Cottage Courts Historic District

Cottage Courts Historic District is a motel located at 603 Park Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County). Constructed in 1950, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004.

Park Avenue was an important transportation route in the early twentieth century, as travelers from Little Rock (Pulaski County) and other cities to the north of Hot Springs used the road to reach the growing tourist town. Service stations, lodging, and other amenities were constructed along the road to serve these visitors. Cottage Courts (or Court) was constructed late in this period and was designed as a motel rather than a traditional tourist court as many others had been in Hot Springs. The units are joined together rather than separate structures. Like with many tourist courts, however, a shared green space is present.

The district contains two ranch-style buildings with a total of fifteen guest rooms. The larger of the buildings contains twelve rooms, while the second building includes three guest rooms in addition to an apartment for a manager. The buildings face one another across a parking lot that includes a small green space for the use of guests. Each unit contains a single door and steel casement front window that overlook the parking lot. The hipped roof overhangs the front of the buildings and is supported by painted wrought-iron posts with a decorative vine pattern. The overhang and posts create a porch in front of each unit.

The guest rooms have a bedroom at the front of the unit and a bathroom located at the rear. A small window is located in the bathroom. At the time of the nomination to the National Register in 2004, window-unit air conditioners were present in each guest room. These units were installed at an unknown date.

Cottage Courts motel was constructed by Cecil Foster and James McLain and first appeared in the city directory in 1951. The popularity of the hot springs located in the city was on the decline by the time the business opened, and many visitors to Hot Springs chose accommodations closer to the lakes that were created south of the city. Cottage Courts motel was able to survive most likely due to the updated nature of the buildings, which made them more popular with travelers than the older, more traditional courts.

As of 2019, it operates as a boutique retro motel called Dame Fortune’s Cottage Court.

For additional information:
Dame Fortune’s Cottage Court. https://www.staydamefortune.com/ (accessed July 25, 2019).

“Cottage Courts Historic District.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/GA0608.nr.pdf (accessed July 25, 2019).

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 08/05/2019