Entries - Starting with L

Lincoln (Washington County)

Lincoln is located in northwest Arkansas on Highway 62 halfway between Prairie Grove (Washington County) and the Oklahoma state line. Heavily influenced by the apple industry through most of its history, Lincoln has been home to the Arkansas Apple Festival since 1976. The Arkansas Country Doctor Museum (ACDM) is also located in Lincoln. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Washington County land records report that a man named Samuel Starr was appointed Osage Indian agent in about 1828 and established a presence near what would become North Street and West Avenue in Lincoln. North Street was the principal route to the Cherokee Nation at Tahlequah, the Creek (Muscogee) Nation just west of Fort Gibson, and the Arkansas River at Muskogee. The …

Lincoln Avenue Viaduct

The Lincoln Avenue Viaduct is a single-span Rainbow Arch bridge constructed of reinforced concrete in 1928. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1990. On April 21, 1927, the old Baring Cross Bridge between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County), built in 1873 to carry rail traffic across the Arkansas River, was largely washed away by raging floodwaters despite the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company having weighed it down with coal cars. As the company worked to rebuild the crucial link to its sprawling railyards in North Little Rock, it offered to build a new viaduct linking Lincoln Avenue and North Street above the railroad tracks on the Little Rock side …

Lincoln Building

The Lincoln Building, located at the corner of South Main Street and 15th in Little Rock (Pulaski County), was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 5, 1994. Constructed in 1905 by C. J. Lincoln, a Little Rock drug wholesaler, the two-story red brick commercial building was designed for retail businesses on the first floor and living quarters in three apartments on the second floor. The Lincoln Building was the first commercial structure in the South Main Street Commercial Historic District (SMSCHD). It was designed in the Neoclassical style, a style which was continued in the Cohn Building at the southwest corner of 12thand South Main Street, the present-day home of Community Bakery. Originally, the corner entrance of …

Lincoln County

Lincoln County lies in southeastern Arkansas, bordered on the northeast by the Arkansas River. Bayou Bartholomew bisects the county from northwest to southeast, dividing the land between the bottomland of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (the Delta) to the east and the Coastal Plain. The mainstay of the economy is agriculture. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood By the time of European exploration and settlement, very few Native Americans lived in Lincoln County, though the Quapaw technically owned the land that is now Lincoln County. County histories indicate the possible existence of a Quapaw village near the Arkansas River on land that was later settled by the McLain, Lee, and Douglass families, who established homes there in 1827 in a community called …

Lincoln County Courthouse

The Lincoln County Courthouse is located on 300 Drew Street, south of downtown Star City (Lincoln County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant as the sole example of the Art Deco style in Star City and perhaps all of Lincoln County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 7, 1994. Before the construction of the standing courthouse, Lincoln County used a two-story brick building built in 1911. It was large, with its clock tower being its most distinctive feature. It was centered in downtown Star City, just a couple of city blocks away from its replacement, and it remained standing until 1962. Today, that site is a …

Lincoln High School (Star City)

Lincoln High School was a school for African Americans located on the northwestern side of Star City (Lincoln County) at 507 Pine Street. The school, which took its name from the county, was established in 1949 following the consolidation of black schools in the communities of Cornerville, Cole Spur, Star City, Bright Star, Sneed, Richardson, Bethlehem, Mount Olive, Saint Olive, and Sweet Home. None of these schools went beyond the eighth grade, leaving a large segment of Lincoln County’s African-American students with no local high school to attend. Charles R. Teeter was the superintendent, and Ruth Teal was hired as Lincoln’s first principal. In the first school year of Lincoln’s existence (1949–50), only grades one through nine were offered. Each …

