Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Central High School
Central High School

CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORIC DISTRICT, LITTLE ROCK, PULASKI COUNTY

SUMMARY

The Central High Neighborhood Historic District is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A and C with local significance.  The West End neighborhoods of mid-town Little Rock are defined by a momentous historical event which occurred eighty years after the property was initially platted for development.  In fact, 86% of all of the structures were already built ten years before the “crisis” at Central High School brought the city and the racially charged situation to national prominence.  The importance, or perhaps notoriety, which these neighborhoods gain from their association with such a nationally significant event does not diminish their illuminating historic development, representative of the growth in the first half of this century of a middle and working class neighborhood of mixed use (residential, commercial, educational and religious) and, ironically, to some extent interracial composition.  The architecture of the neighborhood -- overwhelmingly Colonial Revival (27%) and Craftsman (32%) in style -- is reflective of the principal growth periods, 1899-1910 and 1921-1930, respectively (though the overall period of significance is 1890-1946).  Moreover, the variation in building scale and decorative detailing seen throughout the district expresses the demographic and socioeconomic variety of its residents.

ELABORATION

Since the National Guard troops moved onto the Central High School campus on September 2, 1957, in order to block the admission of nine black students, the neighborhoods surrounding this buff brick building have been overshadowed by an historical event that happened nearly eighty years after the property was first platted for residential development.  In the intervening years, the fields, forests and countryside of the acreage just west of the “Original city of Little Rock” had changed from “a capital place for a picnic and big enough for half the families of town to go at once without disturbing each other” to fully developed neighborhoods of mixed use, eclectic architecture and diverse population.[1]

The entire district is part of Section 9, Township 1 North, Range 12 West.  The Centennial Addition encompasses the northeastern portion.  In this largest addition, there are several subdivisions, notably Allis and Dickinson and Aiken's along the western edge and Parish's and portions of Fulk’s subdivision along the southern boundary.  The southeastern section includes Fleming and Bradford Addition, Moore and Penzel Addition, Sheldon's Addition and the Oak Terrace Addition which includes the M.A. Myers subdivision.  The Park Addition which developed around West End Park, the present site of Central High School, is also included in the district.

Centennial Addition is, by far, the largest of the additions in Section 9.  This 160 acre parcel of land was first granted to William Wilson by the U.S. Government in a land patent dated June 24, 1811.  In October 1834, Wilson and his wife Eliza sold the land for $400 to Benjamin Johnson.[2]  Thirty-three years later a judgment rendered in Pulaski County Circuit Court against Matilda Johnson, Benjamin Johnson’s widow, in a “contract of trust”, transferred ownership of the land to Ambrose H. Sevier to settle debts.[3]  Sevier had become a “player” in his new community soon after his move to Little Rock in 1821.  He represented Pulaski County in the state legislature from 1823-27 and the territory in the U.S. Congress for nine years thereafter.  He was then elected to the U.S. Senate where he served until 1847.[4]

At this time according to deed records, the property was laid off into city lots and blocks.  The following year, in a contract of sale dated March 21, 1868, Sevier sold 160 acres to John Faust for $8,000.[5]  According to city directories, Captain John W. Faust was a lawyer and real estate agent with a downtown office on East Markham and a home on West Third.[6]  His obituary notes that he died in 1879 after a protracted illness of malarial fever.[7]  His colleagues in the Bar Association adopted a resolution applauding his distinguished professional life and commending him as a “friend of progress, growth and enlightenment.”[8]

Numerous additional transactions occurred in the 1870's among the heirs of original owners and real estate brokers wanting to purchase the tract for residential development.  On March  23, 1877, the Commissioners of Pulaski County Chancery Court platted the land as Centennial Addition with 43 blocks of two sizes;[9] blocks 1-6, 8, 19, 21-32, 34-39 are square in configuration and considerably smaller than blocks 7, 20, 33, 40, 41, 42 and 43.

Two transactions in the mid-1870s resulted in the purchase of smaller portions of this tract by J.H. Barton and Rollins A. Edgarton.[10]  On January 9, 1875, Barton acquired property with the execution of a judgment by the circuit Court.  Barton, “whose name (was) a synonym for enterprise”, served on the Little Rock University Board and as president of Beach Abstract Company; he also maintained a real estate which specialized in the “...building of homes on vacant lots and selling them to the poor on small monthly payments.  He (was) widely known and respected as the friend of the laboring man.”[11]  He later moved to Richmond, Virginia.

R.A. Edgarton also received attention in the publications of the time.  Goodspeed offers a succinct but thorough biography, which notes his Vermont origins, his work, his military service and his eventual decision to settle in Little Rock.[12]  After serving as a Union Army sergeant in the Seventy-second in Ohio, “he was granted the first permit to discharge army officers to trade in Little Rock” and decided to locate a mercantile business in Little Rock which he maintained until 1830 when he was commissioned receiver of public monies for the Little Rock district by President Grant.[13]  He held this position for 4 years until he was appointed postmaster by President Arthur.  He was elected secretary of the Little Rock Cooperage Company in 1879.  It is interesting to note that Logan Roots who served with Barton on the Little Rock University Board also served on the Cooperage Company board as treasurer.[14]  It is possible that Edgarton met Barton through his association with Logan Roots, though his additional work as vice-president of the Exchange Bank of Little Rock and president of Baring Cross Bridge Company suggests a very active, civic-minded individual who was probably well connected and familiar with many of Little Rock's business leaders.

In this way, Edgarton typifies one kind of nineteenth century real estate developer.  Though his objectives were clearly monetary, his interest in the development of his adopted city's residential areas was complemented by a commitment to other civic concerns.  Few of these early developers focused solely on land development.  One surmises that it was too risky or simply not lucrative enough to engage in exclusively.

On January 29, 1883, deed books record that blocks 33 and 43 of Centennial Addition were replatted by James Barton and Edgarton.[15]  Block 33 was divided into 40 residential lots measuring approximately 151' by 50’ with smaller end Lots with dimensions of 151' by 37'.  Block 43, whose lots were oriented with east-west frontage rather than the north-south orientation of Block 33, contained lots of comparable size.  It was a common practice to dedicate most public street and alleyways for public use.[16]  In some instances, however, if all lots of a given block were owned by a single individual or institution, alleys and, at times, streets were not made accessible as public thoroughfares.

Allis and Dickinson was a subdivision of modest proportions within Centennial Addition consisting of 24 lots of similar size, about 50’ by 140'.  The thirteen lots fronting onto West Sherman (now Schiller) between 14th and 16th Streets were somewhat shallower, measuring about 128 feet long, but of comparable width.  Deed records note that all streets were to remain open and unobstructed with full public access.

The partners in this four block development platted on March 26, 1892, as “Allis and Dickinson Supplement to Centennial Addition” included W.W. Dickinson, H.G. Allis, N. Rupperle and George Naylor.  One surmises from the name that the first two investors had the majority stake in the project.  At the time of the platting Horace Allis was a non-resident investor.  He lived in St. Louis and was comptroller and assistant to the president of the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railway.[17]  Previously, he had served on the Board of Directors of First National Bank as well as President of the Capital Street Railway.  He was described in a profile in the local paper as “one of the most successful financiers in the south or west.”[18]

William W. Dickinson, however, chose to live in his new development and built a home at 1608 Battery.[19]  This residence would have been convenient to the trolley line which could convey him to his office at 410 E. Markham.[20]  Dickinson was a partner with A.J. Pulliam in Dickinson, Pulliam and Company, a mercantile concern which sold hardware, stoves, tinware and agricultural implements and machinery.[21]  A native of Tennessee, Dickinson moved from the hardware business to become president of Arkansas Brick and Tile Company as well as holding the same position in Big Rock Stone and Construction Company.[22]  His son W.W. Dickinson Jr., who lived at 1612 Battery, joined his father in the brick business after 1904.[23]  The Dickinsons’ businesses could readily capitalize on the burgeoning residential and industrial development of Arkansas’s capital city.  The production companies within W.W. Dickinson's enterprises included the aforementioned brick and stone companies, a door, sash, blind and finishing material manufacturer, as well as Dickinson Ballbearing, Wheel and Vehicle Company which produced the components for the vehicles transporting all of the building materials to the construction sites in new neighborhoods in the West End.[24]  Heralded as a dominant force in Little Rock's “Empire of Business”, Dickinson was widely regarded as a local captain of industry.[25]

A third investor was George Naylor who had came to Arkansas as a young boy and was raised in Faulkner County.  He worked for the Conway paper before coming to Little Rock and beginning his lengthy tenure with the Arkansas Democrat as writer, then city editor and vice-president of the Arkansas-Democrat Company.[26]  Virtually nothing could be found to identify Rupperle or his involvement with his investment partners.

