The Fordyce House at 2115 South Broadway in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a two-and-a-half-story wood-frame residence built in 1904 for John R. Fordyce and designed by noted architect Charles L. Thompson. It exhibits the rarely used Egyptian Revival style. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 6, 1975.
John Fordyce, the son of Cotton Belt Railroad president Samuel Fordyce, was a prominent businessman, engineer, and inventor, as well as the president of Little Rock’s Thomas-Fordyce Manufacturing Company. He married Lillian August Powell in 1898 and, six years later, hired Thompson to design a house for their growing family.
Thompson designed the Fordyce House in the Egyptian Revival style of architecture, which was most popular between 1835 and 1890, making this a late example of the style. The building is basically an American Foursquare structure but, as an Old House Journal writer stated, has “battered outside walls, window, and door frames; cavetto mouldings on door and window entablatures; and papyrus columns with lotus capitals on the front porch,” which the National Register nomination describes as “a boxed-in battered porch which extends across the entire façade of the house.” Thompson’s original architectural renderings included “winged orbs on the upper frames of the front porch and the second-story windows,” but these were not included when the house was built.
The house’s interior follows a modified side hall plan, with large rooms and high ceilings, and features “a fireplace whose mantel came from the home of Robert Crittenden, one of the state’s most prominent early statesmen.” The Fordyce House is the only documented Egyptian Revival–style residence in Arkansas.
The Fordyces lived in their Broadway home until John was called into active service for World War I in 1917, after which they rented out the building. They would never return. The Fordyce House was damaged in a January 22, 1999, tornado that devastated much of Little Rock’s Quapaw Quarter area. Repaired by its owners, the Fordyce House remains a private residence in the twenty-first century.
For additional information:
Cothren, Zackery A. “Arkansas Listings in the National Register of Historic Places: Egyptian Revival Design Elements.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 63 (Winter 2004): 428–434.
“Egyptian Revival-Style Fordyce House to Be Included in Historical Register.” Arkansas Gazette, August 29, 1975, p. 1B.
Taylor, Sandra. “Fordyce 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/PU1410.nr.pdf (accessed May 25, 2020).
Walker, Pamela D. “Egyptian Revival in Little Rock.” Old House Journal (May–June 1994):10.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
Last Updated: 05/25/2022