First Hotze House

The First Hotze House at 1620 South Main Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a one-story, wood-frame, Italianate-style residence built in 1869 for businessman Peter Hotze. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2006.

Peter Hotze was born on October 21, 1836, in Innsbruck, Austria. He immigrated to the United States around 1856 and settled in Little Rock three years later. When the Civil War began, he enlisted in Company A of the Sixth Arkansas Infantry Regiment (the Capital Guards), serving until he was wounded in the 1864 Battle of Franklin in Tennessee and taken prisoner. His older brother Conrad had moved to Little Rock in 1862 and purchased Block 166 on the outskirts of the city for Hotze to own after the war.

Freed from Camp Chase, a prisoner-of-war camp in Ohio, when hostilities ceased, he returned to Little Rock and married Johanna Krause, whose sister was married to Hotze’s company commander, John Gould Fletcher, father of the noted poet of the same name. Hotze purchased plans for a cottage to go on Block 166 from M. H. Baldwin, a Memphis, Tennessee, architect, for $35.

The resulting building was a handsome, single-story building with a symmetrical plan. Centered double doors are present, with two sets of tall, double-hung windows on either side, topped by Italianate style hood mouldings. The porch roof is supported by eight columns, grouped in pairs, and Italianate brackets are located along the eaves.

Hotze and Fletcher became business partners, operating a mercantile business and selling cotton. The Hotzes moved to New York, where he would find buyers for the cotton Fletcher acquired in Arkansas. When they returned to Little Rock in 1900, the Hotzes built the more elaborate, Colonial Revival–style Hotze House at 1619 Louisiana Street, behind their first cottage.

The First Hotze House was a residential rental unit from the time its owners moved to New York until around 1932, when Mary Dodge Hodges converted it into a private school. She operated the school until World War II, when she moved the school operations to an old church building on Woodlawn Street. The Ouachita Council of Girl Scouts made the building its headquarters for the next quarter century before moving to North Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1968. A succession of small businesses occupied the structure before it was abandoned, sitting empty and growing decrepit for around fourteen years.

In 1999, the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas (HPAA, which later became Preserve Arkansas) included the First Hotze House in its annual list of Arkansas’s most-endangered historic properties. This Old House magazine highlighted it in its “Save This Old House” feature in the June 2000 issue.

In early January 2001, Little Rock preservationist Richard Butler III purchased the First Hotze House and hired the Witsell Evans and Rasco architectural firm (now WER Architect/Planners) to conduct a full restoration of the building, which was completed in 2002 and honored with an award from the HPAA. Appropriately, by 2020, the building housed an architectural firm.

For additional information:
Caillouet, Linda S. “1869 Cottage Escapes Wrecking Ball; LR Preservationist Buys ‘Little Hotze House’ Featured in Magazine.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 20, 2001, p. 1B.

Jampole, Sarah A. “First Hotze House.” 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/PU3084.nr.pdf (accessed December 11, 2020).

Mark Christ
Central Arkansas Library System

Last Updated: 12/11/2020