The Parish Supplement to Centennial Addition is a single block, number 43, which was platted on January 29, 1886 by W.N. Parish.[27]  It consisted of 36 lots of similar size measuring approximately 50' of street front and 140 feet deep with lots facing Wolfe, Battery and West Spring (now Summit) Streets between 18th Street and Wright Avenue.  According to city directories, Parish managed William S. Hutt, Staple and Fancy Groceries at 213 Main.[28]  Unlike Barton, Edgarton or Dickinson, Parish was typical of the smaller investor whose focus was far narrower, and investment -- and risk -- smaller.

The Aiken subdivision of Block 7 of Centennial Addition was platted on July 8, 1889 by Susan N. and Aaron G. Aiken.[29]  The tract's boundaries follow 12th Street on the north, 14th Street on the south, W. Spring on the west and the alley between W. Sherman (Spring) and Schiller on the west.  Aaron Aiken operated a lumber and furniture manufacturing facility at 12th and Spring and lived nearby at 1210 Wolfe Street.[30]

The Aikens had purchased the full block from Silas N. Marshall.[31]  Marshall had come to Little Rock from Missouri and became actively identified with the business development of the city, accumulating large real estate interests and a lucrative fire insurance business.[32]  Before moving to California where he died in 1913, Marshall had lived between Wolfe and Battery on West 9th Street within blocks of the Aiken subdivision.[33]

The last supplemental subdivision of Centennial Addition was platted on April 14, 1890 by F.M. Fulk and Florence Fulk as the Fulk Subdivision of Blocks 40 and 41.[34]  Recorded in County Record Book 29, the area was comprised of 40 lots between 18th and 19th Street (now Wright Avenue) and Wolfe and Battery as well as 40 additional lots within the same north-south boundaries, but between Bishop on the west and Pulaski on the east.  Many of the lots facing Wolfe, Marshall, Bishop and High Streets measured 50 by 150 feet; those facing 19th Street were 50 x 110 to 116 feet, and the ten lots along the eastern edge were narrow and deep with dimensions of 30 feet by 233 feet.  No explanation is known to explain this variety in lot size.  One concludes that varied lot sizes appealed to a commensurately varied clientele.

The developer, Francis Marion Fulk was described in the Arkansas Gazette as “one of the wealthiest and best known citizens of Little Rock.”[35]  He maintained an office in the Fulk Building, which he built, and lived at 220 Spring Street in the previously developed East End.[36]  He was one of the largest real estate holders in the city.[37] A self-made man, he had come to Arkansas from Licking County, Ohio penniless in 1870.  Initially he taught school and sought work as a carpenter and mason.  With his earnings, he was able to buy a stand at the 5th Street Market between Louisiana and Main.  This venture grew into a substantially larger business which provided the resources to invest in real estate speculation.  Fulk also practiced law along with his real estate interest, not an uncommon combination of vocations among Little Rock land speculators.  At the time of his death in 1910, Fulk had substantial holdings in the downtown business district as well as two tracts of land, measuring 120 acres each west of the original city and valued at $150,000.  In addition, he owned 500 lots scattered over the city which were largely unimproved tracts.

The northwestern portion of the Central High Neighborhood Historic District includes Park Addition which was originally platted as McDonald and Wheeler Addition on June 4, 1873 by John Faust who was responsible for Centennial Addition.[38]  The eastern portion of McDonald and Wheeler Addition was replatted in May 1889 by Florence M. Fulk and the Pulaski Land Company, the Fulks' real estate development corporation.[39]  The earlier addition included Barton, Dennison, Rice, McDonald and Wheeler Streets.  These streets were renamed in the later plat as Park, Dennison, Rice and Thayer Streets.  Name changes were a common subject of city ordinances in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century period of development.

The land on which these developments were platted was originally received as a land patent to Jacob Brown in 1834.[40]  Brown had an illustrious military career and, in fact, died on the battle field in the Mexican War.  At the time of his death, he owed large tracts of land in Saline, Conway, Desha and Arkansas counties and several lots in downtown Little Rock near the intersection of Main and Markham Streets.[41]

The portion of property in section 9 associated with Jacob Brown was sold to Alexander McDonald by Brown's heirs, Mrs. Stewart Van Vleet and Mrs. Samuel P. Moore.[42]  Alexander McDonald was a decidedly undistinguished one-term senator from Arkansas whom the Arkansas Gazette described as “utterly unqualified for the high position of United States Senate.”[43]  A former member of McDonald, Fuller and Sells, Indian contractors, the former senator, a Pennsylvania native, had settled in Arkansas in 1863, became president of the Merchant's National Bank of Little Rock (later the First National Bank) and “was considered the richest man in the state.”[44]  He built the McDonald-Wait-Newton House, now known as the Packet House, on Cantrell Road, in 1870-71 and had sold it by the mid-1870’s.  He died in 1903 in Long Beach, New Jersey.[45]  In 1873, John Faust acquired McDonald's west end holdings, though the Van Vleet and Moore families retained a portion of their inherited lands.[46]

Park Addition, whose name, no doubt, was derived from West End Park around which it developed, consisted of 23 blocks of basically similar size with exceptions at the east and west ends of the park.  It is noteworthy that West End Park and later Central High School which is built on the park's original site have provided the defining element of these neighborhoods from their inception to the present time.

Block 21 of Park Addition became Greenhaw Subdivision in November 1910.[47]  C.O. Brack and Frank P. Greenhaw were the developers.[48]  Greenhaw had purchased the property from Brack a year earlier.  Described as a “substantial capitalist in Little Rock,” Greenhaw, a native Arkansan, had served in the confederate army and as a state senator.  His first mercantile venture was a grocery store at the corner of Gaines and 16th Streets which he sold at a significant profit.  Another store was opened subsequently at Park and 16th Streets.  Though his own home was at the corner of 14th and Booker, he was noted for “making the best improvements on this property” in order for it to become “one of the most attractive sections of the capitol city.”[49]

Brack was born in Little Rock in 1846.  His parents were Swiss immigrants to the city and built a home on 2 lots at 5th and Main.  Though his real estate ventures were successful, he is best known as the capitol city's first candy manufacturer.[50]

South of the Park Addition is Adams Addition which is not included in the district but whose developer Howard Adams and his development company, the West End Land and Improvement Company, impacted the neighborhoods addressed in this nomination.  Specifically, Adams in association with W. B. Worthen and John B. Jones built the “old dummy line” to West End Park which provided transportation from the West End to downtown Little Rock.[51]

The southeast quarter of Section 9 includes Moore and Penzel Addition, Sheldon Addition, Fleming and Bradford Addition, Oak Terrace Addition and two blocks of McCarthy's Addition.  A Spanish and French land claim recorded in the Arkansas Gazette in 1826 notes Looney Price's association with this tract.[52]  Many years and many transactions later, the land in the E 1/2 of the SE 1/4 was acquired by the Electric Addition Company who, in turn, sold it to Capitol Construction and Investment Company in March 1892.[53]  H.G. Fleming and Capitol Construction, of which he was president, platted the property that same month as Fleming and Bradford Addition.[54]  The investment company owned all of this property except for 5 acres in the northwest corner which had been retained by L.W. Coy in 1891 in the original purchase by the Electric Addition Company.[55]  Coy's ownership of blocks 3 and 4 is noted on the addition's plat.  Its boundaries were Wright Avenue on the north to 25th Street and John Sellers Braddock's property on the south and Pulaski Street to Wolfe on the east and west.  Comparable in size to Park Addition, Fleming and Bradford Addition contained well over 200 lots of approximate dimensions of 50 by 140 feet.

