Quapaw Quarter Tour of Homes Comes to Dunbar and Governor’s Mansion Neighborhoods

Calling all historic home aficionados.

One of Little Rock’s favorite traditions will once again grace the Quapaw Quarter this spring. Now in its 59th year, the annual Tour of Homes will feature historic homes and impactful buildings, all opening their doors for the public to enjoy May 11-12.

The Tour of Homes is the Quapaw Quarter Association’s biggest and longest-running fundraiser, sometimes pulling in nearly 1,000 people over the course of the weekend.

The 2024 tour highlights the Dunbar and Governor’s Mansion historic neighborhoods, featuring five homes during daytime tours and three only accessible during the nighttime candlelit tour.

Credit: Avery & Bryant

Homes on the afternoon tour include:

Francis G. Fulk House at 2001 S. Arch St.
► This home was built for local lawyer Francis Guy Fulk in 1905. F. Guy Fulk was a partner at the prestigious law firm of Fulk, Fulk & Fulk, along with his father, Francis M. Fulk, and brother, Augustus M. Fulk. The house was designed by notable Little Rock architect Charles L. Thompson. As with many of Thompson’s designs, the house shows a blending of Colonial Revival and Classical Revival elements on a Victorian era, Gable-Front-and-Wing plan. The interior features large scale rooms with 12-foot ceilings and feels much bigger on the inside than it looks on the exterior. The house fell into disrepair after the Fulk family moved in the 1920s. The house was rescued from deterioration in the mid-1930s by the Davis family, who restored sections of the home and added additional living space at the rear. Subsequent homeowners continued to restore and renovate, creating the beautiful home that exists today.

Grace and Oscar Poe House at 2101 S. Arch St. (pictured above)
► The house at 2101 S. Arch St. was built in 1919 for local businessman Oscar Poe, his wife Grace and their son Jack. Poe owned and operated a well-established shoe store on Main Street called Poe’s Shoe Store. The Poe family house was designed in the Tudor Revival style with Craftsman-inspired accents. It was built on a lot that was subdivided from 2107 S. Arch St. The house features a brick veneer on the first floor and an overhanging second floor with half-timbering, multi-paned windows and a steep roof, all characteristics of the Tudor Revival style. The shallow roof and tapered stone columns of the front porch point to an influence from Craftsman style architecture. By the 1970s, the house was converted into a boarding house with multiple apartments. The home was significantly damaged in the 1999 tornado, but was repaired, and the current owners have worked to renovate and restore the home over the last few years.

Chester Nests at 2006, 2010 S. Chester St. and 1003, 1005 Charles Bussey Ave.
► This wonderfully renovated and restored property at the southwest corner of W. Charles Bussey Ave. and S. Chester St. includes four historic houses. The collection includes a shotgun house and a duplex facing Chester and two simple Folk Victorian cottages facing Charles Bussey. Now featuring celebratory bright colors, three of the homes were constructed around 1900, while the duplex was a later addition to the streetscape, built sometime around 1940. Since their construction, these houses have served mostly as rental properties, owned by others in the area and rented out to mostly African American working-class families and individuals. However, during the early 20th century, this part of Little Rock was very diverse, with the surrounding houses occupied by white and black professionals including carpenters, brick masons, servants, cooks, teamsters, policemen, preachers and tailors. Today, these homes have been converted into a collection of Airbnb properties and are available to rent.

Smith Cottage at 610 W. Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive
► Also known as the Akers-Smith Cottage, this home was built in the mid-1880s to possibly serve as a rental property for the Akers family who owned a home nearby. Early residents of the home included the sexton of Mount Holly Cemetery. In 1890, Charles and Elsie Smith purchased the property for their growing family. By 1918, Charles Smith had built the red brick house across the street at the corner of Arch Street, and this house was sold to the Joseph Brown family. At some point in the early 1900s, the original large attic space was converted into living space, and for several years, the upstairs was rented out as a small three-room apartment. This early example of a Queen Anne style home in downtown Little Rock is a wonderful survivor that continues to serve as a family home in the heart of the city.

Ray House at 2111 Cross St.
► This house, completed sometime in 1916, served as the home of Mary Lee McCrary Ray and her husband Harvey Cincinnatus Ray. Mary Ray was a pioneer in public and private education for African Americans in the Mid-South. In 1916, she moved from Oklahoma to Arkansas and became the first Black female home demonstration agent in the state of Arkansas. Her husband was also the first Black male employee for the Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service in the state. Mary lived at 2111 Cross St. through the rest of her career, until her untimely death in 1934. Harvey then remarried to Julia Ada Miller, and the Ray family lived in the home through the 1970s. Julia and Harvey Ray were parents to Gloria Ray, one of the Little Rock Nine who would desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957. After the home suffered from severe deterioration in the last decade, the current owners have undertaken a major restoration and renovation project to bring this home back to life.

Credit: Avery & Bryant

Homes on the evening tour include:

Gibb-Altheimer House at 1801 S. Arch St. (pictured at top)
► This home was designed by local architect Frank Gibb to serve as his own residence. Completed in 1906, this home is an echo of his design for the Arkansas Pavilion for the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. The house is dominated by the large Classical Revival style portico that faces Arch Street, while the actual main entrance to the house is at the side of the house facing 18th Street. This side door was said to be at the insistence of his wife Mary, who knew that Arch Street was far too busy. Mary was well known in her own right, a prominent member of many civic organizations and a campaigner for women’s suffrage during the 1910s and 1920s. The home was sold in 1911 to the Altheimer family. This home has been lovingly cared for through several owners and is still an open and inviting place for guests to gather.

Safferstone House at 2204 S. Arch St. (pictured above)
► This wonderful Mission Revival style house was designed by local architects Sanders and Ginocchio for Israel L. Safferstone and his wife Eva Drebben Safferstone in 1920. The home was completed by 1922. Originally from Poland, Safferstone emigrated to the U.S. around age 14, settled in Little Rock by 1909 and became a well-known figure in the local Jewish community. He started his local career as a carriage salesman and then started the Safferstone Hat Company with his brother in 1911. The hat company was a great success and allowed Safferstone to build this fine home on Arch Street. The family would continue to live in the home until 1963. The house features a covered porch with dramatic arched entryways, a stucco exterior and a striking clay tile roof. Inside, the home includes two and a half stories of living space, including beautiful original woodwork, classic Craftsman style built-in cabinets and a cozy living space in the original attic of the home.

Boyle House at 2020 S. Arch St.
► In 1921, Sterling Scott commissioned architects Thomas Harding and Charles Thompson to design a house for his property at 2020 Arch St. Before it was completed, Scott sold the property to John and Snow Boyle, who completed the project in 1922 with alterations to the original architect’s plans. The house is a mix of styles with its Craftsman style covered porch and exposed rafter tails, gable timbers characteristic of the Tudor Revival style and elaborate stone entry portal more characteristic of European Revival styles. The chapel-like room above the port-cochere is not to be missed, featuring the original large masonry mantle as well as original wrought-iron and wooden details throughout. After years of use as a boarding house, the home was restored in the late 1980s by the McGowan family who lovingly restored the home to its original grandeur, rescuing original fixtures and finishes including moldings and light fixtures throughout the home.

(Home descriptions provided by QQA.)

Tours will take place from 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The candlelit tour and dinner begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, while Sunday’s Mother’s Day brunch begins at 11 a.m.

Proceeds from the tour and other QQA events benefit the nonprofit’s historic preservation programs. Learn more and purchase tickets on the QQA website, and follow along on Facebook and Instagram for the latest.

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