See Rock City

See Rock City

Friday, September 19, 2008

N. Little Rock, AR

North Little Rock is a city in the central part of the U.S. state of Arkansas across the Arkansas River from Little Rock in Pulaski County. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 58,833 ranking it as the sixth most populous city in the state. North Little Rock, along with Little Rock and Conway, anchors the six-county Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area. (2007 population — 666,401), which is further included in the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Pine Bluff Combined Statistical Area (2007 population — 841,326). According to the 2007 Census North Little Rock has a population of 59,400

The city's downtown is home to the Arkansas Twisters of the af2 arena football league and the Arkansas RimRockers of the NBA D-League (both of which play at Alltel Arena). Near the arena is Dickey-Stephens Park, the new home of the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team. Burns Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, is located in western North Little Rock.

The Arkansas Twisters are a professional arena football team based in North Little Rock, Arkansas. They are a charter member of af2, the minor league of the Arena Football League, and play their home games at ALLTEL Arena. The Twisters are currently coached under head coach Chris Siegfried.

The Arkansas RimRockers were a NBA Development League minor league basketball team based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Logo design: A red, white, and blue ball going through a basketball rim (homage to when they were in the ABA)

The Rimrockers began play during the 2004-05 season for the American Basketball Association. They posted a 32-5 record in the team’s inaugural season and won the ABA championship. Soon after winning the title, they left the ABA and began play in the NBA Development League for the 2005-06 season.

Dickey-Stephens Park is a new stadium in North Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. It is primarily used for baseball and serves as the home for the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League. The fixed seat capacity of the ballpark is 5,800 people. It opened in 2007 as a replacement for Ray Winder Field. The stadium is named after Jack Stephens, Witt Stephens, George Dickey, and Baseball Hall of Fame member Bill Dickey. The stadium is perhaps most famous for the tragic incident involving Tulsa Drillers batting coach Mike Coolbaugh, who was killed by a line drive which hit him in the neck.

The Arkansas Travelers, also known informally as The Travs, are a Minor League Baseball team based in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Major League club. On Aug. 20, 2008 they extended their affiliation for two years through the 2010 season.

The Travelers play at Dickey-Stephens Park.

Named the Little Rock Travelers at the team’s inception in 1895, the Travelers were the first professional sports team to claim an entire state in 1957 when they became the Arkansas Travelers. Both versions of the name derive from the old folk song, The Arkansas Traveler.

In 2004 the team introduced new road jerseys and alternate caps that paid homage to the Travs’ home city. The jerseys had “Little Rock” written across the chest. Travelers’ jerseys have either featured “Arkansas” or “Travelers” ever since the 1950s.

Team Logo

“Nostalgia is in these days and the retro look has become stylish,” said Travs’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Bill Valentine. “We were the Little Rock Travelers for years and after all this time we thought we lost the identification with Little Rock. Some people actually didn’t know we’re from Little Rock. The LR logo has had success on our replica caps and we thought that the time to make this change was right now.”

Cap Logo

From 1932 to 2006, the Travelers played at Ray Winder Field, which now is nearly three-quarters of a century old and is showing signs of age. After a successful special election in 2005, the team moved to a new stadium at the start of the 2007 season. Dickey-Stephens Park, the new stadium in North Little Rock, Arkansas, hosted the first Travelers game against the Frisco RoughRiders on April 12, 2007. It will be primarily used for baseball and will be the home field of the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team. It holds at least 7,000 people. It replaced the club's former home, Ray Winder Field. Funded by a North Little Rock voter-approved one-cent sales tax, Dickey-Stephens Park was built through a partnership between the Travs, Little Rock financier Warren Stephens and the city of North Little Rock. After donating an 11 acre plot of land east of the Broadway Bridge, Mr. Stephens named the ballpark in honor of two pairs of baseball-loving brothers; Stephens Inc. Founders Jack and Witt Stephens, and Hall of Fame Catcher Bill Dickey and his brother Skeeter, also a former Major League ballplayer. Both Dickey brothers worked for Stephens Inc. following their baseball careers. Bill, who caught for the 1925 Little Rock Travelers, also managed the club for one season following a 17-year Hall-of-Fame career with the New York Yankees that included seven World Series titles.


