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Empress Series – Episode 4 – The Washburn-Welch Room


The Washburn-Welch Room at The Empress of Little Rock is named for two Presbyterian Ministers who came to Central Arkansas in the early 1800’s at the request of the Cherokee Indians and ultimately founded the First Presbyterian Church in 1828.  It is the oldest continuous congregation West of the Mississippi.  The Right Reverend Cephus Washburn came to open Dwight Mission in Russellville for the Cherokee at the request of the Western Chief of the Cherokee, Washburn Welch SuiteTahlonteeskee. He was regarded as a good man by the Cherokee and he even traveled with them when they were forced west to Oklahoma in 1838.  Washburn, born in Vermont and educated at Andover Seminary in Pennsylvania,  later he returned to Little Rock where he died at the age of 68.

The room décor stays with the spiritual theme because of the importance of the Presbyterian contribution to the education and development of Arkansas. Next to the antique desk is a three panel bulletin speaking of God, Home and Native Land. The Washburn Welch room’s unique King bed also separates into twins and above the headboard is an antique needlepoint design with the words, “No Cross, No Crown.” A vintage trunk contains a very old family Bible, an opportunity to unplug, reflect, and find balm for the soul.  The bathroom features an original claw-foot tub of the Hornibrook mansion with a rare mahogany railing and even rarer brass dolphin style claw feet with a beautiful period pink marble sink.  

Thomas Rice Welch came to Arkansas in 1851 from New Albany Seminary in Indiana. Welch first came to Helena, Arkansas, and was ordained by the Presbytery of Batesville. He preached in Helena until 1859, and is known to have preached at First Presbyterian from 1860 to 1885. He over saw the 3rd Presbyterian church construction, and the first church construction in Little Rock after the Civil War. 


Here is Episode 4 of The Empress Series, Washburn-Welch Room.

If you have never visited The Empress of Little Rock at The Hornibrook mansion, we hope you will enjoy this video series on YouTube and we hope it will entice you to come take a tour or book a weekend stay with us! We have the perfect luxury guestrooms for your next romantic weekend getawayvacation or staycation!

Find out more history about The Hornibrook Mansion and The Empress of Little Rock at