Brie: It's What's For Breakfast

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My Neighborhood



I live in an historic neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas. The neighborhood used to be its own town, but as Little Rock spread west along the Arkansas River, the city annexed the little village of Pulaski Heights and called it “Hillcrest” because it was spread along a U-shaped ridge overlooking the floodplain. A levee was built to keep the river out of the floodplain, and I look northward out my back windows and see the Riverdale area, where Alltel has built its headquarters and where there are lots of apartments.

Here are two photos, looking in the same direction, one on a day when there’s a fog on the river. I can’t see the river itself from my house, but I see across it – those cliffs in the distance are in the city of North Little Rock, on the far side of the river.

My house was built about 10 years ago in a neighborhood dominated by turn of the century stone cottages, Craftsman bungalows, colonial revival houses, the occasional Victorian or Edwardian home, and one gorgeous Queen Anne mansion. The lot where my house sits used to be the yard and garden of the stone house next door – the one where the beagles live. I showed you a photo of the beagles in my last blog. Other than the original city of Little Rock, known as the Quapaw Quarter, Hillcrest is the oldest neighborhood in the city.

I have some pretty affluent neighbors. For instance, a block away is the huge stone mansion where Winthrop Paul Rockefeller lived until his death of leukemia last year. His wife, Lisenne, and their kids still live there – some of their kids go to the same school as Jack. Win was the great-grandson of the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller. His dad, Winthrop A. Rockefeller, was governor of Arkansas back in the 60’s. He’s noted for commuting the sentences of every inmate on death row – none of whom went on to commit another crime. Win was running for governor himself when he was diagnosed with the blood disorder that killed him.

My house was designed to fit the architecture and scale of the neighborhood. In the other historic neighborhoods, there have been problems with new homes being built that don’t fit the neighborhood’s style. Fortunately, Hillcrest has a great Property Owner’s Association that is active in city government and zoning matters. A few non-conforming homes have been built, but not to the extent in the other two old areas of town.

Although we were Little Rock’s first suburb, we are now the area referred to as Midtown, the center of Little Rock. The state capitol is less than a mile from where I live. I can get almost anywhere in the city quickly from here, except the far west suburbs of the city. Little Rock is a fairly small city (Pop. abt. 185,000), but the urban sprawl is awful.

My front door is flanked by sidelights of stained glass done in a Frank Lloyd Wright style. It’s pretty in the daytime, but at night it glows yellow and I think it’s gorgeous. Of course, it’s mine, so I would, right?

More stained glass is in the topless turret, stretching the length of the turret on the east side of the house. The stained glass stops at the stairs, which spiral down inside the turret. I think it looks pretty at night, too. It sets off that new garage door just… so.

All this is leading up to an invitation to visit. I’ll give you a tour of my abode. Come on in. I’ve left the front door open for you.

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December 9, 2007 - Posted by | Arkansas, History | , , , , ,

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