The Lambert House in Monticello is an example of the fine design work executed by S. C. Hotchkiss, an architect who designed many of the outstanding buildings in this small southeast Arkansas community. Constructed in 1905, the Lambert House is one of many constructed at a time when Monticello was one of the wealthiest cities in Arkansas. This agricultural area achieved even greater prominence as the railroads transported its goods at the turn-of-the-century.
Walter Lambert, for whom the Lambert House was constructed, came to Arkansas from Virginia. He settled originally in Longview, a small community south of Monticello. He was a farmer and businessman, owning one of the first grocery stores in Monticello. He married Cordelia Elvira Hardy who was originally from Georgia. Members of the Lambert family occupied the house until recently.
S. C. Hotchkiss, who designed the Lambert House, was born in Homer, Michigan, in 1841. At age six, he moved with his family to New York. In 1852, the family again moved, this time to Chicago. In 1857, he graduated from Sloan Commercial College in Chicago. Hotchkiss exhibited an interest in architecture from an early age. During school vacations he studied under W. H. Boyington, a prominent architect of the time. He later apprenticed himself to Jonathan Clark, a leading builder in Chicago for three years without pay in order to learn carpentry and contracting. Hotchkiss lived in Chicago for 29 years. Due to failing health he later moved south. First, he moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he lived for 20 years. In 1888, he moved further south to Monticello where he set up a practice and designed many of the town's finer structures. The Lambert House is certainly among these. He died in 1909 in Pine Bluff.
Monticello Advance. Souvenir Edition, December 17, 1907.