Friday, June 12, 2009

Hanger Hill House

I have written before about Hanger Hill. At the time of the visit to Sandy's I saw this house from the back and was curious about it. So earlier this week when the weather was nice I went back. There is something suggestive in a house this grand on a lot this big and both of them derelict. Especially when the neighborhood is Hanger Hill and of no interest even to the urban pioneers looking for fixer-upers. It makes you want to know what happened. Or who lived there before. Notice the gallery of windows along the top. Odd.

I made the block and here is the front.

I've had this fantasy of owning a bookstore and when I talk about it with my mother it also morphs into a tea room (although in my imagination I keep the chintz minimal). This fantasy would allow me to work really hard and then fail and then write a novel out of the pain. Last summer I poked around Little Rock imagining possible locations. Hanger Hill presents a few drawbacks for the bookstore/tea room idea, like ability to park one's car safely. However the biggest drawback is that this fantasy is squarely in the summer of 2008. I've ceased to have the bookstore fantasy about real estate. Recent events have taken the glow off loans. Circling the block I couldn't even pretend very long that my interest in the house had much to do with a bookstore. Instead it feels sad in a "passed by" way, like Gordon Brown. (You could write a very long essay on all the ways Southern houses are like British parliamentarians but I will save that for later.) Did it, like Brown, debut to applause and then find itself severed from support for reasons outside its control? Someone built this grand house for the reasons people build grand houses and had the misfortune to do it at about the moment the city decided to expand nary another block eastward. Then the neighborhood got severed from the city by I-30 (the freeways in Little Rock are the railroad tracks of all "wrong side" metaphors). Plus the grandest thing going in its meager radius is the Confederate cemetery. Hanger Hill is a repository of the defeated, the no longer useful, the disregarded. It is also where scrap metal and tires go to die.

Still I think the house is lovely. It has what looks like a door opening right out on the porch roof. There is a massive old tree in the front yard. Not to mention the gallery of windows along the back, suggesting some grand room or a really weird tack-on. I am going to look into the history of this house, just for fun.

1 comment:

Bearmkt said...

This is the old woodruff house -

About Me

Little Rock, Arkansas
I work at a local museum, date a lovely boy, and with my free time procrastinate on things like blogs.