The old mill in North Little Rock, which was seen in Gone with the Wind

North Little Rock was once known as Argenta, a name currently applied specifically to downtown North Little Rock. In 1890, Little Rock annexed the unincorporated Argenta community as its Eighth Ward, preempting a competing petition to incorporate Argenta. A neighboring area was incorporated as the Town of North Little Rock in 1901as part of a plan to reclaim the Eighth Ward from Little Rock. By 1904, the Arkansas Supreme Court allowed the town to annex the Eighth Ward; the modern City of North Little Rock considers this its founding date. The combined city adopted the Argenta name by 1906, but reverted to North Little Rock in October 1917. A remnant of the city's earliest years can be found in North Little Rock City Hall (constructed in 1914), which still contains plaques referring to "Argenta", and contains "C of A" (City of Argenta) ornamental designs.


Pulaski Technical College is located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, in the United States. Pulaski Tech has seven locations throughout Central Arkansas and online.

Points Of Interest

Dickey-Stephens Park, home of the Arkansas Travelers baseball team.

Alltel Arena,

Alltel Arena is an 18,000-seat multi-purpose arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas, directly across the Arkansas River from downtown Little Rock. The arena opened in October 1999.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Trojans played home games at the arena from the time when the arena opened until the team moved in 2005 to a new stadium, the Jack Stephens Center, on the school's campus in Little Rock. The Arkansas RiverBlades, a defunct ice hockey team of the ECHL, also played at the Alltel Arena.

The Old Mill (See Above)

Burns Park

McCain Mall

Wild River Country water park,

Wild River Country is an outdoor water park located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, United States. It is the largest water park in the state of Arkansas. It is a popular attraction of the city and sees many visitors from all over the region.

Argenta Studios,

City of North Little Rock History

Known only as "opposite Little Rock" until the Civil War, North Little Rock grew as a crossroads that linked river and overland traffic. In 1866, surveyed and platted, an unincorporated town of mills, factories, hotels and saloons became known as the town of Argenta. In 1890, the community of Argenta filed papers to incorporate as a city. However, Argenta's southern neighbor, across the Arkansas River, quickly passed legislation to annex the little town and make it the eighth ward of that city. Years later a group of north side businessmen led by William C. Faucette (who was elected to the Arkansas state legislature) introduced a bill to allow a new city to be created by annexing the eighth ward of Little Rock. In 1903 North Little Rock and Argenta town residents voted to merge. Little Rock mounted a court challenge, but on February 6, 1904, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the 1903 merger of North Little Rock and Argenta (named for silver mines), with more than 8,000 residents. In January of 1906 North Little Rock changes its name to Argenta, but in October 1917 renamed itself back to North Little Rock. Visit the History and Historic Commission's page for information on historic buildings, landmarks and sites, learn more about the colorful stories of the people and places that shaped the North Little Rock of today.

North Shore

Currently, North Little Rock has a population of 60,433+, with approximately 53.5 square miles of diverse, charming and affordable neighborhoods, beautiful lakes, outstanding parks and recreational facilities, walking and bicycling trails on the picturesque riverfront along the Arkansas River, linked by the Big Dam Bridge to trails in Little Rock, minor league baseball at its finest in the Dickey-Stephens ballpark which opened on April 12, 2007, the historic USS Razorback Submarine which is open for tours, a rapidly growing downtown business and historic residential district, many churches and faith based organizations, and substantial business, industry, entertainment facilities and restaurants which flourish throughout the city.

Burns Park Covered Bridge

Residents enjoy a wholesome quality of life, safe neighborhoods with organized neighborhood associations, outstanding services and facilities for our youth and seniors, downtown revitalization, booming economic development activities, exciting riverfront development, and a terrific sense of community pride evidenced by our city's recognition as a Volunteer Community of the Year.

A progressive political climate under the leadership of Mayor Patrick Henry Hays exists today, creating a high level of public confidence in the responsiveness of our Mayor and elected officials. Close working relationships among city, school district, and business partners (including the Chamber of Commerce) continues to earn respect and success for our Mayor/City Council form of government.

