The Conway Commercial Historic District was recently nominated as one of 14 properties in Arkansas to the National Register of Historic Places by the State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.
According to the AHPP, the district’s nomination comes "with local significance" for being the largest commercial center in Faulkner County, and for the retention of its building’s architectural integrity.
The commercial district is comprised of 130 buildings downtown, representing the development of the city spanning the years from 1879 to 1960.
"Fifty-one percent of the buildings in our commercial district were found to be not just old enough to qualify, but also to still have a great deal of character," said Kim Williams, Conway Downtown Partnership director. "That means they’ve been well-preserved, and that they have no false fronts or other alterations specific to the criteria set forth by the AHPP."
According to a study by the AHPP, the structures are typical of 19th- and 20th-century standard architecture in a range of styles, including Italianate, classic revival, late gothic revival, Mediterranean revival, art deco and modern.
The Frauenthal building, located at 904 Front St., is attributed in the study as both the oldest in the district and the first brick building in town.
Holly Hope, special projects historian with AHPP, said the listing of the buildings to the national register would qualify building owners for state and federal tax credits, and make available additional grants for the upkeep of the structures.
"And of course, in being listed on the national register, it will bring a greater awareness to the downtown area in general," Hope said.
Williams said the nomination will now go before the Department of Interior for review.
"We feel pretty confident that we will be chosen," Williams said. "We’re excited about it. It’s a great opportunity to bring additional traffic downtown and to make sure that people know about downtown Conway."
(Staff writer Megan Reynolds can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (501)505-1277. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net)