Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

Sculpture Vulture – Worthen Obelisk

Today is the annual Mt. Holly Cemetery RIP (Rest in Perpetuity) picnic.  Today’s Sculpture Vulture feature is an obelisk in Mt. Holly which serves as a grave marker for Arkansas banker and author W. B. Worthen.

William Booker Worthen was born in Little Rock in 1852.  In 1874, he entered the banking business which in 1888 became known as W. B. Worthen and Company. Later known as Worthen Bank, it survived through recessions, world wars and the Great Depression.  Mr. Worthen also served as publisher of the Arkansas Gazette and wrote a history of the Arkansas banking industry.  He died in 1911.

The obelisk is the tallest structure in Mt. Holly Cemetery and is likely the tallest monument in Little Rock. Though it is still a very impressive structure, the trees which have grown up along side of it now obscure the obelisk from view outside of the cemetery.

The obelisk is four-sided with largely smooth faces until the pointed top.  At the base, in addition to Mr. Worthen’s name, there is some ornamentation for a couple of feet.  But by early 20th century standards the ornamentation is simple.

Other members of the Worthen family are buried in the plot marked by the obelisk, as well as throughout the cemetery.  Mr. Worthen’s granddaughter-in-law, Mary F. Worthen has been a member of the Cemetery Association since the 1950s.  One great-grandson, George, continues in the banking business while another, Bill, is director of Historic Arkansas Museum.

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Author: Scott

A cultural thinker with a life long interest in the arts and humanities: theatre, music, architecture, photography, history, urban planning, etc.

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