Lincoln, Blanche Lambert

Blanche Meyers Lambert Lincoln was a United States senator whose career was marked by firsts and by a desire for bipartisanship. She was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Arkansas since Hattie W. Caraway in 1932, the youngest woman elected to the Senate, and was mentioned as a possible running mate for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the 2004 election. Blanche Meyers Lambert was born on September 30, 1960, in Helena (Phillips County), hailing from a seventh-generation Arkansas farm family that grew rice, wheat, soybeans, and cotton. Her parents were Jordan Lambert Jr., a farmer, and Martha Kelly Lambert, a homemaker. She attended Helena public schools, and her first elective office was president of the Helena Central …

Lindbergh Day

aka: Guggenheim Tour
Not long after Charles Lindbergh completed his successful transatlantic flight from New York to Paris, France, he returned to the United States and toured ninety-two cities in forty-eight states. His flight tour began on July 20, 1927, at Mitchel Field in New York, and ended at Mitchel Field on October 23, 1927. His landing in Little Rock (Pulaski County) at the Little Rock Airport (now the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport) on October 1 and the following festivities marked one of the biggest events in the city’s history to that point. Lindbergh’s tour was officially known as the Guggenheim Tour, as it was financed by industrialist and multi-millionaire Daniel Guggenheim. Guggenheim, and his son Harry, were proponents of aviation …

Lindbergh, Charles, First Night Flight of

In the acclaim for Charles Augustus Lindbergh following his solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, few people recognized the small but significant role Arkansas played in the historic event. Today, a modest monument off Highway 159 near Lake Village (Chicot County) marks the Arkansas site that contributed to one of the greatest stories in American history. In April 1923, Charles Lindbergh was a young airmail pilot who had taught himself to fly. He had engine trouble on a flight between Mississippi and Houston, Texas, and landed near Lake Chicot in Lake Village, in an open space which was used as a local golf course. The nearest building was the clubhouse. The keeper, Mr. Henry, and his family sometimes used the building …

Lindquist, Evan Leroy

Evan Leroy Lindquist of Jonesboro (Craighead County) is an American artist who is renowned as an artist-printmaker and art educator. His works are in permanent collections of many major galleries across the United States and around the world. Evan Lindquist was born on May 23, 1936, in Salina, Kansas, to Elmer L. Lindquist and Linnette Shogren Lindquist. His father was a corporate officer for a chain of retail lumber firms, and his mother was a homemaker. In 1945, Lindquist’s family moved to Emporia, Kansas, where Lindquist built a calligraphy business while in junior high school, encouraged by his father, an expert in ornamental penmanship. The business included creating certificates and charters for national organizations. His calligraphy experience led to a …

Lindsey, Bruce Robert

Bruce R. Lindsey is a prominent Arkansas attorney and longtime friend and associate of Bill Clinton. Having first met Clinton when they both worked in the office of Senator J. William Fulbright, Lindsey went on to serve as one of the president’s top aides. Bruce Robert Lindsey was born on March 27, 1948, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Robert Sours Lindsey and Grace Grimme Lindsey. He has one sister. Lindsey’s father was one of the most influential attorneys in Little Rock, as well as a major figure in the city’s Presbyterian Church. Lindsey grew up in Little Rock and received his undergraduate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, followed by a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington …

Lindsey, Donnie Lee, Sr.

Donnie Lee Lindsey, longtime bishop within the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in Arkansas and noted businessman, founded the regionally famous Lindsey’s Barbecue in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2015. Donnie Lee Lindsey was born in Bluff City (Nevada County) on April 17, 1924, to Newton Lindsey and Anna Lindsey. His father was a sharecropper. By the 1930 census, he had one brother and four sisters. The family moved to the Maumelle (Pulaski County) area when Lindsey was four years old. In an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Lindsey described himself as a rebellious youth who dropped out of school, only returning at age seventeen to attend the …

Lindsey, Elijah (Eli)

The Reverend Elijah (Eli) Lindsey was an important figure in early Arkansas Methodism. At age eighteen, living near the present town of Jesup (Lawrence County), he traveled and organized the Spring River Circuit and is thus celebrated as the first to preach and spread the message of Methodism in Arkansas. Eli Lindsey was born in 1797 in Rutherford County, North Carolina, to James William Lindsey Jr. and Rachel Burkett Lindsey. His father fought with the patriots at the significant Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. By 1790, these families had moved to Spartanburg County, South Carolina, and they resided in Rutherford County, North Carolina, by 1800. Lindsey’s family gradually moved to Christian County, Kentucky, where his uncle Carlton …

Linebarger, Clarence A.

