Paul Laurence Dunbar Historic District Documentation, Little Rock, Arkansas

Building located within the project area for the proposed Paul Laurence Dunbar Historic District.

Building located within the project area for the proposed Paul Laurence Dunbar Historic District.

Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., conducts a wide variety of architectural surveys each year. Each survey has its own unique needs, whether it is conducted in sprawling countryside or in densely developed urban districts. The architectural survey of the proposed Paul Laurence Dunbar Historic District in Little Rock, Arkansas, was a large scale project that required the team at CRA to draw from their expertise in urban district documentation to meet the needs of the project.

Paul Laurence Dunbar Historic District

In August 2011, CRA completed an architectural survey of approximately 700 parcels located in the proposed Paul Laurence Dunbar Historic District in Little Rock, Arkansas for the City of Little Rock, Arkansas. This neighborhood, surrounding a historic Rosenwald School, later renamed Dunbar Junior and Senior High School and Junior College, has historically been occupied by African-Americans, although not exclusively. The area served as the location of a number of important public and private institutions, as well as commercial sectors, for the African-American community, with a number of historically African-American schools, colleges, and churches in continuous operation since the mid-to-late nineteenth century.

Structure identified and documented within the project area.

Structure identified and documented within the project area.

Survey Methods

For the field survey, CRA completed 35mm and digital photographic documentation of each primary and secondary building within the district and completed an Arkansas Architectural Resources Form and Ancillary Structures Form, including a detailed color-coded site plan for each property within the survey area. Efficient field recordation was facilitated by the use of an electronic, tablet-ready survey form meeting the standards of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (State Historic Preservation Office), specifically designed by CRA for this particular project. The developed form allowed for the accurate capturing of detailed and descriptive information about each resource, including the site and outbuildings, as well as historical information such as owners and significant associations. The streamlined approach allowed for the consistent recordation of resources for the duration of the survey, no matter the historian completing the data entry. The electronic forms could also easily and quickly be converted to printed forms, providing the City and the SHPO with direct access to the survey results in a variety of formats.

The CRA team was able to efficiently evaluate and document the 700 parcels included in the architectural survey for the proposed Paul Laurence Dunbar Historic District through both established methods and the development of an electronic, tablet-ready survey form.

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