Photography by Caleb Shane | Mary Jo’s makeup by Vannette Vititow with Barbara Jean
‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ – these powerful words are uniquely and undeniably American. This American Dreams series features ordinary people with extraordinary stories of success and advice for making the most of your dreams. It reiterates the importance of shop local + share local, a part of our culture that makes Central Arkansas unique.
Residents are considered more than tenants, everyone here is treated as family and friends.
Just after World War II, two newcomers established a life together in Arkansas. William Alston “Bill” Cheek, a former Hollywood actor and a Navy commander brought his new bride Mary Jo Cheek, a Washington, D.C. legal secretary and accomplished pianist, to Little Rock – where they would raise their eight children and make their home. After completing the construction of Cammack Village and the Riverside subdivision, Bill was the project manager for Rivercliff Apartments. Initial construction was completed in 1949 when Rivercliff welcomed its first residents. A second addition was added in 1965. The classic style and midcentury modern design continues as a stately beacon in the Capital City. Today, the family-owned complex is managed by three generations and the Cheeks have deep roots in the community.
This Hollywood-inspired retreat features year-round appeal with spacious lawns and botanical gardens, rolling banks of exquisite blooms, beautiful shrubbery and a secluded pool area that create an ideal atmosphere for relaxation. “Residents say its like living in a resort,” notes Rivercliff Apartments Leasing Coordinator Catherine Cheek. Situated just five minutes from downtown Little Rock in Riverdale, Rivercliff Apartments offers unparalleled panoramic views of the urban cityscape and Arkansas River. Celebrating seven decades of service, it’s the undeniable sense of community that impresses the most discerning residents and continues the Cheek family legacy of commitment to excellence. “When we moved here, everyone we knew had families that had lived here for generations,” explains Rivercliff Apartments President Mary Jo Cheek. “And that’s what we wanted for our future family, a long-time family legacy that locals could recognize, and we’ve achieved that through Rivercliff, which has been passed down from generation to generation.”
Nestled on the site of a mountainside rock quarry, Rivercliff Apartments beckons with great anticipation on the approach to the estate. Nearly 10 acres of lawns and gardens create an experience for the senses – infused with nostalgia. “We continue to honor my father and mother’s legacy as a showplace in Arkansas – to set the highest standard for apartment living in the city,” explains Rivercliff Apartments Vice President Richard Cheek. The solid concrete construction of the four buildings provides an environment of seclusion and peace. The atmosphere is as quiet and strong as the structures themselves. Apartments are available in a variety of floor plans and sizes ranging from 600 square feet to more than 1,715 square feet. In fact, each dwelling is designed to be as unique as its residents. “It’s midcentury modern. It consists of steel-reinforced concrete with brick veneer, so it’s incredibly strong and quiet.”
There’s almost a magical mystic that brings residents together in a timeless setting. The pool, with its signature fountain, is surrounded by a chic patio, lush tropical plants, a Koi pond, crepe myrtle trees and colorful seasonal flowers. An outdoor grilling kitchen offers additional living space that invites camaraderie. The game room features an antique pool table from the 1800s. The spacious lounge is filled with Hollywood memorabilia and family mementos that serve a reminder of the rich history. Residents are considered more than tenants, “everyone here is treated as family and friends,” Richard adds. “Our family believes it’s this ‘Rivercliff culture’ that makes and maintains our status as one of the most desirable and unique apartment communities in Little Rock.”
The foresight that Bill and Mary Jo Cheek had in bringing Rivercliff to the city serves as a continuing legacy in Little Rock. Today, it is their gift to the Capital City. Bill Cheek was right. You don’t have to be a millionaire to live like one at Rivercliff.