Historical Society to present ‘Architect’s Daughter’ program

The Hot Springs Convention Auditorium, erected in 1965, was one of the Mid-Century buildings designed by noted architect I. Granger McDaniel. (Submitted photo courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society)
The Hot Springs Convention Auditorium, erected in 1965, was one of the Mid-Century buildings designed by noted architect I. Granger McDaniel. (Submitted photo courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society)

The Garland County Historical Society, in association with the Garland County Library, will present "The Architect's Daughter: Three Generations of Hot Springs Stories and Architecture," a program by Diana McDaniel Hampo, at noon Tuesday at the Garland County Library.

The program can be attended in person or virtually on the library's Facebook page or its YouTube channel.

"Since the 1920s, much of Hot Springs' landscape has been shaped by two architects, I. Donald McDaniel and his son, I. Granger McDaniel. From the Hamilton House and First United Methodist Church to City Hall, the Weyerhaeuser building, Horner Hall, and the Vapors, these two men designed many of the city's most iconic buildings," the Historical Society said in a news release.

"Several of their designs are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and both men were exceptionally influential," the release said.

The buildings and homes produced by I. Granger McDaniel "are almost everywhere you look in Hot Springs and are generally regarded as some of the best examples of Modernism in the city."

"Their lives were as interesting as their architecture. Young I. Granger was a pilot with the RAF in WW II and spent four years in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp. In fact, the Steve McQueen character in the movie 'The Great Escape' was based on his POW experiences. A twist of fate while in the POW camp eventually had an enormous impact on his architectural style," the release said.

At the society's meeting, Diana McDaniel Hampo will share stories about her father, I. Granger McDaniel, "and reveal some little-known history about many of the buildings he designed in Hot Springs."

According to a biography provided in the release, Hampo was born and raised in Hot Springs. After undergraduate work at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, she attended graduate school in Washington State and received her master's degree. In the 1980s, she worked as a freelance writer in the Florida Keys. She moved back to Hot Springs in 1990 and worked at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts as a recruiter and then as the interim dean of students for eight years. She next went to work for US Stations radio group -- US97, KLAZ, and three other stations. She started The Springs magazine in 1991 and has published a novel, "Invisible Branches." She recently started the company Be Nice! Arkansas, offering T-shirts and decals that are sold statewide, including at the state Capitol gift shop.

photo Architect I. Granger McDaniel, a pilot in the RAF in England in the early 1940s, was shot down and spent four years as a German POW. His escape attempts made him the model for the Steve McQueen character in the movie "The Great Escape." (Submitted photo courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society)
photo Diana McDaniel Hampo stands at the curving two-story colonnade that connects the 1914 First United Methodist Church sanctuary with the 1965 Education Building designed by her father, I. Granger McDaniel. (Submitted photo courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society)

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