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Cherry Street Historic District (Helena–West Helena, Arkansas) facts for kids

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Cherry Street Historic District
DowntownHelenabluesfest.JPG
Cherry Street during the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival, October 2007
Location Along Cherry St. between Porter and Elm Sts., Helena–West Helena, Arkansas
Area 17.5 acres (7.1 ha)
Built 1879
Built by John Isaac Moore
Architectural style Classical Revival, Early Commercial, Commercial Vernacular
NRHP reference No. 86003546 (original)
10000288 (increase)
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 17, 1987
Boundary increase May 27, 2010

The Cherry Street Historic District is a historic neighborhood, commercial, and entertainment district serving as the downtown of Helena in Helena–West Helena, Arkansas. Cherry Street is located between Elm Street and the nearby Phillips County Courthouse to the north, and Porter Street to the south. The history of Cherry Street is tied to the blues heritage of the area beginning in the 1940s.

History

Around the time of incorporation of West Helena in 1917, the lumber industry was the primary economic force in the region, with five companies producing barrel staves being the primary employers. Prohibition put these companies out of business, followed by two devastating floods in the following decades left Helena and West Helena in bad shape for the approaching Depression. King Biscuit Time, a blues radio show, was produced for the first time in November 1941 by KFFA. This radio show helped spread the growing sensation of blues music and popularized many blues pioneers such as Robert Lockwood, Jr., Robert Lee McCollum, and Sonny Boy Williamson II.

Today

Cherry Street has hosted the King Biscuit Blues Festival annually since 1986, under various names.

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