Henry G. Fleming was a real estate “dealer”, to use the parlance of the time, and engineer for the Missouri Pacific system.[56]  He was born in Vermont in 1851, entered railroad service in 1871, holding various positions in the West and Southwest until 1891 when he was made superintendent of the Cotton Belt Railroad.  In 1892, he became manager of the Little Rock Traction and Electric Company.  He built a home for himself near his addition at the corner of 23rd and High Street.[57]  His partner, H.P. Bradford, is another elusive figure about whom little information could be located except that he served as secretary of the Capitol Construction and Investment Company.[58]

Located between 19th and 21st Streets and Wolfe and Adams (now Park) is a tract platted by City Real Estate Company as Moore and Penzel Addition in July 1889.[59]  The principal figures involved in this development were Colonel John Moore and Charles P. Penzel.[60]  “One of the most prominent financiers of Arkansas,” Penzel was a native of Bohemia and had come to the United States in 1857.[61]  He founded the German National Bank in 1874 and served as its first president as well as serving twice as president of the Exchange National Bank.  He was also director in the Little Rock Railway and Electric Company.[62]  Penzel’s stature in the business community is underscored by the roster of prominent Little Rock leaders who were honorary pallbearers at his funeral.  The list reads like a “who's who” in the capital city:  Joseph W. Honse, William F. Woodruff, Peter Hotze, George Reichardt, R.H. Parham, George B. Rose, W.G. Parker, R.J. Polk, Walter Wittenberg and P.K. Roots.

Penzel's partner, Colonel John Moore, was born in Pulaski County and raised in Searcy.[63]  In 1871 he opened a law office in Little Rock.  He served as reporter of the Supreme Court of Arkansas for 6 years followed by an 8 year stint as chairman of the State Central Committee for the Democratic Party.  He also served as president of the state bar association from 1908-9.[64]  His son, Blakely Moore, also speculated briefly in real estate, but died suddenly at 26 after completing only a few projects.[65]

This addition, as platted, was one of the most unvaried in perimeter configuration and lot dimension.  It was composed of 8 blocks containing twenty-two lots each; each lot measured 25' by 132'.  Each alleyway was 16' wide and each public street fifty feet in width.

The O.F. Sheldon Addition is contiguous along a portion of the southern boundary of the Moore-Penzel tract.  The addition was recorded on April 9, 1892.[66]  City directories indicate that Orin Sheldon operated a dairy on acreage near 21st Street between Battery and Spring (Summit).[67]  He maintained a residence on the same property.[68]  The 1913 Sanborn map reveals that the addition remained largely undeveloped years after its original plat was drawn up.  Indeed, the map shows that a farmstead at the location of the Sheldon dairy farm was still in place and operating in 1913.

In striking contrast to the regularity of the Moore-Penzel Addition is the imaginative layout of the Oak Terrace Addition.  Its lyrical name is also a variation on the practice of naming tracts after the developer, significant features (Park) or events (Centennial).

The addition was platted four separate times on property first occupied in the 1870's by Milton L. Rice who was a state senator, president of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad, and carpetbagger lawyer.[69]  Rice built a residence on the 12 acre site which was about a mile from the city limits at the time of its construction.  Rice left Little Rock in 1880.[70]  His property was later purchased by H.A. Bowman, a real estate developer.[71]  Bowman arrived in Little Rock from Ohio the same year Rice left.  He operated a lumber business prior to his real estate speculation.  The Bowmans first lived on Spring between 3rd and 4th Streets, then built a home at 1624 Broadway, moving later to 1415 Broadway.[72]

The first version of the plat included the addition's “signature” or centerpiece, the Flower Garden.  As deed book notations indicate, the developer intended for the city to maintain the flower garden and lawn.  The park was intended for public enjoyment, but “if not used and maintained as such this Grant shall cease and the land [would] return to the owners of the lots.”[73]  In 1916, the owners were H.A. Bowman, G.H. Kimball, Carl Voss, A.S. Ragoski and M.E. Dunaway.[74]

Another original feature of this addition were the construction guidelines specified in the text accompanying the plat map.  The developer enumerated the size of prospective residences (“no owner to erect a bldg. less than 2 stories in height”), cost (not less than $3,000) and siting (“no bldg. within less than 75 feet of the sidewalk and less than 15 feet from the lot line.”)[75]  This kind of specificity was unprecedented in the West End and was more like the restrictive covenants imposed on property owners in some of the Pulaski Heights additions.  Moreover, the Bowmans required that the future sales of lots could not be transacted without the permission of the Board of Trustees.  The composition of this board was not specified.

Not surprisingly, the lot sizes were considerably larger in this addition than the nearby ones; in some instances, more than double or triple in scale.  The lots facing the originally elliptical flower garden were 100 feet wide and over 250 feet deep.  Subsequent renditions simply truncated the flower garden and created a tract of two characters; the northern portion maintained the original generous median providing open space and plantings as a buffer between two rows of commodious lots.  The lower half, which now allowed for the extension of 2lst through the property was of a more typical grid design with lots of standard 50' by 132’ dimensions.  One concludes that the changes Bowman made as they appeared on the May 1903 plat were a nod to practicality and profitability.  Clearly, the sale of 24 smaller lots would generate more revenue, more quickly than the original eight large lots encompassing the bottom half of the flower garden.  The only apparent change in the plat of 1904 is the specification of private walks and private drives along the central median, now called a Flower Park.

On May 27, 1907, all of blocks 5, 6 and 9 and a portion of 7 and 8 of Sheldon Addition were replatted as an extension of Oak Terrace.[76]  Streets and alleys were dedicated, as usual, to the public, though all railroad privileges were reserved.  The four property owners involved were R.A. Bowman, S.A. Dunne, J.K. Riffel and Lewis Rhoton.[77]  Bowman's involvement comes as no surprise in light of his involvement with the three earlier plats of Oak Terrace.  S.A. Dunne is a new name on the real estate scene and one who remains a mystery.[78]

Riffel and Rhoton, like Bowman, are more familiar figures in Little Rock real estate speculation.  J. Kirby Riffel was both a realtor and lawyer whose interest in real estate was a natural proclivity.  His father, James Knox Riffel, who had died in a tragic accident in 1891 had “invested extensively” in Little Rock real estate before his death.[79]  The senior Riffel had been born in Ohio in 1847, started teaching school at 14 and read for the law a few years later, though he was not allowed to practice law until he was 21.  His first law office was opened in Greenville where he later operated the First National Bank.  He married Jeanette Fitzpatrick, known as Nettie, and moved to Kansas City in 1884.  While on a return trip from Mexico in connection with extension of the Kansas City Southern Railroad he stopped for a short stay in Little Rock.  He became interested in Little Rock and purchased land on the Little Rock-Hot Springs highway.[80]  Additional trips to Little Rock resulted in the purchase of additional property, including property in Section 9, Township 1, Range 12 West as well as part interest in the grounds of what is now Fort Roots.[81]  Riffel also bought extensively south of 25th Street and west of John Seller Braddock's substantial holdings which became Braddock's Addition.  A portion of these Riffel properties south of 25th Street became Sunset Addition.[82]  In addition to real estate speculation, Riffel held the charter for the first belt line through Little Rock on what became the Rock Island Line.[83]

The Ohio native invested heavily in Little Rock because “it was his belief that Arkansas and Little Rock would be to the southwest what Kansas City was to the west.”[84]  As early as 1890, before his untimely death, he had plans to move his family to Little Rock.  His widow, Nettie, and their children made the move after his death in January 1892 “thus completing his plans to make his home” or at least that of his family's, “in Little Rock.”[85]

J. Kirby Riffel prospered in his new home.  He graduated from Little Rock High School (Central) and the University of Arkansas law school.[86]  He was a receiver for Pine Bluff and Northern Railroad and was associated with Southern Securities as well as with Harvey C. Couch.[87]  It seems likely that as the eldest son, J. K. Riffel, assisted his widowed mother in handling her financial affairs, particularly her vast land holdings.