Clarence A. Linebarger was the general manager and part-owner of Bella Vista (Benton County), a successful summer resort in northwest Arkansas, from 1917 to 1952. In addition to the day-to-day management, he designed most of the resort’s amenities, including more than 500 summer residents’ cottages, accommodating the owners’ specifications while preserving the natural landscape. C. A. Linebarger was born on August 17, 1889, in West Union, Indiana, to Samuel and Mary Linebarger. He was the third of three children. His family passed through Benton County later that year en route from Indiana to Crowley, Louisiana, where they became rice farmers. After his mother contracted tuberculosis, she asked her husband to take her to Bentonville (Benton County), because she was impressed …

Linton, Henri

Henri Linton has been recognized as one of the most talented artists working in the state of Arkansas. He has also served as chair of the art department at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Henri Linton was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1944. After discovering his artistic talents early, he soon began painting and visiting museums. To buy art supplies, he took on odd jobs such as painting signs and shining shoes. After entering a national art contest as a teenager, he won a four-year scholarship to the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. Linton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University and a master’s degree in art from the University of Cincinnati …

Lion Oil Company

Lion Oil is an El Dorado (Union County) corporation that refines and produces oil, gasoline, and other oil-based products. Its products include not only fuels and asphalt but industrial solvents and oil-based roofing products. Lion is a major employer in southern Arkansas, with more than 500 employees. When the oil boom began in southern Arkansas in 1920, Colonel Thomas Harry Barton, a Texas native, came to El Dorado and began investing in the emerging industry, organizing the El Dorado Natural Gas Co. In 1922, he took over a small refinery in El Dorado that became the Lion Oil and Refining Co. Initially, the refinery produced 2,000 barrels per day and employed twenty-five people. Reportedly, Barton decided to call the company …

Liston, Sonny

aka: Charles Liston
Charles “Sonny” Liston was a noted boxer who briefly reigned as Heavyweight Champion after a first-round knockout against Floyd Patterson. However, his career was marred by criminal activity and, later, accusations of mob connections and throwing fights. Sonny Liston was born on May 8, probably 1932, to Tobe and Helen (Baskin) Liston, African-American sharecroppers in rural St. Francis County. He was one of many children—one account lists twenty-two siblings and half-siblings. Liston was raised on heavy farm work, many beatings, and with virtually no schooling. At the age of thirteen, he ran away to St. Louis, Missouri, following his mother, who had left earlier. There, he became a thug, committing various muggings and robbery. Soon caught (his crimes were inept, …

Literature and Authors

Arkansas’s place in Southern American literature is partly a result of its place on the map. The eastern border, the Mississippi River, isolated Arkansas from the rest of the South, and the western border, in Indian Territory, pulled it toward the western frontier. The Arkansas River, slicing the state diagonally from northwest to southeast, further divided the region culturally and economically. Arkansas contains six natural divisions ranging from the Ozark Plateau (commonly called the Ozark Mountains) to the flat and fertile Delta on the eastern border. The combination of isolation from without and cultural diversity within its borders continues to influence Arkansas writers and writing. Even those whose association with the state is temporary or tenuous often bear the stamp …

Little Africa (Polk County)

Little Africa was an all-black community that lay near Board Camp Creek in Polk County east of the county seat of Mena. For a few decades, it was home to many of the county’s African Americans, but the community did not survive the changing economy and growing racial hostility of the county’s white population. The name “Little Africa” was common among informally organized all-black communities in the state and nation. The first African American to stake out a homestead in the area that would become Little Africa appears to have been Nelson Ray in 1875. He was followed by others such as Thomas Moore (who filed for a homestead in 1884), Cicero Cole (1899), William Ray (1901), and Frank Hill …

