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Dassault Falcon Jet

aka: Falcon Jet
The Dassault Falcon Jet Corporation is one of Arkansas’s largest private employers and is largely responsible for the state ranking eleventh in the nation in annual aviation exports. The company’s Little Rock (Pulaski County) site houses both completion and service centers for Dassault Aviation, Dassault Falcon Jet’s parent company based in Paris, France. Falcon jets are manufactured in France and then flown into the Little Rock site at Adams Field near the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport for painting of exteriors and installation of optional avionics and custom interiors. In 1971, FedEx founder Fred Smith purchased a company called Arkansas Aviation Sales that was located at the site of the current completion center. Smith acquired the company Little Rock …

De Queen Bee

The De Queen Bee was established by printer Walter A. Boyd and lawyer J. W. Bishop of Nashville (Howard County). The newspaper has been serving De Queen (Sevier County) and the surrounding areas since June 4, 1897. Some sources report that the partnership began when Boyd and Bishop were sitting on the courthouse steps in Nashville discussing the future of the developing railroad town of De Queen. Seeing the new town as an opportunity, they decided to start a newspaper, naming it the De Queen Bee. A subscription was one dollar a year, with the paper being published every Friday. The partnership lasted for only three issues before the paper was sold to E. C. Winford. Leadership of the paper …

Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company

Founded in 1871, the Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company, located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is a family-owned operation specializing in catalog and magazine printing. The company grew out of a newspaper department to its own industrial facility employing up to 200. The Arkansas Democrat established the Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company as part of the newspaper’s printing division in 1871. In 1906, Democrat Printing separated from the Arkansas Democrat when the newspaper divided its assets. For the next forty years, the company primarily offered printing services using a sheet-fed printer. By 1924, the company needed its own building for its growing business. Hiring the Sanders and Ginocchio architectural firm, the company built a three-story building, totaling 61,436 square feet, …

Diamond Bear Brewery

Diamond Bear Brewery in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) revived beer brewing in the state of Arkansas. Its name is derived from two previous monikers used by Arkansas: the “Diamond State” and the “Bear State.” Russ Melton, president and chief executive officer of Diamond Bear, served in the military in Germany for four years, where he acquired a taste for fine beers. He and his wife, Sue Melton, came up with the concept of a local brewery in 1999 and, along with seven other owners, started production in the fall of 2000 at a Little Rock (Pulaski County) facility. The mission statement of the company is: “To provide the people of Arkansas and the surrounding region with their own local brewery, which produces great …

Dierks Forests, Inc.

Arkansas-based Dierks Forests, Inc.—which amassed holdings of 1.75 million acres of timberland—was one of the largest family-owned landholding entities in the United States until its sale to Weyerhaeuser Company in 1969. Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline counties) was created in 1970 on landholdings from the Dierks company. After arriving in the United States, German immigrant Peter Henry Dierks (1824–1908) became a successful farmer and businessman in eastern Iowa, just north of Clinton. He and his wife, Margaretha Tauk Dierks, were the parents of Hans (1850–1929), John (1852–1924), Henry (1860–1895), Herman (1863–1946), and Peter (1867–1906), as well as three daughters. In 1880, Hans Dierks joined his brother John and another partner to develop a successful retail lumber business in seven …

Dillard’s, Inc.

Dillard’s, Inc., based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is ranked among the nation’s largest fashion apparel, cosmetics, and home furnishings retailers, employing more than 53,000 people across the country. The mid-range-to-upscale department store chain consists of approximately 300 stores throughout twenty-nine states in the South, Southwest, West, and Midwest. Today, Dillard’s stores serve as retail anchors in many suburban shopping malls and continue to evolve with the changing landscape of American consumerism. Born in 1914, Dillard’s founder William T. Dillard grew up in the retail business of his father’s mercantile store in Mineral Springs (Howard County). After his graduation from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1935, followed by a graduate degree from the School of Business at …

