Painting of 1902 house just perfect
Sean Clancy, Paper Trails columnist
As soon as Scotty Shepard saw the photo, he knew he had found the perfect Christmas present for his friends Paul Whannel and Brian O’Gary.
It was a photo of a painting by Little Rock artist Glenda McCune that another friend had seen in the Midtown Vintage Market. The oil painting showed the “Doll’s House,” a three-story Queen Ann Victorian built in 1902. It is a well-known house with a unique history that originally stood less than a mile from its current location on Spring Street.
“When I saw it, I thought I need to get this painting for her,” says Shepard.
What made it an ideal gift is that Whannel and O’Gary, who are married, live in the house.
Christmas came early, however, when Whannel spied on the painting Shepard had already bought and which was supposed to be hidden when he was in the market with Shepard earlier this month.
“All of a sudden I hear [expletive]”Says Shepard,” and I thought, oh, he saw it and it surprised me. “
McCune taught art at Jacksonville High School for 37 years before she retired. Her work has been featured three times in the Arkansas Arts Center’s annual Delta exhibit.
She always admired the structure, and “20 years ago I went there with my easel and drew and painted it,” she says. She finished the piece with photos she took of the house known as the Compton Wood House, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
The house was moved from its place at 800 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive moved by then-new owners Liz and Matthew Mentgen (Shepard actually saw the house move down Broadway). Arkansas Children’s Hospital owned the property and wanted the property, but not the house, which was empty. Years earlier, Interstate 630 routing was changed to protect the home.
McCune saved the October 9, 2000 article in the Democrat Gazette (authored by former Paper Trails columnist Linda Sussman Haymes) about the move of the house to Spring Street.
“I put the painting on it, and when the gentleman is listening, the Spirit said about three months ago, ‘Glenda, take this painting and put the item next to it and put it in Midtown Vintage,” she says. “Sure enough, Scotty saw it.”
Whannel and O’Gary have lived in the house for about two and a half years.
“We fell in love with her walking around the neighborhood,” says Whannel. “We didn’t know how popular it was until we bought it and everyone came out of the wood and had a story about it.”
The painting “currently has pride of place in the living room,” says Whannel in a text. “At some point the hallway will be a gallery of pictures of the house over the years and hang at the end.”
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