Clio Logo

Since its opening in 1877, the Capital Hotel has been one of Little Rock's leading landmarks and is considered one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in the state. The architecture of this historic building is known for its elaborate, prefabricated cast-iron brick facade that is both decorative and functional as it helps to support the structure. The building features many decorative elements including a one-story portico with Corinthian columns at the main entrance, a porch on top of the portico covered by a canopy with decorative scrollwork, and arched windows separated by squared columns. The building was erected in 1872 and was originally a commercial building called the Denckla Block. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The Capital Hotel remains one of the city's most historic landmarks. It was originally built in 1872 as a commercial building called the Denckla Block but became a hotel in January 1877. It is an outstanding example of Victorian architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sky, Land vehicle, Building, Car

The Denckla Block was built by wealthy railroad tycoon William P. Denckla in 1872. It contained offices, shops, and apartments known in that era as "bachelor quarters" as they catered towards single and traveling businessmen. Little Rock became the state's capital city in 1821, and in the 1870s, the city was a thriving and growing economic hub thanks to its river port and railroad connections. William Denckla was one of the builders of the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad and owned a number of buildings nearby where the hotel now stands. In constructing the Denckla Block building, Denckla aimed to contribute to the city's economic development and grow his own business prospects.

By the mid-1870s, there was a growing need for hotel accommodations for travelers coming to Little Rock. This situation became even more urgent when a fire destroyed the nearby Metropolitan Hotel (the city's only upscale hotel) on December 14, 1876. The manager of the hotel leased the Denckla Block and quickly converted it into a hotel. The name Capital Hotel came from a hotel guest named Mrs. Morehead Wright, who, when asked to suggest a name for the hotel said it was "a capital enterprise located in a capital building…in the capital of the state...and I trust will prove a capital success.” The name stuck and the hotel opened in January 1877. Among the famous guests to stay at the hotel in its early was President Ulysses S. Grant in 1880.

For the next 30 years, the Capital Hotel was the city's most prestigious hotel. It became the social and political center of the city and the unofficial political headquarters of the state. The hotel continued to operate under several owners over the years but by the 1960s and 1970s, it began to decline, coinciding with the decline of the downtown area. In the early 1980s, the hotel was restored and it opened in December 1983. It was fully restored again in 2007.

Jones-Taylor, Sharolyn. "Capital Hotel." Accessed July 26, 2021.

Kirk, Dianna. "Capital Hotel." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. July 30, 1974.

"Our Story." Capital Hotel. Accessed July 26, 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Abish Tatum, via Wikimedia Commons:,_Arkansas).JPG