Entries - Entry Category: Recreation - Starting with R

Recreational and Retirement Communities

Land developers have long capitalized on the American dream of owning real estate or a home in the sun by mass-marketing vacation and retirement home sites to a distant clientele. Land was subdivided into relatively small lots within amenity-based subdivisions and sold as future retirement home sites or as an investment. During the 1950s, property in suburban subdivisions became popular. Lots were mass-marketed by a few large land development corporations, principally in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. The companies created a nationwide market for property sold on the installment plan by mail, often sight unseen. This type of land development soon became a national phenomenon; raw or partially developed acreage was “improved,” subdivided into small parcels, and offered for sale …

Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary

Opened in 1990 by Scott and Heidi Riddle, Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary, located on 330 acres outside of Greenbrier (Faulkner County), provides a permanent home for African and Asian elephants in need of sanctuary for any reason, regardless of age, sex, species, health, or temperament. Elephants come from private owners, circuses, or zoos. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit sanctuary—which raises money through grants and donations—houses up to a dozen elephants at any given time, with three baby elephants born at the facility as of 2010. Maximus, an African elephant born at the sanctuary in 2003, starred in Animal Planet’s television show Growing Up Elephant. Scott and Heidi Riddle met while both were working at the Los Angeles Zoo, and they married …

Riverfest Arts and Music Festival

Riverfest Arts and Music Festival was Arkansas’s premier summer event, offering three days of music on the banks of the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Operated by Riverfest Inc., a nonprofit organization overseen by a board of directors, Riverfest attracted more than 250,000 people in 2013, creating an economic impact of more than $30 million in the local community. Founded by the Junior League of Little Rock as the Summer Arts Festival in July 1978, the first Riverfest presented the American Wind Symphony and other activities at Murray Park. Following the event’s initial success, the date of the Summer Arts Festival was moved the next year to its well-known Memorial Day weekend …

Robinson Center Music Hall

aka: Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium
aka: Robinson Auditorium
Built in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the Great Depression as a Public Works Administration (PWA) project, the Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium—known since 1973 as the Robinson Center Music Hall—frequently hosts touring performances, including Broadway musicals, and is home to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Named for Lonoke County native Joseph Taylor Robinson, who was governor of Arkansas and a U.S. senator, the Art Deco building on Markham Avenue near Broadway Street is a major Little Rock landmark. Prior to the construction of the Robinson Center, Little Rock’s largest auditorium for concerts and other public events was at Little Rock High School (now called Central High School). Senator Robinson, a strong supporter of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, helped …

Rotary Club of Little Rock

The Rotary Club of Little Rock is the oldest civic club in Arkansas. It is the ninety-ninth oldest and sixth largest of more than 35,000 Rotary Clubs in more than 200 countries and geographic regions. Although the official name of the club is the Rotary Club of Little Rock, it is frequently referred to as “Club 99,” because of the number on its charter, or as the “Downtown Little Rock Rotary Club” to distinguish it from other Rotary Clubs in the city. The club traces its origin to the 1911 arrival in Little Rock (Pulaski County) of Sidney M. Brooks (1886–1985), a Memphis, Tennessee, native who had graduated from Harvard University and moved to Little Rock to establish the state’s …

Rotary International

With a motto of “Service Above Self,” Rotary International is a non-political, non-religious civic organization that is open to all adults. There are about 35,000 individual Rotary Clubs located in more than 200 countries around the globe. Arkansas has more than eighty separate clubs in communities throughout the state. Most of the 1.2 million members of Rotary worldwide are business, civic, and professional leaders in their communities, and club members volunteer to serve others on the local, state, national, and international levels. At meetings, there are usually guest speakers who present programs on topics of interest. The first Rotary Club was founded in 1905 by attorney Paul Harris (1868–1947) in Chicago, Illinois. Harris wished to share his vision of meeting …

Rothert, Matt, Sr.

aka: Matthew Herman Rothert Sr.
Matthew Herman (Matt) Rothert Sr., a nationally recognized coin collector, was responsible for having “In God We Trust” placed on U.S. paper currency. He was a furniture manufacturer and president of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) from 1965 to 1967. Matt Rothert was born on March 17, 1904 in Huntingburg, Indiana. Little is known of his family, though he had at least two sisters. Rothert received a BS from Notre Dame University in 1924, moved to Camden (Ouachita County), and founded the Camden Furniture Company, serving as its president until he retired in 1975. On April 10, 1937, he married Janet Hope Firring. They had two boys and two girls. Rothert’s interest in numismatics, or coin collecting, began when he …

Running and Walking

In Arkansas, running and walking have long been used for exercise and fitness. Enthusiasts support each, especially as Arkansans become more health conscious. Arkansas also is home to a number of events and organizations devoted to running and walking. Walking draws the largest percentage of people exercising, but, beyond basic fitness walking, there are also speed walkers (sometimes referred to as power walkers) who walk at paces ranging from ten to sixteen minutes per mile. There are also race walkers who must abide by specific USA Track and Field (USATF) rules when it comes to form and style of walking. They can be very speedy, often walking faster than many runners. One club in the state is dedicated only to …