At the time of his death in 1943, Riffel resided in Pulaski Heights at 2405 N. Spruce.  Earlier he had lived with his mother at 1711 W. 22nd Street and with his wife, Little Rock native Maude Riddick Riffel, at 2206 Wolfe.[88]

J. Kirby Riffel's sister, Bessie, married a fellow real estate investor, Lewis Rhoton and they lived near the Riffels’ Wolfe Street home at 2222 Marshall.[89]  Lewis Rhoton, like his brother-in-law, was not native to Arkansas, but had moved to the capitol city in 1891 after a professional associate, Professor J.R. Rightsell, persuaded him to take the position of principal at Scott Street School, which became East Side High School.[90]  Rhoton subsequently became principal at the Peabody School where he remained until 1896 when his law studies were completed and he could initiate a private law practice.  From 1901-4, Rhoton served as deputy prosecuting attorney for Pulaski County while lecturing in law at the University of Arkansas law department.  In 1908 he became assistant general attorney for the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad.  He became general attorney the following year and resigned in 1910.  He was also instrumental in bringing the Choctaw Railroad, later called the Rock Island, to Little Rock.[91]

Education was Rhoton's preferred vocation and avocation; real estate investments were just a sidelight perhaps encouraged by his brother-in-law.  Rhoton combined his passion for teaching and his law training in a book on civil government which became a standard text in Arkansas schools.[92]  He was also a member of the Little Rock Board of Education from 1904-8, serving two years as president.  In fact, Rhoton is likely better known for his efforts on behalf of education in Arkansas than his involvement in the development in the West End.

The northern half of block 10 of Oak Terrace was platted on July 11, 1905, as M.A. Myers subdivision.  Virtually nothing could be found on M.A. Myers, after whom the tract is named, or John W. Myers, Arthur Myers or Merritt Raymond Myers, investors in the project.  The now familiar name of H.A. Bowman is seen later in deed books recording transactions in Block 10.  In fact, on May 28, 1907, Bowman purchased a portion of this block to add to his other holdings.[93]

Blocks 9 and 10 of McCarthy's Additions are the last tracts included in the historic district.  Platted on July 10, 1890, by W.W. Bolling, George W. Clark and Ed Cornish, most of the addition is south of 25th Street.[94]  J.H. McCarthy, after whom the addition is named, was one of the owners of a grocery store, McCarthy and Joyce, on East Markham Street.[95]  The following year, the same pair, McCarthy and Joyce, left the grocery business and became involved in a cotton warehouse under the same name.[96]  No city directories exist for the years between 1887 and 1903 when the McCarthy clan were involved in a general construction business called McCarthy and Reichardt.[97]  John H. Sr., John H. Jr., James T. and Patrick were all employed there.[98]  One surmises that the family chose to change their vocations again and engage in real estate speculation and construction.

Of the three individuals involved in the platting of these 24 lots, Cornish is clearly the most renowned.  A banker and real estate speculator, Cornish built a home at 1806 Arch Street (NR 12-22-82) in 1915.

A native Arkansan, Cornish began his career as a bookkeeper for Wolf and Company, a clothing concern.[99]  In 1900 he organized a banking and real estate firm with J.E. England called Cornish and England.  The firm dissolved in 1904.  The July 1890 platting date indicates that this transaction preceded Cornish's first real estate dealings with England by nearly a decade.  However, it is noteworthy that J.E. England is recorded as the witness to the 1890 transaction.[100]

Cornish left his real estate partnership to join the American Bank which merged in 1911 with the German National Bank.  The latter, as noted previously, had been founded in 1874 by fellow developer Charles Penzel.  Cornish served as vice-president of the German Trust.  During WWI, German National Bank and the German Trust changed their names to American National Bank and American Trust Company, likely in response to anti-German sentiment.  Two years later, they consolidated with the Bank of Commerce and Trust Company, the largest financial institution in the state and one under the leadership of Ed Cornish.

Cornish was also a stockholder in the Merchant's Lighting Company, a public service corporation, which, in 1913, “operated the only underground distribution system for light and power purposes in the south”, distributing 1,008 horsepower and “furnishing light service of 30,000 50 watt equivalent” to Little Rock businesses and homes.[101]  Cornish later suffered financial reverses and committed suicide in 1928.[102]

Cornish was only 19 years old when this 1890 transaction took place.  It is possible, therefore, that his partners, Bolling and Clark, on whom there is scant information, were similarly young and inexperienced, but sufficiently ambitious to invest in real estate on a small scale.  Though literally no information could be found about Bolling, there was a young man named George W. Clark who was a contemporary of Cornish's in Little Rock.  According to city directories, Clark held a succession of jobs including deputy sheriff (1880), clerk with the County and Probate Court (1886), assistant secretary at a lumber company (1895), president of the YMCA Association (1899), auditor at the People's Building and Loan Association (1902-3), auditor for a local attorney (1906) and by 1910 an auditor with Citizen's Building and Loan Association.[103]  His employment history, like Cornish, suggests an ambitious young man intent on improving himself and moving up the professional ladder.  This profile is befitting someone willing to take risks to make money in real estate speculation.

Less than a year after platting, Cornish sold his interest in lots 4-10 of Block 9 to his partners.[104]  Contiguous lots 1, 2, 11 and 12 which formed a substantial tract were sold to Morris Cohn, a merchant who operated a dry goods and clothing store and whose name remains familiar in Little Rock retailing today.[105]  Block 10 of McCarthy’s Addition became the site of James Mitchell School, an elementary school designed in 1908-10 by Thomas Harding Jr.

Like its suburban neighbor, Pulaski Heights, this mid-town portion of Little Rock was developed as amenities like streetcar lines, water and sewage service, paved streets and sidewalks, electricity and fire protection were extending beyond existing city limits.  Indeed, real estate speculators depended upon the availability of these “conveniences” to expedite the growth of these new neighborhoods.

Safe drinking water is the single most important ingredient necessary to the growth of any city and its outlying areas.  Little Rock had struggled for years with limited success to provide its citizens with this commodity.  As one writer reflected in 1936, the city had been using the Arkansas River water “...to the annoyance, inconvenience and discomfort of its patrons.”[106]  Efforts to obtain better water were championed by the Home Water Company which was formed in 1877.  An ordinance recorded in 1830 and enacted in March 1881 noted that the company enjoyed “...the privilege of laying water mains and pipes in and under all the streets and alleys and public places …” of Little Rock.[107]  Indeed, an apt example of the newly available water service is a 1904 ordinance which noted the provision for hydrants and piping in areas of the Centennial Addition; notably, 8 inch pipe was to be laid on Battery from 9th to 14th, west on 14th to Park, south on Park to 17th, east on 17th to Battery, south on Battery to 19th, east on 19th to High, and north on High to 13th.[108]  The piping was laid as neighborhoods grew and as resources allowed.

