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54th Spring Tour of Homes House Descriptions. Central High School Neighborhood Historic District, May 12-13, 2018.

The Sharp House was the first house built on this block and was likely started soon after Martin Sharp purchased the property in 1899. This house is an excellent and rare example of a Queen Anne style house in the Central High Neighborhood.  Martin Sharp moved to Little Rock in 1872 from Independence County where he had grown up on his parent’s farm. During the early 1900s, Sharp became the road supervisor and street commissioner for the City of Little Rock, posts he would hold for many years. He was also noted in local newspapers of the time for his interest and work on road improvements throughout the city, including undertaking major paving and sidewalk projects throughout the current Central High area as well as throughout the city. The Sharp House is currently undergoing an impressive restoration undertaken by the current owners, Bobby and Angela Boyd Matthews. They are helping to bring back the former glory of this colorful home.  

The Garrett House was completed and occupied by at least 1910 and features Craftsman Style influences; including exposed rafter tails, a large front porch, large wooden porch columns, and multi-pane upper window sashes. Before the completion of this house the Garrett family lived just a block to the east at the corner of 14th and Summit Streets and are noted as living in this home in 1910 in early City Directories. Fredrick A. Garrett worked as the local Deputy Chancery Clerk in Little Rock and moved into the house with his wife, Ida Florence Garrett, and his five children. By 1912, both of the Garrett daughters were married, with one living just a few houses down the street with her new husband. After the death of his wife in 1912, it appears from local newspapers that Fred Garrett took in boarders, including Frank Gibson, a local baseball player, and his wife in 1915. Fred Garrett continued to live in the home through the early 1930s. During the mid to late 20th century, the property was converted into several apartments. The current owners, Morgan and Kyle Leyenberger, reversed these changes and have renovated and restored the home to a single family residence.  

The Penick House was designed in 1926 for James H. Penick by the Little Rock architectural firm of Sanders and Ginocchio, one of the parent firms of todays Cromwell Architects Engineers, Inc., the oldest architectural firm in Arkansas. The Penick house features characteristics of Federal style detailing, including the classical columns that support the elaborate front entry porch as well as the symmetrical layout of the front facade. James H. Penick married Mary Worthen, daughter of W. B. Worthen, the founder of Worthen Bank in 1918. After his war service, Penick started work at Worthen Bank as a cashier and worked his way up through the company, eventually serving as President of Worthen Bank and working in the banking industry in Central Arkansas for over 50 years. During the 1950s and 1960s, Penick was also a member of the Downtown Negotiating Committee and worked to insure the continued integration of Little Rocks businesses and schools. James H. Penick continued to live in the home until 1960. This beautiful home is now owned by Ken Milton, a local art teacher, who lives in the home with his sons. Mr. Milton's artwork now graces many of the rooms in the Penick House. 

The Craftsman Style, foursquare residence known as the Colgan House was constructed from 1913 to 1914 as an early example of speculation building in what was then the southern area of Little Rock. The house’s construction was started by E. D. Bracy and the Holman Real Estate company and was advertised in the local newspapers as a nine-room, brick-veneer residence ready to buy on easy terms. Edward H. Colgan purchased the house during its construction and is thought to have directed the addition of many of the final finishes and materials in the house including what would have been very expensive oak floor on both levels. Mr. Colgan was the secretary and treasurer of the Little Rock Boiler & Ironworks. His only daughter, Alma Colgan, was a talented pianist, organist, and composer who started the local Alma Colgan School of Music in the early 1920s. The Colgan family continued to occupy this house until the death Mr. and Mrs. Colgan during the early 1930s. The house was then occupied by various families with various professions, including an insurance manager, a railroad switchman, a physician and a postal clerk. The home was left empty after 1995 and was in a deteriorated state until restored by Donna Thomas and Jennifer Carmen in 2011. Justin Laffoon purchased the home in 2012.

The Max Mayer House was designed and built from 1922 to 1925 by Maximilian F. Mayer, noted Little Rock architect. The home was designed in the Tudor Revival style and features a massive limestone-surround entrance, liberal use of casement windows, second-story iron balconies, and an arched porte cochere. The interior also features a beautiful original peacock tile fireplace in the main parlor. Also, the guesthouse features native-american inspired sand-paintings added to walls sometime during the 1980s and attributed to Oklahoma artist Gene Richardson. The house was originally commissioned by Maxwell F. Mayer (not the architect), President of the Arkansas Building and Loan Association and the head of a large wholesale grocery business in Central Arkansas. Mayer’s love of new Packard cars may have been the reason for the multiple garages, live-in chauffeur space, and large paved drive and rear courtyard. Maxwell and Daisy Mayer lived in the home until Maxwell’s death in 1935. The home was then owned by several families and was a rental property for a short time. Before the current owner, the house was vacant for a few years. The current owner, Ms. Claretha Nelson, who worked for many years as the chief probation officer for East Arkansas, has worked to bring the house back to its former glory.    

The McGill House was constructed in 1922, for Nat M. Harrison, a local businessman, and his wife Georgia after they relocated Little Rock in 1921. In 1922, a garage and servants’ quarters was added to the property. The Harrisons only lived in the home for a few years and, in 1926, the McGill Family purchased the home. The McGills lived in the home for a little over a decade. Dr. Albert McGill was a noted physician in the Little Rock area. In 1936, after McGill’s wife Margaret died and he remarried, the McGill’s moved out, and the home sat vacant and had various occupants for short periods over the following years. The McGill house is a good example of the Craftsman style. It features a red tapestry brick veneer, exposed rafter tails, exposed beams and rough-textured stucco in the gable ends, banks of casement windows, and a shed-roof porte-cochere. From the 1940s forward, the home saw periods of multiple occupancy, and even had a beauty parlor on the bottom floor. In 2006, Sheila Miles purchased the home and rehabilitated it back to a single family dwelling over an 18 month period.