Dryden Pottery

Dryden Pottery was founded in Kansas by A. James Dryden, who relocated his business to Hot Springs (Garland County) in 1956. Dryden Pottery has become collectible and has been listed in Schroeder’s Antique Guide for many years. Dryden, the son of a successful hardware merchant in Ellsworth, Kansas, grew up working in his father’s store. After serving during World War II in the South Pacific, he returned to Ellsworth and needed a job. He had always had an interest in art with a special aptitude for cartooning, but his attempts at cartooning for publication were not going to support his family. A chance meeting on the streets of Ellsworth with nationally known ceramicist Norman Plumber presented Dryden with an idea …

E. Ritter & Company

E. Ritter & Company is one of the most successful and long-lasting family-owned businesses in the state. Headquartered in Marked Tree (Poinsett County), the privately held corporation is the parent company of Ritter Communications and Ritter Agribusiness. Though incorporated in 1906, the business was actually founded in 1889 by Ernest Herman Ritter Jr. The original business entity was a general merchandise store located in what was then a semi-permanent sawmill community. As opportunity arose, Ritter moved into other ventures, such as road and bridge building; timber cutting and milling; fish and game shipping; and the ice business. Interested in technology, Ritter installed a small electrical plant to run his ice business. He then hooked the rest of the company businesses, …

Fitzhugh Snapp Company

Located six miles north of Augusta (Woodruff County) at the junction of County Roads 140 and 165, the Fitzhugh Snapp Company at Fitzhugh (Woodruff County) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 for its significance in two areas of merit: the general store’s important association with agriculture in Woodruff County and the building’s distinctive representation of twentieth-century commercial architecture. The Fitzhugh store was an integral part of an agricultural community that revolved around cotton production in the northeastern Arkansas Delta from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Rufus K. Fitzhugh and J. Harrison Snapp built the original wooden mercantile store in Fitzhugh, probably in the mid-to-late 1890s. Although its exact date of construction is not …

Flint Creek Power Plant

The Flint Creek Power Plant, located near Gentry (Benton County) and operated by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), is one of four coal-fired power plants in Arkansas. On April 9, 1974, SWEPCO and the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) jointly filed an application with the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) to build and operate a single-unit coal-fired power plant and related facilities in western Benton County near Gentry, close to the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line. SWEPCO would build and operate the plant. This application was the second request to build a major coal-fired generating plant in Arkansas filed within the first year after the Arkansas General Assembly adopted a law known as the Utility Facility Environmental Protection Act. The first request, …

Franke’s Cafeteria

Franke’s Cafeteria was established by C. A. Franke in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1924. It was widely recognized as a culinary institution in the city and was one of the oldest restaurants in Arkansas before its closure in 2020. After leaving the military, C. A. Franke opened a doughnut shop in 1919 on West Capitol Avenue and then a bakery at 111 West 3rd Street in 1922. After determining that bakeries would soon spread and start competing with his own, he sold the bakery to Safeway and switched to the cafeteria business. He opened the first Franke’s Cafeteria in 1924 at 115 West Capitol. Starting in the 1920s, the cafeteria saw four generations of Franke family members take the …

Fulbright Industries

Fulbright Industries was a furniture manufacturing business in Fayetteville (Washington County) owned and operated by the local Fulbright family. In the early 1950s, Fulbright Industries produced distinctive modern furniture designed by a native of Fayetteville, the internationally renowned architect Edward Durell Stone. Fulbright Industries was an outgrowth of Phipps Lumber Company, also in Fayetteville and owned by the Fulbright family since 1920. U.S. senator J. William Fulbright, scion of the Fulbright family, served as Phipps’s president. Phipps manufactured farm implements, including wooden plow handles and other tool components. In 1941, the Fulbrights purchased Springfield Wagon Company and subsequently moved the operation to Fayetteville, broadening the family’s manufacturing capabilities. As demand for wagons plummeted following World War II, production dwindled at …

