Photographer's Note

The Wolf House is an historic attraction in the small town of Norfork, AR. Located where the Northfork River runs into the White River. Below is the information about the structure and its builder found mounted in front of the house, which I cropped out for this picture. This is the third of three shots I took of the house while out riding around on the day the photo was taken.

Built in 1829

In 1829, when Arkansas was a territory of the United States, Jacob Wolf donated the land and built this structure as the first permanent courthouse for Izard County. Great competition existed among frontier settlers to secure the “seat of Justice” for their town as it was always accompanied by additional commerce. As a territorial legislator from 1827 to 1835, Wolf competed aggressively for this designation for his town, which he called Liberty. Here county government functions were transacted, and numerous regularly scheduled county and circuit court sessions were held several times a year. Wolf established a post office here called Izard Courthouse. John P. Houston, brother of American legend Sam Houston, served as the county clerk. Numerous early Arkansas lawyers served here as judges, prosecutors and defenders. In 1835 the territorial legislature voted to relocate the county seat to another site, and Wolf had the property deeded back to himself.

Jacob Wolf’s German heritage and confident countenance have been preserved in the 1850’s image of him. His German influence is also seen in the expertly hewn, yellow pine logs of this two-story structure that features a first-level breezeway or “dogtrot.” The logs spanning this breezeway are an exceptional thirty-two feet long. This log building form, once common on America’s frontiers, has now become rare. The structure has been restored under a Courthouse Restoration Grant provided by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and administered by Baxter County Judge Joe Bodenhamer. Tommy Jameson, of Jameson Architects, P. A., served as the preservation architect for the project.

Jacob Wolf was born in 1786 in North Carolina and moved to Kentucky prior to immigrating to Arkansas. He was the father of sixteen children and five stepchildren. He was a blacksmith, carpenter, merchant and farmer as well as a legislator. Shortly after he purchased this land in 1824, he built a dwelling house, detached kitchen, slave cabins, barn, blacksmith shop and store before he constructed the courthouse. The courthouse is the only original structure remaining today. After the removal of the seat of justice, Wolf moved his family into the structure, and it served as their family home until his death in 1863.

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