Recreation and Sports

Entries - Entry Category: Recreation and Sports - Starting with L

Lacewell, Larry Wayne

Larry Wayne Lacewell, the former football coach and athletic director at Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), took his teams to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I-AA playoffs for four straight years, to two Southland Conference championships, and to the 1986 Division I-AA National Championship game. In 1992, he began work as a scout for the Dallas Cowboys professional National Football League (NFL) team. Lacewell is the only coach in the nation to have led college teams to back-to-back championships and been a part of back-to-back NFL Super Bowl wins. Larry Lacewell was born on February 12, 1937, in Fordyce (Dallas County) to Arvel and Eloise Lacewell. He was the second of four children. He attended …

Lake Catherine State Park

Lake Catherine State Park in southwest Arkansas provides access to fishing, water sports, and lakeside recreation while conserving natural features representative of the Ouachita Mountains, such as waterfalls, mountain streams, and rock outcroppings. Three stone-and-wood cabins, a former concessions building, and a bridge located within the park are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as examples of the rustic architecture style used by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which built the park. In August 1935, Harvey Couch, founder of the Arkansas Power and Light Company, donated to the state 2,048 acres of his land along the shore of Lake Catherine. The 1,940-acre lake had been created by Remmel Dam, the state’s first major hydroelectric project, in 1924. …

Lake Charles State Park

When Lake Charles State Park was constructed in the 1960s, it was the first of its kind and size in the nation. It is located in the foothills of the Ozarks near the Black River in Lawrence County and is a very popular family recreation area in northeast Arkansas. Lake Charles was originally planned as a watershed/flood protection project near the Black River in Lawrence County. In 1956, the Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors sponsored an application under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program. When the application was submitted, the sponsors were thinking only of watershed protection on the uplands and flood prevention on the bottomlands. However, before an intensive …

Lake Chicot State Park

Lake Chicot State Park, located near Arkansas’s southeastern corner, provides recreational access to Arkansas’s largest natural lake, Lake Chicot, a twenty-mile-long oxbow created by the Mississippi River hundreds of years ago. Activities at the lake and its environs include fishing and bird watching. Early in the twentieth century, the pure waters of the lake were used untreated by the city of Lake Village (Chicot County). The area became popular for its fishing, boating, and other recreational activities. The forests surrounding the lake served as a rich habitat for wildlife. The lake was polluted by a flood in 1916 and, beginning in 1920, work on the Mississippi River levee polluted it even more. Dredging, increased cultivation around the lake, and the …

Lake Dardanelle State Park

Lake Dardanelle State Park is a popular camping and fishing destination located on the shores of a 34,300-acre man-made reservoir on the Arkansas River near the cities of Russellville (Pope County) and Dardanelle (Yell County). The park combines outdoor recreational opportunities with state-of-the-art facilities, exhibits, and technology. In 1964, construction was completed on the Dardanelle Dam, located near the river crossing between Dardanelle and Russellville. Lake Dardanelle was created in 1965. Construction on the lock and powerhouse was completed in 1969. The dam, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was part of the McClellan-Kerr navigation project that made the Arkansas River navigable to commercial vessels. At the urging of Russellville civic leaders, the Arkansas Publicity and Parks Commission …

Lake Fort Smith State Park

Although it first became a state park in 1967, making it Arkansas’s twenty-third state park, the opening of Lake Fort Smith State Park in the spring of 2008 in a new location with entirely new facilities made it the newest of Arkansas’s state parks. At the park’s official dedication on June 19, 2008, park officials and local leaders celebrated the site that overlooks Lake Fort Smith and that in many ways reproduces the environment of the earlier park. The park was originally developed in the late 1930s as a city recreational park when Crawford County, along with the City of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) decided to utilize Lake Fort Smith as a tourism destination, called the Mountainburg Recreational Facility, as well …

Lake Frierson State Park

Lake Frierson State Park provides a variety of recreational activities on the shores of 335-acre Lake Frierson, which fronts the western slopes of picturesque Crowley’s Ridge in northeast Arkansas. Constructed in the 1970s by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, Lake Frierson is one of ten reservoirs—not all of them state parks—along Crowley’s Ridge managed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism has a lease agreement with the Game and Fish Commission for the park’s 114 acres. The lake was named for Charles Frierson, a Jonesboro (Craighead County) attorney who played a major role in securing the property. Funding for Lake Frierson State Park came from legislative appropriations in 1975, and construction started in …