Little Flock (Benton County)

  Little Flock is a residential community in northwestern Arkansas, Benton County, located north of Rogers (Benton County) and east of Bentonville (Benton County). Although it remained unincorporated until 1970, Little Flock was established in the 1840s. The city’s principal landmark is the Little Flock Primitive Baptist Church, which was organized in 1843. The Osage claimed northern Arkansas as hunting ground at the time of the Louisiana Purchase, but a series of treaties with the Osage and other tribes opened the land for white settlers. James Harvey Wight was one of the first to homestead in the area that is now Little Flock; his neighbors included Noah Hornbeck, Theopholus Wallace, Amos Osborn, and Benjamin Walker. In 1843, several families met in …

Little Italy (Pulaski and Perry Counties)

Little Italy’s prominence in Arkansas history is attributed to its role in European immigration to Arkansas and, more importantly, its wine industry. The area boasted four wineries within a mile of one another and produced thousands of gallons of alcohol yearly. The wine-making Italians of Little Italy provided central Arkansans with a clean, reliable source of alcohol during Prohibition. Due to the community’s central location, it gained much attention as a place where alcohol could be purchased. The area also gained notoriety for the rough atmosphere the clientele who frequented its wineries afforded. Little Italy was founded in 1915 by a group of Italian immigrants who had originally settled in Chicago and Upper Peninsula Michigan at the turn of the …

Little Miss Arkansas Pageant

The Little Miss Arkansas Pageant was one of the first children’s beauty and talent pageants for young girls in the state. The Little Miss Arkansas Pageant was founded in 1979 by Barbara Johnson of Hot Springs (Garland County). She had followed the Miss Arkansas Pageant for many years and consulted with Bob Wheeler, then the director of the Miss Arkansas Pageant, who encouraged her to establish something similar for young girls. The pageant was first held at the Ramada Inn in downtown Hot Springs but moved to the Hot Springs Convention Center in 2001. The pageant started with four age groups: Tiny, Petite, Pre-Teen, and Teen, adding the Baby division in 1982. The pageant is open to any Arkansas girl …

Little Missouri River

The Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas rises in the Ouachita Mountains of Polk County and flows southeasterly through Montgomery County and Pike County, where it is impounded by Narrows Dam. It continues southeasterly into the geographical region known as the West Gulf Coastal Plain, where it forms parts of the borders of Pike, Hempstead, Nevada, Clark, and Ouachita counties before emptying into the Ouachita River. The area through which the Little Missouri River flows has been home to human habitation since approximately 10,000 BC. Among the prehistoric sites along the river is the Kirkham site in Clark County. In historic times, the Caddo Indians occupied much of southwestern Arkansas, and European explorers found several Caddo villages along the Little …

Little Missouri River Bridge

aka: Nachitoch Bluff Bridge
The Little Missouri River Bridge, also known as the Nachitoch Bluff Bridge, is a through-truss bridge located north of the Interstate 30 crossing of the Little Missouri River, connecting Clark and Nevada counties. Beirne (Clark County) and Gurdon (Clark County) are the two closest communities to the bridge. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1990, and is depicted on a mural in Prescott (Nevada County) at the intersection of Main and First streets. It closed to traffic in the mid-1990s. Details about the construction of the bridge are scarce. Documentation suggests that it was constructed in 1908 by the Morava Construction Company. The main span of the bridge measures 185 feet and was …

Little Red River

The Little Red River runs through north-central Arkansas, arising from several different forks in the Ozark Mountains. Major towns situated along the course of the river are Clinton (Van Buren County), Fairfield Bay (Van Buren County), Heber Springs (Cleburne County), and Searcy (White County), though the river also flows north of the old settlement of Georgetown (White County), where it empties into the White River. The Little Red River is dammed just east of Heber Springs, creating the reservoir of Greers Ferry Lake, which is a major regional tourist destination. The Little Red River passes through three different natural divisions of Arkansas: the Ozark Mountains, the Arkansas River Valley, and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (the Delta). The forks of the …

