Architects of Little Rock

Charles Witsell and Gordon Wittenberg have won the Ned Shank Award for Outstanding Publication from the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas.

Architects of Little Rock provides biographical and historical sketches of the architects at work in Little Rock from 1833 to 1950, a span of roughly 120 years. 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. It is hoped that these biographical sketches will provide a better understanding of the visible city that was created during those years. Through their various relationships with engineers, contractors, and clients, these architects have indelibly shaped the face of Little Rock.

During the period covered in Architects of Little Rock, more than 100 Little Rock residents called themselves architects. When generations of architects have touched the same city, a remarkable layering of human presence is achieved that makes the city unique. A number of our older buildings have survived, although a great many are gone, some needlessly lost. In coming years, new buildings will be built in the context of the old, and some old buildings will be restored. There are opportunities, when architects, developers, and laymen are joined in common purpose, to demonstrate that old and new can exist harmoniously.

Readers will learn about these influential professionals—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 how their creative vision 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.

This book will bring much-deserved attention to the many architects who gave the city of Little Rock its unique group of buildings and encourage appreciation of the fine historic buildings remaining. The book also set out to identify every person who practiced architecture in Little Rock between 1833 and 1850, and the compiled list of 107 people is found in an appendix.

Charles Witsell and Gordon Wittenberg are retired principals of the Little Rock architecture firms Witsell, Evans, and Rasco and Wittenberg, Delony, and Davidson, respectively.