Entry Type: Thing - Starting with A

Arkansas System of Natural Areas

The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission’s (ANHC) System of Natural Areas contains some of the best examples of many of the state’s ecosystems. Natural areas such as Railroad and Roth prairies protect the last few acres of tallgrass in east Arkansas’s Grand Prairie. The Gap Creek Natural Area and Cossatot River State Park–Natural Area preserve quality examples of Ouachita Mountain upland streams. The Terre Noire Natural Area represents the best remaining tracts of blackland prairie in the state. Natural areas such as these protect the rarest elements of Arkansas’s natural heritage. Birth of the System Arkansas’s System of Natural Areas underwent three periods of development. From 1975 to 1980, sites were chosen from those well known to conservationists. The Singer Forest …

Arkansas Tartan

Arkansas tartans, symbolic of the state, are unique cloth patterns using the traditional Scottish plaid. The colors signify the state, its settlers, and its resources. Originating in the Scottish highlands, tartans represent clans or communities. Traditionally, men in Scotland wear plaid wool kilts. Military regiments also wear kilts, and tartans are used in nontraditional decorations. The earliest known tartan was made circa AD 300 and was apparently woven by combining dark and light un-dyed wool. Material could be dyed using berries, roots, bark, or even lichen. The organic materials varied by locality, so colors could represent a specific area. After the rebellion of the Jacobite clans in 1745, the British Parliament banned the wearing of tartans in Scotland. The ban, …

Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University is a public, coeducational, regional university located in Russellville (Pope County). The university offers programs at both baccalaureate and graduate levels. The institution that became Arkansas Tech University had its origins in an early twentieth-century program known as the Country Life Movement. Designed to reverse the decline in rural life in America, the movement was part of the larger Progressive movement. The driving force for the establishment of agricultural schools in the state was the Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union, a more moderate heir to the Populists and associated agrarian organizations of the late nineteenth century. Spurred on by the Farmers’ Union, the Arkansas legislature in 1909 passed Act 100 to establish a “State Agricultural School” in …

Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus

Arkansas Tech University–Ozark Campus is a two-year college in Ozark (Franklin County) that serves as a satellite location of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville (Pope County). The institution was established in 1965 as Arkansas Valley Vocational Technical School. Regional vocational and technical schools were established across the state in the 1960s to offer alternative educational programs to those offered by public universities. In 1975, the school became the first in the state to receive state accreditation from the Arkansas State Board of Education/Vocational Education. The name of the institution was changed in 1991 to Arkansas Valley Technical Institute in order to better separate the institute from secondary schools offering similar programs. On July 1, 2003, the institute merged with Arkansas Tech …

Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Times is a widely read free periodical known for its liberal political stance as well as being an early adopter of news blogging in the state. The Times has achieved acclaim for its work on such stories as the Arkansas prison blood scandal and the case of the West Memphis Three. In 2013, the paper began crowdsourcing funding for in-depth investigative pieces. In the fall of 1974, a group of five people led by Alan Leveritt set out to create an alternative media outlet for Little Rock (Pulaski County) that would offer investigative reporting and stories on local culture. Leveritt had gotten his start in the media business during his college days in the early 1970s at Little Rock …

Arkansas Times and Advocate

aka: Arkansas Advocate
The Arkansas Advocate was the second successful newspaper in Arkansas. It was created in direct opposition to the state’s oldest and longest-running paper, the Arkansas Gazette, in 1830 by Charles Pierre Bertrand of Little Rock (Pulaski County). While Bertrand originally intended his paper to avoid party loyalties, the Advocate (later the Arkansas Times and Advocate) favored the politics of whoever its editor was at the time. The newspaper ceased operations in 1844. A year after Robert Crittenden mortally wounded Henry Wharton Conway on October 29, 1827, Crittenden and eight unnamed financial backers attempted to start a newspaper opposed to William E. Woodruff’s Arkansas Gazette. In the summer of 1828, Crittenden, acting for himself and as legal counsel for the seven …

Arkansas Traveler

A tune, a dialogue, and a painting from the mid-nineteenth century, the Arkansas Traveler became a catch-all phrase for almost anything or anyone from Arkansas: it has been the name of a kind of canoe, various newspapers, a racehorse, a baseball team, and more. The term is familiar to the present-day general public, especially as the name of a baseball team and a certificate presented to distinguished visitors to the state. Origins The Arkansas-based version of the Traveler is said to have begun in 1840. Colonel Sanford Faulkner got lost in rural Arkansas and asked for directions at a humble log home. Faulkner, a natural performer, turned the experience into an entertaining presentation for friends and acquaintances in which the …

Arkansas v. Corbit (1998)