North Little Rock Today

The city utilizes a land use master plan, zoning ordinances, promotes responsible fiscal management, aggressively pursues new economic development opportunities, maintains a professional, community-oriented police and fire departments and emergency services agency, supports community development projects, encourages public involvement in government issues, promotes responsible curbside and hazardous waste recycling, and maintains an active code enforcement, all key ingredients to keeping the city running smoothly. To view the North Little Rock Ward Boundaries click here.

Economic Development

North Little Rock is in the center of central Arkansas economic activity. With the 8th best manufacturing climate in the nation, and given the fact that North Little Rock has the state's largest indoor mall and is strategically located within a day's drive of nearly 2/3 of the entire U.S., population, business is good! North Little Rock enjoys a diverse business and industry base which creates a steady-growing local economy. Arkansas ranks among the five lowest states in the nation in overall per capita tax burden.

A large part of North Little Rock is in the federally designated Pulaski County Empowerment. One of only thirty urban areas nationwide to receive an Empowerment Zone designation from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This designation brings with it significant federal tax incentives to promote economic development and create jobs. The Pulaski County Empowerment Zone is designed to support growth and revitalization opportunities for distressed areas of communities, and is part of a business tax incentive package.

Burn's Soccer Center

Economic and business development organizations such as the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce , the North Little Rock Economic Development Agency, Main Street Argenta, and the Argenta CDC Downtown are helping boost our economy to new levels.

The Chamber of Commerce made a strong commitment to downtown development when it located offices in the remodeled building at 100 Main Street. The Chamber building at "Commerce Corner", which also houses the North Little Rock Economic Development Corporation, is an attraction in its own right as it welcomes people entering North Little Rock over the Main Street Bridge.
River Rail Trolley Service between North Little Rock and Little Rock links the two downtown historic areas. The Vintage Replica Steetcars are the perfect way to go between the many downtown attractions such as those on the North Side: the Arkansas Art Gallery, The Arts Scene Gallery and Art Market, The Baker House Bed and Breakfast as well as many on the Little Rock side including: The Museum of Discovery, The Clinton Presidential Center, Heifer International Headquarters, and many more.

Recreation and Entertainment

Located in the center of Arkansas' business and cultural center, North Little Rock offers the most diverse recreation and entertainment venues in the state. Thanks to mild seasonal temperatures, you'll enjoy year-round outdoor activities at places like Burns Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the nation, with over 1,600 acres of lighted ball fields, hiking trails, fishing, a 36-hole championship golf course, a 29 court tennis facility, and an amusement park, (Funland). Recreational Opportunities abound at North Little Rock as well as Sports Activities along with a unique Urban Equestrian Trail, Scenic River Trail, Emerald Park Mountain Bike, and Multi Use Trails as listed in our Brochure. (PDF)
For more information on attractions
Explore North Little Rock, contact our North Little Rock Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 5511, North Little Rock, AR 72119.

visit the website at

The new 17-field soccer complex located between White Oak Bayou and the Arkansas River has irrigated fields, concession facilities, restrooms, parking for each field, four lighted fields, nine pavilions, and preserved wetlands.
North Shore Riverwalk offers a wide variety of adaptable uses. The Riverwalk offers a picturesque promenade and the beginning of a seven mile pedestrian/bicycle trail featuring the Arkansas River as a backdrop. The site offers event planners a built-in speaker system, amphitheatre pad, utilities and permanent restroom facilities.
The Arkansas River Trail, also known as the Millennium Trail, unites Little Rock and North Little Rock. Completed in 2006, The Big Dam Bridge, a bike and pedestrian bridge crosses over the Murray Lock and Dam. Currently 11.5 miles of the 14 mile loop is completed. This trail offers Little Rock and North Little Rock citizens and visitors a wonderful recreational opportunity.
The North River Landing, a 60-foot wide boat launching ramp and fishing pier, is located beside the Interstate 30 bridge over the river. This was a result of a joint project with the City of North Little Rock and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.


With safety a top priority, the city is proud of its well-trained community-oriented police and fire departments as well as the Office of Emergency Services and Dispatchers.

