S. Park Street
Little Rock Central High School was completed in 1927 and
originally was called Little Rock High School. It cost $1.5
million to build, and The New York Times declared during its
construction that it was the most expensive school building ever
constructed in the United States. Even before it was completed,
Little Rock High School was named "America's Most Beautiful
High School" by the National Association of Architects, a
title that had not been bestowed upon another high school before
then and has not been conferred to another high school since. At
the time it was built, it was the largest high school in the
country, a record it held until the late 1940s. It was renamed
Little Rock Central High School in 1955 when construction began on
Hall High School in
western Little Rock.
Jim and Judy Lester describe the school's location in their book Greater
Little Rock: "Little Rock's largest park in the late
nineteenth century was West End Park, covering a six-block area
between Fourteenth Street, Sixteenth Street, Park Avenue and Jones
Street. The site of West End Park eventually became the home of
Little Rock Central High School." Central traces its origins
back to 1869 when the Sherman
School began operation in a wood structure at 8th and Sherman
Streets, but it was not until June 13, 1873, that the school
produced its first graduating class. In 1885 the school moved to
14th and Scott Streets and was named Scott
Street School but was commonly called City High School. In
1890 Peabody School
was built at West Capitol and Gaines streets. It was named in
honor of philanthropist George Peabody who donated millions of
dollars to Southern states after the Civil War for building
schools; Little Rock received nearly $200,000. In 1905 Little
Rock High School opened at 14th and Cumberland streets. The
high school remained in that location until 1927 when it moved
into the current building at 14th and Park streets. Extensive
national publicity was afforded Little Rock High School when the
new building was completed. "We have hundreds of journalists
in our fair city for the dedication," read an article in the Arkansas
Detail of the Little Rock Nine statue "Testament" at
the Arkansas State Capitol.
Vintage double-width postcard depicting Central High School.
From LRSD Archives.
Lester, Jim; Lester, Judy: Greater Little Rock. Norfolk, Va.:
The Donning Co., 1986.
"Constitutional Writes," the official newsletter of
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. Summer
2003; vol. 1, issue 1.
"Little Rock 1957: Pages from History," Arkansas
Democrat-Gazette's Arkansas Online website: http://www.ardemgaz.com/prev/central/index.html
Application for placement on National Register of Historic
Places [U.M. Rose School]. Obtained from the Department of
Arkansas Heritage, 1500 Tower Bldg., 323 Center St., Little
Rock, AR, 72201.
National Park Service web site; Little Rock Central High School
"Public Buildings: American Images" web site, page for
Central High School: www.plannersweb.com/publicbldgs/OTH-LittleRockAR.htm
"From Canterbury to Little Rock: The Struggle for
Educational Equality for African Americans" web page, a
National Park Service web site: http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/crandall/CRvisual4.htm
Little Rock Central High School web site, Interesting Facts
"High School History, Little Rock Arkansas, by Paul D.
Snodgrass" web page, posted for the reunion of the LRHS
Band in 2000; information was taken from a Class of 1948 reunion
book (provides historical information about the school): http://www.netpluscom.com/~rhudson/sports/history.htm
"History of UALR" web page, University of Arkansas at
Little Rock: www.ualr.edu/~anniversary/history.html
"Closed College Index, Arkansas" (web page from R.
Brown of Westminster College in Missouri, charting colleges and
universities in Arkansas that no longer are operating):
United States Mint Onling Catalog, Central high School coin
If you have information about a Little Rock school or
photographs that you would like to contribute to this project
(we will return photographs if requested), please contact
Updated July 2007