There are three cases that may be designated as Arkansas v. Corbit. The case discussed here is the 1998 Arkansas Supreme Court case concerning Randy Corbit, who was arrested for the possession and sale of marijuana, and the subsequent property forfeitures that he faced. Although the case originally appeared insignificant, it ultimately set a groundbreaking new precedent for appeal structure. Randy Corbit, who lived in Phillips County, was under investigation by the First and Third Judicial Districts’ Drug Task Force and, specifically, by Michael Steele, who was a narcotics investigator. On the day of Corbit’s arrest, Steele sent two men, Christopher Jarrett and Edward Knapp, into the store where Corbit worked. These men were charged with the task of purchasing …

Arkansas Waltz

In 1917, the Arkansas General Assembly designated “Arkansas,” a patriotic anthem composed by Eva Ware Barnett, as the state’s first official song. It remained as such until the late 1940s, when a copyright dispute led to the state’s adoption of “The Arkansas Traveler” as the state’s musical symbol. In 1963, the dispute was settled amicably, and “Arkansas” resumed its former place as the state song—a title it would hold until the late 1980s. “Arkansas” was not, however, without its challengers during this second tenure. One challenger managed to garner a degree of legislative recognition: in 1971, the Arkansas State Senate voted to designate “Arkansas Waltz” by Bill Urfer of Heber Springs (Cleburne County) and Cletus “Slim” Jones of Benton (Saline …

Arkansas Water Works and Water Environment Association

Comprising the operators of water and sewer systems statewide and their affiliates, the Arkansas Water Works and Water Environment Association has met annually in all but one year since 1931 with the goal of improving water quality through high standards and professionalism in the field. With the lead of the American Water Works Association, and in harmony with efforts under way in other states, the first meeting of what was then called the Arkansas Water Works Conference took place at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1931 and drew forty-seven registered members. There, a slate of officers was elected, and the group resolved to form a permanent organization that would meet annually in cooperation with the …

Arkansas Writers Project

The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) served as a cultural anchor for Arkansas during the years of the Great Depression by providing work for unemployed and underemployed writers, who observed, recorded, and described the contemporary cultural conditions in their work. These texts serve to this day as the most complete and comprehensive documentation of Arkansas history and culture available from the viewpoint of Arkansans. The FWP was initiated in July 1935 as a component of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) program. The intention of the FWP was to provide employment to out-of-work writers affected by the Depression. The FWP writers were engaged in writing local histories, travelers’ guides, and cultural chronicles, particularly those relating to long-oppressed American groups …

Arkansas-Missouri League

aka: Arkansas State League
The Arkansas State League/Arkansas-Missouri League was a professional baseball, Class D minor league that operated from 1934 until 1940. The league was one of only three Depression-era leagues to exist in the state, the others being the Northeast Arkansas League and the Cotton States League. The Arkansas State League began on May 8, 1934. It paralleled a rapid growth in professional baseball minor leagues around the country and was a by-product of the farm system created by St. Louis Cardinals vice president, Branch Rickey, wherein the Cardinals organization sponsored and managed teams and players in order to develop players for the St. Louis major league team. The league began play with teams in Fayetteville (Washington County), Siloam Springs (Benton County), …

Arkansas’s Regional Identity

Arkansas’s regional identity is a complex affair, given that the state overlaps the cultural and geographical zones of the American South and Southwest and that the northern and western parts of the state are commonly characterized as “hill country” similar in culture to Appalachia. The state’s history has often been emblematic of the difficulties in navigating these competing regional affiliations. The state defies easy identity stereotypes, even as it is popularly lumped into such cultural regions as the “Bible belt” (for the supposed religiosity of its residents) or “sun belt” (for the state’s latitude and climate). Arkansas as South Arkansas is most often identified as part of the American South due to a shared history of slavery and secession from …

Arkansaw Bear: A Tale of Fanciful Adventure

The Arkansaw Bear: A Tale of Fanciful Adventure is a children’s story written by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1898. Paine called upon southern folktale and storytelling tradition and used lyrics of “The Arkansas Traveler” as inspiration for his story. Albert Paine (July 10, 1861–April 9, 1937) was a highly respected American author and noted biographer of Mark Twain. Besides fiction, Paine wrote humor and poetry, and he served as a member of the Pulitzer Prize committee. Paine spent the majority of his adult life living and writing in Europe, where he was awarded the title of Chevalier in the Legion d’Honneur by the French government for his biographies of Joan of Arc. Paine told the story in The Arkansaw Bear: …

Arkansite

Arkansite—a mineral that exists in ten U.S. states and eleven countries—is actually brookite, the rarest of the three polymorphs (minerals containing the same chemistry but different internal structures) of titanium oxide. All three polymorphs—brookite, rutile, and anatase—are found at Magnet Cove (Hot Spring County). The brookite crystals found at Magnet Cove are sharp, black, and lustrous as opposed to the transparent or translucent brown/black crystals found elsewhere. This results from the substitution of varying amounts of iron and niobium for titanium in the structure. Charles Shepard (1804–1886) laid claim to the discovery of arkansite in a report he published in 1846. He named the “new” mineral arkansite after the state where the specimen he examined had been found. When a …

