Charles L. Thompson and associates

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The Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was designed by Charles L. Thompson.[1]
Ella Carnall Hall, at University of Arkansas
Saline County Courthouse, Benton, Arkansas

Charles L. Thompson and associates is an architectural group that has worked in Arkansas since the late 1800s and continues to this day, now as Cromwell Architects Engineers, Inc.. This article is about Thompson and associates' work as part of one architectural group, and its predecessor and descendant firms, including under names Charles L. Thompson, Thompson & Harding, Sanders & Ginocchio, and Thompson, Sanders and Ginocchio.

The firm was the "most prolific architectural firm" practicing in Arkansas in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and produced more than 2,000 buildings. The architectural group used standard and custom designs that both led and evolved with changing architectural taste in Arkansas. The group built a wide range of types of works, including large public buildings, commercial buildings, mansions, and small houses. Many works by Thompson and the associated firms survive and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]

Charles L. Thompson[edit]

Charles Louis Thompson (16 November 1868 – December 30, 1959)[3] was the original head of the firm. Thompson was born in 1868 in Danville, Illinois. Orphaned at age fourteen, he and siblings moved to Indiana, where Charles began work at a mill, and in off hours began to learn drafting.[3] Thompson's son-in-law, Edwin Boykin Cromwell (1909–2001) later headed the firm.[4]

Thematic Resources study[edit]

A total of 143 properties in thirty Arkansas counties were nominated for NRHP listing in the 1982 study, "Charles L. Thompson Design Collection Thematic Resources", written by multiple authors. F. Hampton Roy, a Little Rock ophthalmologist, began cataloging the architectural drawings, expecting to complete a book. His collection eventually inspired this study, as Thompson and associates had such influence on Arkansas architecture. The properties listed under this study were selected from review of a large collection of original drawings by Charles L. Thompson, Fred J. H. Rickon, Thomas Harding Jr., Theo Sanders, and Frank Ginocchio. The collection of drawings covered 2500 properties representing a wide range of types and styles geographically distributed over the entire state of Arkansas. The authors wrote: "The 143 structures selected for nomination exemplify the firm's remarkable versatility and productivity from 1896 through 1931," and "Charles L. Thompson was the constant motivating force behind the firm's immense productivity and influence upon the state's built environment. Today the firm he established continues this legacy."[5]

Ginocchio and Sanders[edit]

Frank Ginocchio and Theodore M. Sanders, partners since 1919, joined Thompson in partnership in 1927. Both had studied at the University of Illinois and Sanders had studied further at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. They brought design ideas of Prairie Style, influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, and Art Deco architecture to the firm.[5]

Theo Sanders designed several houses in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood.[6]


Architect John Parks Almand worked for the firm during 1912 to 1914 before forming his own practice.


Works (with variations in attribution indicated) include:

Foster House


  1. ^ Tony Wappel (2005), History of the Historic Washington County Court House, Washington County (Ark.) website
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex ey ez fa fb fc fd fe ff fg fh fi fj fk fl fm fn fo fp fq fr fs ft National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  3. ^ a b Charles Witsell Jr., Charles Louis Thompson (1868-1959), Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture
  4. ^ Charles Witsell Jr. "Cromwell Architects Engineers, Inc". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. 
  5. ^ a b c Jean Sizemore; Sandra Taylor Smith & Mary D. Thomas (October 29, 1982). "Charles L. Thompson Design Collection Thematic Resources" (PDF). National Park Service. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2011-11-24.