Architectural Bus Tours

Who: In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of 1957 desegregation crisis at Central High, the UCA Department of History and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) are sponsoring bus tours of historic architectural sites associated with the neighborhoods surrounding the school.

Tour developers: Dr. Kimberly Little (UCA Dept. of History), Mark Christ (AHPP Community Outreach Director), and Kylee Cole (AHPP Community Outreach Intern). Transportation provided by the University of Central Arkansas.

What: Visit architectural sites that tell the stories of the neighborhoods surrounding Central High School and the struggle for school integration. Learn about architectural styles that help tell their stories. Discover the voices of those who lived and worked there by connecting poetry to place.



When: September 23, 24, 2017, 12-6:00 pm (last bus departs at 4 pm)

  • Bus A: departs 12 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm (4 pm tour, ASL interpretation provided)
  • Bus B: departs 1 pm, 3 pm
  • Bus C (wheelchair accessible): departs 1 pm, 3 pm

Please note: seating is limited. Advanced ticket reservations have closed. However, we have a few seats available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please look for volunteers wearing purple sashes at the LRCHS National Historic Site Visitor’s Center to reserve your seat.


Bus A

12pm – 6 seats
2pm – 9 seats
4pm – 7 seats
Bus C
1pm – 7 seats
3pm – 3 seats
Bus A
12pm – 13 seats
2pm – 10 seats
4pm – 13 seats
Bus B
3pm – 10 seats
Bus C
3pm – 2 seats

Where: Tours depart from the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Visitor Center parking lot, 2120 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Dr. For parking availability please refer to the Event Map, to use the shuttle service provided on Saturday, refer to Where to Park.

Tour Route: 90 minutes

Magnolia/Mobil Service Station was built in the 1920s in the Southwestern vernacular style. The service station served as the rendezvous point for journalists covering the 1957 desegregation crisis.

Arkansas Baptist College is a Second Empire style building, completed in 1899, and significant as a site for African American higher education and leadership in the state for more than a century.

Dunbar Jr. /Sr. High School was designed in the Art Deco style by Wittenberg and Delony, opened in 1929. The school was partially funded by Julius Rosenwald (president of Sears, Roebuck and Company), who sought to provide African American students with better public education opportunities.

Ernest Green House was built in 1916 and is a Craftsman style bungalow, popular in the Central High district. Ernest Green (b. 1941), one of the so-called “Little Rock Nine,” was the first African American student to graduate from Central High School.

Dunbar Community Center

Daisy and L.C. Bates House is a Mid-Century Modern ranch home, built in the 1950s. In 1957, the home became the de facto meeting place for the nine African American students who integrated Central High School. The home also welcomed famous guests including Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Ossie Davis, and Ruby Dee.

Philander Smith College  is home to the Cox Building, designed by John Parks Almand in 1915, is an excellent example of the Colonial Revival. Philander Smith College, founded in 1877 as a means of providing education opportunities for freed slaves west of the Mississippi River, was also a pioneer during the Civil Rights Movement, when many of its students engaged in nonviolent resistance against segregation laws such as sitting in at “whites-only” lunch counters.

Central High School was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Wittenberg and Delony. This building was named the most beautiful high school building in America by the American Institute of Architects in 1927. The tour will conclude here.

UCA  History Department and the Central High Anniversary Bus Tours, September 23-24

The 60th-anniversary bus tour was researched and designed by Spring 2017 UCA graduate Kylee Cole under the supervision of Dr. Kim Little, Director of Public History Internships, History Department.  Kylee interned with Mark Christ at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to design the tour and create packets for the tour guides to use.  Kylee is attending graduate school in Colorado but will be returning to Arkansas to assist with the tours.

Students in Dr. Little’s Introduction to Public History will be providing architectural and historical interpretation of the tour sites using the packets that Kylee created.  Student tour guides are Timothy Black, Breck Brammer, Alex Coppens, Jesi Feld, Jimmie Flowers, Jim Gerdes, Scott Laxton, and Richard McFadden. This service-learning project incorporates historic preservation, museum management, and interpretation of cultural resources.  Staff from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Central High National Historic Site, and Arkansas State Parks assisted the students in their preparation. Professor Stephen O’Connell (UCA Geography) assisted with the bus routes.

Public and Academic Historians’ Leadership
Historians Mark Christ (Arkansas Historic Preservation Program), Kylee Cole (UCA), Sondra Gordy (UCA), Barclay Key (UALR), Rachel Silva Patton (Preserve Arkansas), and Callie Williams (Arkansas Historic Preservation Program) will lead the buses and provide on-bus commentary.

Writeous Poets of Central High
The Writeous Poets of Central High under the direction of Stacey McAdoo will provide spoken-word art for each bus:

Paige Mitchell, Jamee McAdoo, Cierra Williams, Tashia Mayo, Tamya Sissy, Vanessa Washington, Treylin Cranford, Norel McAdoo and Chauncey Williams-Wesley



This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Gayle Seymour at or call 501-450-3295.