Southern Accents, the salvage company that is dismantling two historic houses on Cantrell Road that will be demolished, has published an article in its newsletter titled "Salvage Adventure in Arkansas." See more photos here. The article says the homes are being taken down to make room for a private school and describes some of the items rescued from the house.
This week we traveled to Arkansas for a salvage project involving two 1890 Victorian houses. These beautiful old houses have been sitting on private property that was recently sold. Both houses are scheduled to be taken down to make room for a private school. When contacted about our interest in the structures, we were thrilled to come to the rescue of the beautiful architectural pieces contained within. This is one of our largest salvage projects to date and several trips will be required to complete this project.
Phase I saw us returning with beautiful solid wood paneled doors, carved fireplace mantels, Eastlake Victorian cast brass door hardware, antique lighting, fencing, gorgeous fireplace tile sets, claw foot tubs and much more. Some of the large architectural pieces have already pre sold to interested buyers on site. We will be posting all available pieces to our website and Facebook account as soon as we are able to unload, process and picture each item.
Episcopal Collegiate's head of school says he has no knowledge the land will be used for expansion of the Jackson T. Stephens Campus, though the houses being torn down are owned by Warren Stephens. Steven Hickman sent out a letter to parents this week about the reporting on the tear-downs:
Dear Episcopal Collegiate School Community,
You may have read with interest an article this morning in the Democrat-Gazette regarding two properties near the Episcopal Collegiate School campus. I am out of town representing Episcopal at the annual National Association of Independent School Conference in Philadelphia and I was not aware of the reporter attempting to contact
me to discuss this. Regarding this matter, the school does not own these properties. In addition, the school does not know of any plans for these properties.
Considering the condition of the school's property prior to the building of its campus, we believe strongly that the addition of the Episcopal Collegiate School campus has been very positive for the Little Rock community. We appreciate greatly the support of the families who have made this possible.
Surely the Stephens family isn't thinking of building another school on the property.
The Quapaw Quarter Association has issued a press release on its unsuccessful efforts to stave off the demolition of the Bruner House at 1415 Cantrell Road and the house next door, at 1407 Cantrell, including two letters it wrote the Episcopal Collegiate School and Stephens Inc.
We reported here yesterday that mantels and other architectural components of the house are being salvaged by an Alabama company, Southern Accents.
The letters note that the houses are not in a historic district and could only be protected by the conservation efforts of their owners, and says their destruction should prompt debate about the loss of Little Rock's historic buildings. The 2009 demolition of buildings on the west side of the 400 block of Main Street, including the old Kempner building and the Center Theater — also by Stephens — prompted a preservation plan for the city, useless without the creation of historic districts.
The QQA release:
You may be aware that 1407 and 1415 Cantrell Road are slated for demolition soon. It is with deep regret that we watch these houses come down; they are structurally sound and would be appropriate for many uses.
In April of 2011 when the QQA learned that these and one other house had changed hands, we reached out to the new owners in a number of ways and offered to help find new uses. We also provided several examples of historic houses that have been incorporated into learning institution campuses.
Because the houses are not in a protected district, few options were available to us beyond persuading the new owners of the value and potential of the houses. Unfortunately, we received little response to our recommendations and offers of assistance.
The Bruner-Hammond House at 1415 Cantrell Road is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. However, this is an honorary designation that does not protect the house from demolition. In Little Rock, the only historic buildings protected from demolition are within the MacArthur Park Historic District and the Capitol Zoning District. Many property owners in other parts of town take advantage of incentives and see historic preservation as a smart investment, but they are not required to do so.
We hope the unfortunate loss of these historic houses will spur new dialogue about how we, as a community, can encourage smarter development practices and prevent further loss of our historic fabric. We can do this by creating more local historic districts and implementing better preservation policy at the city level. We welcome your ideas and involvement.
The 1891 Bruner House at 1415 Cantrell Road, which is on the National Register of Historic Properties, will be torn down in the coming weeks. An Alabama salvage company is rescuing the mantels, rails, flooring and other features of the Eastlake-design house.
The house, a carriage house in the rear, and a house next door, which will also come down, were bought for $500,000 by Irwin Properties LLC in April 2011, according to Pulaski County assessor records. Arkansas Business reported at the time that Warren Stephens purchased the half-acre through Irwin.
Preservationists downtown are "full of anguish," Kathy Wells, president of the Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods, said. No demolition permits have been taken out, but according to the salvage company, Southern Accents, none are needed for architectural salvage.
The property is close to the Episcopal Collegiate School, Jackson T. Stephens campus, but Head of School Steve Hickman said he did not know what was planned for the property.
Here's information on the house from the Arkansas Historic Preservation program.
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