Gone, but not forgotten: Historic Wolf House welcomes visitors

The historic Jacob Wolf House in Norfork, Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK — The Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH) is pleased to announce the completion of historic renovations, as well as safety and accessibility improvements, to the historic Jacob Wolf House in Norfork, Arkansas, a property managed by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

DAH began its stewardship of the property in March of 2017, after acquiring it from the Baxter County Quorum Court. A grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) allowed DAH to begin historical renovations in early 2019. These include improvements such as improvements to an existing log cabin structure, the addition of a new split rail fence, new parking lot overlays with curb stops, deep cleaning of the boardwalk, new parking lot striping, and a new ADA walkway. The renovated cabin will be used for administrative offices on the property.

“The Department of Arkansas Heritage is excited to bring this historically significant structure back to the people of our state renewed and ready for visitors,” said Stacy Hurst, state historic preservation officer and director of DAH. “The Wolf House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and is the last remaining two-story dog-trot public structure in the United States. Improvements made from the ANCRC grant will make touring the site more accessible and safer for guests. Of course, these improvements honor the architectural history and craftsmanship of the Jacob Wolf House and now, more than ever, this historic site is a must-see experience for all Arkansans.”

Jacob Wolf, a merchant, builder of log structures, carpenter, and blacksmith was elected as a representative to the General Assembly of Arkansas Territory in 1826. The two-story dogtrot structure was constructed by Wolf in 1829 as the first permanent courthouse for Izard County in Arkansas Territory.

The Wolf House sits in present-day Norfork (Baxter County) above where the White and Norfork rivers meet. The building served thousands of early settlers finding their way into the central highlands of north Arkansas. The site was used as a river port, center of trade, and as a seat of justice.

While open year-round, guests will have a very special opportunity to enjoy the Wolf House during the Norfork Pioneer Days event May 17-18. From 9-4 both days, the Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association (EARA) will be conducting Living History Programs to include depictions of frontier camp life, guests will enjoy blacksmith shop and lye soap making demonstrations, living history tours of the courthouse will be conducted, and the Aux Arc 38 foot long Keelboat will be dry docked on the property with its Captain and Crew interpreting river travel and trade.

The property will be open this summer for interpretative programming making it an ideal destination for those looking for a historic Arkansas experience. Norfork is 30 minutes from Mountain View and three hours from both Little Rock and Fayetteville.

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is the Department of Arkansas Heritage division responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other divisions are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.

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