George Klein Tourist Court Historic District

aka: Klein Center
aka: Racheau Center
aka: Green Elf Court
The George Klein Tourist Court Historic District at 501 Morrison Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County) is a well-preserved example of Craftsman-style roadside lodging. Built by 1939 as a tourist court and apartments consisting of seven bungalows around an octagonal two-story office building, it later became the Green Elf Court Apartments. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 8, 1993. Hot Springs was an established resort town before the Civil War because of the widespread belief that the hot springs had medicinal qualities. The first bathhouses predated the federal government reserving the land around the springs in 1832. Access to the area increased over time, first via a narrow-gauge railway from Malvern (Hot Spring …

German National Bank

From its opening in 1875 to its closing in 1930, the German National Bank (under a variety of names) was considered a financial pillar of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and central Arkansas. Saluted by the Arkansas Gazette as the “leading bank of the state” in 1876, it grew to become the largest bank in the state, largely through bank consolidations in the first quarter of the twentieth century. In early 1875, the German Savings Bank was organized by Charles Penzel. A prominent financier, Penzel came to the United States from Bohemia in 1857 and served as the bank’s first president. The business and fixtures of the bank were purchased from George Brodie and Sons, which had gone out of business …

Goodwill Industries of Arkansas

Goodwill Industries of Arkansas is a not-for-profit enterprise agency that brings work to low-income individuals who otherwise face significant barriers to employment, including generational poverty and dependence on public aid, physical or mental disabilities, homelessness, periods of incarceration, substance abuse, or long-term unemployment. Goodwill Industries serves Arkansans with a host of rehabilitation services, career services centers, retail stores, and attended donation stations throughout the state. Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902 in the South End of Boston, Massachusetts, by Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister, who believed that all people should have the opportunity to work without regard to race, disability, or criminal history. Helms’s philosophy, summarized in the phrase “Not charity, but a chance,” expanded into a worldwide network …

Grapette International, Inc.

Grapette soda was developed by Benjamin Tyndle Fooks in Camden (Ouachita County) in 1939. Once one of the bestselling non-cola soft drinks in the United States, Grapette virtually disappeared from the marketplace for most of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s after being bought by a leading competitor. As the twenty-first century began, Grapette International in Malvern (Hot Spring County), the last remaining subsidiary of Fooks’s Grapette Company, re-acquired the Grapette and Orangette trademarks, reuniting the original flavors with the brand names. Currently Grapette, Orangette, and two other flavors made by Grapette International are distributed nationwide exclusively in Walmart Inc. stores as part of their store brand line of soft drinks. Fooks bought a soft-drink bottling plant in Camden in 1926 …

Great Southern Hotel

The Great Southern Hotel, also known as the Rusher Hotel or Hotel Rusher, is a historic hotel building at 127 West Cedar Street near the town square in Brinkley (Monroe County), about seventy miles west of Memphis, Tennessee. Brinkley was an important railroad town in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The three-story brick building was constructed in 1915 to serve as Brinkley’s Union Station. Its main entrance originally faced the railway tracks but was reoriented to a street façade after the decline of the railroad. The Great Southern Hotel building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 18, 1986. The building is part of Brinkley’s Lick Skillet Railroad Work Station Historic District, which itself …

Griffin Auto Company Building

The Griffin Auto Company building was considered the finest car dealership building in the city of El Dorado (Union County) when it opened in 1928. The building exemplifies the architectural transition from the traditional storefront showrooms to super service stations. The Murphy Arts District (MAD) purchased the Griffin building in 2012, restoring and converting it into a farm-to-table restaurant and music venue. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 25, 2001, and included in the El Dorado Commercial Historic District on August 21, 2003, the Griffin Auto Company Building is located at 117 E. Locust, two blocks from El Dorado’s courthouse square. Its boxy, symmetrical massing was originally divided into three sections: a filling station, a showroom, …

