The Washington County Historical Society owns three historic buildings: Headquarters House, Ridge House and the Archibald Yell Law Office.
The society acquired the Headquarters House in the 1960s, and it now serves as a headquarters for the historical society, which operates the house as a period museum. It was built in 1853 for Judge Jonas and Matilda Tebbetts, and their family lived in the house until the Civil War. Because Judge Tebbetts was an outspoken Unionist, his life was endangered and the family left Fayetteville for Missouri sometime after the Battle of Pea Ridge. A brick building behind the house, probably used as a smokehouse is also preserved on the grounds of the house. The gardens surrounding the house are maintained by the Washington County Master Gardeners. Group tours and Individual tours of the house are available.
The historical society acquired the Ridge House in the early 1970s after it was threatened with destruction and its history came to light. It’s the oldest known structure in Fayetteville, the original portion dating to 1836. It started as a two-pen log dogtrot house. Later, a second floor was added and the exterior was covered in clapboard, giving it a New England saltbox look. Sarah Bird Northrup Ridge bought the house in 1840 after her husband was killed in the Cherokee Nation and she moved their family to Fayetteville for safety. Among her seven children, son John Rollin Ridge is best known as the first Native American to publish a novel. Today, the house is used for professional offices.
Archibald Yell Law Office
The Archibald Yell Law Office was built around 1835 and moved from its original location on south College Avenue to the grounds of Headquarters House in 1992. Archibald Yell — a judge, congressman, governor, and soldier — was a colorful figure from territorial days who owned a large estate named Waxhaws on the south side of Fayetteville. The Washington County Historical Society, in cooperation with the Washington County Bar Association, preserved Yell’s Law Office and moved it to the grounds of Headquarters House.