Volume 33, Number 2 - Winter 1994

First residence in Mountain Home found
Historical Park Under Construction
by Gene Garr

The first home in what is now known as Mountain Home, Arkansas, has been discovered! The 1830s log home of Pioneer Simeon Talburt recently came to light. The cabin began to appear as the old home built around it was being demolished.

In 1991, the owners of the property at 1125 South College Street in Mountain Home issued a contract for the razing of a home on the property at that location. The property was known as the James Leonard Home. It had been in the Leonard family for about 120 years. James Leonard was a Lieutenant in the Civil War serving in the Confederate forces. He had originally lived in the river country in Baxter County. But feeling that the river country was not a healthy place to raise his family, he purchased the land from Simeon "Rapp" Talburt’s heirs in the high country now known as Mountain Home.

Simeon Talburt had acquired the property in the early 1830s. Simeon or "Rapp" as he was known, was brought to what is now Baxter County in 1812 when he was 12 years old, by his father Frederick Talburt Sr. They settled in the North Fork area in Baxter County. His father and some of the children operated the Talburt’s ferry on the White River in that area for many years. Simeon and his wife Fanny acquired the land by patent in 1830 and constructed a log cabin on it.

Simeon only lived to age 50. He and several members of his family are buried in the small Casey! Talburt Cemetery located in Indian Creek Subdivision of Mountain Home. He was probably the first person to own land in what is now known as Mountain Home. At the time he lived here, the area was known as Rapp’s Barrens. Simeon was known to have been nicknamed "Rapp" and most area historians believe the area was named for Simeon Talburt. Review of several deed abstracts of land of other persons who later came to Rapp’s Barren indicate that Simeon Talburt’s land was the original deed to much of the land in that area.

When James Leonard acquired the Simeon Talburt property, his need for larger quarters caused him to expand the original cabin. Additional rooms were added to the structure. Eventually the cabin and the additions were sided. In the 120 years that the Leonard family owned the property, the knowledge of cabin existence had become lost to the present generation.

The Society, in a program of five years ago, identified the James Leonard Home as a Historical Home of Mountain Home. It was included in a publication of Historical Homes of Mountain Home and a plaque was presented to the owners.

The Leonard family sold the property in 1961. The present owners of the property decided that the building would be demolished and the property used for other development.

As the demolition was progressed, we began to take pictures of the demolition and at the very start it was apparent that a cabin was located in the front room. The contractor was requested to remove the logs carefully, noting their locations. The Society then voted to attempt to acquire the logs and attempt to relocate the cabin to a permanent site.

After lengthy negotiations with the contractor, who had acquired the salvage by terms of his contract, the logs were purchased, utilizing funds allotted to the project by the Society and a small fund drive among members and friends of the Society.

A search for a site for the reconstruction of the cabin was conducted. Several sites were considered. Several sites were offered to the Society for the cabin. At the very beginning of this property we felt that it should be retained as near to the original location as possible.

In March of 1992, The Society made a presentation to the City Council of Mountain Home. The presentation proposed making a 2 112 half acre area in Cooper Park into a "Historical Village." A three step program was proposed for installing the cabin, relocating the Shot-Gun House (a small building saved by the Society in 1991) to the


area, and a final step of the program of securing an original Baxter County School Building for the site. We planned the cabin to be the first stage. The Shot-Gun House will be relocated about the same time so to provide some shelter for materials, etc., during the reconstruction of the cabin. Further plans for the Shot-Gun House would be to renovate approximately two-thirds of the interior for a small museum to house Baxter County relics which would not be used in furnishing the cabin, retaining one-third of the building in its natural state.

The School phase of the project will be the final part. The Society has been offered two schools. These have been looked at and will presume a definite challenge. both in the relocation and the reconditioning of the structures. This part of the project will be progressed when the first two stages are completed.

The City is cooperating with the Society in this project and will extend electric power to the area and arrange their hiking trails to furnish access to the village. Parking will be about 300 feet from the village. This purposely is being done to keep automobiles from the area so its rural aura will be maintained. Security has been discussed with the police officials. Area type security lighting is planned. Intruder security has also been discussed. Police patrols will include surveillance of the area. Upon completion of the project the City will own the Historical Park.

We are encouraging all other groups of the area to become active in the village reconstruction. We will cooperate with all to bring this to conclusion.

The project is being constructed as funds become available. (Tax Deductible) Donations are solicited and may be made to the project by sending checks, (noted "Cabin Fund") addressed to the "Chamber Foundation" do Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, 1023 Hwy. 62E, Mountain Home, AR 72653.

The Society believes that the Historical Park will serve all of our citizens greatly. Many of the old structures of our area are fast fading away. Our next generation may only be able to see an example of


this history in such a place as we are proposing. Having such a location in Cooper Park will provide our children and citizens a first hand look at some of our heritage. We also hope the village will be of interest to our many visitors to the area.

The Historical Park reconstruction project is now in progress. The Shot-Gun House is being prepared for moving. The cabin logs have been moved to the site and foundation work is in progress.

The Baxter County Historical Society has been in existence since 1974 and has a history of assisting in the preservation of the history of our area. We have over 175 members on our rolls. One of our very first projects was the reconstruction and preservation of the 1858 Casey House in Mountain Home. Although this structure is now the property of Baxter County, the Society continues to maintain it.

Some of recent projects have been the purchase and donation of 15 rolls of the filmed records of Baxter County to the public library. These historical documents are available for all to view at the Baxter County Public Library. Old newspapers of the area are being indexed for deaths, births and marriages by one of our members. This is a valuable tool due to many of the vital records being destroyed by courthouse fires in our county’s early history.


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