Due to a recent trickle of discovered Mesker buildings, there are now 100 of them in Arkansas. Sadly, these latest additions are largely demolished and, as in the case of Harrison’s square, were identified only thanks to historic photographs.
Historically, Arkansans were some of the largest purchasers of Mesker products, ranking 7th nationwide with a combined estimate of approximately 2,035 facades. Their preference was clearly for fronts offered by Mesker Brothers Iron Works which netted a total of $241,624.97 in receipts between 1885 and 1908 for approximately 1,845 facades. The most profitable year was 1904, with $19,824.37 in receipts. The projected number of Mesker Bros. installations rank #5 on the company’s charts but the expenditures were #4, trailing only Texas, Missouri, and Illinois. Such high sales were not by chance—Mesker Brothers clearly targeted Arkansas as the land of opportunity and distributed a total of 105,343 catalogs in the state from 1888 to 1909, with 23,933 in 1907 alone. In contrast, George L. Mesker & Co. sold just 190 facades in the state, which ranked a respectable but distant 24th.
Here’s the breakdown of the 100 facades in Arkansas (download the Excel inventory for a complete listing):
78 by Mesker Brothers Iron Works (MB)
22 by George L. Mesker & Co. (GLM)
36 complete “house fronts” (32 MB, 4 GLM)
19 demolished (11 MB, 8 GLM)
41 are one-story in height, 56 are two-story, 2 are three-story, and one—the Tower Building in Little Rock—is at 18 stories and the tallest Mesker facade known to have been erected.
48 towns (29 with MB, 15 with GLM, 4 with both)—Eureka Springs has the most with 14 (all MB)
And below are some favorite examples from the Wonder State, chosen from available photographs and appearing alphabetically by town: