Parkway Courts Historic District
The Parkway Courts Historic District is a motel and apartment complex located at 815 Park Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County) originally constructed in 1943. Part of the district was rebuilt in the early 1950s after a fire, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004.
Businesses began to appear along Park Avenue in the 1930s to serve the tourists who visited Hot Springs. Construction of motels, restaurants, and similar enterprises continued in the area until the 1950s. The Parkway Courts were constructed by Florence Franklin Newell in 1943. She sold the property to Otto Baker in 1950, and the name of the business was changed to Parkway Apartments. Two years later, the name changed to Budget Inn.
The district consists of four buildings, including three that house a total of forty-eight units and a building that includes an office and manager’s apartment. The business is arranged in a double U-shape. Vehicles enter the property via an entrance on Park Avenue, and two of the buildings that include units and the manager’s office create a U-shape surrounding a parking lot. By driving between the two unit buildings, visitors can gain access to the third building, which is also designed in a U-shape and surrounds another parking lot.
The units include examples of three distinct floorplans. The most common floorplan in the business is a traditional motel layout. Corner units include a kitchenette, and four additional units are suites with combined living areas/kitchenettes and bedrooms/bathrooms. The entrances to the individual rooms are topped with gables, with the exception of the two end units which share a gable, and each unit includes a double-hung one-over-one window. Additional gables are located at the end of each building. The end unit facing Park Avenue includes two additional one-over-one windows overlooking the street. The rear of each unit originally included a small window located in the bathroom. Many of the windows located at the rear of the building facing Bower Street have been completely or partially covered. Each of the three buildings that house units contain Craftsman details including gabled roofs and fascia board above the windows. The exterior of the building is covered in painted brick.
The building housing the manager’s office is two stories, and two sides of the first floor of the exterior are covered in brick, while stucco is present on the third wall. The final wall is connected to one of the housing units. The second floor of the building is covered in stucco. The office is located on the first floor of the building, while four efficiency apartments are located on the second story. The entire building has a flat roof, allowing residents of the apartments use of the roof as a deck. The edge of the roof is covered with clay tile coping. Another small deck is located overlooking the intersection of Park Avenue and Bower Street. The business originally had a green space located in the parking lot that could be shared by visitors. It was replaced by a gazebo and picnic area in the 1970s.
The complex, under the name Parkway Court Apartments (renting daily, weekly, or monthly), was shut down and boarded up by the Hot Springs Police Department in April 2016 after more than 400 calls to the department in the previous five years regarding safety concerns.
For additional information:
“Parkway Courts 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/GA0617.nr.pdf (accessed January 24, 2020).
Henderson State University
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