Entry Type: Thing

Agriculture

Agriculture has played a major role in Arkansas’s culture from territorial times, when farmers made up more than ninety percent of the population, through the present (about forty-five percent of the state’s residents were still classified as rural in the early part of the twenty-first century). Beginning as a region populated by small, self-sufficient landowners, the state evolved through a plantation culture before the Civil War, to an era when tenant farming and sharecropping dominated from the Civil War to World War II, before yielding to technology and commercial enterprise. For more than 150 years, agricultural practices had hardly changed. Hand tools and draft animals limited an average farmer to cultivating about four acres a day and made it difficult …

AIDS

By 2007, a cumulative 4,119 Arkansans had been diagnosed with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), with 196 of those cases being newly diagnosed in that year. Of all cases diagnosed in Arkansas, more than eighty percent were among men, fifty-seven percent were among whites, and forty percent were among African Americans. However, among cases newly diagnosed in 2007, the majority (fifty-five percent) were among African Americans, with only thirty-seven percent of new cases being among whites. This trend follows national rates of proportionally more cases being diagnosed among African Americans and other minorities. Of those 4,119 diagnosed with AIDS, more than 2,000 were people living with AIDS as of the end of …

Albert Pike Hotel

The Albert Pike Hotel in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) opened in 1929 and was one of the state’s best-known hotels for decades. In 1971, Little Rock’s Second Baptist Church bought the hotel for $740,000 and transformed it into a residence hotel. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It remains a residential facility for individuals aged fifty-five and older. The block on which the hotel was built had once been occupied by a house constructed in 1827 for Robert Crittenden, the secretary of the Arkansas Territory. The Crittenden House was among the first brick residences built in Little Rock. Facing financial problems, Crittenden attempted to trade the house for ten sections of undeveloped land, …

Alco School

The Alco School, located on State Highway 66 at Alco (Stone County), is a one-story, fieldstone-clad building constructed in 1938 by the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1992. Alco is located about fourteen miles west of the county seat, Mountain View (Stone County). A post office was established at Alco in 1878, and the unincorporated community had sufficient population to support a school. While no information about previous school buildings is available, local residents were able to get a new building in 1938 through the NYA, which provided jobs for young people during the Depression. The Alco School was one of about a …

Alderson-Coston House

The Alderson-Coston House is a one-and-a-half-story Craftsman-style home located on Pine Bluff Street in Malvern (Hot Spring County). Constructed in 1923, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 1995. The house is located in the Pine Bluff Street National Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. James Alderson was a businessman in Hot Spring County in the early twentieth century. The owner of the Malvern Meteor newspaper, he later served as postmaster of Malvern from 1934 to 1954. He was married to Lethe Alderson, who was active in a number of community organizations and served on the board of the Hot Spring County Library. The Aldersons …

Alexander House

The Alexander House in Little Rock (Pulaski County), built for Julian and Natalie Alexander in 1962, was designed in the Mid-Century-Modern style by noted Arkansas architect Noland Blass Jr. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 24, 2020. L. Julian Alexander was the owner of Majestic Laundry and Cleaners, a highly successful Little Rock laundry and dry-cleaning business. He and his wife, Natalie Loeb Alexander, were involved in civic affairs in Little Rock. Julian Alexander was a Pulaski County Grand Jury foreman and a member of the Board of Equalization. He also served as crusade chairman for the Pulaski County Unit of the American Cancer Society and was a member of its executive committee, the …

Algae

Arkansas has a very diverse assemblage of algae. The majority of the research conducted on algae in the state is published in the Arkansas Academy of Science’s journal, but some is available in other journals and government publications. Most of the studies have been performed in northern Arkansas by Dr. Richard L. Meyer from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He and his graduate students undertook many studies that were developed into MS and PhD theses. The studies were performed in rivers (Buffalo, White, Arkansas, and Mississippi rivers), a few lakes (Lake Chicot, Lake Fort Smith, and Lake Fayetteville), a few smaller ponds, a stream, and an agricultural rice field. Three studies were done in Hot Springs …

