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flag  History of Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Journey back in time to Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Visit Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Little Rock, Arkansas, USA - Kress Store Beautiful, Little Rock, Ark.  S. H. Kress & Co. was the trading name of a chain of five and dime retail department stores in the Uni

General Douglas MacArthur, soldier and statesman, was born in Little Rock in 1880.

There is MUCH more to discover about Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. Read on!

Little Rock Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Kress' Store Beautiful, Little Rock, Ark.
Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Kress' Store Beautiful, Little Rock, Ark.

"S. H. Kress & Co. was the trading name of a chain of "five and dime" retail department stores in the United States, established by Samuel Henry Kress, which operated from 1896 to 1981. In the first half of the 20th century, there were Kress stores with ornamented architecture on "Main Street" in hundreds of cities and towns." (wikipedia)
Panoramic View of Arkansas River
Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Panoramic View of Arkansas River
Hotel Marion, Little Rock, Ark.
500 Rooms, Absolutely Fireproof.
Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Hotel Marion, Little Rock, Ark.
500 Rooms, Absolutely Fireproof.

"The Marion Hotel (also known as the Hotel Marion) in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) was one of the most famous businesses in Arkansas for much of the twentieth century. Construction began on the hotel in 1905. The Marion was the tallest structure in the state from when it opened in 1907 until 1911. The hotel closed in early 1980 and was demolished to make way for the Excelsior Hotel (which later became the Peabody and then the Marriott) and the Statehouse Convention Center..." (
Looking Down Main Street, Little Rock, Ark.
Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Looking Down Main Street, Little Rock, Ark.

Discover Little Rock: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
1722 - First Explored
One of the first European explorers in the region, Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe, observed geological changes at the water's edge in 1722. On April 9, he made note of "rocks sticking out of the ground," referencing the first rock up the river, but he did not name it. La Harpe was more enthusiastic when it came to what he called the French Rock "le Rocher Français" the "bluff of mountainous rock" up the bend and north of the river, now called the Big Rock. The French called the smaller outcropping on the south bank "le Petit Rocher" (the little rock), with the name first showing up on a map in 1799.
1820 - Little Rock, Arkansas founded
"The Rock" was included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, but the first settlement near the landmark was not made until the spring of 1812 when a trapper named William Lewis built a cabin on the bank of the river about 100 yards north from where the Old Statehouse stands today. Lewis left that October but filed a pre-emption claim on the land at the Federal Land Office in Nashville, Tennessee. According to the British naturalist Thomas Nuttall, no one permanently settled at "The Rock" until the spring of 1820, when a group of men established a town at the site. In March of that year, a U.S. post office with the name "Little Rock" was established...
1854 - Little Rock
Little Rock, capital of Arkansas, and seat of justice of Pulaski county, on the right or southern bank of Arkansas river, about 300 miles from its mouth, 155 miles W. by S. from Memphis, and 1065 miles W. by S. from Washington. Lat. 34° W N., Lon. 83° 10' W. It is situated on a rocky promontory, or bluff, about 50 feet high, the first that occurs in ascending the river, commanding a delightful and extensive view of the surrounding country. The state house is a fine brick edifice, rough cast. The town contains a United States arsenal, the state penitentiary, which has been once or twice burned down by the convicts, and 6 churches, all handsomely built of brick, namely, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Episcopalian, 1 Methodist, 1 Christian, and 2 Roman Catholic. There are 2 news papers published here. It has also a Ma sonic hall, an Odd-fellows' hall, and several seminaries. The United States court for the eastern district is held here. Many of the residents are planters who own estates in this part... Read MORE...

1863 - August 1 - Battle of Little Rock, Arkansas; start of Chattanooga campaign
1868 - January 7 - Arkansas constitutional convention meets in Little Rock
1880 - General Douglas MacArthur, soldier and statesman, was born in Little Rock. resources/ state-facts/ arkansas.html
1885 - Little Rock newspaper offered a free plow with each prepaid subscription of $12. resources/ state-facts/ arkansas.html
Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 16. - At 3 o'clock this morning fire broke out in the boiler room of the insane asylum near this place and spread rapidly, communicating with the drying room of the laundry, whence it communicated with the hot-air passages, which run all over the building. There were 75,000 gallons of water in the attic tanks, but owing to the destruction of the boiler room the pumps could not work, and only hose could be used. For a time it seemed as if the entire building would be burned.

There are nearly five hundred patients, all of whom were removed from the different wards to the first floor preparatory to taking them from the asylum. During the removal a scene of pandemonium reigned, the patients screaming, cursing, and sobbing with terror as the keepers hustled them from floor to floor until they were in comparative safety. Meanwhile the water gave out, and only the timely arrival of the fire engines and hose from this place prevented the complete destruction of the... Read MORE...

Four Lives Lost and Many Persons Injured

The State Insane Asylum and the Penitentiary Partly Destroyed

The Loss Will Reach a Million.

A terrific cyclone swept over the business portion of Little Rock, Ark., at 7:30 o'clock p. m., carrying death and destruction in its path. Shortly after dark a heavy storm came from the west, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning and heavy clashes of thunder. The sky suddenly cleared, and the storm was thought to be over, when suddenly a heavy gale from the southwest appeared, and in three minutes the city was badly damaged. Trees, telegraph, telephone and electric light poles were uprooted and carried 200 yards. The roofs of about thirty of the largest buildings in the city were torn from the houses and hurled against buildings on the opposite side of the street, leaving the occupants at the mercy of the rain, which began to descent in torrents. When the cyclone had ceased it was discovered that the residence portion of the city had... Read MORE...

