aka: Bible Church of Little Rock
The Bible Church of Little Rock was constructed in 1961 on one of the last undeveloped lots in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock (Pulaski County). It now serves the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) as Hillcrest Hall and is used for meetings, special events, and programs.
The Midland Hills area of the Hillcrest neighborhood opened to development in three phases, beginning in October 1908 and ending in May 1911. However, the triangular section of land bordered by Kavanaugh Boulevard and Martin and Lee streets was never developed, possibly because of its steep terrain. In 1961, the Bible Church of Little Rock acquired the property as a site for a permanent sanctuary for a congregation that had met in a home at 1814 Broadway since it was formed by eight families in 1951.
The congregation hired architect Ivis Harmon Brummett to design the new structure. Brummett was born in Shawneetown, Illinois, but moved to Hope (Hempstead County) as a child and graduated from high school there. He attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he became only the third person registered as both an engineer and an architect after graduation. He opened a private practice in Little Rock in 1953. In addition to the Bible Church of Little Rock, his commissions included St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Little Rock (started in 1953 and completed in 1960), that church’s Education Wing (1965), the Standard Rendering Company Building in Russellville (Pope County) (1953), St. Paul Community Church in Little Rock’s Broadmoor neighborhood (1955), the Giraffe House and three “hoofed-animal buildings” at the Little Rock Zoo (1959–1960), the Arkansas X-Ray and Surgical Building in Little Rock (1961), and the Rand Wholesale Grocery Company Warehouse in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) (1962). He also served as consulting engineer for the 1959 Broadmoor Shopping Center in Little Rock. He joined the Erhart, Eichenbaum, Rauch and Blass firm in Little Rock in 1962 and worked there until his death in 1970.
Work for the new $60,000 building at what would be designated 1501 Kavanaugh Boulevard began in the spring of 1961, and by early April, excavation work by Homer Milan had made construction of a two-story split-level building possible. Architect Brummett used a Modernesque design for the building, with a sanctuary/auditorium, office, nursery, and library on the top floor and Sunday School classrooms, a fellowship hall, and a kitchen on the bottom floor on the south side of the property. The E. A. Branton Construction Company erected the structure. The building was finished and dedicated on September 2, 1961, with Dr. John F. Walvoord, president of the Dallas Theological Seminary, serving as guest speaker for the ceremony.
The Bible Church of Little Rock continued to grow and, by the early 1970s, was ready to move to a new facility in rapidly developing west Little Rock (the congregation moved again, to 19111 Cantrell Road, in 2002). The Greater Little Rock Council of Garden Clubs purchased the building on Kavanaugh for its use in 1974. The council owned the building until December 2013, when it was sold to the Central Arkansas Library System, which began operating it as Hillcrest Hall, a special-events and programs facility.
For additional information:
The Bible Church of Little Rock. History. https://www.bclr.org/history (accessed February 28, 2021).
“Bible Church Will Be Built in Pulaski Heights Section.” Arkansas Gazette, April 8, 1961, p. 9A.
“Bible Church Will Dedicate New Building.” Arkansas Gazette, September 28, 1974, p. 11A.
“Bible Church Will Dedicate New Building on Kavanaugh.” Arkansas Gazette, September 2, 1961, p. 6A.
Hillcrest Hall. https://cals.org/special-events-venues/ (accessed February 28, 2021).
“I. H. Brummett, Architect, Dies.” Arkansas Gazette, May 24, 1970, p. 4C.
“Ivis Brummett, 61, Little Rock Architect.” Arkansas Democrat, May 24, 1970, p. 18.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1939, 1950, 1963.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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