Lake Ouachita State Park

Lake Ouachita State Park lies within the Ouachita Mountains in west central Arkansas. Bordering Arkansas’s largest man-made lake and the Ouachita National Forest, the park offers camping, swimming, fishing, and many other outdoor opportunities, and it preserves the historic site of Three Sisters Springs. In 1875, homesteader John McFadden claimed that three springs on his property about twelve miles north of Hot Springs (Garland County) possessed healing properties. The springs’ collective name, “Three Sisters,” was reputedly derived from the fact McFadden had three daughters. In 1907, W.M. Cecil and his partners bought the property. Cecil later bought out his partners and began developing McFadden’s Three Sisters Springs Resort. By the mid-1930s, its facilities included cottages, a springhouse, and a bottling …

Lake Poinsett State Park

Arkansas’s twentieth state park, Lake Poinsett, is a fisherman’s haven located off Arkansas Highway 163 in Harrisburg (Poinsett County) in northeast Arkansas. It is one of four state parks located along Crowley’s Ridge in eastern Arkansas. In the 1950s, several residents in the Harrisburg area started volunteer efforts to have a recreational lake built in the county. Spearheaded by a local Rotary Club committee chaired by Richard D. Woods, the planners envisioned a place to fish, picnic, and camp, but it became clear they did not have the funds to construct the type of multi-purpose facility they wanted. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission expressed interest in damming Distress Creek to create a lake, but only when funds became available. …

Lamar Porter Athletic Field

The Lamar Porter Athletic Field has a regulation baseball field featuring a steel-beam-supported, poured-concrete grandstand built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It stands in its original location as the earliest site associated with the Boys’ Club in Little Rock (Pulaski County). It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 1990. The Boys’ Club movement started in 1860 with the founding of the Dashaway Boys’ Club, which provided supervised after-school activities and leadership training for disadvantaged boys in Hartford, Connecticut. Such clubs are nonsectarian in control, leadership, and membership, and are typically located in or near densely populated areas. Membership fees are kept low so that no child will be turned away from lack of …

Lee, Clifton Phifer (Cliff)

Arkansas native Cliff Lee is a major league baseball pitcher. He has pitched in both the National and American Leagues, winning All-Star recognition in both circuits. Clifton Phifer Lee was born on August 30, 1978, in Benton (Saline County) to Steve Lee, who was a firefighter and one-time member of the Benton City Council, and his wife, Sharon Lee. Lee grew up in Benton and graduated from Benton High School in 1997. Following graduation, he was drafted by the Florida Marlins but decided to attend Meridian Community College in Meridian, Mississippi. Drafted in 1998 by the Baltimore Orioles, he again deferred, instead attending the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). The left-handed Lee had one solid season pitching …

Lee, Haeng Ung

Haeng Ung Lee was the founder of the American Taekwondo Association (which later became ATA Martial Arts), headquartered in Little Rock (Pulaski County). ATA has over 300,000 members worldwide, making it the largest organization in North America dedicated to the discipline of taekwondo. Haeng Ung Lee was born on July 20, 1936, in Manchuria in northeastern China. Little is known about his early life, but shortly after World War II, he and his family moved to Korea. He began training in the martial arts in 1953. Lee progressed rapidly, earning his first-degree black belt only a year later. Upon graduating from high school in 1956, Lee joined the Republic of Korea Army, serving as a martial arts instructor for military …

Lepanto Terrapin Derby

The Lepanto Terrapin Derby is a festival that has been held in Lepanto (Poinsett County) every year since 1930. It occurs on the first Saturday in October on Main Street. The Terrapin Derby was the creation of the Willie Lamb Post 26 of the American Legion, which designed it as a fundraiser for its various community projects. It was originally called the Annual American Legion Turtle Derby. Turtle racers were charged an entry fee, and the top three finishers shared in a cash prize. The turtles raced down a sixty-foot course toward a finish line that was lined with slices of watermelon. Delta residents, desperate for a diversion of any kind during the Great Depression, gathered their entrants and flocked …

