5 Arkansas properties listed on National Register of Historic Places

Five Arkansas properties have recently been listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NTHP), the country’s official list of historically significant properties.  The announcement was made in Little Rock by Frances McSwain, Director of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP), the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources.  One local property made the list, the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, “a building that reflects the French Renaissance and Richardsoniancrescent hotel Romanesque styles of architecture”, the AHPP press release stated.

The release quoted the National Register nomination, “The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa is an architecturally significant work by architect Isaac S. Taylor from St. Louis, Missouri.  He is world renowned for leadership in the execution of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.  He also designed a total of 10 hotels during his career; nine of which were actually built with only a few still standing.

“His modern classic design of the Crescent pulls many elements from his other works.  Such features include the rough-faced, square stonework; the Roman arches over the windows and French doors; and the towers that create the penthouse level.  However, it is this mix of various styles that gives the Crescent a uniquely authentic style that sets it apart from Taylor’s other works.”

Jack Moyer, hotel general manager and vice-president of operations for both the Crescent and its sister downtown hotel, the 1905 Basin Park Hotel, responded to the announcement, “We could not be happier.  The Crescent already is a proud member of NTHP’s Historic Hotels of America, but this honor further validates this ‘Grand Ol’ Lady of The Ozarks’ rightful place in the pantheon of preserved and functional landmarks.  We have Marty and ch_circa1890sElise Roenigk to thank for ‘protecting the irreplaceable’ when they purchased the Crescent in 1997 and then put millions of dollars into its refurbishing which made a pathway to economic sustainability through quality of product and delivering above guest expectations.

“In fact, it was Marty who was instrumental in the formulation of our hotel creed upon which all employees are schooled when first employed:  ‘Protecting The Irreplaceable’; ‘Creating Lifetime Memories’ for our guests; ‘Being Community Minded’ for our town, region, state and nation; and ‘Building The Individual’ through ongoing training which results in promotion from within when an upper level position becomes open.”

Other Arkansas buildings equally honored by NTHP were Overstreet Hall on the campus of Southern Arkansas University located in Magnolia, Union Chapel School and Shop Building in Conway County near Springfield, the Little River County Training School Historic District in Ashdown, and Monroe County Bank Building in Brinkley.

The Crescent Legend Continues Thanks To The Continued Support Of Its Guests

Every new employee on their first day of work at the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa learns about that hotel’s established foundation and the vision that is planned for moving forward.  These core exterior chprinciples, coined “Our Hotel Creed”, include Creating Lifetime Memories for every guest; Building the Individual with a competent, service-driven culture that provides opportunities for promotion from within; Being Community Minded by instilling a belief that “a high tide rises all boats”; and Protecting the Irreplaceable through operating sharp and efficient businesses that allows proceeds to be reinvested directly back into the historic structures that house those businesses.  This creed was established to ensure that the “Crescent legend” might continue for generations to come

“Each year in November, ownership and management come together to review the current year and to discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and what improvements need to happen in the upcoming year to make certain that our properties continue to stay on top,” said Jack Moyer, vice president and general manager of the Crescent and its sister hotel, the 1905 Basin Park Hotel.  “We are fortunate to have an owner who allows us to reinvest our profits.  For example, this year we were again able to use the revenue brought to the hotel from our loyal guests -our investors- to secure the future of this irreplaceable symbol of Arkansas hospitality since 1886.

“Our 2014 action plan has seen improvements continuing longer into season than in the past but necessary to keep up with guest standards and expectations.  We anticipate completion of this plan by the end of August only to start anew in late November with our 2015 plan. We owe each and every guest a heartfelt word of thanks for their role in making the fourth tenet of our creed come true.  ‘Protecting the Irreplaceable’ matters and I want them to know that their part in it is very much appreciated.”

The Crescent Hotel’s 2014 improvements have included:20140128_131728-SMALL

  • Repair of the poolside chimney, roof and metal fascia
  • Historic restoration of Guest Room 219 which included interior demolition, infrastructure improvement, a balcony addition, and the adding of a whirlpool tub
  • Additions at the New Moon Spa and Salon including a “Chill Room”, locker space, and a sauna facility
  • Installation of air conditioning to the laundry and “the morgue”
  • Replacement in the South Penthouse of window glass, sashes and frames
  • Historic restoration of the 2nd Floor hallway which included demolition, electric upgrade, insulation, sheetrock, paint, and historic texturing20140128_131301-SMALL
  • Historic restoration of the 4th Floor hallway which included sheetrock, paint, and historic texturing
  • Improvements to Sky Bar Gourmet Pizza including the purchase and installation of a new pizza oven, placement of additional seating, and expansion of guest conveniences
  • Upgrade and the addition of supplementary hotel hot water heaters to expand capacity
  • Upgrade and the addition of supplementary air conditioning to the Crystal Ballroom
  • Purchase of an additional wedding tent to expand garden reception capabilities20140522_110611-SMALL
  • Finalized bedding and furniture upgrade to all rooms
  • Completed the Wedding Court by installing the Prospect Avenue decorative rock wall

Final projects to be completed in August include:

  • Installation of LED bulbs to all kitchen and lobby lights
  • Installation of new historic archival displays on the 4th Floor
  • Resurfacing of the Sky Bar Gourmet Pizza deck
  • Installation of new 4th Floor carpeting

Moyer, who came Eureka Springs to manage the two hotels in 1997, went on to explain, “Even though these physical improvements are important for our guests, equally as impressive is the continuing promotion of our community as a premier Arkansas, Ozarks, and regional destination.  More than $50,000 annually goes to the improvement of our online networks that promote Eureka Springs year-round providing free Internet links and referrals for local businesses on such popular web sites as EurekaSpringsOnline.com, ReserveEureka.com, EurekaSpringsMarina.com, ArkansasArtTrail.com, EurekaSpringsKids.com to name just a few.  That promotion goes well beyond the Internet.  More than $150,000 annually goes into a community-minded campaign to advertise and position Eureka Springs as the year-round ‘Extraordinary Escape’ including underwriting Eureka Springs’ events that bolster the shoulder seasons and weekday travel while improving the overall image of our destination.  We feel this is putting our money where our creed is when it comes to being community minded.”

Local events and event organizations underwritten in toto or in part by the Crescent and/or Basin Park Hotels include Blues Weekend, Eureka Springs’ Mardi Gras, Books in Bloom Literary Festival, Opera in the Ozarks, Eureka Springs Downtown Network, and the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce.

To view more renovation images, click here.