Little Red River, Skirmish at (June 6, 1864)

aka: Skirmish at Beeler's Ferry
On May 27, 1864, Brigadier General Joseph Shelby was promoted to command all Arkansas Confederate forces north of the Arkansas River. Earlier that month, Union forces concluded their disastrous Camden Expedition and for the remainder of the war in Arkansas were reluctant to launch any large-scale operations outside of defending their own garrisons and supply lines. Shelby had about 1,200 men under his command at the time of his promotion, and during the next three months, he aggressively recruited men of fighting age within his jurisdiction, many of whom were deserters evading conscription or bushwhackers. In a letter to Major General Sterling Price dated July 27, Shelby boasted that he had 5,000 men under his command. The number was likely …

Little Red River, Skirmish at (May 17, 1862)

 The Skirmish at Little Red River on May 17, 1862, was one of many that took place as foraging parties of Union major general Samuel R. Curtis searched for much needed provisions. On this rainy Saturday morning, about 100 Rebels, loosely organized but determined to thwart the Federals in their advance toward Little Rock (Pulaski County), attacked the foraging party sent by Colonel George E. Waring Jr. of the Fourth Missouri Cavalry. This skirmish—which took place two days before the most significant engagement in White County, the Action at Whitney’s Lane—coupled with skirmishes continuing into June, ultimately led to Curtis’s abandonment of his assignment to take the capital city and assume military authority over the state. Following the Union victory …

Little Red River, Skirmishes at (June 5 and 7, 1862)

     As the Federal forces under Major General Samuel R. Curtis attempted to move from Batesville (Independence County) down the Little Red River area toward Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Rebels were determined to keep up the constant harassment of the enemy. During May and June 1862, Rebel forces repeatedly thwarted Curtis’s efforts to advance toward his goal of capturing Little Rock and assuming control over the capital city and the Arkansas River and its tributaries. The skirmishes in early June that occurred near the Little Red River—following the most significant action in White County, the Action at Whitney’s Lane—contributed greatly to the abandonment of Curtis’s objective. The Little Red River flows through north-central Arkansas for approximately 100 miles, …

Little River (Northeastern Arkansas)

The Little River starts in the St. Francis Mountains west of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and flows southward through the Mississippi and Morehouse Lowland between Crowley’s Ridge to the west and Sikeston Ridge to the east. After crossing the Missouri-Arkansas state line, it enters the Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Manila (Mississippi County). Running a length of 148 miles, the Little River is a tributary of the St. Francis River, joining it at Marked Tree (Poinsett County). Before the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811–1812, the Little River was a swift, free-flowing stream. In the twenty-first century, it is not much more than a series of stagnant mud holes due to the channeling and ditching of the Little River Drainage District. …

Little River (Southwestern Arkansas)

The Little River rises in the Ouachita Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma, from which point it cuts west and then south before turning in a southeasterly direction and eventually entering Arkansas between Sevier and Little River counties. The river flows through Arkansas for ninety-two of its total 220 miles before emptying into the Red River near Fulton (Hempstead County). The Little River—not to be confused with a waterway of the same name in northeastern Arkansas—is impounded at Millwood Dam; the resulting reservoir, Millwood Lake, spreads across the corners of four southwestern Arkansas counties. One of its tributaries, the Mountain Fork of the Little River, is sometimes called the Mountain Fork River. The Little River has been the site of human habitation …

Little River County

Carved out of parts of Sevier County and Hempstead County, Little River County was established in 1867 by an act of the Arkansas legislature. The new county gave citizens a shorter and easier journey to their county seat of government. Because of the area’s close proximity to the Little River, which flows into the Red River near Texarkana (Miller County), it took the name of Little River County. This county is located in the southwest corner of the state and is surrounded by Sevier, Hempstead, Howard, and Miller counties in Arkansas and by counties in Texas and Oklahoma. The two rivers form major parts of the boundary of Little River County. The land in and around Little River County is …

