Stifft Station Historic District

Little Rock City, Pulaski County, AR

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Home in Little Rock, stifft station historic district

Photo: Home in the Capitol View/Stifft's Station neighborhood, Little Rock, AR. Photographed by User:Bruce W. Stracener (own work), 2008, [cc-1.0, public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed August, 2021.



The Stifft Station Historic District [†] is located in Section 5, Township 1 North, Range 12 West in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas. The district is bounded by West Markham Street on the north, West 7th Street on the south, Woodrow Street on the east and Martin Street on the west.

The name of Stifft Station was derived from the development of the Stifft Addition and the active participation of the prominent local businessman and civic booster Charles Stifft in the growth of this portion of Little Rock's streetcar suburbs.

It appears on the 1929 map of the "Street Railways of Little Rock" at the intersection of Markham and Prospect Avenue, now Kavanaugh, where a trolley stop was located on the Pulaski Heights Line. Additionally, the city directory that same year records the operation of two neighborhood businesses which included "Stifft Station" in their names- one a grocery store and the other a barber shop which underscores the adoption of the name generally. Because the area retains this name and identity, it is the obvious choice for the district's appellation.

Colonial Revival

The earliest extant houses in the neighborhood were constructed 1905-1915. These houses are modest Colonial Revival cottages transitioning from the Queen Anne style with its irregular massing and featuring varying applications of Colonial Revival and Craftsman detailing. For example, the house at 120 Woodrow is a one-story transitional hipped roof cottage featuring a projecting front gable bay and a wrap- around porch supported by slender wood columns. Concentrations of Colonial Revival cottages are found along the 100 blocks of Woodrow, Booker and Johnson Streets and feature Craftsman characteristics such as porch columns on brick piers. Other Colonial Revival style cottages are scattered throughout the district. The Herman Chilles House at 100 Rosetta, in the western portion of the district, is a stuccoed version of the irregular shaped Colonial Revival cottage with projecting front gable bay. The house at 113 Brown is a c.1915 Colonial Revival style cottage with wrap around front porch and steep hipped roof. Three c.1915 Colonial Revival style houses on the west side of the 300 block of Johnson Street express characteristics of the style in their irregular shape with steep hipped roofs with variations on porch shape and supports.

American Foursquare

Although the American Foursquare was a popular style in almost every American community in the early twentieth century and plans were widely available through mail-order companies who described the style as simple, strong, and substantial, only two houses of this style are located in the Stifft Station Historic District.

The Harry B. Vaughan House at 102 Rosetta was constructed circa 1907. An early version of the American Foursquare, the Vaughan House employs the vertical emphasis with hipped roof characteristic of the style. The second American Foursquare style house in the district is located at 114 Johnson Street. Constructed in 1912, this house has typical Foursquare elements of square shape with hipped roof and hipped roof dormer and wide, flat eaves with modillions. This house also features a full front porch with flat roof supported by square brick columns. Wood lap siding on the second story is narrower than the siding below a wood belt wrapping the house between the floors.

Craftsman

Construction in the Stifft Station neighborhood accelerated in the period 1910-1930 with construction ofthe majority of the fabric of the district. The Colonial Revival style cottage was still a prevalent design, but popular new house designs began to appear in the neighborhood during this time. Of the 295 buildings in the Stifft Station Historic District, 33% were constructed during the prosperous decade of the 1920s. The Craftsman style dominates the architecture of this period. Features such as low pitched, gable roofs accentuated by wide, unenclosed eave overhangs and exposed roof rafters, as well as tapered square columns on pedestal porch supports are frequently seen on the houses in the district.

Early two-story Craftsman style houses in the 100 block of Johnson represent one of the most significant streetscapes in the Stifft Station Historic District. Houses on both sides of the block are two-story versions of the Craftsman style. The A. R. Koonce House at 111 Johnson is a Craftsman detailed two-story house with a distinctive gambrel roof and dormers. The house at 116 Johnson is a two-story frame Craftsman style with front-facing gable roof and pronounced rafter tails, while the house next door at 118 Johnson is a side-gabled two-story frame Craftsman style with stucco in gable ends, shed roof dormer and porch and diamond-shaped pattern in upper lights on windows.