Group, The

The Group, Inc., is an intentional community (or commune) that was established at two locations in rural Arkansas before relocating to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the mid-1970s. In Little Rock, they established a number of successful businesses, including the Internet service provider Aristotle, Inc. In 1964, a group of high school students from Odessa, Texas, formed a musical group named after their leader, Dixon Bowles. They grew in popularity, practicing and playing around Texas. Later, in Hollywood, they met with Dan Blocker, the actor who played Hoss in the television show Bonanza. In 1966, Blocker, who was originally from Odessa and knew of the group, let them use his name. Living in Hollywood, the Dan Blocker Singers became popular …

Harps Food Stores Inc.

Harps Food Stores Inc. is a regional chain of employee-owned grocery stores based in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties). The corporation has grown to eighty stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri since its founding in 1930. Founder Harvard Harp had spent years picking produce in California before returning home to Arkansas. In 1930, during the Great Depression, he took his $500 life savings (approximately $7,100 in 2015 dollars) and with his wife, Floy, opened Harps (or Harp’s) Cash Grocery in Springdale. The store slowly became popular in the community. The store was a family business. All four of Harvard and Floy Harp’s children (Donald, Reland, Gerald, and Judy Harp) worked at the store as they grew up. After Donald Harp’s …

Hornibrook House

aka: Empress of Little Rock
The Hornibrook House, constructed in 1888, is one of the finest examples of ornate Victorian architecture in the state. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 30, 1974. In 1867, James H. Hornibrook and his wife, Margaret McCulley Hornibrook, moved from Toronto, Canada, to Little Rock (Pulaski County). Upon his arrival in Little Rock, Hornibrook entered a partnership with Miles Q. Townsend in a liquor sales and saloon business that flourished for twenty-two years. After Hornibrook’s financial success, he wished to build a home for his family that was worthy of his accomplishments. The lavish home took approximately seven years to construct. It was completed in 1888 at a reported cost of $20,000. Designed by …

Hotel Pines

The Hotel Pines, located at the northwest corner of Main Street and West 5th Avenue in downtown Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), was conceived and built to attract more business to the section of Main Street that lies to the south of the city’s railroad tracks. As such, it provides a glimpse at one effort to alter a city’s main business and shopping area in the early twentieth century. This classically designed hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 10, 1979. Since the area north of the tracks was a thriving commercial area, the city’s Main Street property owners believed that the presence of a modern hotel would lure business south of the tracks. Many of …

Humphreys’ Dairy Farm

Humphreys’ Dairy Farm started in 1911 in Hot Springs (Garland County) with two cows and several acres. As the farm and family grew, so did the importance of the dairy farm to Hot Springs and surrounding towns. As an early adopter of homogenization and pasteurization, the dairy led in innovations that transformed the dairy industry. Humphreys’ Dairy Farm, which closed in the 1990s, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. Harris Humphreys founded Humphreys’ Dairy Farm in 1911. He was born in Arkadelphia (Clark County) in 1878 and attended Ouachita College (now Ouachita Baptist University). After moving to Hot Springs in 1909, he began buying land and clearing it for farming. The extant farmhouse was built …

Hyten, Charles Dean

Charles Dean “Bullet” Hyten was a master potter and the originator of the famous Niloak Pottery. Although he was not the first pottery maker in Saline County, his patented swirl technique and use of locally sourced clay gave his pottery a unique look. Because Hyten’s pottery-making process was a trade secret, his creations became valuable historic artifacts. Charles Hyten was born in Benton (Saline County) on March 14, 1877, to John F. Hyten and Hattie E. Brown Hyten. His father, a potter by trade, had moved the family to Benton around 1876. There, he opened a pottery business and continued working until his death in 1881 following an illness. Hattie Hyten, widowed with four children, married Frank Woosley, who had …