The efforts of the Home Water Company were applauded in an Arkansas Gazette article in March 1908 for keeping pace with the rapid growth of the city and providing its residents with “...as pure water as may be secured in the South.”[109]  Water was taken from the Arkansas River about 2 miles north of the city to control the possibility of contamination, pumped into settling basins where sediment precipitated and “clean” water was secured.   It was noted further that “...all parts of the city are covered by the 85 miles of mains, water being furnished at low rates.”[110]  There was also mention that an adequate supply of water was also available to the fire department.[111]

Proper removal of sewage was second only to safe drinking water as a necessity for successful residential development.  In his history of Central Arkansas, Hempstead applauded the city for its efforts toward constructing a system for sewage.[112]  He mentioned that piping was being laid in streets throughout the city.[113]  The issue of proper sewage facilities was not left only to historical commentators like Hempstead.  Others like Col. F. B. T. Hollenberg observed, in 1906, “. . .that a portion of people of Little Rock interested in the best good for the greatest number, awoke to the fact one day that Little Rock needs more than any one thing at present, a complete system of sewerage and improved paved streets.[114]  He continued with a prediction of “...the greatest boom that ever struck this town...” if these goals were realized.[115]  He closed his essay with the battle cry, “Work for Sewer and Paving Districts.”[116]

Paved streets -- which translated into such development terms as accessibility and desirability -- were one of the prime objectives of Little Rock leaders.  An 1894 guidebook commented on the excellent condition of Little Rock's business streets and the paving of many of its residential thoroughfares.  A 1904 Digest of the City of Little Rock included discussion of road improvements in the West End in response to the expansion of the electric street car line which necessitated improved road conditions.[117]  In this instance, affected streets were unspecified portions of 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th, Park Avenue, Schiller, Summit and Wright.  Public officials like Judge C.T. Coffman were pleased by the “commendable spirit” of cooperation in these efforts.[118]  In fact, street improvements were often a partnership of government and private individuals with a portion of costs raised by millage taxes, property owners and the city government providing the balance.  Tracts in new neighborhoods became part of “improvement districts”, ordinances were passed and costs assessed, taxes levied and, in turn, improvements made.  In some instances, street car companies contributed to improvements in roadways in which track was laid.

Despite the city's commitment to improved roads, as late as 1928 it was estimated by urban planner John Nolen that only 142 miles of a total of 452 miles of roads in the city were paved.[119]  Roads in new residential areas were most often initially dirt, or if possible “macadam” or gravel.  The city government strove to pave as soon as financially possible by creating these aforenoted “street improvement districts” like #216 enacted in November 1912.  This district was developed “. . .for the purpose of draining, curbing, grading and paving with asphalt or creosoted wooden blocks upon a concrete base...” an area which included streets in Centennial, Park, Oak Terrace and Fleming and Bradford Additions.[120]

Politicians, particularly, focused on issues like street improvements.  Consider Mayor Charles E. Taylor's solicitation for votes in 1914 when he used his campaign literature to outline his administration's progress in street improvements.  He boasted that he was responsible for the paving of eight blocks of Summit, Schiller and Adams Streets, additional work along 19th and 20th and 19 blocks in concrete along 16th, 17th and 18th in Park Addition.[121]

Sidewalk construction often accompanied street improvements.  Indeed, a 1911 issue of The Booster notes that 25 sidewalk permits were granted covering 2,446 linear feet at a cost of $41,467.[122]  These costly improvements were well worth the investment in the eyes of prospective buyers.

Adequate fire protection was another priority and the fire department depended on passable roadways to hasten their arrival at fires.  The Little Rock Fire Department was initially an all-volunteer service with undependable equipment, personnel and water sources.  The LRFD, with its volunteer force, made its first response call to an alarm on May 2, 1867.[123]  The fire protection team responded to two more fires that year, according to department histories.  By 1889, the city council had authorized $7,000 to buy an electric box alarm system which remained in service for 55 years.[124]  City ordinance #396, dated November 24, 1892, mandated the establishment of a full-time fire protection force, though it was not fully operational until 1899.[125]  At the turn of the century, as the West End began to grow, the fire department could boast of 30 men in 8 companies, one steamer, 3 horse wagons, 5,000 feet of hose and 20 head of horses.[126]  Fire station #3 was opened at 3515 W. 12th in 1911 as a two-story structure.  It was torn down in 1940 and rebuilt at the same location.[127]

The alarm boxes of this electric alarm system, including Fire Alarm Box #7 at 20th and Wolfe and another at 12th and Battery, were connected to St. Andrew's Cathedral and when a box was pulled, the cathedral's bell would toll the box's number.[128]

In 1888, electric lighting was becoming a reality for some downtown businesses.[129]  That year, 72 electric street lights were installed.  Gas lighting, however, remained the primary means to illuminate residential neighborhoods at the time.  Indeed, according to an 1893 digest of ordinances, the Pulaski Gas Light Company was entrusted with the responsibility of providing “. . .a bright, clear and steady light” for the city's residents.[130]

Companies like the Little Rock Railway and Electric Company were diligent in their efforts to make electricity a reality for both business and home owners.  By 1913, in fact, their Power House contained 8,250 horsepower capacity produced by “mammoth steam turbines, operated 24 hours a day.”[131]  According to sources at the time, the “uniform, constant and uninterrupted service” provided by these steam turbines “has been the means of encouraging the people of Little Rock to take advantage of every possible convenience connected with the use of electricity, and as a result, many homes are equipped with modern electrical appliances.”[132]

Though “every modern electrical appliance” was not commonplace, some conveniences like street lighting were.  Indeed, by 1920, according to a mayor's report, the street lighting department maintained over 163 miles of circuits and 846 Magnetite lamps with more desperately needed to accommodate new neighborhoods.[133]

An accessible transportation system was another essential component in the formula for a successful residential development beyond a convenient walking distance from downtown.  By 1894, as described in a promotional brochure, the “City of Roses” had 20 miles of “equipped electric road with motors and trailers running on rapid schedule.”[134]  The author noted further, “. . . the road bed and rolling stock are in good condition and the facilities are such that easy access is had to any of the parks and pleasure resorts, or to any part of the city.”[135]

1904 ordinances included plans for track extensions to existing lines from downtown along 9th and 15th Streets.  One route followed a path north of West End Park while the other expanded beyond the service to the park south along Park and Schiller to 25th Street along the western edge of Oak Terrace Addition.[136]  Lines south along Pulaski already provided access south to potential residents of the Fleming and Bradford Addition.  It is important to remember that though some improvements were in place and many others were in the planning stages, the West End was still largely undeveloped in the early twentieth century.  Indeed, Mrs. H. W. Smith, daughter of U. M. Rose, recalled that when her sister and brother-in-law W. W. Dickinson built their house at 16th and Battery, “. . . he was so far out in the woods . . . he had a permit to carry a pistol because the nearest neighbor was at 9th and High.”[137]

By 1913, as noted in an Arkansas Gazette publication called “Book of Arkansas”, the Little Rock Railway and Electric Company offered excellent service to the West End.  Their 15th Street line, for instance, “traversed the southwest portion of the city, pass(ing) through the most fashionable residential district.”[138]  The West 9th Street service traveled south terminating at Wonderland Park which was situated on the bluff overbooking Fourche Bayou.  The Highland Line whose route went from the Rock Island Depot through the business section to the State Hospital for Nervous Disorders on the western edge of the city was one of the most heavily used.[139]

One of the most appealing results of streetcar line expansion was the development of public parks at the terminus of the newly opened lines.  Though Deuell Park and Glenwood Park, developed in 1877 and 1879, respectively, were among Arkansas' first trolley parks, West End Park soon followed.[140]  Built in 1885 at what was then a mile from the western edge of original Little Rock, West End Park was the brainchild of the Little Rock Traction and Electric Company.  H.G. Allis, president of the company and one of the developers of the Allis and Dickinson Addition, was adamant about making the park “. . . second to none of the private parks in the country.”[141]

The park was bordered by 14th and 16th Streets on the north and south and Park and Jones on the east and west.  As noted earlier, it was not uncommon for street names to be changed subsequent to original platting.  Jones Street, for instance, had been formerly known as Kramer Street after a former mayor of the same name who had been a noted supporter of parks.[142]  This six block site has been described as a densely wooded setting and photographs attest to this description.[143]  Its forested appeal must have motivated its developers to retain as many of its natural attractions as possible.  In its heyday, the park boasted of a lake suitable for boating, an appealing array of man-made facilities including a pavilion for dancing, a bicycling track, a roller coaster and a baseball field.[144]  Admission was required and, apparently, well worth the price.[145]

The first amateur baseball games were played in the park in 1893 and by the century's end, baseball had become the principal attraction at the park.  Its status as Little Rock's premier baseball park was enhanced when Association or Baseball Park, located in the block bordered by High and Victory Streets between 11th and 12th was closed and West End Park became the home for the Little Rock Baseball Association.  Though the park's site is now the campus of Central High School, formerly Little Rock High School, the western portion of the grounds are still used for practice fields.  Quigley Stadium stands on the former location of Kavanaugh Field.

