The community is invited to the dedication of the Alexander-Warnock and Ozmer Historic Farmstead and Learning Center on Friday, March 6, 2020, at noon on the Southern Arkansas University campus. The farmstead, consisting of two historic homes, honors SAU’s agricultural foundation while also commemorating two families with deep Columbia County roots.
In addition to support from the families, the university received three grants from theArkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council totaling over one million dollars to restore the Ozmer and Alexander homes and to add other farmstead elements.
The Ozmer house was built in 1883 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Ozmer family migrated to Columbia County in 1860 from Georgia by way of Alabama. In 1873, Henry Ozmer married Virginia Faulk and moved into a log house on land the family cultivated until he constructed the dogtrot on the site of the family farm. Henry and Virginia lived in the house until his death in 1941. According to the National Register of Historic Places, the Ozmers were “among the founders of Greers Chapel Church.” The house was donated to SAU by alumnus W. Derrell Rogers in 1986.
The Alexander-Warnock house was constructed in the 1850s by Sam Alexander. He and his wife, Mary Brumfield Alexander, his mother, Annie Alexander, and children came to Arkansas from South Carolina by way of Mississippi. They settled on about 400 acres near a natural spring. Sam first built a small log cabin for the family while the larger dogtrot was constructed over several years. Once finished, the dogtrot was impressively large for one built in that period. It included six rooms, an attic, a detached kitchen (25 yards from the house) and the historic breezeway. In 2017 the family donated the house to SAU and it was relocated to campus from its original home place ten and one-half miles east of Magnolia.
The farmstead highlights history of each family while also providing additional classroom and meeting space. Along with the homes, the historic campus features restrooms disguised as a detached kitchen, a barn for Molly Ann, the university’s mule, a white picket fence, and ADA sidewalks. During the dedication, the public is invited to tour the facility to see how SAU has preserved history while also providing a new space for the campus and community to enjoy for the future.