Little River County Courthouse

The Little River County Courthouse is located on Main Street in the heart of Ashdown (Little River County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant as one of the most impressive county courthouses in Arkansas and as the most prominent structure in Little River County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 26, 1976. After voters moved Little River’s county seat from Rocky Comfort (Little River County) to Ashdown in 1906, the administration of Judge J. B. Arnett oversaw the construction of a new courthouse that began the following year. The county hired architect Sidney Stewart to design the building with the mission to solidify Ashdown’s claim as …

Little River County Race War of 1899

The Little River County Race War occurred in March 1899 in southwestern Arkansas and entailed the murder of at least seven African Americans throughout Little River County. The reported impetus for this race war was the murder of a white planter by a black man, but white fear of “insurrection” on the part of black residents quickly manifested itself into a campaign of violence and terror against African Americans. During the last half of the nineteenth century, lynchings were widespread in Arkansas, especially in the southern part of the state. A number of factors contributed to this racial animus. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the black population of Arkansas increased greatly, mostly due to recruiters who canvassed the …

Little River, Skirmish at

  Throughout the Civil War, dangerous bands of guerrillas roamed throughout Mississippi County, Arkansas, and the adjacent Missouri counties of Dunklin and Pemiscot, terrorizing citizens with looting, murder, and other forms of lawlessness. Due to the rampant activities of these renegades, composed primarily of Confederate deserters and civilian sympathizers, commerce in affected communities came to a standstill. As part of a concerted effort by Union military commanders to suppress these activities, Captain Valentine Preuitt received orders on April 5, 1864, from Major John W. Rabb (Second Missouri Artillery, Commanding at New Madrid, Missouri) to lead a scouting expedition from New Madrid into the aforementioned districts. Departing camp in the early hours of April 6, Capt. Preuitt’s expedition, comprising Companies G, …

Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Little Rock, Arkansas’s capital city, is situated on the south bank of the Arkansas River near the geographic center of the state, making it a natural hub for commerce. In addition, the state’s three major landforms join within the city limits: the foothills that rise northwest to the Ozark Plateau, the Delta lands that extend east to the bank of the Mississippi River, and the rolling plains that stretch southwest into Texas. This confluence makes Little Rock a natural political center. Pre-European Exploration The Arkansas River Valley, including the location of “the little rock,” was claimed by the Quapaw when Europeans first explored the region. The Quapaw, members of a group of Dhegiha-Siouan-speaking tribes which also includes the Osage, resided in …

Little Rock [Geological Formation]

aka: Point of Rocks
The Little Rock is the rock outcropping on the Arkansas River used as a navigation point during the early exploration of what would become the state of Arkansas. The town of Little Rock (Pulaski County) was established near this point. Sometimes called the Point of Rocks, it is the first rock on the Arkansas River as one ascends from the Mississippi. This is where the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains first touch the river, creating a natural plateau above the floodplain. The rock is sandstone deposited originally in a deep marine environment 320–300 million years ago, a part of what geologists call the Jackfork Formation. Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe, one of the earliest European explorers in the region, observed …

Little Rock Air Force Base

The Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB) is located on 6,412 acres of land within the city limits of Jacksonville (Pulaski County). The base is a self-contained community that has contributed greatly to the economy and growth of the area since it became operational in 1955. The LRAFB is the largest C-130 base in the world. In 1951, members of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce learned that the Air Force was considering locating a new base in the central United States but that Congress was not interested in purchasing land for the base because the United States already owned some World War II airfields that could be converted to active bases. Everett Tucker, manager of the Industrial Department …

Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad

The Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) railroad span was organized in November 1853 as the Little Rock and Fort Smith Branch of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company. In 1859, while it was still a company only on paper, the Arkansas General Assembly passed a proposed act allowing the Little Rock and Fort Smith Branch to merge with the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad, forming the Central Pacific Railroad. This merger never happened, but it clearly shows the manipulation of railroad markets in Arkansas. The start of the Civil War in 1861 postponed plans for the proposed Little Rock and Fort Smith Branch. Following the war, in 1866, Congress gave the State of Arkansas ten alternating …

Little Rock Arsenal

In 1836, the same year Arkansas was admitted into the Union, the federal government requested the building of a military installation in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Under Governor James Sevier Conway and Major Robert B. Lee, a site for the Little Rock Arsenal was selected on the outskirts of the city. The site was on a former racetrack used by a local jockey club. Originally, Congress had allotted $14,000 for the arsenal, but the final cost of the building was $30,000. It incorporated timbers from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and stone from the Big Rock on the north side of the Arkansas River across from Little Rock, as well as locally made bricks. At the arsenal’s completion, the Arkansas Gazette …

Little Rock Arsenal, Seizure of the

The seizure of the Little Rock Arsenal was an event during the secession crisis of 1861. The people of Arkansas were contemplating leaving the Union, and armed volunteer companies from around the state took control of the Federal arsenal from soldiers of the U.S. Army. The crisis began in November 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. In response to the prodding of Governor Henry Rector, the Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill on December 22, calling for voters to decide if a state secession convention should be held and, if so, select delegates to attend. The state Senate passed the bill on January 15, 1861, and the election was set for February 18. During …

Little Rock Aviation Supply Depot

During World War I, an air supply depot was constructed at Little Rock (Pulaski County) south of 12th Street near the Little Rock airport. Construction began in 1918 of the complex of structures encompassing fifty-five acres and designed to house up to 500 officers and men. The main warehouse was planned as an exact duplicate of the warehouse at Dayton, Ohio. The depot acted as a distribution point, with raw materials necessary for the function of an air service being gathered and sent to production facilities, while finished products were stored and the parts distributed to flying fields as needed. At one point, approximately 13,000 motors were stored there. Although the depot mainly supplied equipment to flying fields in the …

Little Rock Campaign

aka: Arkansas Expedition
The Little Rock Campaign was a Civil War campaign in which the Union army under Major General Frederick Steele maneuvered Confederate troops under Major General Sterling Price out of the Arkansas capital, thus returning Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Federal control in 1863 and giving the Union effective control of the strategically important Arkansas River Valley. Conditions were right for a Federal campaign to capture Little Rock and add it to the list of Union-controlled capitals of states that had seceded. The July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena had cost Confederate attackers heavy casualties and crippled their morale. The fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on the same day made thousands of Union soldiers available for duty on other fronts. Authorities in …

Little Rock Censor Board

aka: Little Rock Board of Censors
The Little Rock Censor Board operated in Arkansas’s capital city for nearly seventy years trying to regulate forms of entertainment—from literature to movies—to protect citizens from influences perceived to be immoral. As social mores changed and the legality of the board was challenged, it saw its influence diminish, until it quietly disbanded. In the early twentieth century, officials around the country attempted to censor salacious or obscene materials. For example, Memphis’s Board of Censors, created in 1911, was notorious for its harsh rulings, and Maryland established its censor board in 1916, which remained influential until its demise in 198l. The Little Rock Censor Board was created in 1911 by Mayor John S. Odom and the city council in response to …

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Situated at the intersection of Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive (formerly 14th Street) and Park Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service (NPS) since 1998, stands as one of the most significant landmarks of the civil rights movement. In 1957, during the desegregation of Central High School, nine African-American students—the Little Rock Nine—attended classes under federal protection amid internationally publicized protests, violence, and staunch opposition from Governor Orval Faubus and other segregationists. Originally known as Little Rock High School, the building was completed in 1927, replacing the outgrown all-white high school located at 14th and Cumberland streets. Classes for African-Americans were held at Dunbar High …