After the Little Rock Street Railway Company opened Forest Park in 1904, it opted to sell West End Park to the city.[146]  The sale was negotiated in 1907 for $30,000, though the city officials did not actually pay the requested amount until six years later.[147]  The use of the park tapered off becoming “largely inactive” by 1912 and increasingly deteriorated.[148]  In 1922, the aforenoted practice fields were reestablished as Civitan Park which, in turn, ceased to exist when Central High School was built in 1924.[149]

The location of parks at the end of trolley lines underscores the business savvy of real estate developers, civic leaders and local businessmen, often the very same individuals.  These men, and occasionally women (though generally females involved in real estate were spouses of land speculators) recognized that a park was the most effective advertisement for an area platted for development.  Initially, a park could draw prospective buyers to the area and subsequently would enhance the appeal of the neighborhood after the purchase had been made.

Real estate agents or “dealers” were quick to accentuate in their newspaper promotions the enticing features like paved roads, city water, sewerage or proximity to street car service.  Consider an advertisement appearing in the local paper in 1909 commending a home on 24th Street for its “elegant location” and “high and dry, paved streets.”[150]  Another advertisement ran in the April first issue of the Arkansas Gazette, but offered no April Fool's prank.  It described a home at the corner of 16th and Summit “finished in exquisite taste (with) mantles, city water, sewage, bath etc.”[151]  Moreover, the text continued, the residence had “seven large rooms and pantry, porches etc. concrete walk and curbing laid.”[152]  Nearby, another small house was available at 1411 Park Avenue.  This house’s attributes, as enumerated in the newspaper, included 5 rooms, fruit trees and concrete walks and was available for $1,600, nearly $5,000 less than the $6,000 price tag of the Summit Street house.[153]

As advertisements reveal, during the first decades of the twentieth century, a modest frame house in the West End could typically be purchased for $2,000 or less while $5,000 to $7,000 was the usual asking price for the larger two-story homes on some of the more prosperous streets like Summit, Marshall, Wolfe and Battery.  Outbuildings were occasionally included in the sale of a West End property.  For example, an advertisement from September 1913 reads:  “1504 Summit Avenue, 6 room house, barn, well, near school, one block from car line.”[154]

Proximity to educational facilities, at all levels, elementary, junior high and high school was yet another enticement to buyers.  For white West End homeowners, Centennial Elementary, designed by Thomas Harding and built at 16th and Wolfe in 1893, West Side Junior High School, a Theo Sanders design built in two phases beginning in 1917, the James Mitchell School completed by 1910 according to plans by Thomas Harding Jr., son of the Centennial School architect and, of course, Central High School or, at the time of its completion in 1927, Little Rock Senior High School and Junior College, provided excellent and convenient choices for those choosing to live in this part of town.  Black residents could attend Capitol Hill Elementary at 11th and Wolfe which was originally a school for white children.  Arkansas Baptist College was available to African-Americans for higher educational needs.

Neighborhood churches were also an integral part of the development in the West End.  Unfortunately, only one of the congregations retains an historic structure.  Winfield Methodist Church, a formidable community presence in the West End, at one time proudly boasting of sponsoring the oldest Boy’s Scout troop west of the Mississippi, replaced its original buildings in the 1960’s.  The congregation has now moved even further west to Napa Valley Road.  Asbury Methodist Church, another beloved community partner, was compelled to replace their sanctuary in 1958 and to build a new education building even earlier in 1949.  St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church, in contrast, remains a stable presence in the Centennial Addition.  The church of this African-American Catholic congregation was first located at 8th and Gaines and moved to16th and Marshall in 1911.  The first church was constructed at this time.  When it became close to collapsing, construction of a new church began, and in the fashion of a New England Congregationalist church.  The building of a new rectory accompanied the church construction.  The church complex includes two additional structures which both contribute to the historic and architectural fabric of the West End.  The aforenoted Craftsman styled convent was dedicated on November 8, 1925, and the St. Bartholomew School Building was completed in 1949.

For the prospective buyer who was looking for a business as well as a residential property, the classified advertisement of May 18, 1909, would have been appealing.  It noted the availability of a “store or dwelling on West 12th.”[155]  The building had 4 rooms, an attic and full lot, all offered for less than $2,000.[156]  Just in case the terms were not sufficiently enticing, the seller added, “there is no better place to start up a small business, as 12th Street is one of the best in the city and 3 blocks from the Railroad Station.”[157]  This home and business combination was still appealing in 1936 when a property at 2923 West 17th Street was offered.  The seller exclaimed, “Your house and business combined, 2 lots, good West End location, a corner, big trading area, residence has 5 rooms with store room attached.”[158]

Proximity to the railroad station, changing houses and tracks made the West End an appealing neighborhood for employees of the numerous railroad companies who served Little Rock, particularly those employed by Missouri-Pacific and the Rock Island lines.[159]  It is important to remember that as “a distribution center for the southwest,” Little Rock was an important railroad hub.[160]

An advertisement from the April 27, 1919, issue of the Arkansas Gazette specifically called to “railroad men [and] traveling salesmen” to consider homes in the Schiller Avenue area[161] or, for those in management and with bigger budgets, to ponder the purchase of 1016 W. 21st.  This house was particularly well-equipped with 9 rooms, electric lights, gas, sewer, city water and furnace heat![162]

When 1518 Summit Street was for sale a few years after the stock market crash of 1929, other features were emphasized.  Notably, the seller suggested that the 7-room home could be adapted for 2 families, and noted, further, that the paved street was “paid up” and the location close to the street car line.[163]

On July 7, 1940, an ad describing the same house was placed in the local paper.  It ran:  “Two-story frame-on choice lot close to transportation and walking distance from senior high school.  Was two baths and could be converted into a duplex if desired.”[164]  A “bargain” at $9,250 and available at the same time was 2209 Battery.  The two-story, tiled roof house had “fine luxurious rooms” and “exceptional closets.”[165]  Situated on a double lot, it had an insulated attic and basement with a new central heating plant.[166]

Railroad employees as well as traveling salesmen have been noted as property owners in the West End.  A range of other professions were also represented in these neighborhoods, according to city directories and former residents.  Among the African-American denizens, common occupations included clergymen, barbers, chauffeurs, mail carriers and clerks, cooks and maids.  Some of their white neighbors were similarly employed while others were lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers and businessmen.

Though realtors at this time used adjectives like “select” or “splendid” to describe the neighborhoods of the West End, the individuals who grew up there choose other terms.  “Middle class”, “a family neighborhood”, “not elite” more accurately summarize the way former residents describe the neighborhood of their youth, whether it was in the 1910's, 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950's or even 1960's.  Dee Brown, for example, a well-known writer who spent a number of years in the mid-20's on Schiller Street reflects on the diversity of the West End in his memoir, When The Century Was Young.  He notes that “Today, several of us would be classified as members of ‘blue collar’ families, but in that time and place the concept of middle class had not yet evolved.”[167]  Included in Brown's “gang”, for instance, were the sons of a preacher, a doctor, an engineer, a barber and a merchant.