I. F. Anderson Farms

aka: I. F. Anderson Minnow Farms
aka: Anderson Minnow Farm
aka: Anderson’s Minnow Farm
I. F. Anderson’s Farms, Inc., is located just west of Lonoke (Lonoke County). The farm includes about 322 kilometers (200 miles) of levees that impound 3,400 acres of ponds accessed via a “checkerboard” pattern of levee roads. It boasts as the world’s largest minnow (baitfish) farm, providing a bounty of golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucus). As the premier fish farm in the nation, it produces over one billion shiners each year. The I. F. (Fay) Anderson family initially dug and stocked its first farm ponds in Lonoke in 1949. James Neal Anderson and his son Jamie Anderson are fourth-generation owners. The 11,000-square-foot hatchery facility is capable of producing over one billion fry per season and can accommodate five million pounds of …

IC Corporation

aka: Inc. Ward Transportation Services
IC Corporation, formerly Ward Transportation Services, Inc., is a school bus manufacturer that started up in Conway (Faulkner County). In 2008, the company had a sixty-two-percent share of the North American school bus market. The company has often been technologically innovative and, in 1936, was the first to produce a steel-bodied school bus. IC Corporation also offers hybrid technology in its buses. IC Corporation was founded in 1933 by blacksmith David H. Ward as Ward Body Works, a company that originally made school bus bodies from wood. The name was later changed to Ward School Bus Manufacturing, Inc., a subsidiary of Ward Industries, Inc., and then to Ward Bus Company. In 1968, the company was handed over to Ward’s son …

Independence Steam Electric Station

The Independence Steam Electric Station (ISES) is a coal-fired electric-energy-generating plant consisting of two units nameplate-rated at 850 megawatts (MW). Located near Newark (Independence County), the units—constructed by Arkansas Power and Light Company (AP&L, now Entergy Arkansas)—were launched into service in 1983 and 1984 following vigorous litigation before the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) in 1978. The ISES plant burns Powder River Basin low-sulfur coal transported to Arkansas from the Antelope Coal Mine in Wyoming by rail in cars owned by Entergy. ISES—originally proposed by AP&L, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC), and City Water and Light (CWL) of Jonesboro (Craighead County), and now also co-owned or leased by several other Arkansas municipal utilities—operates in coordination with other generating plants within …

Information Galore

aka: Infogo
Information Galore, Inc., (a.k.a. Infogo) of El Dorado (Union County) was the first commercial Internet service provider (ISP) in Arkansas. Although the company was short-lived, it had a notable impact upon economic and educational initiatives in southern Arkansas, as well as parts of Texas and Louisiana. Infogo was founded by six individuals. John Gray was a world-famous geologist who was appointed to serve on the Arkansas Geological Commission (now Arkansas Geological Survey) several times by Governor Bill Clinton and who did work for the United Nations. Gray, along with Watt McKinney, Leon Wood, William L. (Billy) Cook, and Robert McKinney each invested $5,000. Joe Brazeal was a board member of ARKnet, the state’s educational computer network, and provided technical expertise …

J. B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.

J. B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., based in Lowell (Benton County), is Arkansas’s largest trucking company and one of the largest transportation logistics providers in North America, acting as the agent for the companies whose goods they are shipping. This Arkansas-based company employs 14,667 people and operates 9,688 tractors and 24,576 trailers, with annual revenues exceeding $3.7 billion. Company founder Johnnie Bryan Hunt was born in 1927 in rural Cleburne County and left school after the seventh grade to work in his uncle’s sawmill. He spent his early adult life working jobs that ranged from picking cotton to selling lumber to driving a truck and eventually to serving in the Army. After returning from the Army in 1947, Hunt’s first business venture …

Jeffress/Phillips Music Company

The Jeffress/Phillips Music Company, located in Crossett (Ashley County), is one of the five remaining seven-shape gospel publishing companies in the United States and is the sole seven-shape gospel publisher in the state of Arkansas. While known best as a rural tradition, shape notes, sometimes referred to as character or patent notes, are visual cues that act as points of reference, creating a unique notational style composed of geometric figures. This teaching mechanism led to the development of a rich and varied canon of American folk hymnody notated and practiced in shape notes, of which seven-shape gospel music comprises one specific tradition. Successor to the Jeffress Music Company, Jeffress/Phillips Music is a family-run operation. William Nolin Jeffress, founder of the …

