Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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Heritage Month – Ten Mile House

Ten_Mile_fDeriving its common name from its distance from Little Rock at the time, the Federal-style Ten Mile House,  is a rare example of a largely intact rural home of the early nineteenth century.  In addition to the house, there are four nineteenth-century outbuildings surrounded by a large parcel of wooded property.

It was built by Archibald McHenry, and is sometimes known as the McHenry House or Stagecoach House (due to its presence on the Southwest Trail stagecoach line).  During the Civil War it served as a military outpost for Union troops.  David O. Dodd was held a prisoner in the smokehouse prior to his trial and execution.

Ten Mile House exhibits Early Georgian or Federal influence through the use of bridging between paired chimneys situated at each end of the house. Traits of the Federal style include simple, symmetrical proportions and large multi-paned windows. Ornamentation is minimal and is usually found around entries, windows, and cornice lines. A brick smokehouse, dairy house, well house, and kitchen house—all dating from the nineteenth century—remain on the property.

The Ten Mile House was listed on the National Register in June of 1970. Several families have owned the home since its early nineteenth century construction. It has served as a combination tea room/antiques store, a venue for public dinner parties and weddings, and a residence.


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The glorious song-stylings of Bonnie Montgomery are on display tonight in concert at Wildwood Park

BonnieMontgomeryHouse_UpdateBonnie Montgomery and band, penned by San Diego Beat as “…like Patsy Cline fronting a twangier Crazy Horse…more or less a perfect formula for country rock..” is tearing a streak across the country with her Arkansas/Austin-based sound. Following the release of EPs “Cruel” (2012, Fast Weapons) and “Joy” (2013, Fast Weapons), Arkansas born and bred Bonnie Montgomery released her self-titled LP in July 2014 on Portland/Arkansas label Fast Weapons.

A classically trained singer whose southern roots run deep, Montgomery has taken her authentic spin on golden-era country/western music through the U.S. and Europe, headlining shows and also supporting Gossip, Shovels and Rope, Robert Ellis, Hayes Carll, Billy Joe Shaver, Turnpike Troubadours, Pokey LaFarge, and Wayne “the Train” Hancock, among others.

Bonnie’s composition of the modern folk opera “Billy Blythe”, about the childhood of Bill Clinton, previewed in New York, and has earned her the attention of publications such as The New Yorker, The Economist, The Huffington Post and the London Daily Telegraph.

Doors open at 6:30, concert starts at 7pm.  There is a $15 Suggested Donation.  Beer, wine and snacks will be available.  The concert will be in the Pavilion at Wildwood Park.


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Get Ready for Riverfest with “Flowing on the River” tonight

RF Flow on River2015Riverfest, Inc. invites you to “Flowing on the River,” presented by TRG Foundation, a wine and craft beer tasting to be held Thursday, May 21st from 5:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m. in the River Market pavilions in downtown Little Rock.

Natural State Wines has selected an array of boutique wines and Arkansas Craft Distributors will provide an offering of outstanding craft beers for your tasting pleasure. Representatives will be available from the vineyards and breweries to discuss and educate attendees on their products. Local Little Rock area restaurants will provide hors d’oeuvres to accompany the array of wines & craft beers. Music will be provided by FreeVerse Duo. Proceeds from this event will be used to present Argenta Community Theater’s Summer Camp program “ACTing Up” to be held in July 2015 at Argenta Community Theater.

Restaurateurs

  • BAT Farms
  • Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar
  • Brenda Majors Catering
  • Cheers in the Heights
  • Samantha’s Tap Room
  • Dugan’s Pub and Stratton’s Market
  • JM Foods
  • Macaroni Grill
  • Newks Catering
  • The Garden Bistro
  • Texas Roadhouse
  • Las Palmas

Admission to the event is $25 per person in advance (or $30 at the door).  For more information on the event, please contact the Riverfest office at 501-255-3378.


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Fret & Worry tonight at South on Main’s Local Live concert series

llsom fretTonight at 7:30 is this week’s installment of the South on Main Local Live concert series.  This week features Fret & Worry!

Presented by the Oxford American magazine, Local Live showcases the best of local and regional music talent and is always free and open to the public. Call ahead to South on Main to make your reservations and ensure a table: (501) 244-9660. Local Live is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Ben and Jane Hunt Meade.

Fret & Worry (Uncle Joe Meazle on guitar and RJ Looney on harmonica) sing songs that celebrate Arkansas and cover the subjects of trains, ladies of the evening, wrongful deaths, and moonshine.


