From the first step you take into the Edwardian Inn, you cannot help but be swept back in time. You can feel the enchantment of a bygone era. In 1885 Mr. and Mrs. William A. Short came to Helena from Mobile, Alabama. Mr. Short had been engaged by the Howell Cotton Company of Little Rock, Arkansas to conduct a branch of their business in this city. In 1888, W.A. Short started his own cotton business and two years later changed the firm's name to W.A.Short and Company. In 1895, W.A. Short and Y.F. Harrington formed a business in cotton second to none in this part of the country. Their business totaled over $5,000,000 for the season of 1902-1903. W. A. Short and Company invaded other markets, establishing branch offices in Pine Bluff, Brinkley, Newport, Cotton Plant, Clarendon, Forrest City, Holly Grove, Marianna, Memphis and Osceola. A newspaper from 1904 printed the following, "W.A.Short and Y.F. Harrington have a genius for organization and are men of ability, industry, and wide capacity. In fact, they are among the leading business spirits of Helena, Arkansas. "
In 1904 Mr. William Short built this home which is now known as The Edwardian Inn. The house was built by the Clem brothers, who were believed until just recently to have been from St. Louis, but have now been determined to have been from Fordyce. They also built several other homes in the Helena area, including two "sister houses", the Short-Bieri house and the West-Webb house. The Edwardian Inn remained the family home until about 1917, after which time various families owned or rented it.
From the late thirties until the early eighties, the house had been used as an apartment building, boarding house, alcohol rehabilitation center and other businesses until being completely restored as a Bed and Breakfast in 1983.
The Edwardian Inn is an outstanding example of fine homes that were built in Helena around the turn of the century. The quarter-sawn oak paneling that is used extensively throughout the house may have come from the 24 sawmills that were in the area at the time. Expert craftsmen in Chicago made the nine original mantels in the house. Eight of them remain in place with the ninth being used as the front desk for the inn. Wood carpeting made in Germany of 36 different kinds of woods are used throughout the first floor. The stairway is of oak and is in excellent condition. It was constructed by the Clem brothers with the applied carving and mill work coming from Chicago.
The first floor is noted for the beautiful wood carpeting which was imported from Germany. The detail work in the flooring is outstanding and features numerous different types of woods. Most of the door and window hardware is original to the house as are the transoms above the doors and on the front and side entrances. All rooms have individual controls for the heating and air conditioning as well as ceiling fans. Each guest room has a connecting private bathroom.
As you walk around the Edwardian you will see that many of the rooms are named after Civil War Generals, and regionally relevant people. To find out more information about specific people please see below.