Community Programs

Over 200 full-time North Little Rock Police officers patrol and protect the public safety, utilizing state-of-the-art on board computers, teaching critical public education programs, and exhibiting a high level of professionalism.

North Little Rock Fire Departments employs 148 firefighters who staff 10 neighborhood fire stations, maintaining a Class 2 ISO rating with specialized teams trained in hazardous materials (haz mat), high angle, and confined space rescue, and 2 Advanced Life Support (ALS) trucks manned by (2) of the 12 paramedic personnel. The department has two boats that respond to emergencies on the Arkansas River and surrounding lakes. The department is actively involved in teaching fire prevention and education to all age groups, with special emphasis on grade school children. This is accomplished with a mobile house that teaches evacuation and escape from residential fires, as well as severe weather awareness.

North Little Rock Trolley

Office of Emergency Services Emergency Management and 9-1-1 Communications Center uses state-of-the-art equipment for efficient handling of all emergency calls for Fire, Police and Medical. A 9-1-1 comprehensive system for emergency telephone requests and coordination for emergency management during disaster exists in the same facility. Public Safety Dispatchers are responsible for answering 911 calls, rendering assistance to citizens and ensuring the safety of emergency responders.


North Little Rock offers delightful diversions, points of interest and plenty of Southern hospitality. You will find great outdoors in our 1600-acre Burns Park, one of the largest city parks in the nation. We have the photogenic Old Mill, seen in "Gone with the Wind" . A water theme park, non-stop shopping at McCain Mall, the largest shopping center in central Arkansas, Lakewood Village (McCain's neighbor). Specialty shops, antiques and restaurants in abundance. Our Alltel Arena is an 18,000-seat multi-purpose facility that hosts a variety of special events including concerts, circuses, community gathering, conferences, conventions and much more.

Old Mill

Lakeshore Dr. and Fairway, Historic re-creation of an 1880's water-powered grist mill, the Old Mill was seen in the opening scenes of the classic movie "Gone with the Wind" and features sculptures by Dionicio Rodriguez.

Alltell Arena

Alltel Arena is an 18,000-seat multi-purpose facility located on the north bank of the Arkansas River in North Little Rock. Standing 11 stories tall and occupying 370,000 square feet, the Alltel Arena is the home court for the UALR Trojans basketball team and the local site for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The arena also hosts a variety of special events, including concerts, circuses, community gatherings, conferences and conventions.

McCain Mall

McCain Mall is a 2-level regional mall anchored by Dillard's, JCPenney, and Sears. For all of your shopping needs, McCain Mall features more than 80 specialty stores including favorites such as American Eagle, Old Navy, Victoria's Secret, Buckle and Gymboree. You'll also enjoy great food at Chick-fil-A and other eateries, as well as IHOP and Carino's Italian Grill!

Wild River Country I-40 and Crystal Hill Rd. A 23-acre water theme park featuring the "Arkansas Ocean" and a collection of other water amusements.

A joint project of the City of North Little Rock and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, this large, modern boat launching ramp on the Arkansas River is two blocks from ALLTEL Arena. The 60-foot wide ramp is located beside the Interstate 30 bridge over the river and opposite Little Rock's Riverfront Park.

North Shore Riverwalk Our very own Riverwalk offers a wide variety of adaptable uses for events ranging in size 12 to 6,000. The Riverwalk includes a picturesque promenade featuring the Arkansas River and Little Rock skyline. The site offers a built-in speaker system, amphitheatre pad, utilities and permanent restroom facilities.

Dickey Stephens Park

The Arkansas River Trail, also known as the Millennium Trail, unites Little Rock and North Little Rock. This fourteen mile trail offers Little Rock and North Little Rock citizens and visitors a wonderful recreational opportunity. The 4226 linear foot Pulaski County Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge over Murray Lock & Dam connects the scenic riverside trails.


Camp Joseph T. Robinson Exit 150 off Interstate 40, turn left onto Charles Boyer, turn right onto Military Rd and follow straight to the gated entrance. Camp Robinson dates back to 1917 and the closing days of World War I when it was known as Camp Pike. Museum on site. Free admission, hours vary.

