Brown said the company did a very good job in helping to preserve the historic building.

A part of Phase One including installing new concrete and underground plumbing in the Roundtop’s old storage room, which is to be made into an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant unisex bathroom. A new concrete floor was also poured in the main room of the structure.

The Roundtop Filling Station was built in 1936 by the Justin Matthews Company for the Pierce Oil Company. Pierce Oil was one of the “baby Standards” formed after the U.S. Government’s breakup of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company in 1911. Pierce operated gasoline stations in Arkansas, southern Missouri, western Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico. In 1936, Pierce Oil contracted the Justin Matthews Company to construct a uniquely shaped gasoline station along U.S. Highway 67. It is believed the structure was designed by Matthews’ company architect, Frank Carmen, and was built by builder C.C. Eubanks.

Wallace David “Happy” Williford, a senior at Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville and employee at another Pierce-owned station in Jacksonville, was asked by the company to come operate the new service station. Williford agreed and worked at the station before and after attending school. Williford paid men to operate the station for him during school hours, but it was hard finding people who would only work for $3.50 a week. For rent, Pierce charged Williford two cents per gallon of gas sold.

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