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Little Rock: Capital of Arkansas

Little Rock was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and became a city in 1835.

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Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and was once the home to the Quapaw people. The area was named by French explorers who named some of the rock outcroppings on the Arkansas River. The smaller of two was named “le Petit Rocher,” or “the little rock,” and this name first showed on a map in 1799.

Little Rock was included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the first settlement was made in 1812 by a trapper named William Lewis. The Little Rock post office was established in 1820. It became a town in 1831 and a city in 1835. When the Civil War came, Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861.

In 1957, the Little Rock School District began letting white and black kids go to the same school. This started at Central High School after the Supreme Court ruled against separating them. Not everyone liked this idea, and Gov. Orval Faubus called on the state’s National Guard to stop it. On September 25, weeks after the first troops arrived, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort the students to school and the first black students attended their first full day of non-segregated school. The students are referred to as Little Rock Nine.

Interesting Facts

  • The Little Rock Zoo started by accident. After the 1926 state fair closed, city officials discovered abandoned animals left on the grounds. Pens were built for them and then in the 1930s the rock buildings that are still there today were erected.
  • Oct. 1, 1927 was declared Charles Lindberg Day after the pilot landed in the city on a tour. The Little Rock parade was held and attended by 75,000 people. After the parade, Lindberg gave a speech about his advances in aviation.
  • The Old Mill in North Little Rock, which can be seen in the opening scene of Gone With The Wind, is thought to be the only structure still standing from the film’s production.
  • The State Capitol building was modeled after the US Capitol building and was completed in 1915. Because of its resemblance, the Arkansas capitol has been used in several films as a stand-in for the DC capitol.
Kelli Ballard

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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