Sandwich in History today at War Memorial Stadium

You are invited to join the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s next “Sandwiching in History” tour, which will visit the War Memorial Stadium at 1 Stadium Drive in Little Rock beginning at noon on Friday, July 12th, 2019.

Note: We will gather inside gate 9, which is adjacent to the stadium’s administrative offices, which face Markham Street to the north. Please park in the lot along the western edge of the stadium. We will walk the interior circumference of the stadium on our tour.

War Memorial Stadium, completed in 1948, was designed as not only a large-scale sports venue for the city of Little Rock, but also a living memorial to Arkansas’s veterans and fallen soldiers. With an initial seating capacity of just over 31,000, the stadium today can hold more than 54,000 spectators. War Memorial Stadium has hosted over 200 Razorback football games, as well as many other Arkansas collegiate and high school teams and even an NFL game. The stadium has also hosted soccer games, major concerts and famous entertainers throughout its 70-year history.

Sandwiching in History tours are worth one hour of AIA continuing education credit. If you would like to receive email notifications of upcoming tours instead of postcards or need additional information, please contact Callie Williams, Education and Outreach Coordinator for AHPP, at 501-324-9880 or Callie.Williams@arkansas.gov.

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Learn about Roofing Historic Buildings at tonight’s QQA Preservation Conversation

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The next QQA Preservation Conversation takes place tonight, July 11.

Join the QQA to learn about roofing historic buildings with Woody Simmons and Robert Purtle of Bray Sheet Metal. Woody and Robert have worked on historic buildings all around the state, including:

  • Copper Built-in gutters at the Empress in Little Rock
  • Repair and maintain slate roof at the Lincoln Home, Little Rock
  • Repairs to asbestos slate at the Pollock Home, Little Rock
  • Reroof wood shingles after fire at St Edwards Catholic Church, Little Rock
  • Install of slate roof, Cathedral of St. Andrew, Little Rock

When: July 11, 2019
Where: Mixing Room at the Old Paint Factory in the East Village,1306 East 6th Street, 72202
What Time: 5:30 pm (reception); 6:00 pm (lecture)

RSVP: The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please RSVP.

Parking: There is parking directly in front of the doors that are marked “live”, “print”, “meet.” If those spots are taken. park in the parking lot to the right. There is also street parking in front of the building.

Entrance: Enter the event space through the door facing 6th Street marked “Meet.”

July 9, 1906 – plans for new Little Rock City Hall are approved. And the fun has just begun

The 1906 plans for City Hall with the Municipal Auditorium on the left portion.

On July 9, 1906, the Little Rock City Council approved Resolution 281 and Ordinance 1,295. These actions approved the plans for a new City Hall complex to be constructed on land at the northwest corner of Markham and Broadway Streets.  A few days later, the contract was awarded for the construction of the new building.

Mayor Warren E. Lenon had first called for a new city hall complex in his annual address in April 1904. He repeated his request in April 1905.   The City Council took up Mayor Lenon’s quest for a new city hall in December of 1905.  The Council appropriated money for the purchase of land for a city hall, jail and auditorium.

In response to this, the Arkansas Gazette daily newspaper ran a story featuring the viewpoints of a few civic leaders weighing in on the need for a new city hall complex which would also include a new jail and a city auditorium.  Two of the respondents, L. B. Leigh and P. Raleigh, stressed the need for paved streets and better sewers instead of a new city hall and auditorium.

The other three businessmen interviewed were more favorable to Mayor Lenon’s proposal.  Morris M. Cohn, a former Little Rock City Attorney, stated “I do not think we can make a better investment than in a fine city hall and auditorium.”  (Mr. Cohn, though an M. M. Cohn, was not related the M. M. Cohn who was the namesake for the longtime Little Rock department store.) County Judge William Marmaduke Kavanaugh offered his satisfaction with the action of the City Council on that matter.  R. E. Walt, a banker, opined that he thought $150,000 was not enough; he suggested $200,000 should be spent.

