Elmer Axtell Stuck (1900–1978)
Elmer Axtell Stuck was an architect based in Jonesboro (Craighead County) who founded the firm that became Stuck, Frier, Lane & Scott, Inc. Several of his designs were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Elmer A. Stuck was born on February 2, 1900, in Jonesboro, the son of Bessie M. Axtell Stuck and Elmer Charles Stuck, owner and operator of the Jonesboro Brick Company and the Stuck Lumber Company. Though he had been groomed to take over the family business with his brother Howard, Stuck chose to pursue architecture, graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1924. While Stuck was in school, he worked from 1921 to 1923 in the offices of William B. Ittner, who was famous for his public-school designs. After he graduated, he worked in the offices of LaBeaume and Klein in St. Louis. However, he returned to Jonesboro in 1926 to open his own practice, which he operated as a solo practice until 1928. He married Ruth Jane Diamant, and they had two children, Margaret Ann Stuck and Elizabeth Brenda Stuck.
Stuck partnered with notable Arkansas architect John Parks Almand from 1928 to 1931, during which time the firm designed the Medical Arts Building in Hot Springs (Garland County). This was Stuck’s first large-scale design, but others soon followed. In 1931, Stuck left his partnership with Almand and created a new partnership with the Arkansas modernist Yandell Johnson, which lasted until 1938. During that partnership, Stuck is credited with designing the Craighead County Courthouse in 1934 and the Earl Bell Community Center in Jonesboro.
From 1938 to 1949, Stuck once again operated an individual practice, which began to grow due to an increase in prominent commissions. In 1949, the firm became Elmer A. Stuck & Associates. The firm’s name changed again in 1960 when Aubrey E. Scott, T. Sidney Frier, and William H. Lane were promoted to named partners, and the name changed again a year later to Stuck, Frier, Lane & Scott, Inc.
The mid-century period was an especially prolific one for the firm. Some of the more notable projects in Jonesboro from this time were the 1965 Kays Hall on the campus of Arkansas State University (ASU); the 1961 Arkansas Hall on the campus of ASU; the 1960 Stuck, Frier, Lane & Scott Building at 601 Southwest Drive; the 1964 Craighead County Library at 315 W. Oak Avenue; the 1958 former Jonesboro City Hall at 314 W. Washington; and the former 1969 Jonesboro Municipal Airport. Additionally, the firm designed several notable religious structures in the region, including the 1958 St. Michael’s Catholic Church in West Memphis (Crittenden County), the 1960 Temple Israel in Jonesboro, the 1962 Nettleton Church of Christ in Jonesboro, the 1966 St. Paul Methodist Church in Jonesboro, the 1966 chapel and education building at the United Methodist Church in Osceola (Mississippi County), and the 1968 St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Corning (Clay County). Projects such as these established the firm as the architectural powerhouse in the eastern part of Arkansas.
Stuck died on July 11, 1978, and is buried in Jonesboro Memorial Park. After ninety-three years of operations, the firm that Stuck founded closed its doors in mid-2019.
For additional information:
“Elmer Stuck, Architect, Dies at Age 78.” Arkansas Gazette, July 13, 1978, p. 12A.
Koyl, George S. American Architects Directory. New York: R. R. Bowker, Company, 1955.
J. Mason Toms
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
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