Jones Bar-B-Q Diner

Jones Bar-B-Q Diner, a nationally known eatery in Marianna (Lee County), is perhaps the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Arkansas, as well as perhaps the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the South owned by a black family. In addition, it is the state’s first recipient of the James Beard Award, which many in the food community consider one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a chef or restaurant. Jones Bar-B-Q Diner has drawn barbecue enthusiasts from around the world while maintaining its important position in this rural Arkansas community. No one is sure when the restaurant first opened, but multiple generations of the Jones family have manned the pits. Some version of the diner has been serving …

Jones Truck Lines

Jones Truck Lines was a catalyst for change and growth in Springdale (Washington County). Established in 1918 by businessman Harvey Jones, the company made Springdale a regional center for the transportation of goods. In 1918, Harvey Jones began hauling dry freight for individuals and businesses. Originally, he hauled hardware and groceries from Springdale to Rogers (Benton County) and Fayetteville (Washington County) with two mules and a wagon. Local business owners quickly discovered that they could place an order one day and have it delivered the next. Jones sold his mules and wagon in 1919 and bought his first truck. When the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad (M&NA) went on strike in 1920, Jones began hauling freight between Seligman, Missouri, and …

Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern Railroad

The Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern Railroad (JLC&E) was chartered in 1897 and operated in northeastern Arkansas until being sold to the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway Co. (SLSF), better known as the Frisco, in 1925. The company provided a vital service to the people of the region for over twenty-five years and was crucial to the area’s development. Although there were several railroad lines in northeastern Arkansas by the 1880s, they had not ventured into the sunken lands created by the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811–1812. However, the expanding timber business demanded a better way to transport its product to sawmills. In the East Bottoms of northeastern Arkansas before 1895, the logs were conveyed by oxen pulling broad-wheeled wagons along …

K. Hall and Sons

K. Hall and Sons is a longstanding black-owned business on Wright Avenue in the Central High School Neighborhood Historic District of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Originally founded as a produce store, it now also encompasses a restaurant and a wholesale food distribution business. The Hall family was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016. K. Hall and Sons was founded by Knoxie Hall Sr. and Estella Marie Crenshaw Hall. Knoxie Hall was born on September 13, 1924, while Estella Hall was born on November 24, 1927. They married on December 16, 1944, and went on to have seven children. Knoxie Hall owned and operated several different businesses, including a carwash and detail business and a farm. His experience operating …

Kansas City and Memphis Railway

  The Kansas City and Memphis Railway Company (KC&M) at its brief peak in 1914 was the largest non-Frisco (St. Louis–San Francisco Railway) railroad in northwestern Arkansas, with 63.97 miles of standard gauge track. The railroad, based in Rogers (Benton County), was formed in 1910. It absorbed the Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad, which ran from Rogers to Siloam Springs (Benton County), and the Monte Ne Railway, which ran from Monte Ne (Benton County) to Lowell (Benton County), in 1911. The business plan projected a western terminus of Wagoner, Oklahoma, and an eastern extension that would serve Huntsville (Madison County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) en route to Memphis, Tennessee. The railroad was backed by prominent Rogers banker William R. …

Klipsch Group, Inc.

