Ed Cromwell

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Edwin Boykin "Ed" Cromwell (November 13, 1909-September 22, 2001) was leader of the Ginocchio & Cromwell architectural firm in Little Rock. Cromwell joined the firm in 1941, and retired in 1984.

Cromwell was born in the Philippines in 1909. Cromwell's parents were James Ellis Cromwell and Ada Henley Cromwell. James was the Philippines' United States Collector of Revenue. Ed Cromwell attended Mercersburg Academy in West Point, Mississippi, before attending Princeton University and the Princeton Graduate School of Architecture. Upon graduation Cromwell first taught mathematics at West Point High School in Mississippi before joining the Resettlement Administration. He married Henrietta Thompson in Little Rock in 1937.

In 1941 Cromwell formed a partnership with Little Rock architect Frank J. Ginocchio Jr. called the Ginocchio & Cromwell architectural firm. The firm was originally established by Benjamin Bartlet and Charles L. Thompson (Cromwell's father-in-law) in 1891. Cromwell was the principal designer of the Arkansas Arts Center, the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, the Maumelle New Town plan, the terminal for the Little Rock Airport, Christ Episcopal Church, and several buildings on the campus of Little Rock University.

Cromwell was especially well known as a historic preservationist, interior designer, master planner, and for his work in revitalizing downtown Little Rock. Cromwell partnered with Lincoln Hotels of Dallas, Texas, to purchase the downtown Capital Hotel in the early 1980s and obtained a $10 million grant from the federal government for its restoration. The Capital Hotel, reopened in 1983, soon became the centerpiece of a larger plan to create a convention center, parking deck, and public plaza, and link them to the Arkansas State House, Camelot Hotel, renovated Robinson Auditorium, and Arkansas Bar Association Center. Cromwell also imagined a riverfront park connecting the convention center district to an revitalized East Markham Street. These ideas were eventually realized in the Julius Breckling Riverfront Park and the River Market.

His work led to the establishment of the Quapaw Quarter Association. He was also chairman of the Arkansas Territorial Restoration for two and a half decades. Cromwell Hall at the Historic Arkansas Museum is named for him, as is the Cromwell Building at the corner of Markham and Spring streets. Cromwell was also a longtime amateur watercolorist.

Cromwell had three daughters: Patricia Ellis Cromwell, Mildred Cromwell Cooper, and Trudie Cromwell Levy.


  • "Edwin B. Cromwell (obituary)," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 23, 2001.

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