Tag Archives: 1880 Victorian House

Saving The Spire

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesOne of the most striking architectural features on many Victorian style homes is the towering spire. These tall, metal structures reaching towards the sky are hard to ignore. Typically affixed to a turret, at first glance one would think they are a type of lightening rod, but their purpose is far from that of attracting bolts of electricity. Actually, their presence is purely decorative and symbolic. Mostly seen on churches, they portray a hopeful, celestial gesture towards heaven. Affixed to the turret on a home, they are viewed as a symbol of wealth and prestige. Spires are, by some accounts, the defining image of Victorian homes. Their ostentatious display screams “look at me” to many a passer by. We took notice, and with an err of determination, set forth on a mission to save one spire!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques One of the houses that we recently salvaged in Little Rock, Arkansas was a majestic 1890 Queen Anne style Victorian that sat downtown just off the river. As we began the deconstruction process, the galvanized tin spire was impossible to ignore. It was an architectural element of the house that we refused to leave behind for the bulldozers. We discovered that the turret had been struck by lightning in 1976. During the repair of the turret, this spire was placed in the attic, where it remained for the next 20 years. In 1996 Little Rock saw it returned to it’s rightful place by home owner, Mr. Hammond. The spire, which is in immaculate condition, remained there until it was successfully removed during our recent salvage operation.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques Removing the spire was an interesting feat, to say the least. It involved a lift and a harrowing episode with a chain saw 50 feet high in the air. We were fortunate to have videographer Greg Spradlin from Camp Friday Films in Little Rock along for the ride. Greg put together an awesome video, documenting the removal of this incredible artifact along with it’s journey from Arkansas to Alabama. You can watch the VIDEO by Clicking Here.

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesUpon it’s arrival at Southern Accents, the top of the turret, which was cut and removed with the spire in tact, was stripped of all the old shingles. The weathered wood provides the perfect backdrop for this treasure. Although this is one of those rare finds that we would love to enjoy for a while, the spire is currently available for sale and can be viewed online by Clicking Here. If you are within driving distance, the spire is currently on display in our showroom. We’re sure it will be a traffic stopper just as it was as it sat atop the majestic Victorian house on Cantrell Road.

Written by: Lisa Jones

Edited by: Garlan Gudger, Jr.


A Little Arkansas History – Brunner House

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!

Brunner House - February 2013

Brunner House – February 2013

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.

Brunner House - February 2013

Brunner House – February 2013. Tripp Gudger on his first salvage expedition!

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.

Brunner House - February 2013

Brunner House – February 2013

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.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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.


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