Entries - Entry Category: Recreation - Starting with M

MacArthur Park

The thirty-six-acre MacArthur Park is the oldest municipal park in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Located at 9th Street and McAlmont Street across the street from the St. Edward Catholic Church and just west of Interstate 30, it includes the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts and the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. The park and its surrounding area have been designated the MacArthur Park Historic District. In many ways, the park preserves the history of the city of Little Rock and the state of Arkansas, as well as providing recreational opportunities for citizens of Little Rock and visitors to the city. The first known use of the land that would become MacArthur Park was as a horse racetrack in the 1830s. In …

Malvern Brickfest

The Malvern Brickfest commemorates the importance of bricks to the history of the city of Malvern (Hot Spring County). Abundant clay in the vicinity makes it a prime location for brick production, and, since 1887, the industry has played a leading role in the area’s economic development. Beginning in 1981, Malvern has recognized and celebrated that fact with a community festival each summer. In 1980, three brick companies were manufacturing in the city and nearby Perla (Hot Spring County), with Acme Brick Company having just upgraded its operation by opening a new plant in Malvern. At that time, the Malvern/Hot Spring County Chamber of Commerce declared the city to be the “Brick Capital of the World,” and, the following year, …

Mammoth Spring State Park

Mammoth Spring State Park preserves the state’s largest natural spring—and one of the largest in the world. Approximately nine million gallons of water flow through the spring hourly. The spectacular stream of cold water is the chief source of the Spring River, a fishing and canoeing stream that is popular year-round because of its dependable flow. The park also preserves a fully restored nineteenth-century railroad depot. Native Americans, particularly the Osage, inhabited the Mammoth Spring area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans; unfortunately there are few archaeological sites in the area. Recorded local history dates to the early 1800s, when settlers called the spring “Head of the River.” In 1850, geologist David Dale Owen examined the spring …

Marks’ Mills State Park

Location: Cleveland County Size: 6.2 acres Marks Mills’ State Park, in Cleveland County on the old Camden-Pine Bluff Road, commemorates a Civil War action that was part of the Camden Expedition of General Frederick Steele. The park contains interpretive exhibits and a picnic area. The park is named for John H. Marks, who in 1834 constructed a sawmill and flour mill at this location. The mills were still operating during the Civil War, making them landmarks for both Union and Confederate troops. In March 1864, General Steele led approximately 14,000 soldiers out of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to join in the Union army’s Red River Campaign. The goal of this campaign was to join General Nathaniel Banks’s troops in northern …

Memphis-Arkansas Speedway

During a four-year span in the 1950s, the Memphis-Arkansas Speedway located near Lehi (Crittenden County) was the longest racetrack and one of the fastest racetracks on the NASCAR circuit. Only Darlington Speedway in South Carolina and the beach course in Daytona, Florida, saw speeds exceeding the Arkansas speedway’s. In the twenty-first century, approximately a third of premier NASCAR races are run on 1.5 mile, oval tracks; the Memphis-Arkansas Speedway was the first of this kind of track. The paper clip–shaped track, one and half miles in length, was made up of 550-foot-radius, high-banked turns, connected by 2,500-foot straights. “I remember going there a long time ago. We raced there in the summer and I went with Daddy,” said seven-time NASCAR …

Millwood State Park

Located just outside of Ashdown (Little River County) in southwest Arkansas, Millwood State Park is known for its excellent fishing and wildlife habitats. It was established about a decade after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built 29,500-acre Millwood Lake north of Texarkana (Miller County). Held in place by a 3.3-mile-long earthen dam—the longest of its type in Arkansas—the lake’s trademark timber stands have made it a bass-fishing haven by providing cover vegetation and a food source that keep the fish in shallow, more accessible water. The lake was built in 1966 on the Little River, some sixteen miles above its confluence with the Red River. In addition to the Little River, the Cossatot and Saline rivers also contribute to …

Miss Arkansas Pageant

The Miss Arkansas Pageant officially began in 1939, though two competitions before that year set the stage for the pageant. The pageant is Arkansas’s preliminary for the Miss America Pageant, which began in 1921. Forty-five smaller pageants lead up to the crowning of Miss Arkansas. The competition is managed by a non-profit organization and co-sponsored by the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Foundation, Inc. The first winner of the pageant was Vivian Ferguson. However, she was later disqualified for being married, and the competition was halted until 1938, when the winner was Lorene Bailey. The next year, for the first time, the winner of the pageant was sent to compete in the Miss America pageant, thus marking the official beginning of the Miss …

Monte Ne (Benton County)

Monte Ne (Benton County) was a resort town founded by William H. “Coin” Harvey in 1900. It had the world’s largest log hotels, designed by architect A. O. Clark, and attracted visitors from across the country for more than two decades. It was the site of Harvey’s nomination to the Liberty Party’s 1932 presidential ticket and the location for his planned monument to the future. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Located five miles southeast of Rogers (Benton County), Monte Ne began as the community of Silver Springs. Betty Blake Rogers, financial advisor and spouse to entertainer Will Rogers, was born here in 1879. Harvey, who had worked all over the country as a lawyer, silver …

Moro Bay State Park

Moro Bay State Park is one of the most popular locations for fishing and water sports in south central Arkansas. Located at the convergence of Raymond Lake, Moro Bay, and the Ouachita River, the park also marks the junction of Bradley, Calhoun, and Union counties. Records from November 18, 1804, of the Hunter-Dunbar Expedition up the Ouachita River described “Bay Morau” as “a large inlet on the right, which swells into a considerable lake during an inundation.” Before railroads, the Ouachita River was the primary means of travel in the region, and many cotton barges used it to make their way from south Arkansas to New Orleans. In days past, the only way to get across the river was by ferry. …

Mount Magazine State Park

Mount Magazine State Park is located on the highest peak in Arkansas, Mount Magazine, which is a plateau rising out of the Arkansas River Valley to an elevation of 2,753 feet above sea level. The steepness of the elevation change, roughly 2,200 feet between its summit and the surrounding valleys, produces dramatic views that attract tourists. Native Americans did not live on the mountain year-round, instead settling at lower elevations near the Arkansas and Petit Jean rivers. However, six sites dating to the Archaic period, from 9,500 to 650 BC, have been recorded on Mount Magazine. Near the top of the mountain, in a bluff shelter, artifacts from the Woodland and Mississippian cultural periods have been found, consisting mostly of …

Mount Nebo State Park

Mount Nebo State Park, Arkansas’s second oldest state park, encompasses more than 3,000 acres on Mount Nebo, a flat-topped mesa that rises to a high point of 1,762 feet above the Arkansas River valley of west-central Arkansas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Roughly 100 acres of the park are on the tabletop portion of the mountain, the main destination of tourists visiting the area. Called Magazine by the French because of its resemblance to a barn (but not to be confused with nearby present-day Mount Magazine), the peak was a prominent landmark for early navigation on the Arkansas River and was renamed Nebo sometime after the Civil War. Louis C. White of Dardanelle (Yell County) owned land around the …

Museum of Discovery

The Museum of Discovery, founded in 1927, is the oldest museum in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Its mission as of 2012 is “to ignite a passion for science, technology and math in a dynamic, interactive environment.” The original name of the Museum of Discovery was the Museum of Natural History and Antiquities, and it was founded by local author Julia Burnell (Bernie) Smade Babcock. She created the institution in response to the commonly held belief outside the state that Arkansas had no cultural centers and that its citizens were “bumpkins.” The museum’s articles of incorporation emphasized popular education and intellectual subject matter, “encouraging and developing the study of natural science…to the end of furnishing popular instruction and advancing educational standards.” …