Allen Tire Company and Gas Station

The Allen Tire Company and Gas Station was a Craftsman-style, purpose-built gas station located in Prescott (Nevada County). Constructed in 1924, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 25, 2001. The building burned around 2019 and no longer exists. The building was constructed by Henry Harrison Allen after his retirement from the lumber industry in 1924. Built on the corner of the same lot as his home, the station was located at 228 First Street Southwest. (First Street is also U.S. Highway 67.) The Allen family operated a combined gas station and tire company in the building, and for at least part of that period, the station sold Magnolia-brand gasoline. Allen operated the station until …

Allens, Inc.

aka: Allen Canning Company
aka: Sager Creek Vegetable Company
Allens, Inc., began canning vegetables at Siloam Springs (Benton County) in 1926. From its inception, the Allen family owned and operated the company, which, by 2013, employed more than 1,000 people nationwide and produced canned and frozen vegetables with eleven brand names: Allens, Butterfield, Freshlike, Popeye Spinach, Princella, Royal Prince, Sugary Sam, Sunshine, Trappey’s, Veg-All, and Wagon Master. Company offices were in downtown Siloam Springs, and processing plants are located across the United States. In late 2013, the company declared bankruptcy and put itself up for sale. After its purchase by Sager Creek Acquisition Corp., it was renamed Sager Creek Vegetable Company, although brand names were retained. In 2015, the company was purchased by Del Monte. Earl and Shadye Allen established …

Alligator Snapping Turtle

The alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) is North America’s largest freshwater turtle. This turtle is found primarily in major rivers, streams, swamps, and oxbow lakes throughout much of the south-central United States—all around the states of Arkansas and Mississippi and in portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, and Florida. Alligator snapping turtles have distinct morphological features that distinguish them from their closest cousin, the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina). For example, the dorsal shell, or carapace, of the alligator snapping turtle has three prominent keels (ridges on the carapace), whereas the keels of the snapping turtle are low and become less conspicuous with age. The tails of both species have three rows of tubercles (warty projections), but these scales …

Alltel

Alltel Corporation is a wireless communications company that began as a technical service provider to small-town Arkansas telephone companies in 1943 and evolved into one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. Before its merger with a private equity firm and the acquisition of most of its assets by Verizon Communications in 2008, Alltel operated one of the largest wireless networks in the United States and served more than 13 million customers in thirty-four states. Three generations of the founding family led the company, based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), for sixty-five years until the merger. Brothers-in-law Hugh Randolph Wilbourn Jr. and Charles Beverly Miller, both of Little Rock, went to work as construction crewmen for Southwestern Bell Telephone …

Amazing Adventures of My Dog Sheppy, The

In a 1958 effort to promote economic development and tourism in Stone County, a group of local investors under the leadership of Harold M. Sherman filmed a thirty-minute television pilot titled, “The Amazing Adventures of My Dog Sheppy.” A poor script, inept casting, amateurish acting, and the on-camera killing of a bobcat combined to produce a show that could not be pitched to the national networks. The film is significant, however, for documenting Stone County before the Ozark Folk Center or Blanchard Springs Caverns opened to the public. The television pilot was the brainchild of Harold Sherman. This Michigan native was the author of more than sixty books, a motivational speaker, and a Hollywood script writer. In 1958, television shows …

Amendment 33

Amendment 33 was the first of three constitutional amendments ratified by voters in the decade after the beginning of World War II to try to curb political interference with large government agencies and institutions. It prohibited the governor and the Arkansas General Assembly from diminishing the powers of state agencies and institutions, as well as from interfering with their governing boards by dismissing members before their terms expired or increasing or reducing the membership of the boards. The amendment, ratified in 1942, followed Governor Homer M. Adkins’s purging of the board of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in order to fire the university’s president J. William Fulbright, who was the son of a political foe of …

Amendment 44

aka: Interposition Amendment
On November 6, 1956, Arkansans voted to adopt an amendment to the state constitution that would allow Arkansas law to supersede federal law. The “interposition” amendment, as it was called, was in response to the looming integration of Arkansas schools. Similar amendments were adopted across the South after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. Although the idea of interposition gained popularity in 1954, the precedence for the argument can be traced back to the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions put forth by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in 1798 and 1799. James D. “Justice Jim” Johnson, an Arkansas politician from Crossett (Ashley County), first presented the idea of an interposition …

