If you have been following our Facebook posts the past few days you are well aware that we are in the middle of a very large salvage project in Arkansas. Two 1890 Victorian houses are sitting on a piece of private property that was recently sold to a school. Both houses have been scheduled for demolition to make way for construction to begin on a new private school campus. It is never our intent to demolish historical property and it saddens us to see two beautiful old houses taken down. We are however honored to be given the privilege of salvaging the architectural pieces from these houses for future use and historical preservation. One of our customers, Amber Carter Jones, shared this bit of history with us on one of the houses. We thought we would pass it on in hopes that you find it as fascinating as we do!
BRUNER HOUSE – ARKANSAS
No exact date for the construction of the Bruner-Hammond House can be determined.
One of the many business ventures of James R. Miller was the construction of the Bruner-Hammond House for use as rental property in ca. 1890.
James Russell Miller was born near Rogersville, Tennessee, in 1834. After the Civil War, Miller was a clerk in a dry goods store in Memphis and one or two nights a week he would set newstype for The Memphis Appeal. The turning point in his career came in 1872 when his uncle, Wylie B. Miller, opened Panola Mill, a cottonseed oil firm, in Memphis and hired him as a purchasing agent. James R. Miller later moved to Little Rock and built the first cottonseed oil mill in the city. Having established a successful and firm base for financial expansion, Miller invested in a variety of business interests ranging from insurance to utilities. One of his occupational thrusts was contracting and that, in all probability, accounts for the construction of the Bruner-Hammond House shortly after Miller purchased the property on which it was built from real estate broker James H. Barton in 1890.
James R. Miller died in 1892 and at the time of his death a contemporary newspaper account states that “his business interest (were) probably larger and more extensive than those of any man in the state.”
A large number of tenants rented the house from the time of its construction until 1921 when the property was sold by the Miller family to Frank L. Bruner. In 1919 the house was perhaps used as a boarding house under the supervision of Mrs. Vance Baker.
Frank L. Bruner worked for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad. Little Rock’s main terminal lies to the south of the house. After his death in 1946, ownership of the house passed to his children who remained in control of the property until they sold it in 1972. The present owners of the house are Mr. and Mrs. David Hammond.
Architecturally, the two-story, three-bay, brick Bruner-Hammond House is a simple American Queen Anne structure, which draws on several contemporary styles for design inspiration.
The decorative motif of the one-story entrance porch is Eastlake. The exposed framing and small, strip, attic windows in the gable ends show the influence of the American craftsmen movement.
The association of the Bruner-Hammond House with Little Rock businessman James R. Miller coupled with the fact that the house is an excellently maintained example of American Queen Anne architecture give historic significance to the Bruner-Hammond House.
Abstract of Title No. 70241. Little Rock Abstract Company.
Arkansas Gazette, September 4, 1892, May 30, 1946.
Hammond, Jackie D. Interviews on February 22, 1975, July 21, 1976, Little Rock.
Litrle Rock City Directories – 1890, 1893-94, 1912-1914, 1919, 1920, 1955, Arkansas History Commission, Little Rock.
Moody, Claire N., “Robbers Row,” Arkansas Gazette. February 19, 1956.