The Old South Restaurant at 1330 East Main Sr., Russellville, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the country's official list of historically significant properties.
Announcement of the Historic Register listing was made September 15, 1999 by Cathy Slater, state historic preservation officer, of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.
William E. Stell, owner of the National Glass and Manufacturing Company of Fort Smith, built the Old South Restaurant in 1947 for Russellville businessman Woody Mays. It sports a streamlined Art Modern-style design, which was integral to Stell's modular diner design.
"When it was constructed, the Old South Restaurant was located in an undeveloped stretch of Arkansas Highway 64, at that time the main travel route from Tennessee to Oklahoma," the National Register nomination says. The diner quickly became an oasis for hungry and weary travelers, providing good food and a place to relax 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Today, the Old South Restaurant looks virtually the same on the exterior and interior as it did when constructed in 1947. It's streamlined design, round windows, soft metal skin, neon lights, aluminum fixtures and padded boots typify its Art Modern design. Even the menu offers many of the same items that were originally served, including the famous cream soups and salad dressing developed by R. C. Sturb for the prototype Old South Restaurant in Fort Smith.