The Fort Chaffee Public Trust eased a few suspicious minds Thursday by vowing never to sell to private investors the barbershop where Elvis Presley got his military haircut. The trust unanimously rejected a Fort Smith man’s $1,000 bid for the old barbershop. The decision was a relief to Fort Smith teacher Jan Honeycutt, whose Beard Elementary School students have been working since 1996 to make the now-empty barbershop a tourist attraction.
Students and former students of Honeycutt’s economics classes have fought to save the barbershop after one of her classes learned the building was scheduled for demolition six years ago.
“It was the site of one of the most famous haircuts in the world, probably next to Samson and Delilah,” said Seubold, who documented the early efforts of Honeycutt’s classes to save Building 803.
The building, located on Terry Street, was among more than 7,000 acres of surplus base property turned over to the trust.
Honeycutt’s classes have a bank account of more than $900 earmarked for restoration of the building. Each year, her class hosts a fund-raiser near the anniversary of Presley’s March 25, 1958, haircut.
Trust Executive Director Sandy Sanders said plans call for the building to be moved and restored near Wells Like near the site of the River Valley Nature Center. The nature center is scheduled for completion in 2004.