Other two-story early Craftsman style houses constructed circa 1912 in the 100 block ofJohnson street utilized Craftsman style triangular knee braces under wide eaves as a decorative element such as seen in the house at 115 Johnson. The Vaughan House at 104 Rosetta is a one-and-one-half story Craftsman style with side gable roof. Exposed rafter ends and decorative knee brackets distinguish the steeply pitched roof.

Craftsman Bungalow

The most common Craftsman form seen in the Stifft Station neighborhood is the Bungalow. These are one or one-and-one-half story houses clustered throughout the neighborhood. The American Craftsman Bungalow became the "cottage" of the early twentieth century. It began as a small Craftsman house but acquired a wide diversity of stylistic influences, specific examples showing links with many popular American architectural styles. The American Craftsman Bungalow adapted itself to widely divergent environmental and climatic conditions, made use of numerous kinds of local building materials and ranged in size from spacious versions to small residences constructed specifically to meet the need for small affordable.

Early Craftsman Bungalows in the Stifft Station neighborhood express verticality such as the steep, front facing gable roofbungalows seen at 313 and 321 Booker Street. These houses, both constructed circa 1912 have deep front porches recessed under the main gable roof with solid wood balustrades. A set of three small windows is located in the center of the prominent front facing gable ends of the houses. Another early Bungalow in the district also dating from around 1912 is the Bailey House located at 317 Booker. This one- story house features a hipped roof with broad flat eaves, hipped roof dormers and a deep recessed Yi front porch with solid wood balustrade. The frame bungalow at 121 Johnson features narrow wood lap siding on the body of the house with scalloped shingles in the ends of the cross gable roof. The commonality among the early Bungalows in the district is their verticality.

Bungalows built in the 1920s in the Stifft Station neighborhood feature various degrees of details. The house at 100 Brown is an example of a few Bungalows in the district that feature two sizes of narrow wood lap siding separated by a wood belt course below windows. The house at 126 Johnson is detailed with pseudo half-timbering in the front facing gable end porch roof, supported by tapered square wood columns on square brick piers. The house at 118 Brown also features half-timbering. Another common bungalow form is the side-gable main roof with front facing porch gable roof, as seen on the house at 110 Rosetta. The house at 224 Rosetta features a side clipped gable roof with front facing gable porch roof supported by square brick piers with solid brick balustrade with concrete capping. Sets of narrow casement windows are also found on this bungalow.

The "California Bungalow", characterized by a one-room second story perched on the roof and low-pitched gable roofline with broad eaves is not uncommon in the district. Often referred to as "airplane bungalow" because airplanes could be seen from the second story room, examples are seen in the houses at 120 Brown, 214 Johnson, 216 Johnson, 224 Johnson, and 222 Rosetta. These houses vary in detailing, but all have the second story room with bands of casement or double-hung windows affording a view.

English Revival

Twenty houses in the Stifft Station Historic District are considered to have English Revival style influence. All of the houses in the neighborhood with English Revival elements have stucco or brick exterior walls. One of the largest examples of this style is the house located at 223 Martin. Constructed c.1928 this two-story brick house incorporates English Revival style elements in its steep gables faced with stucco and half- timbering. The two-story house at 111 Martin also features prominent steep gables in its vertical emphasis and is covered in rough stucco. Modest English Revival detail is seen on the house at 3317 W. Markham with a steep gable entrance with round-arched opening and diamond-shaped windowpanes. Similarly, modest English Revival details are found on several one-story houses in the 100 block of Martin Street. The house at 117 Martin features a sweeping front gable porch with round-arched openings while the houses at 109 and 115 Martin have steep vertical gable roofs denoting entrances. English Revival influence is seen in the design elements of the house at 208 Brown where a steep gable marks the entrance on an uncovered terrace. The house at 200 Brown features a round arched opening noted by gable roof projection on an uncovered terrace. This house also is decorated by a shed roof dormer set over three double-hung windows overlooking the terrace.

Minimal Traditional

Although the neighborhood was densely occupied and construction was largely complete by the economically depressed years o f the 1930s and war years o f the 1940s, forty-one buildings were constructed in the neighborhood during these two decades. Increased demand for housing after 1945 brought a small rush of new construction on the few remaining vacant lots in the Stifft Station neighborhood. Most of this construction was in the southern portion of the area and reflect the commonly seen Minimal Traditional style. This style house, usually small, reflects the conservative attitude o f the economy in lack o f ornamentation, close rake eaves and simple box-like appearance.

