LR Cultural Touchstone: Cheryl Griffith Nichols

C NicholsCheryl Griffith Nichols is a historian, with an emphasis on historical structures, who has lived and worked in Arkansas since 1978.

She was born and raised in Indiana and graduated from Hanover College in 1974. After working for three years as the executive director of the Bartholomew County Historical Society in Columbus, Indiana, she enrolled in George Washington University in Washington DC, majoring in American studies with a concentration in historic preservation. While living in Washington, she worked for the National Register of Historic Places.

She moved to Little Rock in 1978, where she married attorney Mark Nichols and completed her Masters degree by writing a thesis on the Pulaski Heights community; the thesis was accepted in 1981. Meanwhile, Nichols became acquainted with Charles Witsell (a prominent Little Rock architect and historic preservation advocate) while he was working with F. Hampton Roy (a Little Rock ophthalmologist, historic preservation advocate and Little Rock City Director) to write a book about the history of Little Rock. Nichols did extensive research for the book, which was published in 1984 by August House as How We Lived: Little Rock as an American City.

Nichols then became a free-lance researcher, operating a business in Little Rock which she called History, Inc. This business did research and documentation of historic structures in Arkansas, mostly but not entirely in Pulaski County. Nichols also worked for the Museum of Science and History (now the Museum of Discovery) in Little Rock, served as the Executive Director of the Quapaw Quarter Association from 1984 through 1987 and again from 1991 through 1997, and wrote several books for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (Little Rock: Driving Tour of Three Historic Neighborhoods, 1989; MacArthur Park Historic Tours, 1993, Governor’s Mansion Area, 1993; Historically Black Properties in Little Rock’s Dunbar School Neighborhood, 1999, The Arkansas Designs of E. Fay Jones, 1999, Hillcrest: The History and Architectural Heritage of Little Rock’s Streetcar Suburb, 1999, and Construction of the Military Road Between Little Rock, Arkansas, and Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, 2003.)

She has remained active in historic preservation efforts.  She has served on the board of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  She also served on a task force to determine the best use of Curran Hall.  Much of her research has been donated to the Arkansas Studies Institute.

Sen. David Pryor speaks, Mayor Stodola an honoree at Quapaw Quarter annual meeting tonight

QQAThe Quapaw Quarter Association will host its annual membership meeting on Wednesday, October 2 in the Ottenheimer Theater at Historic Arkansas Museum.  The evening will begin with a 5:30 p.m. reception in the atrium, the membership meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m.  Nonmembers of the organization are invited to join at the door.

Board members standing for re-election this year are:
Chuck Cliett
John Herzog
Gabe Holmstrom
Cheri Nichols
Shana Woodard

Following a short business meeting, the Greater Little Rock Preservation Awards will be presented to projects in SoMa, the Governor’s Mansion Historic District, MacArthur Park Historic District and Main Street Commercial Historic District.  Anthony Black will receive the Peg Smith Award for his many years of exemplary volunteer work on QQA projects and programs.  Mayor Mark Stodola will receive the Jimmy Strawn Award.  Since 1980, the QQA has presented its most prestigious award to “someone whose efforts on behalf of the preservation of Greater Little Rock’s architectural heritage are an inspiration to the entire community.”

Senator David Pryor will join the QQA as guest speaker to close out the evening.

The Quapaw Quarter Association’s mission is to promote the preservation of Little Rock’s architectural heritage through advocacy, marketing and education.

Incorporated in 1968, the QQA grew out of an effort to identify and protect significant historic structures in Little Rock during the urban renewal projects of the early 1960s. Throughout its existence, the QQA has been a driving force behind historic preservation in Greater Little Rock.

Rhea Roberts serves as the executive director.