1895 - Little Rock
Little Rock, a city, the capital of Arkansas and of Pulaski co, is situated on the right or southern bank of the Arkansas River, about 280 miles from its mouth. Lat. 34° 42' N., lon. 92° 16' W. By railroad it is 134 miles W. by S. of Memphis, and 345 miles S.S.W. of St. Louis. It is on the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad, and is a terminus of the following railroads, viz., the Memphis & Little Rock, the Little Rock & Fort Smith, the Little Rock, Mississippi River & Texas, and the Altheimer Branch of the St. Louis Southwestern. Little Rock is the most populous city in the state, and is pleasantly situated on a high bank or rocky bluff which commands an extensive view and is the first high land that touches the river above its mouth. Large steamboats can ascend the river to this place during 8 months in each year, and small steamboats can navigate it from Little Rock to Fort Smith, 300 miles. This city is the seat of the United States District Court for the state, and... Read MORE...

1900 - Little Rock - The City of Roses by George B. Rose
There are spots marked out by nature for the sites of cities, where they must spring up as soon as civilization is established and remain as long as it endures. Such a spot is Little Rock.

The southeastern half of Arkansas is low and flat, composed chiefly of alluvial plains; the northwestern half rugged and broken, rising toward the western border into the mountains, some three thousand feet in elevation, which gradually drop away toward the east till they disappear altogether. At the point, almost the exact center of the State, where the last foothills form the south bank of the principal river, it was inevitable that a city should be built and that that city should become the State's capital. Indeed, so manifest was the destiny of the position that it was made the seat of government before it had become a town, and when it was far beyond the limits of actual settlement.

Nor would it be easy to find a more desirable spot not beside the sea. The foundation is a rock bluff of... Read MORE...

Little Rock, a city, the capital of Arkansas and of Pulaski co., is situated on the right or southern bank of the Arkansas River, here crossed by several bridges, about 280 miles from its mouth. Lat. 34* 42' N. ; Lon. 92° 16' W. It is on the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern and other railroads, 134 miles W. of Memphis. Little Rock is the most populous city in the state and is pleasantly situated on a high bank or rocky bluff which commands an extensive view and is the first high land that touches the river above its mouth. Large steamboats ascend the river to this point during 8 months of the year. Little Rock is the seat of the United States District Court for the state, and contains the state-capitol, state library, United States arsenal, masonic temple, etc. ; it is the seat of the Arkansas Industrial University, the Philander Smith College (Methodist Episcopal), Arkansas Baptist College (for colored), Arkansas Military Academy, and the Maddox Seminary. The state penitentiary... Read MORE...

Little Rock, Ark., Aug. 19 - (AP) - Six persons were burned to death and several others injured or burned in a fire in a rooming house here today.

Explosion of a gas cooking stove started the fire which trapped the victims in their upstairs rooms. The house was a fourteen room frame structure and the blaze spread rapidly through it.

The dead are:

All were roomers at the facility.

The occupants of the house consisted mostly of railroad shop employes.
The explosion occurred while the landlady, Mrs. E. L. Darragh, was preparing breakfast. Her face and hands were burned. Some of the roomers were downstairs waiting for breakfast and escaped easily, but of the seven or eight still in their rooms upstairs, all were burned fatally or injured by the fire and in leaps from windows.
Centralia Daily Journal
Centralia, Washington
August 19, 1929
Little Rock, Ark., March 17 - (AP) - Nine soldiers drowned and two others are missing in a large lake five miles north of here after an accident in amphibious maneuvers last night in a second major tragedy to overtake the 66th Division within the last week.

The drownings occurred in Lake No. 2, largest of a chain of seven artificial bodies of water in Lakewood, a sparsely settled residential development east of the Camp Robinson reservation.

The public relations office said the accidents happened after completion of assault boat training and river crossing maneuvers.
"The maneuvers had been rehearsed several times," the camp announcement said. "The men were riding in two assault boats and were being taken to the opposite side for food."

"The men were wearing light combat packs. Many men swam ashore and other boats were detailed to rescue work."

"This was the last unit of the 66th to complete this phase of training. A board was named to investigate."

Last Monday a...

1958 - Little Rock high schools closed for academic year due to political and social controversy over desegregation webimage/ countrys/ namerica/ usstates/ artimeln.htm
2023 - Whether you're into history, outdoor activities, or just exploring the local scene, there's something for everyone. Here's a list of places to go and things to do in Little Rock:
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site: Start your journey with a visit to this iconic landmark. It's a symbol of the struggle for civil rights in America. The visitor center provides an informative look back at the events of 1957.

Clinton Presidential Library and Park: Explore the life and times of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton. The library features fascinating exhibits, including a replica of the Oval Office. The adjacent park offers beautiful riverfront views.

River Market District: This vibrant area is the heart of downtown Little Rock. It features an array of restaurants, shops, and galleries. On Saturdays, the River Market hosts a lively farmers' market.

Heifer Village: This interactive museum is part of the Heifer International campus and focuses on global hunger and poverty issues. It's both educational and inspiring.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Outdoor enthusiasts will love this park for hiking and picnicking. The summit... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Little Rock Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

We currently have information about 8 ancestors who were born or died in Little Rock.

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Genealogy Resources for Little Rock

Arkansas Newspapers

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Updated: 10/15/2023 8:50:55 AM