The Minimal Traditional style house in the Stifft Station Historic District began to be constructed immediately following the end of World War II. Houses at 603 Martin and 609 Martin are good examples of the close rake eaves, lack of ornamentation and broad eight-over-eight double-hung windows seen on this type of house. A house of this minimal form located at 310 Rosetta features brick veneer walls, but most Minimal Traditional style houses in the neighborhood were covered in wide novelty or lap siding. This same small form house with lack of ornamentation continued in popularity, likely due to their affordability, into the 1950s. The house at 413 Martin, constructed in 1952 is a simple rectangular shaped house whose only ornamentation are the awnings over wide eight-over-eight double-hung windows. Slightly more decorative with front facing gable ends, the house at 216 Rosetta was also built in 1952. Another variation of the Minimal Traditional style house in the neighborhood is the house at 522 Brown, which features a full front shed roof porch supported by simple square posts. The house at 617 Booker features a projecting front gable room and front bay window. This stylish Minimal Traditional form is covered in permastone, the only use of this material in the district.

Houses located at 2900 and 2912 W. 7th Street begin to transition the gap from Minimal Traditional to the more mpdern Ranch style home. These houses are a slightly larger rectangle giving them horizontal emphasis. The wood of the side-facing gable ends often is vertical board and batten with decorative scalloped ends. These pre-Ranch style houses feature two-over-two double-hung windows and a large multi- pane stationary window, the forerunner to the Ranch style "picture window". Another early Ranch form is seen in the house at 3308 W. ihStreet where the same beginnings of the low horizontal emphasis of the Ranch style is seen, but walls are sheathed in novelty siding, expressing an example of the type of small house construction popular in 1955.

Ranch

The district's only version of the popular brick Ranch style house built in the 1950s and 1960s are the duplexes at 300-302 Rosetta and 304-306 Rosetta, both built in 1958. Although the horizontal emphasis of the Ranch style is oriented sideways to accommodate narrow lots, these houses feature the low hipped roof with wide over-hanging eaves typical of the suburban Ranch style house.

Contemporary The house at 223 Brown is the Stifft Station Historic District's only example of the Contemporary style house. Constructed circa 1972, this house features multiple steep shed roofs, is clad in vertical siding and has a variety of window sizes with placement both high and low in the wall. The house is located on a corner lot, which affords visibility of the multiple roofline arrangement. Although quite a derivation from the usual Colonial Revival and Craftsman style influence concentrated in the Stifft Station neighborhood, the house at 223 Brown compliments the neighborhood in its setback, scale and materials.

Multi-family

The only two historic multi-family buildings in the Stifft Station neighborhood. The duplex located at 519-523 Johnson is the earliest multi-family residence in the district. Constructed circa 1925, this Craftsman style duplex is two-stories, but features two one-story gable roof porches on the front, lowering the scale of the building from the street. The Rosalyn Apartments at 423 Johnson is a two-story brick building with some English Revival details as seen in modest use of pseudo half-timbering on the second story level.

Constructed circa 1938, the Rosalyn Apartments is a much larger building than the adjacent single-family homes, but blends into the neighborhood well on its comer lot at Johnson and West Capitol. Other multi-family housing was constructed minimally in the district after 1950. The Noak Apartment Building at 111 Booker was constructed in 1951 and is a two-story buff brick building with a two-story center front shed roof porch supported by four two-story square columns. Two Ranch style brick duplexes were built in the 300 block of Rosetta circa1958. As the neighborhood maintained its popularity, multifamily buildings were built at 422 Brown and 224 Johnson in the 1970s.

Adapted from: title Anne W. Speed and Sandra Taylor Smith, City of Little Rock, 2006, Stifft Station Historic District, nomination document, National Register of Historic Places, accessed January, 2024.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
4th Street West • 6th Street West • Booker Street South • Brown Street South • Capitol Avenue West • Johnson Street • Markham Street West • Martin Street South • Rosetta Street • Woodward Street South


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