River Street Trolley

The River Rail Streetcar, Ridin' in the Rocks, Central Arkansas Transit Authority's River Rail Electric Streetcar system. As in the 1940's, Little Rock and North Little Rock has the electric streetcars traveling the downtown city streets again. River Rail has four replica vintage trolleys (see photos) operating over the downtown track.

Recreational Opportunities abound at North Little Rock's Burns Park as well as Sports Activities along with a unique Urban Equestrian Trail, Scenic River Trail, Emerald Park Mountain Bike, and Multi Use Trails as listed in our Brochure.

Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

Arkansas, although a land locked state, has a long, deep, and direct connection with the maritime trades and with naval and maritime history. Many of her sons and daughters have "gone to sea in ships". Some, like Charles Cooke of Fort Smith, rose to positions of great leadership in the Navy.

Even today, Arkansas continues to be connected to maritime issues. For example, the red and green lights on the bow of a bass boat are there because of international maritime regulations and the blue and white "Alpha" flag is an international maritime flag flown to indicate that a vessel has divers down.

Arkansas ranks #1 in the US in minnow farming and #2 in catfish farming. The aquaculture industry in Arkansas has a value of over $125 million.

In addition, nearly 13 million tons of cargo was moved along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in 2004 alone. Over 500,000 truck would have been needed to carry the same tonnage. Major cargoes included chemicals, agricultural products and petroleum products. Cargo to or from at least forty two different countries has traveled the river. The river isn't just traveled by barges, either (or just by submarines).

Maritime Museum

Arkansas River Trail

Already a popular place to be, the completed sections of the Arkansas River Trail are a destination for some 1,500 residents on most weekend days.

Quickly approaching completion, this unique project is the result of many years of planning and coordination between public and private agencies, landholders and concerned citizens. Trail development on each side of the river has been funded by the corresponding city through appropriations, grants, donations and other resources.

When completed, the Arkansas River Trail will reach from downtown Little Rock to Pinnacle Mountain State Park on the southern shore, and from downtown North Little Rock to Cook's Landing on the northern shore. A fourteen-mile loop will be created by a pedestrian bridge across Murray Lock and Dam and a renovated railroad bridge near the Presidential Library Center and Park. All together this project will offer approximately 24 miles of trail in Central Arkansas. This trail will also connect to the 225-mile Ouachita Wilderness National Recreation Trail in Pinnacle Mountain State Park adding an additional 17 miles to this nationally recognized trail.

Approximately 11.5 miles of the planned 24 miles is complete. There are 4.5 miles on the Little Rock side complete from Interstate 430 to the eastern end of Rebsamen Park Road. Seven miles of the trail is complete in North Little Rock ending at Cook's Landing. There are plans to start construction downtown this year and work toward Rebsamen Park.


Trails connect people with places, enabling them to walk or cycle to run errands, visit local attractions, or commute to work. With a 14-mile loop and extensions, which create a total of 24 miles, the Arkansas River Trail will provide residents with an ideal opportunity for commuting from east to west Little Rock, and to and from destinations in Little Rock and North Little Rock free from the congestion created by automobiles. Whether you are an athlete, need to lose weight, want to get outside or just want to walk your dog, the river trail is a place for all people.

Millennium Trail

"Rollin' and Strollin' on the Arkansas River Trail"

Story of the River Trail

Quickly approaching completion, this unique project is the result of many years of planning and coordination between public and private agencies, landholders and concerned citizens. Trail development on each side of the river has been funded by the corresponding city through appropriations, grants, donations and other resources.

When completed, the Arkansas River Trail will reach from downtown Little Rock to Pinnacle Mountain State Park on the southern shore, and from downtown North Little Rock to Cook's Landing on the northern shore. A fourteen mile loop will be created by a pedestrian bridge across Murray Lock and Dam and a renovated railroad bridge near the Presidential Library Center and Park. All together this project will offer approximately 24 miles of trail in Central Arkansas. This trail will also connect to the 225-mile Ouachita Wilderness Trail in Pinnacle Mountain State Park adding an additional 17 miles to this nationally-recognized trail.