Later that month the Gazette reported that a site had been selected for the city hall and auditorium complex.  The proposed location was most of a city block located at the corner of Markham and Broadway Streets.  Mayor Lenon was vague as to the details of the deal because negotiations were still underway with the property owners

As 1906 dawned, Mayor Lenon and other city leaders continued to take steps to build the new city hall and auditorium.  They invited three local architects to make presentations for the chance to design the new complex.  The three were Charles L. Thompson, Frank W. Gibb and George R. Mann.  Mr. Thompson was chosen to receive the assignment.

On February 5, 1906, Mayor Lenon announced the creation of a special committee to work on the planning for a future city hall complex.  This committee consisted of Aldermen Louis Walther, A. B. Poe, L. N. Whitcomb, Christopher Ledwidge, and John A. Adams.

Mayor Lenon further stated that the new city hall complex and several private developments would “put us in that march of progress with which nothing can prevent us from having a 100,000 population in a few years.”

The saga to get the building built was just starting.

Planning to create Arkansas Arts Center authorized by City of Little Rock

Twenty-two years after authorizing the creation of the Museum of Fine Arts in City Park, the Little Rock City Council was asked to consider expanding the facility.

By 1957, the existing structure was felt to be inadequate.   There was a desire for more gallery space as well as for more space for educational programming.

On July 8, 1957, the Little Rock City Council passed an ordinance authorizing the Board of the Museum of Fine Arts to be able to raise the funds for an expansion.  This was merely the start of the process which would eventually lead to the creation of the Arkansas Arts Center.

The ordinance allowed for the expansion or extension of the building. It also authorized the museum’s board to accept gifts for the project and to invest those gifts for the purpose of the museum.  Since the museum only received City funds for maintenance and salary, the ability to raise funds for the expansion was key to the future of the institution.

Lastly, the ordinance gave the museum’s board the ability to increase its membership by up to six positions without having to get additional approval by the City Council.  With a fundraising drive underway and a larger facility planned, these additional board members could certainly prove to be key.

The ordinance passed with nine Ayes, zero Noes, and one absent.

One Rice tore down a Little Rock auditorium; his grandson helped restore another one

On June 7, 1920, the Little Rock City Council finally authorized the demolition of Little Rock’s 1906 temporary auditorium.  The structure had originally been built as a skating rink which, when chairs were added, could be used for public meetings.  Since the mid 1910’s, the City Council had discussed tearing it down over safety concerns.  But since Little Rock had no other structure as a substitute, the Council kept delaying the decision.

J Rice 1920In 1920, though there was not alternative space available, the Council decided that the structure had to come down.  So City Engineer James H. Rice was authorized to have the building removed.

JimRice RobinsonToday, Rice’s grandson, Jim Rice, is the COO of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

In that capacity he  oversaw the renovation of Little Rock’s 1940 municipal auditorium – Robinson Center Performance Hall.

Sandwich in History today (6/7) at the Irv Daniel House

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The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program each month sponsors a Sandwiching in History tour which familiarize people who live and work in central Arkansas with the historic structures and sites around us.

The tours take place on Fridays at noon, last less than an hour, and participants are encouraged to bring their lunches so that they can eat while listening to a brief lecture about the property and its history before proceeding on a short tour.

Today (June 7) at 12 noon, this month’s tour is at the Irv Daniels House, located at 1622 Waterside Drive.

Constructed in 1965, the Irv Daniel House in North Little Rock is one of only 10 designs created by architect Frank Doughty in the state of Arkansas. The architecture of the house was heavily influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and E. Fay Jones, whom Doughty worked for at one time.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There is very limited parking available along Waterside Drive. There is an area of public parking located to the northeast of the house, along Waterside Drive, and additional parking is available along streets to the east and at the park at the intersection of Waterside Drive and Avondale Road

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.