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Architects of Little Rock


Charles Witsell Jr.

Publication Year: 2014

Architects of Little Rock provides biographical and historical sketches of the architects working in Little Rock from 1830 to 1950. Thirty-five architects are profiled, including George R. Mann, Thomas Harding, Charles L. Thompson, Max. F. Mayer, Edwin B. Cromwell, George H. Wittenberg, Lawson L. Delony, and others. Readers will learn who these influential professionals were, where they came from, where they were educated, how they lived, what their families were like, how they participated in the life of the city, and what their buildings contributed to the city. Famous buildings, including the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Old State House, the Arkansas State Capitol, St. Andrews Cathedral, Little Rock City Hall, the Pulaski County Court House, Little Rock Central High School, and Robinson Auditorium are showcased, bringing attention to and encouraging appreciation of the city’s historic buildings.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

...We are both retired architects who discovered that we share a common interest in writing about our profession; a number of conversations focused that interest on producing this book. A generous...

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pp. 3-6

...Little Rock as a city of today is also the city of a hundred years and more ago. Nowhere is this more obvious than in its architecture. But of the early architects, especially those men who practiced in the nineteenth century...

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Gideon Shryock

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pp. 7-9

...was the architect of the handsome Greek Revival structure now called the Old State House, begun when Arkansas was still a territory. But credit for the construction of...

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George Weigart

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pp. 10-11

...family of originally German stock. Weigart came to Little Rock to be Shryock’s onsite superintendent and architect for the State...

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Tower Building at the US Arsenal

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pp. 12-14

...governor, James Conway. Because of residents’ desires for protection from what they perceived as the dangers of life on the frontier, Conway...

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R. Larrimore

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p. 15-15

...superintend the State House construction—was to one R. Larrimore. We know that he was here by October 19, 1844, as the advertisements he had purchased in the Arkansas Banner and the Temperance...

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Malacha Abbot

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p. 16-16

...architect for the first St. Andrew’s Cathedral building in Little Rock was Malacha Abbot, about whom nothing else is known. In 1845, the Right Reverend Andrew Byrne, D.D., Catholic bishop of Arkansas, had purchased land on the northeast...

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P. C. Spaulding

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pp. 17-19

...when they moved here they planned to stay, at least for some period; they moved their families here. However, despite extensive research, very few buildings of these earliest architects have been connected...

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Arnold Syberg

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pp. 20-21

...twenties. He came to the United States to work in the US Geographical Survey. Syberg was appointed a captain in the army, 11th Infantry Regiment, on April 9, 1847. His name is found...

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Green and Edwards, Architects

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pp. 22-23

...have been born in Vermont. Like Arnold Syberg, he was one of the people from whom the Arkansas legislature had removed “political disability” in 1871. His partner was John D. Edwards...

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Thomas Harding I

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pp. 24-28

...identified as his designs are very impressive, especially for this post–Civil War period. He was able to win commissions and to execute designs for some of Arkansas’s most important buildings of the period, whether residential, institutional...

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Alexander M. Bailey

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p. 29-29

...Bailey purchased a sawmill called the Red Mill from Butler Gibb and Company, and soon after, Harding and Bailey dissolved their partnership. Bailey would apparently concentrate more on construction materials, with the architectural design...

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Thomas Harding Sr.

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pp. 30-32

...St. Andrew’s Cathedral, was, quite fittingly, the first person baptized there. He was born March 24, 1885, in Little Rock, and with his brother Rome got the beginnings of his architectural interest...

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Pettefer Brothers, Architects

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pp. 33-36

...and two daughters, Laura and Lizzie. Harry was born in 1852, and there was apparently a third brother who did not join them in Little Rock. In the 1880 city directory, they are listed as “Pettefer Brothers, Architects and Builders.” Their office was...

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Benjamin J. Bartlett

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pp. 37-39

...about him includes his marriage to Ruth Hennonfitch; they had a daughter, Anna, and a son, Benjamin W. The latter joined his father’s architectural practice for a few years. Bartlett’s early professional training was at the office of Gridley Bryant, an accomplished Boston architect. After serving in the Union army...

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Rickon and Harris, Architects

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pp. 40-41

...topographical surveys, plans, designs, details and specifications for residences, stores, warehouses, mills, public edifices, etc., etc., railroad engineering, heavy roofs and bridges, qualitative analysis of materials.” The majority of the professional services listed here fall within engineering disciplines....

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Frank W. Gibb

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pp. 42-45

...February 24, 1861, and died at home at 1609 Arch Street in Little Rock on November 4, 1932. His parents were Edward Wooster and Isabella Emerson Gibb. The family moved to Little Rock in 1871 from Chicago after the great fire there destroyed Edward Gibb’s carriage furnishings business. At the...

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Orlopp and Kusener, Architects

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pp. 46-50

...married Harriet Hail in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was a hardware merchant, and after time spent in Cincinnati, New York, and Chicago, he came to Little Rock. The 1872 Little Rock city directory lists him as the owner of Orlopp and Company, Hardware Store. Max Orlopp Jr., thirteen years...