Atherinopsids

aka: Neotropical Silversides
Atherinopsids, or neotropical silversides, belong to the order Atheriniformes and family Atherinopidae. There are about 104 species within thirteen genera found in euryhaline, marine, and freshwater habitats distributed throughout the tropical and temperate waters of the Western Hemisphere. Three well-known atherinopsid fishes are the Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia), California grunion (Leuresthes tenuis), and Gulf grunion (L. sardina). There are three species in Arkansas: the brook silverside (Labidesthes sicculus), golden silverside (L. vanhyningi), and Mississippi silverside (Menidia audens). Prior to the Neogene Period of the late Tertiary Period (66 to 2.5 million years ago), there is no fossil record of atherinopsids in North America. However, on San Francisco Bay, important prehistoric intertidal fisheries were especially well documented for atherinopsids. Silversides are …

Atkins Pickle Company

Atkins Pickle Company was the major industry in the town of Atkins (Pope County) for more than fifty years, and its legacy survives in the annual Picklefest celebration that began in 1992. The building that housed the pickle plant now houses Atkins Prepared Foods. The new company employs more people than the pickle plant did at its end, but it does not provide the same level of recognition for the town once dubbed the “Pickle Capital of the World” and known as the home of the fried dill pickle. In 1946, a group of citizens led by Lee Cheek raised $17,000 for a loan to the Goldsmith Pickle Company of Chicago, which had agreed to invest $75,000 of its money …

Attorney General, Office of

The attorney general, one of the state’s seven constitutional offices, is the state’s top law enforcement officer and consumer advocate. The office of attorney general was not originally a constitutional office but rather was created by Act 1 of 1843, which designated the state’s attorney for its Fifth Judicial District as the attorney general. The first attorney general was Robert W. Johnson. The constitution of 1868 made the post elective, though it required only that the attorney general “perform such duties as are now, or may hereafter, be prescribed by law.” This was reaffirmed in the constitution of 1874. Act 131 of 1911 laid out four general responsibilities of the attorney general’s office: 1) to give opinions to state officers …

Auditor, Office of

The auditor, one of the state’s seven constitutional offices, serves as the general accountant for the State of Arkansas. The auditor oversees the balance sheets of state agencies and disburses funds on behalf of the State, as well as disbursing select federal funds, keeping “all public accounts, books, vouchers, documents, and all papers relating to the contracts of the state and its debts, revenue, and fiscal affairs which are not required by law to be placed in some other office or kept by some other person,” according to the Arkansas Code. The office of auditor has been in existence since Arkansas was made a territory of the United States in 1819, and very little has changed regarding the auditor’s duties …

August House

August House, a commercial book publisher founded and run by Arkansans, was a fixture on the national scene for its twenty-five years in the state. Originally a publisher of poetry, it moved into general fiction and eventually folklore and storytelling. In 1978, two young Arkansas poets, Ted Parkhurst and Jon Looney, started a company to publish Arkansas poetry. They called their enterprise August House Publishers. Parkhurst quit his job to run the fledgling company, even selling his poetry door-to-door. Looney soon left Little Rock (Pulaski County), but Parkhurst stayed, and August House Publishers began to grow. By 1979, it became apparent that literary publishing interested writers in Arkansas and the region, and August House published six titles, including poetry by …

Austin v. The State

Slaves in the United States had no legal rights and only limited access to legal protection, so few legal cases in antebellum Arkansas involved African Americans. Even fewer of those cases were ever reviewed by the Arkansas Supreme Court. However, a case in 1854 established a new principle for Arkansas courts that allowed slave owners to testify in criminal cases involving their own slaves. The murder trial of Austin, a slave in Independence County, was appealed to the state’s high court on several procedural issues, one of which was the denial of his owner’s testimony. The court found that such testimony must be permitted, thus throwing out the circuit court’s decision and ordering a new trial. The event that led …

Aviation

Aviation history in Arkansas includes one pioneer inventor, a few attempts at commercial airplane production, a regional commuter airline, a now-national air freight company, and varying degrees of impact on the state’s communities. By the 1970s, aviation had become essential both for business use and for personal travel. Balloons and Dirigibles Balloon ascensions became popular throughout the United States in the 1850s, and balloons also figured in the Civil War, though none were deployed in Arkansas. There was an ascension in Yell County in 1879, and in 1902, balloonist Charles Geary came to Baxter County to perform, along with “Professor” Murgle, who demonstrated the parachute. Balloon production was apparently limited to the Hot Springs Airship Company of Joel Troutt Rice …