Those who grew up in the West End remember it for its familial atmosphere, its tree-shaded charm and its “cleanliness”.[168]  These informants conclude that the neighborhood was uniformly well-kept and the homes well cared for because most of the residents were the home owners.  Perhaps home owners outnumbered renters because real estate dealers were eager to sell homes in these neighborhoods; eager enough to make the terms financially feasible for a large number of prospective buyers.  For example, consider an advertisement from the Arkansas Gazette in March 1908 which was titled emphatically, “Buy a Home”.  Each of the numerous listings which followed began with the same question, “Why Pay Rent?”[169]  One such listing was a house on Bishop Street which was “a brand new, stylishly designed cottage, containing a parlor, dining room, two bed rooms, a fully equipped bath room, with hot and cold water” and was available for $2,100 or $100 cash down payment and $20 per month.[170]  The real estate brokers, clearly, were willing to make the terms so attractive that a prospect would rather buy than rent.  It is interesting that a souvenir brochure of 1902 had noted earlier that “a larger percentage of the laboring classes own homes in Little Rock than in any other city of corresponding size.”[171]

An informative review of Little Rock's residential neighborhoods was provided in a real estate property survey completed in 1940.  The study noted that the available rental properties in the West End were in the top half of those available citywide, ranging from $20-$30 per month north of Central High School, $30-$40 east and south of the school to the highest monthly cost of $50 or more per month in the Oak Terrace Addition.[172]  Though there were rental units available on some of the West End's blocks, the predominance of home ownership and its tangible impact on the character of this area should be underscored.  Conversely, the predominance of rental properties currently is reflected in the deterioration of many of the district's  homes.

Another notable factor in defining the character of the West End is the residents’ commitment to their neighborhoods.  In the same 1940 housing study, statistics on duration of owner occupancy were included.  These revealing figures indicate that a West End resident typically lived in their home for 10 to 19 years and in certain blocks along Battery, Schiller, Summit and Wolfe, many homeowners had lived at the same address for more than two decades.[173]  Not surprisingly, this stability had a positive impact on real estate values at this time.  Indeed, its valuation was similar to the Heights and Hillcrest neighborhoods further west with property valuations ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 for the most modest dwellings around the high school, to a more characteristic $4,000 to $8,000 on other blocks, and the most expensive homes along Battery in Oak Terrace representing the most costly homes of $8,000 to $20,000.[174]  The West End could not claim any homes in the highest bracket noted in the study.  These homes cost over $20,000 and were located on Edgehill, which remains one of Little Rock's most expensive addresses.

As explained in another study completed a year later and sponsored by the Urban League of Greater Little Rock, “there are, rather curiously, no widespread ‘black belts’.”[175]  The writer noted further, “even in the so-called Negro sections, white persons conduct restaurants, grocery and clothing stores, and, in some instances, live in adjoining dwellings.”[176]  And, conversely, even in largely “white” neighborhoods like the West End, African Americans were a component of the residential fabric.  Indeed, city directories and informants concur, that there were “pockets” of African-American families that lived in these neighborhoods, particularly along Jones Street, Dennison and Park.  An interesting pattern of integration, as early as the turn-of-the-century, is apparent from the city directory listings.  Many of the African-American residents, in fact, were employed by white families who lived within walking distance in the same neighborhood.

Over time and in the absence of zoning, intrusions have impacted the neighborhood.  Similarly, “white flight” into neighborhoods farther west beginning after WW II and quickening in the 1960's have added to the changes in the district's stability, character and reputation.  The greatest threat to the neighborhood's architectural integrity is deterioration due to transient residents, inadequate maintenance, demolition necessitated by deterioration, the modification of homes to accommodate larger numbers of families and the prevalent application of artificial siding.  The activism of neighborhood groups like the Central High Neighborhood Association and the endorsement of the City of Little Rock has initiated hard-fought improvements in these historic neighborhoods.  This district whose centerpiece, Central High School, is such an integral part of our nation's collective consciousness about integration and race relations, offers a clear picture on a more parochial scale of a working and middle class neighborhood in the first half of this century where African-American and whites were neighbors.



[1] “Guide to Little Rock”, 1890, p-57.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] John Hughs  Reynolds, ed., Publications of Arkansas Historical Association, Vol. 1, p.232.

[5] Deed book, #5, Standard Abstract, Section  9, Township 1, Range 12, March 21, 1868 (Book J2, p.112).  Note:  all deed book citations are from Standard Abstract which generously allowed access to their books.  Parenthetical book and page notations reflect those recorded in the notations of deed books or plat maps cited.

[6] Little Rock City Directory, 1871, p. 65.

[7] Arkansas Gazette (hereafter Gazette), September 24, 1879.

[8] Gazette, September 25, 1879.

[9] Centennial Addition Plat, March 23, 1877. (Book G3, p. 256).

[10] Deed book #5, January 9, 1875.  (Book C3, p. 607); January 26, 1845 (Book D, p. 185).

[11] Little Rock City Directories, 1887, p. 363.  Also, Goodspeed, Memoirs of Central Arkansas, p. 406 and Little Rock and Argenta, 1888, p. 121.  He built a “model residence” 'in the Queen Anne style for himself at 3rd and Chester in 1886.  Gazette, February 19, 1886.

[12] Ibid., p. 445.  Also, Gazette, November 27, 1900.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Little Rock City Directory, 1887, p. 215.

[15] Barton and Edgarton Subdivision of Centennial Addition, January 29, 1883, (Book 8, p. 265).

[16] This practice is evident from similar notations found on many of the original plat maps reviewed at Standard Abstract Company.

[17] Gazette, June 3, 1891; December 8, 1898.

[18] Ibid., June 3, 1891.

[19] Little Rock City Directory, 1895, p. 174.

[20] Little Rock City Directory, 1887, p. 69.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Who’s Who In Little Rock, 1921, p. 51.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Gazette, September 8, 1907, p. 3.

[26] Ibid., January 13, 1897.  Also, F.W. Allsop, History of the Arkansas Press for a Hundred Years and More, p. 606.  According to the city directory of 1895, Naylor resided at 2029 W. 16th Street.

[27] Parish Subdivision Plat, July 29, 1886 (Book 4, p. 111).

[28] Little Rock City Directory, 1895-6, p. 387.

[29] Aiken Subdivision Plat, July 8, 1889 (Book 29, p. 590; Book 27, p. 192).

[30] Little Rock City Directory, 1887, 1895.

[31] Deed book, #19, January 7, 1882 (Book 7, p. 197).

[32] Gazette, February 25, 1913.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Fulk Subdivision Plat, April 14, 1890 (Book 29, p. 280).

[35] Gazette, March 25, 1910.

[36] Little Rock City Directory, 1807, p. 90; 1895-96, p. 211.

[37] Biographical information from aforementioned obituary and Dallas T. Herndon, A Centennial History of Arkansas, vol. II, p. 714.

[38] McDonald and Wheeler Plat, June 4, 1873 (Book  AB, p. 297).

[39] Park Addition Plat, May 6, 1889.

[40] Deed Book, #5, February 10, 1834.

[41] Gazette, July 28, 1918.

[42] Deed Book,  #5, January 6, 1871 (Book  P2, p. 461).

[43] Gazette, May 31, 1868, p. 2.

[44] Gazette, December 15, 1903.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Deed Book, #5, June 4, 1873, (Book B3, p. 9).

[47] Deed Book, #36A, March 23, 1919; November 19, 1910 (Book 101, p. 110).

[48] Ibid.

[49] Fay Hempstead, Historical Review of Arkansas, vol. II, pp. 660-1.

[50] Ibid., p. 798.  Also, Gazette, July 26, 1927.

[51] Adarns Addition Plat, April 1888 (Book 21, p. 624).

[52] Gazette, March 27, 1826.

[53] Deed Book #5, July 3, 1891 (Book 33, p. 340); March 25, 1892 (Book 37, p. 72).

