Artifact of the Month

Sun Hemmi/Frederick Post Company Slide Rule
Donated by Helen Appleby Young

Paul Young Jr.'s Sun Hemmi slide rule
Paul Young Jr.'s Sun Hemmi slide rule

Fayetteville architect Paul Young Jr. used this slide rule when he worked as project architect the construction of Lake Wedington (Washington County) in the 1930s. The slide rule was made in Japan prior to World War II by Sun Hemmi for the Frederick Post Company of Chicago. Hemmi Bamboo Slide Rule Company Ltd. was founded as Jirou Hemmi and Company in 1895. It started selling distribution licenses to Frederick Post Company in 1931. Frederick Post Company was founded in 1890 and was a distributor of slide rules and other engineering supplies. The company relabeled standard products from well-known manufacturers.

About Paul Young Jr.
From the University of Arkansas News Service, June 30, 2015:

Paul Young Jr. was born in Gilmer, Texas. After graduating from Little Rock Public Schools and Washington University, he was employed by the National Park Service where he assisted in the design of the original five Arkansas state parks. In 1933, he was assigned to Devil’s Den State Park as supervising architect. He formed the architectural firm of Paul Young and Associates in 1937 in Fayetteville. For the next 48 years, Young designed many of the schools, churches, commercial, industrial and residential structures in the area, including the Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville.

Young was a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Arkansas State Board of Architects. The 1955 New Orleans Convention of the American Institute of Architects conferred upon him a certificate of merit for community service in recognition of outstanding service to his community above and beyond his normal function of professional practice. He served as director of McIlroy Bank and Trust from 1946 to 1989, and he was a member of Central United Methodist Church, where he was chairman of the Official Board and Board of Trustees.

Young served as the architect for several well-known buildings in Northwest Arkansas including the Washington County Hospital in 1948, the University of Arkansas Law School in 1951 and the university’s Delta Gamma House - now University House - in 1958.

Young died in March 1996. His wife, Helen Appleby Young, died in May 2006. 

About Lake Wedington
Located west of Fayetteville, the Wedington Project was a 1930s government-sponsored project of Works Progress Administration. The lake takes its name from the nearby community of "Weddington," named after a pioneer family.

Paul Young Jr. was a member of the Wedington Project's technical staff. Under the leadership of project manager C. B. Wiggans, the technical staff was charged with the responsibility of carrying out five major land use programs. The forest program was designed to develop commercial forests, control erosion, and harbor wildlife. The grassland program was designed to provide grazing land and wildlife cover and food, prevent erosion, and experiment with pasture grass. The recreation program was aimed at providing a place for boating, swimming, hiking, camping, and fishing. The wildlife program was designed to restore wild game to the area by improving habitat, restricting hunting, and introducing new species to the area. The experimental and instruction program was designed for various types of study in botany, biology, engineering, and recreation.

Wedington Project construction crew, circa 1936

Construction crew on the Wedington Project (Washington County), circa 1936.
C. B. Wiggans, photographer. Ann Wiggans Sugg Collection (S-91-74-99)

Jobs on the Wedington Project were many and varied. The lake itself was created by the construction of a dam across Wedington Creek. Roads, trails, and picnic areas were built. Some of the buildings constructed included a lodge, a bathhouse, a youth camp, a fire tower, and a manager's residence. It is estimated that over the course of the project, some 600 men were employed. While some mechanized equipment was used on the project, a great deal of the work was accomplished with pickaxes, shovels, wheelbarrows, and mule teams. Wages ranged from 25 to 50 cents an hour.

Formal opening of the Wedington Project was on April 30, 1938. The day’s festivities included guided tours of the project, a flag raising ceremony by local Boy Scouts, a concert by the University of Arkansas ROTC band, and speeches by C. B. Wiggans, University of Arkansas president Dr. John Futrall, and U. S. Congressman Claude Fuller. Box lunches (50 cents each) were sold by Washington and Benton county Home Demonstration clubs. 

For several years, Lake Wedington was the only lake in the area. With the construction of Lake Frances near Siloam Springs in the 1950s and Beaver Lake in the 1960s, the use of Lake Wedington declined. In 1960, management of the area was transferred to the U. S. Forest Service. In 1988, a group of local citizens led by Ann Wiggans Sugg, daughter of C. B. Wiggans, formed the Friends of Lake Wedington, a volunteer organization devoted to the restoration of the Lake Wedington area. Thanks to their hard work, six of the WPA-built cabins have been restored, and in 1995, the Lake Wedington Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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