Klipsch Group, Inc., of Hope (Hempstead County), formerly Klipsch and Associates and later Klipsch Audio Technologies, is one of the leading loudspeaker companies in the United States and a world leader in premium-quality audio products. The company’s official motto, “A Legend in Sound,” has also been applied to its founder, Indiana native Paul Klipsch, who was eulogized as “a great inventor, engineer, scientist, pilot and legendary eccentric.” Holding patents in acoustics, ballistics, and geophysics, Klipsch had a revolutionary vision for audio design and founded the company that bears his name in 1946. As a boy, he enjoyed music and was fascinated with sound, although he was not satisfied with the sound of recorded music. At age fifteen, he built a …

Kream Kastle

The Kream Kastle is a family owned and operated restaurant located at 112 North Division Street in Blytheville (Mississippi County). It has achieved a regional and state reputation for both its food and for its history as a central meeting place in the Blytheville community and as part of the larger Delta culture. A son of first-generation Lebanese and Syrian immigrants, Steven Johns started the business in July 1952 in a small building with window service only. In its early days, the Kream Kastle was a high-volume/low-overhead hot dog stand. As the menu expanded, so did its transition to a full-fledged drive-in. Before outdoor speakers, Johns employed car hops who wore white uniforms in all weather. Later, covered parking and …

Kruse Gold Mine

William (Will) Henry Kruse (1860–1925) sought gold ore deposits in Rogers (Benton County) on his father’s eighty-acre farm. His hunt for the precious metal was triggered neither by scientific nor geological verification but rather inspired by psychic revelations he combined with automatic writings pointing him to a precise site where he believed wholeheartedly that he would find enough gold to end world misery. To this end, he established Kruse Gold Mine and spent the remainder of his life trying to fulfill the renderings of his visualizations. Will Kruse was born in Ohio, though his family moved to Le Sueur, Minnesota, the following year. In 1883, his father, Henry Kruse, purchased an eighty-acre tract in Rogers, eventually moving there in the …

Lafayette Hotel

aka: Lafayette Building
The Lafayette Hotel in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) opened in 1925 and was one of the state’s best-known hotels until its closure in 1973. Now known as the Lafayette Building, it houses offices and condominiums. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 30, 1982. Little Rock was experiencing solid growth during the 1920s, and an entity known as the Little Rock Hotel Co. decided to capitalize on that growth with a new hotel. A. D. Gates of St. Louis, Missouri, was the company president, and John Boyle of Little Rock was the vice president. The ten-story structure, which has a full basement, was designed by St. Louis architect George Barnett. The Lafayette opened on …

Lassis Inn

Lassis Inn is a catfish restaurant located at 518 East 27th Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), founded in about 1905 by Joe and Molassis Watson. Its first known advertising listing was in the Arkansas Gazette in 1931. Originally, Joe Watson sold sandwiches out of the back of the Watson home, and when he later added catfish to the menu, sales rapidly increased. Eventually constructing a separate building for their food business, the Watsons relocated the building in 1931 to its current location, moving it a short distance once in the 1960s to accommodate the construction of Interstate 30 near Roosevelt Road. They had apparently intended to call the establishment the Watson Inn but decided on the derivative of Molassis …

Lee Wilson & Company

Lee Wilson & Company, a diversified agribusiness headquartered in Wilson (Mississippi County), was founded by Robert E. Lee Wilson in 1885 and remained family owned and operated for approximately 125 years. Robert E. Lee Wilson was born in 1865 in Mississippi County but moved with his mother to Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of seven after the sudden death of his father. He was orphaned at the age of thirteen when his mother died in a yellow fever epidemic; he was sent to live with an uncle. While attending school in Covington, Tennessee, he was introduced to land surveying and, through this, developed an eye for land. Wilson returned to Arkansas at the age of fifteen and worked as a …

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 …

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 …

Lost Forty Brewing

Located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Lost Forty Brewery was founded in 2014 by John Beachboard, Scott McGehee, Albert Braunfisch, and Russ McDonough. The micro-brewery takes its name from a forty-acre forest in Calhoun County known by locals as the “Lost Forty.” The forest’s virgin hardwood and pine trees are owned by the Potlach Corporation. In 1996, the Potlatch Corporation and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) entered a forty-year cooperative to conserve the forest. Lost Forty Brewery began raising funds for the initiative as well as other ANHC conservation and protection initiatives by forming a new non-profit, the Lost Forty Project Foundation, in partnership with the ANHC. In January 2014, Brewer, Beachboard, McDonough, and McGehee of the Yellow …

