Visiting Little Rock
Arkansas’ state capitol building is located in downtown Little Rock, not too far from the Arkansas River. Construction started in 1899 and was completed a whole 16 years later in 1915. Like most capitol buildings, it was designed to be a replica of the main US capitol building in Washington DC. The capitol grounds in Little Rock are surrounded by several monuments like the two below. The lower left is a Vietnam wall memorial also similar to the one in DC. The memorial directly below is dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients.
|The historic building to the left is the oldest surviving state capitol west of the Mississippi river. It was built in 1836 and was used until the current capitol building was completed. Above is a photo of a painting of what the old state capitol looked like when it was first created back in 1836.|
|The old state capitol has since been turned into a museum that focuses on the history of Little Rock and the state as a whole. They actually gave an interesting look on the past history of Arkansas, mostly about it’s reputation of high crime in the early 1900s. Arkansas started off as a state with a rural population but famous in America for its high crime. A large section in the museum is named Badges, Bandits and Bars that is dedicated to its crime. Above is a confiscated gambling kit taken from the 70s. On the right is a photo of a photo of the most famous criminals of all time; Bonnie & Clyde.|
In my opinion, the most significant historic place to visit in Little Rock is easily Central High School located right outside the downtown area in a residential neighborhood. The high school was built in 1927 as one of the most expensive in the United States, and was also the largest and most beautiful at the time. The school had a capacity for 20,000 students, but received international attention in 1957 when the governor of Arkansas refused to allow 9 black students to attend. The country was in the process of desegregation, and the new concept of introducing black students to white high schools met fierce resistance in certain parts of the country. The issue at Little Rock Central High School escalated far enough to where the president of the United States had to get involved and gave the students a military escort. Eventually, overtime the desegregation process was completed and became socially acceptable. The students known as the ‘Little Rock Nine’ were seen as taking part in one of the most important issues in the US. Above is the high school and their graduating class, on the left is a reunion memorial.
|So not to ruin the great story about the Little Rock Nine, but I couldn’t avoid taking a few shows in the area of the high school. It’s honestly one of the most beat up and run down neighborhoods I’ve ever seen! I’d almost say 1 out of 5 houses is condemned like the two above, and while there are a few nice houses here and there most houses that are occupied don’t look much better than the two homes above.|
|Since President Bill Clinton was born and raised in Arkansas, there are plenty of places named after him in the state. On the right is a trolley going down the street named Bill Clinton Avenue. Below is a museum and store dedicated to the former president, and on the lower right is the Clinton Presidential Center. A large museum and that focuses on his presidency and hosts numerous events each month.|
|President Bill Clinton Avenue is the main street in the river market district. Most of the bars, restaurants, shops and museums are built along the Arkansas river. On the left is the inside of a small indoor food court, on the right is a amphitheater on a gloomy day. Since it was in the middle of January and overcast, the above photo doesn’t look to appealing, but I can imagine this would be a fun place to see a concert on a summer night when the weather is nice and people are out having fun.|
Another popular place to visit or stay during a trip to Little Rock is the upscale Peabody Hotel also located in the River Market District. There are several Peabody hotels located in the southeastern part of the country, with the original one found in downtown Memphis. The Peabody Hotel in Little Rock also keeps the tradition of having live ducks that live in the lobby fountain. This hotel is also the site of many meetings and expos, such as the Marine Expo that was held in the middle of January.
|What I enjoyed most in Little Rock was walking along the Arkansas river at night, opposite side of the downtown area. There wasn’t too much in this area, but mostly a quiet trail that offered some great views of the entire city. On the upper right is a long foot bridge that spans the Arkansas River. Below is a photo of the Arkansas Queen, which offers tours up and down the river during certain times of the year|
|My last stop in Little Rock was the Mount Holly Cemetery which was founded in 1843. One of the oldest and important cemeteries in Arkansas, it is the final resting place for several important figures from Arkansas, including governors, senators, city mayors and famous citizens who made this state their home.|