Gustave B. Kleinschmidt House
The Gustave B. Kleinschmidt House, located at 621 East 16th Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is a one-and-a-half-story, wood-frame cottage designed in the Colonial Revival style, though it has Queen Anne–style massing. It was built in 1907 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 7, 2016.
Gustave B. Kleinschmidt was born in Germany in 1866 and moved to the United States with his parents in 1880. Living first in New York, the family then moved to Morrilton (Conway County). Kleinschmidt moved to Little Rock four years later to live with two of his brothers. In early 1892, he married Elizabeth Jungblut; they had six sons.
Kleinschmidt worked as a barkeeper at several Little Rock establishments before going into a partnership with John Riegler to open their own beer garden on Rock Street in 1895. While in business with Riegler, he also began purchasing land south of today’s MacArthur Park. He retired from the bar business in 1911 to concentrate on a growing real estate business.
In 1907, he began building houses along 16th Street, including a large one to hold his growing family. He hired his brother-in-law, Fred Gougeon, to build the new home. The Gustave B. Kleinschmidt House, which is on a corner lot, has the asymmetrical massing, irregular roofline, and wrap-around porch indicative of the Queen Anne style of architecture, while the keystone fanlight vent, low balustrade, and rounded columns topped with square capitals are associated with the Colonial Revival style. As the National Register nomination states, “Compared with the other homes he built, it is significant in its architectural features and as the home of the developer of the neighborhood.”
Kleinschmidt and Gougeon constructed many residences in the area, most reflecting the Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles. By the time he died in his home on November 26, 1946, at age eighty, Kleinschmidt had constructed thirty-two houses, twenty-three of which he still owned as rental units and divided among his four surviving sons.
Urban renewal and the construction of Interstate 630 claimed most of these homes, while others were lost to fires, a 1999 tornado, and demolition by the city of Little Rock. Only six of Kleinschmidt’s houses survive in the twenty-first century, and his family home “is the best and largest surviving example of Kleinschmidt’s development of the area,” according to the National Register nomination. By 2020, the area, now called the Pettaway Neighborhood, was undergoing a revival, with new buildings going up on some of the lots that formerly held homes constructed by Gustave Kleinschmidt.
For additional information:
Christ, Mark K. “Sandwiching in History—10/06/2017—Gustave B. Kleinschmidt House.” Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. https://arkansaspreservation.worldsecuresystems.com/Learn-More/sandwiching-in-history-archives (accessed December 11, 2020).
“Gus B. Kleinschmidt/Native of Germany.” Arkansas Gazette, November 27, 1946, p. 12.
“Gus Kleinschmidt Estate Left to Sons.” Arkansas Gazette, December 6, 1946, p. 10.
Jones, Amber. “Gustave B. Kleinschmidt 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/PU10023_nr.pdf (accessed December 11, 2020).
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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