Plans are on for the Quapaw Quarter Association’s 56th Tour of Homes this fall after being twice throttled, with organizers ready to show off the Pettaway Neighborhood.
“It’s an area that has some historic houses, but it also has some very interesting modern infill because it’s an area that got hit pretty hard with the tornado in 1999,” says Patricia Blick, executive director of the Quapaw Quarter Association. “It’s an area where we’re seeing a lot of creative design, fitting into the neighborhood.”
From noon-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3, holders of tickets, priced at $20 (for early birds) to $30 on day of tour, can tour five houses in Pettaway, east of Main Street, in downtown Little Rock. Masks and proof of covid-19 vaccination will be required for everyone participating in the tours or riding the trolley that will take visitors from home to home.
Tickets priced at $50 include a guided candlelight tour of the homes beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 2, as well as visits to one of two outdoor champagne bars. There will be pre-packaged snack boxes, put together to minimize contact, in place of the usual hors d’oeurves table.
“People will be able to grab a glass of champagne and have something to eat and then go back into the houses,” Blick says.
The Pettaway Neighborhood, originally known as the East of Broadway Neighborhood, was renamed by residents in 2003 in honor of Dr. Charles Pettaway, a well-known doctor, after property owners came together to work on reducing increasing levels of crime associated with drug use and gang activity.
Keith Caviness moved into the Wassell House, 2005 S. Scott St., in late 1998, weeks before a tornado roared through the area and leveled a grocery store two blocks away. He and his family sought shelter in the home’s lower living level, designed for the domestic help when the home was built in 1882. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)
Keith Caviness, who owns the Corydon Wassell House at 2005 S. Scott Street, says his neighborhood has changed drastically since he moved in about 22 years ago, just a few years after the release of the HBO documentary “Gang War: Bangin’ in Little Rock” that highlighted gang violence in the capital city.
“When I moved here, the neighborhood alert center that’s on 21st Street was the home of the 21st Street Posse,” he says.
Still, Caviness didn’t have any trouble living on Scott Street, in what he describes as a quiet, safe neighborhood.
“Today, the neighborhood is really improving,” he says. “There’s all kinds of new construction and remodeling going on. People are moving down here and it’s growing. They’re building a multi-use development down on 21st Street and SoMa has grown. It’s a growing, thriving neighborhood.”
He nominated the Wassell home for the National Historic Register soon after he bought it.