Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online

Clayton House 40th Anniversary Celebration

May 21, 2017
12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The Clayton House invites you to step back in time – not to the usual 1880s – but to the 1970s! The Fort Smith Heritage Foundation, operator of the historic house museum, is asking the community to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of this Victorian mansion’s service to the public. So put on your midi-skirts, polyester suits and platform shoes, and come on over! The Clayton House 40th Anniversary celebration will feature an indoor Mimosa Bruncheon from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. ($15 tickets) and a free festival afterwards for all that includes a reenactment of the saving of the Clayton House. Following the 1897 departure of the William H. H. Clayton family (when the U.S. Attorney became a federal judge of Indian Territory), the Clayton House served as a boarding house for six decades. In 1969, the circa 1882 home suffered a fire and was destined for demolition. Julia Yadon, a citizen concerned about loss and decay of the city’s Victorian-era homes, “stopped the wrecking ball” and formed the nonprofit Fort Smith Heritage Foundation to save and restore the home. After a seven-year authentic restoration, a grand opening of the Victorian mansion was held on May 30, 1977, featuring state and local dignitaries. Yadon also went on to get a 22-square-block section of the downtown Victorian neighborhood named to the National Register of Historic Places. It is named the Belle Grove Historic District. The 12:30 p.m. Mimosa Bruncheon, taking place at tables throughout the first floor of the museum, will feature a performance by student vocalists of the Community School of the Arts. Newspaper articles and photos from the 1970s regarding the Clayton House restoration project will be displayed. At 1:30 p.m., an outdoor ceremony will kick off the free festivities. A long-time Fort Smith leader who has the same strength, tenacity and passion for progress as Julia Yadon will portray Yadon’s heroism in stopping the wrecking ball. Be nearby, as her final act will be busting the giant piñata right open! Sweets tumbling out will symbolize the gifts this historic home has produced for this region as the “Home of our Heritage.” Festivities following the historic reenactment include live music, Maypole dancing, plenair artists painting the Clayton House, a paper sailboat regatta, a turkey shoot, tours of the eight-room mansion, and recognition of the best 70s outfits. Guests can view a slide presentation and enjoy light refreshments. Mimosas will be available. To purchase the $15 Mimosa Bruncheon tickets, call the Clayton House at 783-3000. Plan to celebrate the 1970s at the Clayton House, an era as important to this home as its 1800s origins.

Admission: $15 Bruncheon/Free Festival

Event Location and Contact Information:
The Clayton House
514 North 6th Street
Fort Smith, Arkansas


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