Mountainaire Hotel Historic District

The Mountainaire Hotel Historic District consists of two Art Moderne buildings constructed in 1947 as a hotel along Park Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County). The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004, but is abandoned and dilapidated.

The thermal waters in Hot Springs attracted travelers to the city for decades before a quality road system was installed linking the area to other settlements. With the paving of what is now Arkansas Highway 5 between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Hot Springs in 1925, tourists could more easily visit the springs to seek relief for medical problems. When the highway entered Hot Springs, it became Park Avenue, and a number of businesses catering to travelers opened along the street. Most of these businesses included restaurants and motor courts, later followed by motels.

The Mountainaire Hotel’s buildings are mirror images of one another and sit side by side facing Park Avenue to the north. Constructed of white brick and clay tile, with concrete floors and asphalt walls, the buildings are each four stories tall. The buildings are located on a slight rise above the street and are accessible by a double set of concrete steps. Several sidewalks are present in front of and between the two buildings with a parking area located at the rear.

The three rooms located on the Park Avenue side of the buildings are accessed from the street. The remaining floors of the buildings are accessed through the parking lot located at the rear. The buildings step back at each level, and decks are present on the third and fourth floors. Double-hung two-over-two windows are located in pairs at corners near the center of the buildings. Turned brick balustrades are located on the decks and the fourth-floor sunscreen. The bricks are stacked vertically and turned at a forty-five-degree angle, giving the decks a degree of privacy. Overall the buildings are considered an outstanding example of Art Moderne design with the stark horizontal lines present throughout the buildings, coupled with the flat roof, among other details.

Constructed by Alvin Albinson, the towers were envisioned as anchoring a five-building complex, but only two were built. Albinson moved from Florida to Hot Springs in the 1940s to take advantage of the booming tourist trade and operated the hotel for about twenty years. His son, Alvin I. (Al) Albinson Jr., converted the towers into apartments and later a nursing home. By the mid-1990s, the property had been abandoned and left to deteriorate. It remains in private hands and was sold most recently in 2016.

For additional information:
“Mountainaire Hotel Historic District.” National Register for Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/GA0067.nr.pdf (accessed July 25, 2019).

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 08/05/2019