The Paint Factory listed on the National Register of Historic Places

11/28/2017

Cromwell Architects Engineers purchased the Sterling Paint warehouse building in the fall of 2015 and is working with developer Moses Tucker to turn the 50,000 SF former factory and office space into a mixed use development while retaining the historic elements of the building.  The building listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it will remain on the register after the completion of the renovation. It will be the new home to Cromwell's headquarters as well as retail space, loft apartments, and a restaurant. The Paint Factory renovation is the flagship project of a large revitalization of East Village, downtown Little Rock neighborhood that has been long neglected. Cromwell will honor the history of this great Arkansas success story through a museum located in the vault of the lobby of the offices and through a series of educational plaques placed around the outside of the building. Built in 1947, the building is an intact example of a post-war commercial and industrial building and is the only industrial building designed by Burks and Anderson, prominent Arkansas architects.

HISTORY: In 1914, A.H. Stebbins and Gardener Goldsmith started a modest sign painting business in the basement of a small commercial building on West 6th Street in downtown Little Rock. In 1916 they expanded to manufacturing a small line of paints, operating as Stebbins & Goldsmith, renting the retail space above the basement workshop. In 1919, Lindsey Roberts, the son of a well-known Pulaski County plantation owner, bought Goldsmith's interests, changing the name of the company to Stebbins & Roberts. The company expanded their retail operation and began producing a larger line of paints, "S&G Brand", which was quickly acquired by the Benjamin Moore Company. After a successful sales profile with the new line of paints, they placed sales agents in many towns around Arkansas selling Benjamin Moore paints, linseed oil, and wallpapers.

After World War II, Stebbins & Roberts experienced massive growth, with 1946 being the most lucrative year in the company's history.  To accommodate this growth, Stebbins & Roberts built a new office and factory building in the East End. The company continued to expand in the early 1950s and 1960’s and received several high-profile supply contracts, such as the formulation of a clear varnish that was applied to the gold leaf dome of the Arkansas State Capitol.  The warehouse became overcrowded in the late 1960s, resulting in the decision to expand the original building, adding on a large wing to the east. The addition was completed in 1971.  The company name changed to Sterling Paint in 1995, when Jim Adamson, son of longtime employee and former president Sterling Adamson, took over as president. The company was acquired in 2003 by Iowa Paint.