Date: April 21, 2008 |
One of the Quapaw Quarter’s architectural gems, the Rogers House is a remarkable blend of styles. Designed by architect Charles L. Thompson for Dr. and Mrs. F.O. Rogers, the mansion in downtown Little Rock has a rich history and has enjoyed various uses, from a doctor’s office to an orphanage to its current life as a private home with space that is also rented out for events. Homeowner Mike Luter enjoys living in the historic area and quiet neighborhood. “We love the location and the lot itself,” he said. “It’s just beautiful, and the home is a really striking representation of the Quapaw Quarter.”
The Rogers home makes a striking impression largely because of its grand architecture. In classic Thompson style, the 1914 American Foursquare exhibits Colonial Revival elements piled onto Craftsman-style features. Nowhere is this more evident than the façade itself. The tiled porch, low-pitched terra-cotta tile roof, exposed rafter ends and decorative braces on the gabled dormers are hallmarks of the Arts and Crafts movement. But these subtle elements take a backseat to the overwhelming portico, with its dentil molding and massive Ionic columns. The symmetrical, brick façade with three balustrades completes the Colonial Revival look.
The inside however is a craftsman’s dream. The large foyer boasts dark wood mouldings, beamed ceilings and built-in shelves. At the stairwell, there is even an alcove for the piano, so that music can travel upstairs easily. Mike loves these unique elements, which make for comfortable entertaining for those who rent the space. “What people seem to like about it is that it has more of a home feel, as opposed to a museum, where they can let their hair down and have fun.”
The copper and brass light fixtures are original to the house, as is the remarkable Rookwood tile mural surrounding the living room fireplace. It’s one of only two surviving Rookwood mantels in the state. The border on one wall of the dining room also features a mural original to the house. It’s believed that the mural was painted on the border of the entire room at one point, but one wall still bears the decorative work.
Space is not a premium in this 9,000-square-foot house, and its various owners have put it to good use. Following the Rogers’ ownership, a chiropractor used it for his home and office, and in 1960 the house became the Elizabeth Mitchell Children’s Home, housing 24 orphans. In 1982, it once again became a single-family dwelling and later that year was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It gained further notoriety by being selected as the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Designer House in 1997. Mike has been working with Todd Raney of City Homes LLC on renovations, restoring much of the home’s original beauty and adding such amenities as an outdoor pool and a sound system throughout the house and yard. As an event center, the Rogers House sees lots of visitors. “We entertain a lot,” Mike says. “It’s perfect for parties. You can utilize the entire house and not feel like you’re on top of each other.”