Thomas R. McGuire House

The Thomas R. McGuire House, listed in the National Register of Historic Places on December 19, 1991, and located at 114 Rice Street, is unique as a high-class interpretation of the Colonial Revival style rendered in hand-crafted or locally manufactured materials by Thomas R. McGuire, a master machinist with the Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad. It is the finest example of that architectural style in the turn-of-the-century neighborhood.

Capitol View Addition, located just west of the Arkansas State Capitol building, was platted on February 29, 1904, on land formerly owned by Logan H. Roots. The addition comprised land bounded by Markham, Fourth, Park, and Thayer streets. It was located south of the Pulaski Heights area, which was then undergoing development and reflected the gradual westward expansion of the city of Little Rock. The plat was filed on March 1, 1904, and McGuire began to dig the foundation for his home on Lot 4, Block 4 of the addition in June 1904.

McGuire, in his mid-20s at the time, was a master machinist when he commenced to build the house at 114 Rice Street, from his own plans. His skills with metal lathes and other metal-working equipment are evident throughout the house. The columns on the front and side porches, as well as the simpler posts on the back porch, are all made of metal. The walls of the kitchen also are lined with metal to protect them from kitchen appliance heat. There are two brass light fixtures suspended from the ceiling in the entry foyer and the dining room that McGuire made himself, originally for gas and later reworked for electricity.

McGuire erected the entire house virtually single-handedly. His son says he had help installing the massive stone lintel above the front door and erecting the A-frames for the roof. Beyond that, McGuire poured the concrete for the bricks from an immense vat in the front yard. He used clay and molds to form the capitols for the front and side porches, and he installed the oak woodwork inside the structure. He cut the slate for the roof and the facade. He also worked out a system to catch rain running off the roof, channel it through a sand-and-charcoal filter system to a holding tank on the back porch. The system served the family's water needs until city water was installed some time later. By 1906, the shell of the building was complete and the McGuires moved in, first living in the back bedroom and kitchen areas as the rest of the house was slowly finished. Two children were born in that bedroom: Thomas Jr. on July 13, 1907, and R.W. on December 23, 1910.

The building was substantially finished by 1915, with completion of the front living room and the entry foyer, but other work continued afterward. R.W. McGuire recalls his brother, then 11, placing tiles on the front porch.

The house has been owned by the McGuire family ever since its construction, though they rented it out on several occasions. R.W. McGuire took up residence in 1956. He and his wife, Verna, still live there today.

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