The Perry Plaza Court Historic District consists of a former motel (or “tourist court,” as it was known at the time) on Park Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County). Constructed in the International Style, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004, due to its architectural significance and condition. In the 1970s, the building was converted into an apartment complex.
Construction of the motel began in 1947 and was completed the next year. Designed by Hot Springs architect Irven McDaniel, the motel had nineteen units. The International Style, in which the building was constructed, is noted for its horizontal design elements and minimal adornment. The motel was built with steel joist construction, fire walls, a concrete floor and roof, and metal lath and plaster ceilings. The exterior of the two-story building consists of buff-colored brick and clay tile. Five breezeways offer access to the units, with most containing the entrance to four rooms, two downstairs and two upstairs. A driveway/parking area runs the length of the building. A swimming pool is located across the driveway from the building, and a single-story office faces Park Avenue. Both the pool and the office were added after the initial construction.
Each unit in the building contains a combination living/dining/kitchenette area that wraps around the bedroom and bathroom. The interior walls are covered with clay tile, while the floors are covered in asbestos tile. Cast-iron bathtubs and porcelain sinks are in each bathroom. The structure was originally constructed with central heat, and window air conditioners were added to each unit at a later date.
The original owner of the court was William Perry. The location of the court on Park Avenue was selected because travelers from Little Rock (Pulaski County) entered Hot Springs on that street. Numerous motels, restaurants, and other amenities were constructed along the avenue in the mid-twentieth century to take advantage of the large number of tourists visiting the city. Perry operated the court as a motel until 1955, when he passed ownership of the property to his son. As the city of Hot Springs grew to the south near Lake Hamilton, the motels and other tourist-orientated businesses along Park Avenue received less business. Perry Plaza continued to be used as a motel until the early 1970s, when it was converted into apartments. The court continues to operate in the twenty-first century as an apartment complex.
For additional information:
Wilcox, Ralph. “Perry Plaza Court Historic District.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/GA0621.nr.pdf (accessed September 27, 2017).
Henderson State University