Amendment 59

aka: Taxation Amendment
Amendment 59 was an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, ratified by voters overwhelmingly in 1980, that overhauled the system of valuing and taxing private property. It quickly became known for its bewildering complexity—an Arkansas Supreme Court opinion called it “the Godzilla of constitutional amendments”—and for its damaging effect on the financing of public schools. The amendment and its various interpretations had a major role in the long legislative and judicial battles over school reform and tax reform (as with the court cases Jim DuPree v. Alma School District No. 30 and Lake View School District No. 25 v. Huckabee). The valuing of private property, both real and personal, had long been a divisive issue, owing to the property tax’s role …

Amendments 19 and 20

aka: Futrell Amendments
Amendments 19 and 20 to the Arkansas Constitution, which are commonly referred to as the Futrell Amendments, sharply restricted the ability of the legislature to levy taxes, spend the funds, and incur debt. Ratified in the general election in 1934, the amendments went beyond the laws of any other state in limiting the fiscal powers of the legislature and were supposed to guarantee austere and limited government for posterity. The restrictions on borrowing stated in Amendment 20, which required a statewide popular vote before the state could borrow money for public improvements, were loosened in 1986 by Amendment 65, after the Arkansas Supreme Court handed down a strict interpretation that seemed to outlaw what were known as “revenue bonds,” which the …

American Alligator

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) belongs to the class Reptilia, order Crocodylia, superfamily Alligatoroidea, and family Alligatoridae. There are seven species in the family endemic to the New World tropics, with an eighth species occurring in the warmer temperate regions of China. The American alligator is endemic to the southeastern coastal plain of the United States, where it inhabits freshwater wetlands such as streams, reservoirs, ponds, lakes, coastal marshes, bayous, oxbows, and cypress swamps associated with larger rivers in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida (and some Florida Keys), Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia; it also occurs in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas south of San Antonio, and farther south into the thornscrub …

American Burying Beetle

aka: Giant Carrion Beetle
The American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)—which belongs to the Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, Order Coleoptera, and Family Silphidae—is a carnivorous beetle that feeds on and requires carrion to breed. It is the largest North American carrion beetle. In July 1989, it was placed on to the federal Endangered Species List; the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently lists the species as critically endangered. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to downlist N. americanus from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In the few states in which it is found, including Arkansas, it is ranked S1 (critically imperiled) by NatureServe. The decline of N. americanus has been attributed to habitat loss, alteration, and degradation, …

American Eel

The American eel (Anguilla rostrata) belongs to the order Anguilliformes and family Anguillidae. Common names include Atlantic eel, common eel, freshwater eel, silver eel, yellow-bellied eel, green eel, black eel, bronze eel, elver, whip, and easgann. This family includes about eighteen facultative catadromous species of eels. The American eel ranges from Greenland and Iceland and all the drainages of eastern North America along the Atlantic and Gulf slopes west to New Mexico and south to Venezuela and islands of the Caribbean and West Indies across a latitudinal range of 5 to 62° N. In North America, A. rostrata occurs inland from eastern Canada to the Great Lakes, in the headwaters of many Atlantic and Gulf slope rivers, and in the …

American Legion Hut (Des Arc)

aka: Burson-Bethel Post 119 American Legion Hut
The American Legion Hut in Des Arc (Prairie County), located at 206 Erwin Street, is a Rustic-style structure erected in 1934 with assistance from the Civil Works Administration (CWA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 9, 1995. Des Arc’s American Legion Post was named for two fallen soldiers during World War I: Edward Burson and Bedford B. Bethel of Des Arc. Burson, twenty-one, was killed in action in France on October 6, 1918, and Bethel, twenty-nine, died of pneumonia on October 30, 1918. As with several other American Legion posts around the state in the early 1930s, Burson-Bethel Post 119 decided to seek funding from the CWA to finance …

American Legion Post 127 Building

aka: Wilson Burnett Post 127 American Legion Hut
The American Legion Post 127 Building, located on the northeast corner of Cherry and Armstrong streets in Eudora (Chicot County), is a Rustic-style structure erected in 1934 with assistance from the Civil Works Administration (CWA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 8, 1992. Local veterans of World War I established an American Legion post at Eudora on April 9, 1920, and named it in honor of Wilson B. Burnett, an eighteen-year-old soldier from Montrose (Ashley County) who was killed in action in France on July 20, 1918. It would be another fourteen years before the post had a permanent home with the assistance of the CWA. In seeking CWA …