2023 List

Central High School Neighborhood Historic District

Endangered List: Back To Main Page
City/County/Congressional District: Little Rock , Pulaski County ( District 2 )
Location Class: ResidentialSchool
Year Built:
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places 1996 Historic District
Status: Endangered

Named for the 1927 Little Rock Central High School, the Central High School Neighborhood Historic District is significant for its association with the westward expansion of Little Rock, the 1957 desegregation crisis, and as a mixed-use neighborhood with buildings dating from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries. The district was included on Preserve Arkansas’s Most Endangered Places List in 2014 due to worries that the loss of historic structures from demolition, neglect, and insensitive alterations would put the district’s National Register listing in jeopardy. Although the district has seen investment and rehabilitation since then, threats to its National Register eligibility persist.

In 2022, the City of Little Rock placed a moratorium on demolitions and exterior building permits within the district while Planning Department staff worked on a local ordinance that would regulate alterations, demolition, and new construction. This effort was unsuccessful in gaining neighborhood support and has been shelved indefinitely. There is grassroots support for protecting historic resources in the district, but there are different opinions on how that should be accomplished. The issue must be addressed in a way that keeps the neighborhood affordable for current residents but encourages investment in dilapidated and abandoned properties as well as infill construction that blends well with the neighborhood’s historic character – all the while retaining the district’s National Register status. This status allows property owners within the district, depending on ownership type, to take advantage of preservation grants or state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, which are critically important tools for redevelopment.