[54] Fleming and Bradford Addition Plat, March 24, 1892 (Book 37, p. 89).

[55] Deed Book, #5, July 3, 1891; March 25, 1892.

[56] Gazette, May 15, 1908, p. 7.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Little Rock City Directory, 1890, p. 136.

[59] Moore and Penzel Plat, July 18, 1889 (Book 27, p. 224).

[60] Ibid.

[61] Gazette, February 17, 1906, p. 1.

[62] Ibid., February 20, 1901, p. 7.

[63] Hempstead, vol. III, p. 1508.

[64] Herndon, vol. II, p. 82.

[65] Gazette, June 19, 1909, p. 7.

[66] O.F. Sheldon Plat, April 9, 1892 (Book 37, p. 205).  Milton Rice had sold 30 acres to Orin Sheldon earlier as recorded on June 10, 1873, Deed Book B3, p. 24.

[67] Little Rock City Directory, 1887, p. 227.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Oak Terrace Addition Plat, July 10, 1897 (Book 53, p. 300); May 27, 1903 (Book 75, p. 598); May 5, 1904 (Book 80, p. 89).

[70] National Register nomination, “Mayer House,” (September 7, 1994), p. 5.

[71] Deed Book, #5, December 10, 1896 (Book 49, p. 635); July 10, 1901 (Book 67, p. 339).

[72] Gazette, July 21, 1935.

[73] Deed Book, 36A, April 28, 1916.

[74] Oak Terrace Plat, April 28, 1916; also Deed Book #36A, April 28, 1916 (Book 121, p. 612).

[75] Ibid.

[76] Deed Book, 36A, Oak Terrace, May 27, 1907 (Book 1, p. 52).

[77] Ibid.

[78] According to the 1902-3 city directory, Mrs. Sarah A. Dunne managed the New Orleans restaurant on West 5th and lived at the same address (p. 164).  Patrick  Dunne, according to a 1910 directory, lived at 2300 Wolfe  (p. 193).  This address is located within the tract platted in 1907 by S.A. Dunne.

[79] Gazette, January 15, 1942.

[80] Ibid., April 24, 1938.

[81] Ibid.

[82] Ibid.

[83] Ibid.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Ibid. February 3, 1943.

[87] Ibid.

[88] Little Rock City Directory, 1906.

[89] Who’s Who In Little Rock, 1921, p. 115.

[90] Ibid., p. 114.

[91] Gazette, November 12, 1939.

[92] Arkansas and Its People, p. 230.

[93] M.A. Myers Subdivision, Deed Book, 35A, July 11, 1905.

[94] Deed Book, 35A, May 28, 1907 (Book 96, p. 163).  H.A. Bowman sold this property to J.K. Riffel and Merritt Myers two months later on July 7, 1907 (Book 93, p. 364).

[95] Little Rock City Directory, 1886, p. 257.

[96] Ibid., 1887, p. 158.

[97] Ibid., 1902-3, p. 314.

[98] Ibid.

[99] Gazette, November 6, 1928.

[100] Deed Book 35A, July 10, 1890 (Book 31, p. 615).

[101] Book of Arkansas, 1913, p. 1928.

[102] Gazette, November 6, 1928.

[103] Little Rock City Directory, dates as noted.

[104] Deed Book, 35A, July 8, 1891.

[105] Ibid.

[106] R.E. Overman, “Little Rock's Water Supply,” First Annual Report of the Little Rock Municipal Water Works, p. 3.

[107] Ordinances and Resolutions, 1904, “Sec. 2024:  Waterworks Franchise-Grant to Home Water Co.”', p. 391.

[108] Ibid.  Mr. Marquis Nichols who lived at 1813 Jones Street from 1919-1923 recalls that his home had no interior water hookup, but a reliable water source was provided by a hydrant outside the house.

[109] Gazette, March 1, 1908.

[110] Ibid.

[111] Ibid.

[112] Hempstead, History of Arkansas, p. 510.

[113] Ibid.

[114] Col. F. B. T. Hollenberg, “A Greater Little Rock”, Little Rock Sketch Book, 1906, n.p.

[115] Ibid.

[116] Ibid.

[117] Ordinances and Resolutions.  Section 2019,  “Street Railway Franchise-Grant to Little Rock Traction and Electric Company of Right to Construct, Operate and Maintain a Street Railway System,” p. 382.

[118] “Report of County Judge C.T. Coffman to Pulaski County Levying Court” as reprinted in Pulaski County Historical Review, vol. XVI, #3, September 1968, p. 31.

[119] John Nolen, “Traffic Problems and Improved Public Safety,” City Plan, Little Rock, Arkansas, 1928, p. 7.

[120] Small Manuscript Collection, Box XXV, #21, Arkansas History Commission, re:  Street Improvement District #216, November 4, 1912.

[121] Charles E. Taylor, “Plain Facts About Our City” (brochure), 1914, p. 12.

[122] “Leads Last Year,” The Booster, vol. 1, #6, August 4, 1913.  (p. 3, text not paginated).

[123] “History”, Little Rock Fire Department, 1981, p. 17.

[124] Ibid.

[125] Ibid.

[126] Ibid.

[127] Ibid.

[128] Hempstead, p. 510.

[129] Ibid.

[130] W.F. Coleman and J.H. Carmichael, Supplemental Digest of the Ordinances of the City of Little Rock, p. 244.

[131] Book of Arkansas, 1913, p. 111.

[132] Ibid.

[133] Mayor’s Message and Report of City Officers, 1919-20, Little

Rock, AR. p. 85.

[134] “Description of the City of Little Rock, City of Roses,” 1894, p. 18.

[135] Ibid.

[136] “Ordinances and Resolutions”, 1904, p. 382.

[137] Mrs. Hay Watson Smith, “Life in Little Rock in the 1880's”, Pulaski County Historical Review, vol. 5, #4, p. 69.

[138] Book of Arkansas, 1913, p. 111.

[139] Ibid.

[140] Allan Brown, “At the End of the Line”, Arkansas Times, September 15, 1994, p. 57.

[141] James W. Bell, “The Early Parks of Little Rock, Part I”, Pulaski County Historical Review, vol. XXV,  #1, Spring 1982, p. 21.

[142] Ibid.

[143] Ibid.  Also photograph  from “Little Rock:  City of Roses:  Picturesque and Descriptive”, 1890, n.p.

[144] Bell, p. 21.

[145] Ibid.

[146] Ibid.

[147] Ibid.

[148] Ibid.

[149] Ibid.

[150] Gazette, May 5, 1909.

[151] Ibid., April 1, 1906.

[152] Ibid.

[153] Ibid.

[154] Ibid., September 13, 1913.

[155] Gazette, May 18, 1909.

[156] Ibid.

[157] Ibid.

[158] Ibid., July 1, 1936.

[159] Telephone interview, October 26, 1994, Marquis Nichols.

[160] Arkansas Gazetteer, 1898-9, Little Rock, AR., p. 291.

[161] Gazette, April 27, 1919.

[162] Ibid.

[163] Ibid., May 5, 1932.

[164] Ibid., July 7, 1940.

[165] Ibid.

[166] Ibid.

[167] Dee Brown, When The Century Was Young, p. 57.

[168] Marquis Nichols, Mrs. James Penick, Mrs. Edward Tabor and Mrs. N. Eubanks all noted the “cleanliness” and well-kept appearance of the neighborhood.

[169] Gazette, March 1, 1908.

[170] Ibid.

[171] Ibid.

[172] Little Rock: City of Roses, (souvenir brochure), 1902, p. 4.

[173] Pulaski County Planning Board, Real Estate Property Survey and Low Income Housing Survey, 1940, figure 36, p. 42.

[174] Ibid., figure 32, p. 40.

[175] Ibid., figure 27,  p. 33.

[176] Urban League of Little Rock, Survey of Negroes in Little Rock and North Little Rock, compiled by Writer's Program of Works Administration, 1941, p. 61.

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