|Tip of the "Little Rock" with the old |
railroad bridge behind.
How did Little Rock, Arkansas get its name? Glad you asked. The naming of Little Rock happened in 1722 when French explorer Bernard de la Harpe was leading a party of explorers up the Arkansas River from New Orleans and came upon two rock outcroppings, one large and one small, on opposite sides of the river. Indians had long used both rocks as landmarks so de la Harpe obviously spent a lot of time thinking about it and finally decided on the clever name "La Petite Roche" or "little rock" as a means of distinguishing the smaller outcropping from the larger bluff upstream, which he named "French Rock."
Over the next 100 years, control of the region alternated between the Spanish and the French, but few permanent settlements were established, so at the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Arkansas was almost uninhabited. Once the territory became part of the United States however, more and more Americans were willing to move west of the Mississippi River. The first white settler near the "little rock" was William Lewis, a hunter. In July, 1812, he built a small hut and planted a few pumpkin seeds so he could file a homestead claim. In 1819, a land speculator from St. Louis named William Russell bought Lewis' claim and by May 1820, he had staked out a town site. Later that same year, members of a rival group laid out a second town site that they named Arkopolis. In 1821, Russell's Little Rock settlement was chosen as the capital of the Arkansas Territory. When tensions between the two opposing groups touched off fears that the capital would be moved elsewhere, the speculators resolved their differences amicably, shook hands, and the site was officially named Little Rock.
|Now a beautiful park, this used to be |
Hell's Half Acre.
|What remains of the original little |
outcrop of rocks.
|Sculpture in Riverfront Park|
|Jogging track Riverfront Park with the famous |
Peabody Hotel in background.
|Downtown Little Rock|