New Book Recalls Little Rock's Architectural History

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 12:00 am  

The architecture firms of Wittenberg Delony & Davidson and Witsell Evans & Rasco have been present for the design and restoration of scores of Little Rock landmarks.

Two retired principals of those firms, Gordon Wittenberg and Charlie Witsell, have completed a book profiling many of those landmarks and the stories behind them.

The book, “Architects of Little Rock, 1833-1950,” is scheduled to be published by the University of Arkansas Press next spring. It features structures built in Little Rock during those years, starting with the Old State House.

“The major thrust of the book is to describe and write about the architects of those buildings, who they were, where they came from, where they were educated, how they lived, what their families were, how they participated in the life of the city and then how the buildings contributed to the life of the city,” Wittenberg said.

The two architects have known each other much longer than their time working on the book, and each of them ties strongly into the architectural history of Little Rock.

Gordon Wittenberg

Wittenberg was born and raised in Little Rock. His father, George Wittenberg, founded the family firm with Lawson Delony in 1919.

Gordon Wittenberg said his father was president of the state’s board of architects and held Arkansas’ first architecture license.

“That was during the 1940s, when the Legislature adopted the procedures for licensing architects in Arkansas,” Wittenberg said.

Julian Davidson joined the firm in the 1930s and became a partner in the 1940s; the firm then changed its name to Wittenberg Delony & Davidson.

In his father’s time, the firm helped design such landmarks as Little Rock Central High School and Robinson Auditorium.

Wittenberg, 92, grew up with these projects blossoming around him.



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