Little Rock City Hall

Little Rock City Hall is located on the northwestern corner of West Markham and Broadway in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Designed by noted architect Charles L. Thompson, it has been the seat of government for the state’s largest municipality since 1908. Interestingly, the Arkansas Gazette heavily opposed the building’s construction, even suing the city to stop it. The old Little Rock City Hall, constructed in 1867, was located at 120–122 Markham Street, the current location of the Statehouse Convention Center. Twenty years after its construction, the old city hall was in ruins, and calls for a new city hall were voiced. Arkansas Gazette editors wrote at the time, “It is to be noticed too, that our worthy council have not …

Little Rock College

Little Rock College was the second attempt by the Diocese of Little Rock to establish an institution of higher education. Andrew Byrne, Arkansas’s first Roman Catholic prelate, began St. Andrew’s College near Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in 1849, but it closed in 1861 due to the Civil War. John B. Morris, Arkansas’s third Catholic bishop, established Little Rock College using the wealth accumulated by his predecessor, Edward M. Fitzgerald, who died in 1907. Fitzgerald left so much to his successor that, in addition to the college, Morris eventually founded St. Joseph’s Orphanage in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), a diocesan newspaper, and a seminary. Little Rock College opened in September 1908, situated between 25th and 26th streets, and Gaines and State …

Little Rock Confederate Memorial

The Little Rock Confederate Memorial at Oakland-Fraternal Cemetery is a memorial shaft erected in 1914 on the burial site of 900 Confederate soldiers who died of disease while stationed in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Five months after the dedication of the Monument to Confederate Women at the Arkansas State Capitol, the Memorial Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) announced plans to mark the burial site of hundreds of Confederate soldiers adjacent to the Little Rock National Cemetery. The Arkansas Gazette reported on October 26, 1913, that the UDC chapter “is erecting a monument…in the southeast portion of Oakland cemetery….A stone coping encloses the plot of ground, where are buried 900 soldiers, most of whom died in St. …

Little Rock Convention of Colored Citizens (1865)

With only a month remaining in 1865, not long after the Civil War ended, African-American leaders and their white allies and guests met in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The Convention of Colored Citizens of the State of Arkansas met from Thursday, November 30, through Saturday, December 2. Conventions of African Americans, led by free blacks, had been held frequently in cities in the North in the three decades before the outbreak of the Civil War. Continuing in that tradition, the Colored Convention in Little Rock was an organized effort by African Americans in Arkansas to make their commitment to the duties and rights of full citizenship known to white political and economic leaders, even in the state’s uncertain new postwar reality. …

Little Rock Debates on Evolution (1966)

The “Great Evolution Debate,” as it was billed, was held in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on June 28–29, 1966, following a decision by Judge Murray O. Reed on May 27, 1966, which declared that Arkansas’s 1928 law banning the teaching of evolution in Arkansas’s public schools was unconstitutional. A case challenging the right of a state to outlaw the teaching of evolution in public schools had been filed in the Pulaski County Chancery Court, with Little Rock Central High School biology teacher Susan Epperson as the point person. The case was heard in April 1966, leading to the decision by Judge Reed in May. Professor James D. Bales of Harding College (now Harding University) in Searcy (White County) led the …

Little Rock Fire Station No. 9

Little Rock Fire Station No. 9 is a two-story frame building with a brick veneer located at 2023 East Sixth Street in the Garlands Addition of Little Rock (Pulaski County). The fire station was designed by Little Rock architect H. Ray Burks and constructed in 1930 by the C. L. Hardin Construction Company of Little Rock. It was listed on the National Register on September 14, 2020. The Little Rock Fire Station No. 9 is characterized as a blend of Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival architectural elements, with a painted brick exterior, large brick chimneys, and both a steeply pitched gable roof and a gambrel roof with shed dormers, covered in asphalt shingles. The fire station is rectangular, with a …