LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- As Little Rock prepares to celebrate 60 years of an integrated Central High School, the National Park Service is working to make homes in front of the school apart of its history.
With many of the homes vacant, its created an eyesore in the area. But hopefully, not for long.
“It is very exciting. Just down the street here we have the mobile station that has been kept in its historic look,” said David Kilton with the National Park Service.
They are attempting to restore the homes, while also keeping history alive. Seven homes stand across from Central that were in many of the photos and footage taken the day the school was integrated.
“That house over there at 1419 that they're improving, we fought so hard for it not to be torn down,” Joyce Matthews said.
She owns one of the homes on Park Street. Kilton hopes that by upkeeping the homes, the National Park Service can add a different level of reality for visitors by maintaining the historic look of the area.
“It already has passed through congress. Congressman French Hill actually helped promote and get this into legislation,” he said.
Just two houses currently have residents while the others are vacant.
“We're happy that the historic society and all these people have joined together with the city,” said Matthews.
She’s been in the area back and forth since 1972.
"I did move away in 1989, I went to the Gulf War,” she added.
Decades later, she’s returned for good but to much needed repairs.
"I see people from everywhere come up and down this street, lots of foot traffic. They come from all over the world,” Matthews said.
Habitat for Humanity is sprucing up her place, while the city has been working on another home in front of Central for a little over a year. The owners were going to demolish it.
“You can learn about things on television, but when you go the site it helps bring a sense of place that brings the story to life,” said Kilton.
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