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Heritage Month – Samuel P. Taylor Service Station

Today’s Heritage Month property is the Samuel P. Taylor Service Station.  Built in 1938, it embodies the distinctive characteristics of Art Deco architecture.

The Samuel P. Taylor Service Station is located at the corner of Cross Street and West Third Street in downtown Little Rock. The building was constructed in 1938 on a lot previously owned by the Cross Street Christian Church. The church built a basement in 1935 and had planned to construct a church on the site, however money could not be raised and the church disbanded circa 1937. The land was purchased from the church in 1938 and a man known as Mr. Saunders was hired to build a service station on its present day site. Later that same year the Samuel P. Taylor Service Station opened its doors to motorists.

The Samuel P. Taylor Service Station served motorists as garage and gas station from its opening in 1938 until 1947. In 1947 the building was purchased by Paul Williamson and the name of the business was changed to Cross Town Gulf Service Station. Mr. Williamson served as the owner and operator of the Gulf Oil Company franchise until the business went out of operation in 1972. The building was then purchased by the Safeway Corporation in 1973 and was used as storage by the Safeway Bakery Division located at 1111 West Third Street in Little Rock.  Although the building no longer serves as a service station it still greatly resembles its historic appearance and reminds those passing by of its original use.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 29, 2000.


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Heritage Month – Luxor Apartments

Luxor ApartmentThe Luxor Apartments building is a two-story brick veneered structure designed in the Craftsman style, unique to the Little Rock area in its size.  Located at 1923 South Main, it remained popular for singles and young families from the 1920s to the 1970s because of its proximity to the downtown commercial district.  Now it is part of the South Main community, which is once again a hotbed of activity.

The Luxor Apartments Building was built by Samuel J. Storthz, Sr., member of a Jewish family prominent in the Little Rock business community.  At the time of its construction, the Luxor was considered a very desirable address.  The building featured a uniformed doorman, apparently something of an anomaly in Little Rock at the time.  At a time when most apartments had eight or fewer units, the Luxor Apartments contained 28 units.

Construction of the Luxor Apartment building in 1924 represents the rapid urbanization of Little Rock in the early decades of the twentieth century.  Attention to technology and “modern” conveniences were emphasized.

They were added to the National Register of Historic Places in April 1995.


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Little Rock Look Back: Dan T. Sprick

SprickFuture Little Rock Mayor Dan T. Sprick was born on May 19, 1902.  He served three terms on the Little Rock City Council (from 1935 to 1941).  In 1945, he was elected Mayor of Little Rock and served one term. During his tenure on the City Council, he was the sole vote against locating Robinson Auditorium at Markham and Broadway.  He had favored another location.

He was not alone, however, in being held in contempt of court and spending part of the day in jail.  On Monday, December 4, a dozen of Little Rock’s aldermen (which included Sprick) reported to the county jail to serve sentences for contempt of court. The previous Monday, the twelve council members had voted against an ordinance which had been ordered by the judge in an improvement district matter. The other aldermen had either voted in the affirmative or had been absent. Because the twelve had refused to change their votes since that meeting, the judge ordered them jailed.

Mrs. C. C. Conner, the only female, was not jailed but was fined $50. The eleven men were held at the jail, though not in cells. In order to get out of jail, the judge gave the aldermen the chance to change their votes. The mayor asked the judge to let them leave the jail to attend the meeting at City Hall, which was nearby. He requested that the city be allowed to maintain “what little dignity remained” by not having the meeting at the jail. The judge relented, and the aldermen were escorted by deputies to the council chambers. After the aldermen changed their votes, the judge suspended the remainder of their sentences.

His tenure as Mayor was relatively quiet. He took office the same month that World War II ended. While in office, the Sprick administration was marked by growth in the city budget and in city positions. As a part of that growth, there were many more new purchases taking place which had prompted extra scrutiny of the City’s purchasing procedures. A thorough investigation toward the end of his tenure found no malfeasance or misfeasance, it did note that the city needed to do a better job of anticipating cash flow. Much of the City’s focus during the Sprick tenure was on growth and keeping up infrastructure needs.

Sprick later served for ten years in the Arkansas State Senate (from 1961 to 1970).  During his tenure in the Senate, Sprick was closely aligned with Gov. Orval Faubus.  When the Little Rock high schools had been closed a year to ensure segregation, Sprick had served on the board of a private school set up by some of the leaders of the segregation movement.

His time in the Senate was also marked by controversy.  He was one of three Senators to opposed Muhammad Ali’s speaking at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  After an Arkansas Gazette editorial lambasted him, Sprick sued the paper for libel. The Gazette settled with him out of court because his health was poor.

Sprick died in January 1972.

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