Williams House Cleanup
Initiative Fractal’s proposed third project was to hold two workdays to clean the historic Commandant’s House, located on the north end of the WBU campus. Please note that the following description is for informational purposes only and has not been endorsed or approved by Williams Baptist University.
IF’s first workday would focus on cleaning the inside of the Commandant’s House. As can be seen by the photo of the back living room, the house could use lots of dusting, sweeping, mopping, and pickup of trash and debris. IF’s focus in this task would only be on cleaning, not structural work or full restoration, and proper safety precautions would be taken throughout.
A second workday would focus on the exterior: sweeping cobwebs, removing mud dauber nests, and scrubbing off lichen and general staining with D2, a trusted biodegradable stone cleaner. (More photos of the house’s exterior can be seen on the project four webpage.)
The Commandant’s House was built in 1942 as part of the Walnut Ridge Army Air Field. In 1946, WBC relocated into a portion of the former air field, and the house became the home of college founder H. E. Williams and his family for 52 years, until his death in 1998. (On a side note, his obituary—which contains some interesting details of his accomplishments—can be found here.) The house has been unoccupied since that time. In 2010, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the registration form, complete with more detailed information on the site, can be found by searching “Commandant’s House” on this link. Later in 2010, a matching grant was secured from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to seal the house from the elements, with the roof, gables, fascia and soffit being repaired or replaced. Additional work was also done to replace exterior doors, install storm windows, and replace the front steps and sidewalk, among other things. While an eventual use for the Commandant’s House upon the completion of a comprehensive interior renovation has not been announced, Initiative Fractal hopes to be able to assist in the stewardship of this building in its current condition via this project.