About Quizzes

The Abrams House

The Abrams House was built in 1904, for Charles W. Abrams. It is a Colonial Revival cottage, located at 300 South Pulaski Street in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is only one of a handful of survivors from the time when the streets directly east and north of the State Capitol were planted with humble homes of the employees of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, & Southern Railway, (later known as the Missouri Pacific). The house is historically relevant due to its existence during an era when the presence of a major railroad facility prompted the development of neighborhoods, with simple but nearly classical Colonial Revival design. During the late 1800s, the State Penitentiary stood on the site now occupied by the Arkansas State Capitol. Neighborhoods of simple homes began appearing along the streets near the penitentiary, although it was not the penitentiary that prompted the building of these houses. The neighborhood's arrival came on the shirttail of the 1873 construction of Union Depot, located north of the penitentiary. The depot, Little Rock's first railroad facility, brought financial infusion, and the neighborhoods that grew up were populated by engineers, foremen, conductors, mechanics, and other employees of the railway. Modest homes were constructed in the vicinity of Union Depot, aptly renamed "Union Station." When a larger building was built in the 1920s, home construction continued into the early 1930s. By the second decade of the century, about 300 homes, predominantly "shotguns," a house whose architecture is characterized by several rooms joined in a straight line from the front to the back. They are so named because a shotgun fired through the front door of these long, narrow homes could pass straight through the house and out the back door without hitting any barriers. Cottages influenced by the Colonial Revival style, rested in the blocks surrounding the station. In 1904, Charles W. Abrams, a foreman and master mechanic for the railway, and his wife Maggie, became one of the railroad families who built a home near Union Depot. He and his wife raised three children at 300 South Pulaski Street before losing the home in 1917 as the result of a foreclosure action. The Abrams family was not the only family to feel the effects of the depression and lose the house, but two subsequent purchasers had similar problems. In the years of the Great Depression, the house became the property of a building and loan association until 1933, when it was sold to a North Little Rock family that divided it into three rental units and owned it until 1998. The long, sad decline of the neighborhoods around Missouri Pacific Station, which began during the Depression, accelerated after World War II, reflecting the nationwide decline in railroad transportation.