ADN Panel to Discuss Central High School Neighborhood

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Monday, January 12, 2015

The Architecture and Design Network will present “Then and Now: the Central High School Neighborhood” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, January 13, at the Arkansas Arts Center lecture hall in Little Rock. The panel presentation will be preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. The panel will consist of a Rachel Silva, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program; Kwendeche, architect; Nancy Rousseau, principal, Central High School; and Vanessa McKuin, president, Central High Neighborhood Association.

The westward expansion of Little Rock in the mid-1890s gave rise to the West End, a section of the city which became known as the Central High School neighborhood, taking its name from the school which, at the time of its completion in 1927, was designated by the American Institute of Architects as “the most beautiful high school in America.” The largest, most expensive school ever built in the United States, it is, perhaps, best known as the site of the 1957 desegregation crisis. The structure, designated by the National Park Service as a National Historic Landmark, currently draws students from many parts of the city.

The school, which has a current enrollment of 2,419 students, is surrounded by a mix of homes and structures, built over the years in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. In addition to discussing the history and development of the area, the panel will talk about imminent threats to the neighborhood’s historic properties and what is being done or needs to be done to save them. A trio of neighborhood groups is actively involved in that effort. The three are the Wright Avenue Neighborhood Association, the Capitol Hill Neighborhood Association and the Central High Neighborhood Association.

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