Entry Type: Thing - Starting with R

Rabbit Foot Lodge

Built in 1908, Rabbit Foot Lodge in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) is one of the best examples of Adirondack-style architecture in Arkansas. It was most notably home to J. William Fulbright and his family from 1936 to 1941. Located at 2711 Silent Grove Road, on a hillside above a spring and creek, the two-story residence was built for Dr. Charles F. Perkins and Edith Clark Perkins on land that had formerly been the old Jonathan “Uncle Bud” Smith homestead. The property had once been owned by Joseph L. Dickson as part of an 1857 land grant, deeded as remedy for claims arising under the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830); this treaty was mentioned on the abstract deed and …

Rabies

 Rabies, a viral disease that attacks the body’s central nervous system, causes convulsions, hallucinations, and an inability to swallow liquid—hence its earlier name, hydrophobia, or “fear of water.” Until Frenchman Louis Pasteur’s 1885 creation of a vaccine that successfully treated rabies in humans, the bite from a rabid animal almost always resulted in a death excruciating to endure and horrifying to witness. Pasteur’s discovery was publicized in Arkansas, but it would be almost thirty years before the state had a treatment center using his methods, though it lasted only briefly. Two months after Pasteur’s breakthrough, four New Jersey children who had been bitten by a rabid dog traveled to France and were cured using the vaccine. News of these boys’ …

Race Riots

A race riot is any prolonged form of mob-related civil disorder in which race plays a key role. The term is most often associated with mob violence by or against a minority group. The motivations for such violence can vary significantly, and once properly defined, the difference between collective violence and riot is somewhat arbitrary. For instance, many lynchings targeting African Americans are considered race riots, as they involved large numbers of whites and were the fatal culmination of existing racial tensions. The 1927 lynching of John Carter in Little Rock (Pulaski County), with the slaying of a white girl as a catalyst, involved a prolonged assault against the city’s black community and is often considered a riot. However, other …

Railroads

In the mid-nineteenth century, the newly created state of Arkansas needed an efficient means of transportation to speed its development. Railroads were constructed in order to get goods to markets elsewhere and to bring in new technologies, as well as people to work in and populate the state. The construction of railroads had a significant impact on the state, creating towns where none had existed while all but eliminating others due to their lack of ready rail access. Many of the cities and towns in the state were named after prominent railroad executives who influenced, and in some cases were essential to, these communities’ development. While very little passenger service still exists, many of the same routes are used to …

Randolph County Courthouse

The Randolph County Courthouse is an Art Deco–style brick and concrete building erected in 1940–1941 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project in Pocahontas (Randolph County). The courthouse was built in a natural depression of one city block across the street to the west from what became known as the Old Randolph County Courthouse, the former seat of county government. The Randolph County Courthouse, which houses the offices and government of Randolph County, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 22, 1996. Citizens of Randolph County voted their approval for the building of a new courthouse in 1940. After the election, Judge Joe S. Decker appointed an advisory board and building commissioners for the construction of …

Raney v. Board of Education

aka: Arthur Lee Raney v. Board of Education of the Gould School District
Raney v. Board of Education, a lawsuit originating in Gould (Lincoln County), was one of three cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in April and May 1968 that brought an end to so-called “freedom of choice” school desegregation plans that had gained traction in the 1960s. In the 1964–65 school year, ten years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, Gould schools were still totally segregated. The district covered an area of eighty square miles and contained 3,000 residents. Of these, 1,800 were black and 1,200 were white. Since Gould was the only town in the predominantly rural county, many of the district’s students attended school there. Gould maintained two segregated combined elementary and high …

Ranger Boats

Ranger Boats, founded in Flippin (Marion County) in 1968 by Forrest Lee Wood and his wife, Nina, is the largest maker of bass boats in the United States. The Woods were instrumental in developing the sport of professional bass fishing, and Forrest Wood is considered the creator of the modern bass boat. Ranger Boats are sold throughout the world and have the reputation of being among the finest bass boats made. Wood, born in 1932 and a native of Marion County, married Nina Kirkland, also a Marion County native, in 1951, and the couple began operating a fishing guide and float trip service in the late 1950s. The Woods took their clients on expeditions on Bull Shoals Lake, the White …

Ravenden Springs School

The former Ravenden Springs School is a Craftsman-style school building in Ravenden Springs (Randolph County). Built in 1941, the one-story rectangular building operated as a school until it was closed during consolidation in 1974. The school changed ownership many times but was acquired by the town of Ravenden Springs in 1990. The school was originally built with four classrooms and a library, but the building was later renovated to be used as the local town hall and community center. The school no longer retains its original interior design, but it still possesses significant historical integrity. The first documented school in Ravenden Springs was known as the Cave School. Run by Caleb Lindsey, this school dates back to 1815, where classes …

Ray Winder Field

Ray Winder Field in Little Rock (Pulaski County) was the longtime home of the minor league baseball team originally known as the Little Rock Travelers, a name that was later changed to the Arkansas Travelers. Known as Travelers Field when it opened in 1932, the stadium’s name was changed in 1966 in honor of Ray Winder, whose involvement with the Travelers, in roles ranging from ticket taker to part-owner and general manager, spanned half a century. The stadium, designed by the Little Rock architecture firm of Thompson, Sanders and Ginocchio, was built in 1931. It was located in what was known as Fair Park (later War Memorial Park), with the Little Rock Zoo as a neighbor to the west. In …