Lynwood Tourist Court Historic District

The Lynwood Tourist Court Historic District is a motel/apartment building and office located in Hot Springs (Garland County). Constructed in 1944, the property was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004. The district is located at 857 Park Avenue and is one of a number of motels and tourist courts that were constructed in the area between the 1920s and 1950s. Travelers took advantage of newly constructed highways to visit the thermal springs and other tourist attractions in Hot Springs, prompting many related businesses to open in the area. The lower-cost options offered by these establishments made them popular with many travelers. The court was constructed as the Lynwood Tourist Court in 1944 and owned …

M. M. Cohn

The M. M. Cohn Company was a regional department store chain based in Little Rock (Pulaski County) with stores in Arkansas and adjacent states. It was family owned and operated from its opening in 1874 until 1989, when the company was sold to a regional chain based in Texas. All M. M. Cohn stores closed in 2007, however, as a result of the liquidation of the new owner. The titular M. M. Cohn was originally named Kaminski or Kuhn and was born in Krakow, Poland, around 1845. He later changed his name to Mark Mathias Cohn. Cohn had lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, before moving to Arkansas and opening a store in 1874 in Arkadelphia (Clark County). He relocated to Little …

Majestic Hotel

The Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs (Garland County) was known as one of the most famous hotels in the South. For more than a century, the five-acre complex anchored the intersection of the main thoroughfares, Park and Central avenues, at the north end of Bathhouse Row in historic downtown Hot Springs. After numerous sales and a disastrous fire in February 2014, the fate of the Majestic property was uncertain. In 2016, it was decided that it would be demolished. Originally named the Avenue Hotel, the Majestic was built in 1882 on the site of the old Hiram Whittington House. The Avenue Hotel was notable for its amenities such as streetcar service to transport guests to and from the bath houses …

Marion Hotel

aka: Hotel Marion
The Marion Hotel (also known as the Hotel Marion) in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) was one of the most famous businesses in Arkansas for much of the twentieth century. Construction began on the hotel in 1905. The Marion was the tallest structure in the state from when it opened in 1907 until 1911. The hotel closed in early 1980 and was demolished to make way for the Excelsior Hotel (which later became the Peabody and then the Marriott) and the Statehouse Convention Center. The Marion Hotel was built by Herman Kahn, who moved to Little Rock from Frankfurt, Germany, in 1870. (Kahn’s great-grandson, Jimmy Moses, has been the driving force behind many of the developments in downtown Little Rock …

McClard’s Bar-B-Q

McClard’s Bar-B-Q is a restaurant located at 505 Albert Pike in Hot Springs (Garland County)which achieved national recognition not only for its food but also for the prominent political figures who visit the restaurant and extol its virtues, including former president Bill Clinton. Alex and Gladys McClard owned the Westside Tourist Court in Hot Springs in the 1920s, which was located west of the current restaurant’s location on Albert Pike. According to the official history of the restaurant, a destitute traveler could not pay the $10 he owed for his two-month stay at the tourist court. The traveler asked the McClards to accept a recipe for what he called “the world’s greatest bar-b-que sauce” in lieu of payment for the …

McDonald-Wait-Newton House

aka: Packet House
aka: 1836 Club
The McDonald-Wait-Newton House, also commonly referred to as the Packet House, is located in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The nineteenth-century house is a good example of the Second Empire architectural style and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places due primarily to its architectural significance. When the Packet House was constructed, its address was 1406 Lincoln Avenue; the road name was later changed to Cantrell. The people who built in the area had some association to the North; either they supported the North during the Civil War, or they moved south during Reconstruction, leading to the nickname of “Carpetbagger’s Row” for the homes along the road. According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form, “The Packet …