Baker House

Located at 109 5th Street in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Queen Anne–style Baker House was constructed in 1897 by A. E. Colburn. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the last surviving Victorian houses in North Little Rock.

This Victorian home was constructed in 1897 (completed by 1898), according to Arkansas Gazette articles in late 1896 and early 1897, by A. E. Colburn and Henry Glenn. The home is approximately 4,156 square feet in the twenty-first century, having undergone renovations and had a cottage added. Henry Glenn was a native of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and a contractor. Colburn was a native of Little Rock as well. Some sources incorrectly claim he became a well-known black jockey in England, but U.S. Census records, local newspaper accounts from the 1890s, and Little Rock/Argenta city directories identify Colburn as a white man working as a watch repairman, not a black jockey. (It appears that some sources have confused Colburn with Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton, a famous black jockey during that time, whose house was no more than two blocks from the Baker House.)

Colburn did not stay long in North Little Rock after the construction of this house; records reveal that the home was sold in 1901 by Colburn and was sold several more times. In 1916, the home was purchased by C. J. and Annie Baker. Baker was the school principal at Ozone (Johnson County) from 1884 to 1904. After his move to North Little Rock in 1904, Baker served as the superintendent of North Little Rock public schools until 1906. His only child, Lillian Baker Lewis, lived the Baker House from 1916 to 1937 in early life and later returned to the home, living there from 1969 to 1977. Lewis kept the home until 1977, when she sold the property to Dr. Frederick Hampton Roy Sr., who restored the home, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 1978. He sold the home in 1993 to Jon and Sherry Sanford, who raised their family of thirteen children in the five-bedroom home. It was later sold in 1997 to Diane Evans and Winona Glaze, who made it into a bed-and-breakfast. It was then purchased by Scott and Sonja Miller in 2005 and continued as a bed-and-breakfast until closing in 2015. It was put up for sale and then reopened, following a $150,000 remodeling, as a boutique hotel.

The roof is gabled with a hipped section that joins the three-story tower to the two-and-a-half-story house. The plan is ell-shaped with a round tower centered on the south side. For an entrance, the porch has the tower overhead decorated with spool and spindle work and is supported by scroll brackets on the posts held by wood piers. The porch has a “moon gate” structure to welcome people. The roofing was constructed using imbricated shingles. Palladian windows are located at each end of a gable. The third story of the tower uses rectangular shingles with a band of diamond shingles around the middle of the structure. The windows are one over another with stone lintels and sills, with the foundation made of rusticated stone. The interior of the home has a central stairwell, and the woodwork is “curly” pine with the mantels on the first-floor rooms made with oak.

Alterations have been made to the structure of the house, including an addition to the west side of the residence, marked by the change in the laying of the brick. The porch had originally been laid with wood, which was replaced with concrete in the 1920s. The roof to the tower burned in 1922.

For additional information:
Bradburn, Cary. “The Jockey and the Jeweler.” North Little Rock History Commission. http://nlrheritagecenter.org/thejockeyandthejeweler/ (accessed May 7, 2019).

Roy, Rick. “Baker House.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/NationalRegisterListings/PDF/PU3227.nr.pdf (accessed May 7, 2019).

Sandlin, Jake. “Bed-and-Breakfast in NLR Set to Close.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 20, 2015, pp. 1B, 5B.

———. “Pair Envisions 1898 Home’s Revival.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 11, 2018, pp. 1B, 10B.

Melanie Clark
Henderson State University

Staff of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Last Updated: 05/07/2019