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Charles L. Thompson

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pp. 51-55

...approximately 2,500 buildings of all sizes, and hundreds of them still stand today. Charles Thompson was born in November of 1868 in Danville, Illinois, to James C. and Henrietta Lightner Thompson. He and his six siblings were orphaned when he was fourteen, and they moved to Indiana to live with relatives. He quit school then...

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George Richard Mann

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pp. 56-60

...1899. He moved to Little Rock and developed a highly respected practice that included many of the largest and most significant buildings constructed in the first thirty years of the twentieth century in Arkansas. When he died in 1939, he was considered...

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Arkansas State Capitol

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pp. 61-64

...on substantially redesigned plans provided by New York architect Cass Gilbert. Mann had been selected the architect for the capitol in 1899, just after the passage of Act 128, and he served in that capacity until 1909. Act 128 had created the Board of State Capitol Commissioners...

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Cass Gilbert

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pp. 65-66

...unity and sophistication. While Cass Gilbert was not an Arkansas architect, he fulfilled a major design role in the Arkansas State Capitol, as will be seen, and thus had a hand in creating one of the state’s most distinctive buildings...

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Theodore M. Sanders

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pp. 67-69

...Arkansas, noting that they had attempted to farm for a living. “They lived forty miles from a railroad on poor, rocky soil.” Fred built a small log house and struggled to make...

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Frank M. Blaisdell

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pp. 70-71

...He came as a civil engineer hired to lay out the Arkansas State Capitol grounds. He had studied at West Point for three years and had assisted in designing the west wing of the Army and Navy Building in Washington, D.C...

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Eugene John Stern

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pp. 72-74

...family to New York. His father was Jacob Stern, an insurance agent who died in 1925, and his mother was Helena Roth Stern. Their children were Howard, Olive, Virginia, Carol, and Eugene. Gene...

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John Parks Almand

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pp. 75-78

...include a number of residences, hospitals, schools, businesses, and over fifty churches. Among his projects were Little Rock (Central) High School (a joint project with several other firms), First Church of Christ Scientist...

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Wittenberg and Delony, Architects

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pp. 79-84

...Wittenberg served on the Little Rock Planning Commission, devoting his time to help with the orderly planning of the growth of the city as it became a large metropolitan area. One of Wittenberg’s proudest accomplishments...

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Frank Ginocchio

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pp. 85-87

...architect and left Thompson to pursue a formal education in architecture at the University of Illinois. After completing his degree, he returned to Thompson’s firm in 1910 and was assigned to the supervising staff at the new Arkansas State Capitol. (Charles Thompson was a member of...

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H. Ray Burks

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pp. 88-90

...Arkansas, and educated in the Monticello public schools. He attended college and studied architecture at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts at Washington University. His early training in architecture began...

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Max F. Mayer

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pp. 91-94

...and practiced architecture in Little Rock less than twenty years, he left a lasting imprint in the structures he designed there. Mayer was born in San Antonio in 1887, in the three-story Italianate limestone castle that had been home to the Wulff family, whose roots reached back...

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Erhart and Eichenbaum, Architects

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pp. 95-98

...attended the University of Pennsylvania; like his future partner, Howard Eichenbaum, he had a professional education in architecture. Erhart and his wife had two daughters, Sister Margaret Erhart of St. Louis, Missouri, and Mrs. John T...

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Arthur N. McAninch

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pp. 99-102

...Petter and McAninch, a partnership with J. R. or Jack Petter. Petter was an Englishman who had worked for the famous Chicago firm Holabird and Root, Architects. He came to Little Rock around 1924 to work for the Mann and Stern firm...

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Bruce Anderson

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pp. 103-105

...Amelia Frei was born in Lucerne, Switzerland, and Anderson’s father was a Scotsman. Anderson grew up in the Little Rock area and attended Castle Heights Military School in Lebanon, Tennessee. He graduated in architecture...

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Brueggeman and Swaim, Architects

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pp. 106-110

...University, Brueggeman worked for an architectural firm in St. Louis, LaBeaum and Klein. He remained with this firm until 1928. In that year, he moved to Little Rock, where he...

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Edwin Cromwell

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pp. 111-114

...years of the Great Depression. In order to make a living, he did everything from cleaning bricks to moonlighting in established architectural firms. In 1934 he taught high school math. After a short employment with the census bureau in Washington, he was encouraged by friends...

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Joseph Yandell Johnson

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pp. 115-117

...design competition as well as the James Harrison Steadman Fellowship to study and travel a year in Europe. He was particularly pleased to be able to see the works of the modern masters, such as Le Corbusier and Walter...

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Trapp and Clippard, Architects

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pp. 118-122

...George Trapp was born in Chicago on March 20, 1900. He moved to Little Rock in 1914 when his father, Charles Vincent Trapp, took a job with the Big Rock Stone and Material Company as a gravel pit supervisor on Arch Street Pike. The...


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pp. 123-124


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pp. 125-126


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pp. 127-130


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pp. 131-138

E-ISBN-13: 9781610755450
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557286628

Page Count: 180
Publication Year: 2014