Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

Heritage Month – Choctaw Station

Choctaw StationForty years ago today, on May 6, 1975, Little Rock’s Choctaw Route Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

This turn-of-the-century railroad depot is one of the finest examples of railroad, architecture in Arkansas.  This red brick with terra cotta elements building is a two story rectangular structure with one story wings projecting from both the north and south elevations.  A long one story porch covers the passenger loading area along the entire east elevation, with a smaller porch over the entry on the west elevation.

The Choctaw Route Station was built between 1899 and 1901 (records vary) by the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad.  This railroad amalgamated with many small lines in Oklahoma and extended into Arkansas in the early 1890’s.  Used as a passenger station, the Little Rock terminal building housed two waiting rooms, a baggage room, restaurant and dining room.

When the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad was sold in 1902, the Choctaw Route Station became the property of the Rock Island Railroad.  Until the mid 1950’s it continued to serve as a passenger station for the Rock Island.  It later served as a warehouse, restaurant and nightclub.

Since 2004, it has been the home to the Clinton School for Public Service as well as Clinton Foundation offices.  Restoration was underwritten by the Roy and Christine Sturgis Foundation. In recognition of this, it is now known as Sturgis Hall.  Former Clinton School Dean David Pryor referred to it as “the little red school house.”

On Earth Day (April 22, 2015), it was announced that Sturgis Hall had received Gold LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.  In August 2009, the Clinton School received a stimulus grant from Governor Mike Beebe to implement sustainable and maintenance practices for reducing the environmental impact of the building. Utility bills costs have already been lowered by $38,000 annually and water usage has been significantly curtailed.

This designation made it the oldest building in Arkansas to be LEED certified and one of the oldest university buildings in the world.  The LEED certification had been a goal of Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford and Clinton Foundation Executive Director Stephanie Streett.

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Author: Scott

A cultural thinker with a life long interest in the arts and humanities: theatre, music, architecture, photography, history, urban planning, etc.

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