‘We shape our buildings, and thereafter they shape us,” were the thoughts of Winston Churchill on the importance of architecture in a community. One architect’s imagination can shape a community. Architect Eugene Stern enjoyed a career that created many familiar sites across the state. In the process, one immigrant’s vision transformed the architectural landscape of Arkansas, creating some of the most iconic buildings standing in many communities across the state.

Eugene John Stern was born in October 1884 in Budapest in what was then Austria-Hungary. In late August 1888, the family undertook the long trek to America. His family was one of millions of Europeans leaving behind everything they knew for the promise of a better life in the United States.

Dr. Ken Bridges is a Professor of History at South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado. He is the proud father of six children. He has written seven books and his columns appear in more than 85 papers in two states. Dr. Bridges can be contacted by email at kbridges@southark.edu.