Razorback Hogs

Arkansas was known for its razorback hogs long before the University of Arkansas mascot came into being. These wild boars were called razorbacks because of their high, hair-covered backbone and ill-mannered temper. The razorback hog was considered ruthless and dangerous when backed into a corner. The true wild boar, also called the European or Russian boar, is not native to the United States. Christopher Columbus introduced their domesticated ancestors to the New World in 1493. Wild boars are thought to have arrived with explorer Hernando de Soto, who brought the original thirteen grunting hogs to the new world in 1539, though this theory has lately been cast into doubt by Charles Hudson, who reconstructs de Soto’s path in his book, …

Reader Railroad

The Reader Railroad, which ran through Nevada and Ouachita counties, was one of the last remaining trains drawn by steam locomotives. Though no longer in operation, either in industry or as a tourist attraction, it has drawn many to the area and was a featured set piece in the television miniseries, North & South. Sayre Narrow Gauge, the railroad’s original name, was constructed in 1889 to move the virgin timber that was being harvested south of Reader, which is on the Nevada–Ouachita County border, for a sawmill at the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad located in Gurdon (Clark County). In 1910, the line was purchased by the McVay Lumber Company and, in 1913, was taken over by the …

Red River

The Red River emerges from two forks in the Texas panhandle and flows east approximately 1,290 miles, forming the border between Oklahoma and Texas as well as part of the border between Texas and Arkansas. In southwestern Arkansas near Fulton (Hempstead County), the Red River takes a decidedly southern turn before entering Louisiana, where it flows southeasterly before emptying into the Mississippi River northeast of the town of Simmesport. Although only approximately 180 miles of the Red River touches upon or passes through the state of Arkansas, it has had a major impact upon the people of southwestern Arkansas from prehistoric times to the present day. Important prehistoric Caddo artifacts have been unearthed in the Red River valley, particularly the …

Red Scare (1919–1920)

aka: First Red Scare
In the United States, the First Red Scare (1919–1920) began shortly after the 1917 Bolshevik Russian Revolution. Tensions ran high after this revolution because many Americans feared that if a workers’ revolution were possible in Russia, it might also be possible in the United States. While the First Red Scare was backed by an anti-communist attitude, it focused predominately on labor rebellions and perceived political radicalism. While Arkansas was not immune to the Red Scare, it did see comparatively little labor conflict. Nationally, 7,041 strikes occurred during the 1919–1920 period; Arkansas contributed only twenty-two of those strikes. This was not because Arkansas had a weak labor movement. In fact, Arkansas was home to the Little Rock Typographical Union, railroad unions, and sharecropper …

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers

aka: Picoides borealis
With the exception of the recently rediscovered ivory-billed woodpecker, red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) are the rarest of Arkansas’s nesting woodpeckers. A century ago, the bird was common in mature, open pine stands. Its natural range included millions of acres of pine habitat throughout the southeast United States. An estimated ninety-nine percent of suitable habitat was lost because of logging, wildfire suppression, conversion to agricultural lands, and urbanization. Best estimates range-wide indicate an original population numbering over four million. By the time the bird was declared endangered, it had declined to an estimated 10,000. The Arkansas population dwindled to under 400 birds. The red-cockaded woodpecker was designated as endangered on October 13, 1970. It received formal legal protection with the passage …

Redbug Field

Redbug Field in Fordyce (Dallas County) is a high school football field with its significance lying in the fact that future University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant learned to play the game there in the late 1920s. The regulation-sized football field was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places on August 6, 2014. Football is important to the history of Fordyce, a town where Arkansas’s first high school football program was started in 1904 when New York native Tom Meddick organized a high school team at the Clary Training School. By 1909, Fordyce High School also fielded a team. The original playing field was behind the high school, but in the mid-1920s, it was relocated to accommodate a …

Reeves-Melson House

The Reeves-Melson House is a dogtrot-style wooden home located in eastern Montgomery County. With two pens constructed in 1882 and 1888, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 5, 1986. The first pen was built by William Reeves in 1882. After service as a sergeant in the First Arkansas Infantry (Union) during the Civil War, Reeves appears as a sheriff in Montgomery County in the 1870 census. He subsequently was listed as both a farmer and merchant in other censuses. Information in the National Register nomination for the property states that Reeves homesteaded eighty acres at that time. Reeves lived and farmed the land until the winter of 1887–88, when Larkin Melson purchased the …

Remmel Dam

aka: Lake Catherine
Remmel Dam is situated on the Ouachita River at Jones Mills (Hot Spring County). It was constructed in 1924 by Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L), now Entergy, in response to the growing demand for electrical power in southern Arkansas and surrounding states. The dam impounds Lake Catherine and, together with Carpenter Dam in Hot Springs (Garland County), provides hydroelectric power for southern Arkansas. Part of a three-dam project on the Ouachita River along with Carpenter Dam (completed in 1931) and Blakely Mountain Dam (completed in 1953), it played an important role in the early development of AP&L. In 1916, former riverboat captain Flave Carpenter met with Harvey Couch, who founded AP&L in 1913, to discuss the possibility of building dams on …

Reptiles

Arkansas’s reptilian biodiversity includes four groups—turtles, lizards, snakes, and the American alligator—each with a sharply different body morphology. By closely examining the morphology of these varied groups within the class Reptilia, today’s phylogenetic taxonomists (individuals who study the evolutionary relationships among species) have found that members of this class share several recently derived features (such as skull characteristics) with birds. Because of this modern understanding of the evolutionary relationships among reptilian ancestors and their descendents, which include dinosaurs and birds, some taxonomists have proposed a new class (Eureptilia) to include dinosaurs, birds, crocodylians, all of their close diapsid relatives (including lizards and snakes), and a number of extinct groups. However, the classical taxonomic designation for the class Reptilia includes turtles, …