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 …

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, …

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 Rock Marathon

The Little Rock Marathon, the largest marathon in the state, began in 2003 with 2,527 registered participants and has grown to well over 10,000 runners and walkers as of 2013. It is traditionally held each year on the first Sunday of March. The course begins in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) and runs through the River Market District and Quapaw Quarter District, and then by the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, Little Rock City Hall, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Philander Smith College, Central High School, the Arkansas State Capitol, and Murray Park before reaching the finish line in Riverfront Park. The Little Rock Marathon began in 2003 as a fundraiser for the City of Little Rock’s …

Little Rock Zoo

The Little Rock Zoo is Arkansas’s only public zoo. Since its beginning, the zoo has grown and become a major attraction in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The zoo began in 1926, with only an abandoned timber wolf and a brown bear. Soon after, the Arkansas Democrat began a public campaign for the zoo and bought three buffalo with the funds it had raised. The public donated small animals, while others were donated through the help of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The city bought a lion, and several deer were donated. The zoo was then part of the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department. In 1928, the city hired a carnival, and the zoo received the proceeds of its …

Logoly State Park

Logoly State Park in southwestern Arkansas was the state’s first environmental education park. At Logoly, interpreters present workshops on ecological and environmental topics, and the park’s natural resources provide a living laboratory for students and nature lovers alike. The area surrounding Logoly State Park has been the scene of human activity since it was inhabited by Native Americans, whose artifacts have been found in the park. Because mature timber stands cover most of the park, the few artifacts found have been along the trails or water-washed areas. No detailed archaeological surveys have been done to locate any possible village sites. During the late 1800s, a collection of springs in an area called Magnesia Springs was used by the early settlers …

Lollar, John Sherman Jr.

Sherman Lollar was a major league baseball player who was considered one of the best catchers in baseball during the 1950s. However, despite being a seven-time All-Star, his accomplishments, including winning the American League Gold Glove award the first three years it was given, were sometimes overshadowed by other players, such as New York Yankee Yogi Berra. John Sherman Lollar Jr. was born on August 23, 1924, in Durham (Washington County) to John Lollar and Ruby Springfield Lollar. When he was three years old, the family moved to Fayetteville (Washington County), and his parents opened a grocery store. Lollar’s father died suddenly during surgery when Lollar was eight. His mother sold the grocery store and supported her young family by …

Long III, Dallas Cutcher

Dallas Long, born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), is an Olympic gold and bronze medalist who was consistently ranked as one of the top shot put competitors in the world. Dallas Crutcher LongIIIwas born on June 13, 1940, in Pine Bluff, the son of Dallas Long Jr. and Connie Long. Raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where his father practiced medicine, he played football and threw the shot put at Northern Phoenix High School. As a high school senior in 1958, Long established a national high school record of 21.10 meters in the twelve-pound (5.44 kilograms) shot put, and tossed the sixteen-pound (7.26 kilograms) shot put 18.60 meters. At the Amateur Athletics Union (AAU) national track and field championships, he finished second to …

Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park

Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park conserves a rare headwater swamp, located on Little Cypress Creek, and a granite monument standing in the swamp’s interior. The monument marks the “initial point” established during an original survey of lands added to the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. The monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 23, 1972, and on April 19, 1993, the National Park Service designated the point a National Historic Landmark. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 more than doubled the size of the United States and brought all the territory that would become Arkansas under U.S. ownership. In 1815, President James Madison ordered a survey to establish a system for distributing …

Lower White River Museum State Park

The Lower White River Museum State Park is located in Des Arc (Prairie County), which is in the northeast corner of the central part of the state. The museum tells the story of the White River, specifically the Lower White River, and its dramatic and important role in Arkansas history. As pioneers and early settlers migrated west, the White River served as a primary transportation route, and that river travel expanded the settlement and economic opportunities in the region. The town of Des Arc, where the state park is located and which was the focus of the original museum, owes its very existence to the White River, as do many other old river towns that line its banks. Steamboats also …