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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Little Rock evicts squatters from historic house

Posted By on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 1:50 PM

TRASHED: Quapaw Quarter Association board member Kelli Peters surveys trash at historic house. - LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK
  • Leslie Newell Peacock
  • TRASHED: Quapaw Quarter Association board member Kelli Peters surveys trash at historic house.

TRASHED: Capitol District director Boyd Maher surveys trash at historic house.
  • Kelli Peters
  • TRASHED: Capitol Zoning District director Boyd Maher surveys trash at historic house.

The White-Baucum House at 201 S. Izard, a once-grand Italianate house built in the 19th century by the Arkansas secretary of state, has most recently been the home of several squatters. Little Rock police ushered out five or six people in the house around 10 a.m. this morning and code enforcement officers began a clean-up, shoveling out truckloads of trash and clothing and a bit of drug paraphernalia to boot.

In the late 1970s, the house was purchased by Don Mehlburger Engineers, but a city employee on the scene and a Quapaw Quarter Association board member said they believed the house is now owned by
a bank in Russellville (calls in to Tracy Roark, head of city neighborhood programs, to confirm). The city put a sign up in front of the house recently putting owners on notice that it was in violation of code, but squatters took the sign down. Windows in the house had been boarded up but its new residents were able to take the boards down and break glass to enter. Every room in the house showed signs of occupation — bed rolls, old clothes, cheetos, vomit and the like.

Around 10:45, a former occupant showed up and asked if he could retrieve his “medication,” and he was allowed to.

The house, which was altered by the various businesses that have occupied it since the 1950s, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built by Arkansas Secretary of State Robert J.T. White in 1869-1870. George F. Baucum, a cotton broker, wholesale grocery businessman, president of the Bank of Little Rock and one of the founders of the Board of Trade in Little Rock, bought the house in the mid-1920s. Lora B. Busick occupied the house from 1935 to 1957. Since then, it’s housed two restaurants, an interior design studio, a nightclub, an ad agency and the Mehlburger firm.

— Leslie Newell Peacock

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