Cromwell has had a relationship with Camp Robinson from the time it was built as Camp Pike in 1917 until now, over 100 years later. One of Cromwell’s earliest architects, Frank Ginocchio, left the firm during World War I to serve as a Captain in the Army Corps of Engineers to help design and supervise the construction of Camp Pike. He worked along with Major John Fordyce, also of the Army Corps of Engineers, who held a Master’s Degree in engineering. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, Camp Pike was "heralded as an excellent early example of military campus design". The photo above was taken in 1917, when Camp Pike was under construction.
Following this assignment, Ginocchio and Fordyce were sent to construct the St. Louis clothing warehouses for the Quartermaster Corps in St. Louis from 1918–1919. This unit was responsible for providing quarters, rations, clothing, and other supplies for the army. Fordyce was promoted to Colonel at the end of World War I. These were the only two projects that Fordyce and Ginocchio worked on together. When Ginocchio returned to Little Rock in 1919, he formed a partnership with architect Theo Sanders.
Charles Thompson, Cromwell’s founder, invited Ginocchio and Sanders to join him in 1926. Under their new name, Thompson, Sanders and Ginocchio Architects, the trio designed Lloyd England Hall for Camp Pike in 1931. Named after the General Lloyd England, the hall is a two-story stuccoed auditorium building that features some restrained Spanish Colonial Revival style influences although the overall style is more Art Deco. It was designed as a multi-purpose center with a reading room, writing room, and a large area with a stage and a balcony that held a movie projector. It was converted to a movie theater in World War II. The building was also the site of Arkansas Boy's State from 1948 to 1974. It was then used as an auditorium until the early 1990s. The building was placed on the National Historic Register in 1997.
Over the years and changing purposes, Lloyd England Hall contained a museum that was originally housed in one 750-square-foot room that consisted of a 200-piece weapon collection, a few artifacts, and photographs. During the summer of 1998, plans were completed for a renovation of 6,500 SF of Lloyd England Hall for exhibit space. The remaining 4,800 square feet were intended into air-conditioned storage space. The museum received five grants from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resource Council at this time. The funds were used for additional work to restore the exterior of Lloyd England Hall to its original appearance and for the construction of models of Camp Pike in 1918 and Camp Robinson in 1943.
The building was also remodeled in 2006. Of the 4,800 square feet originally intended for storage, 1,200 square feet were added to the exhibit space, bringing the total exhibit space to 7,700 square feet. The remaining 3,600 square feet of storage space were remodeled, and humidity control was installed. Current Displays include large-scale models of the post in the WWI and WWII eras, weapons, vehicles, airplane models, uniforms and photographs.
Thanks to the precedent set by our founders over a century ago, Cromwell has always taken pride in our military work and we are honored to work for those that protect and serve our nation. Whether we are designing housing, training facilities, commissaries and anything in between, our goal is to provide them with the highest quality facilities possible so that they can accomplish the mission of protecting our way of life. We are incredibly thankful to all who have served in our armed forces, past and present.