River Front, Bikers and Walkers

Designed and designated as a "Place for All People," the Arkansas River Trail offers a warm welcome to visitors from all over the world. The path is fully accessible and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and provides users with opportunities to experience environments from the highly developed downtown districts to near wilderness areas in the western most sections. Walkers, cyclists, skaters, joggers, strollers and many others for generations to come will have the opportunity to participate in a diverse variety of outdoor recreation activities while improving their health and learning more about sensitive environments and habitat preservation.

Pinnacle Arbortum Trail

The Arkansas River Trail is a hub, which will provide spokes to surrounding areas of Central Arkansas increasing access and popularity throughout one of Arkansas' most heavily populated regions. This is a reassuring point in light of the many benefits of bicycling, skating, walking and jogging, such as improved health, reduced air and water pollution, reduced impact on natural resources, safer streets and appropriately scaled neighborhoods.

Map of Rivertrail

Connectivity: The completed trail will connect the following key recreation areas and places of interest along the river:

Arkansas River Queen

River Queen Logo

See the beautiful Arkansas River from the decks of the elegant Arkansas Queen. View Little Rock and North Little Rock in an entirely new light. You'll see the Clinton Library, the "Little Rock", the metropolitan skyline and the beautiful parks along the shore.

Delta Queen

Sightseeing from the Deck of The Delta Queen.


Argenta Artwalk in North Little Rock Features Art in Unexpected Places
The Arts Community is alive and well in North Little Rock where excitement is spreading throughout the arts and business community about the revival of a regularly scheduled art walk in Historic Downtown Argenta.

The Argenta 3rd Friday Art Walk, featuring Art in Unexpected Places, announces its first “soft opening” art walk and sale in the downtown area from 5:00 -8:00 p.m. on Friday, August 15, paving the way for a monthly art event to be held regularly on the 3rd Friday night of each month. The September Argenta 3rd Friday Art Walk will be the events major kickoff event.

The Argenta 3rd Friday Art Walk is sponsored by the Main Street Argenta, the Argenta 3rd Friday Art Walk Committee, and the City of North Little Rock. Major works of art will be displayed in more than 20 unique art venue, featuring works of art of prominent juried Central Arkansas artists, with opportunities to meet artists and purchase their work.

A distinctive feature of The Argenta 3rd Friday Art Walk is that art will be displayed in conventional venues as well as venues tucked away into unexpected places in the historic downtown area. Art exhibits will be found inside and outside along Main Street from the Broadway to 8th Street, and in the Argenta Art Studios (working artist studios) located inside the First Presbyterian Church one block off Main at 4th and Maple.

Art lovers and families alike are encouraged to attend. Many venues will offer free Refreshments.

City Grove

Art Venues
4th & Maple
Argenta Art Studios (featuring working artist studios/ First Presbyterian Church

Main Street

Galaxy Furniture and Gallery, Cornerstone Pub & Grill, The Circle Café, Reno’s Argenta Café, Thomason’s Furniture, Blake’s Furniture, Thea Foundation, Hicks, Dowty, McCauley & Schell Architects, Sidetracks, Clay Time Studios, Pennington Studio, Arkansas Art Gallery, Baker House Bed & Breakfast, Clements and Associates, Carousel Ministries, Argenta Seafood, GP Certified Public Accountants, Priddy- Holifield Certified Public Accountants and Argenta Bead Company.

North Little Rock Airport

North Little Rock Airport is located in North Little Rock, Arkansas in the heart of Arkansas' industrial. commercial. and financial centers. The Airport is home to about 180 corporate and private aircraft and is used extensively by the business community. Flight instruction, airplane rentals, scenic flights, aircraft sales, fuel, and maintenance facilities are available on the field. Come visit us and enjoy all we have to offer. The Airport is governed by the North Little Rock Airport Commission. The four runways (5-23 and 17-35) accommodate 56,000 operations per year. The Airport is home to the National Weather Service, Central Arkansas Water, Pulaski Technical College, and the NLR Fire Training Facility. The Airport has two fixed based operators, 24 privately owned T-hangars / corporate hangars, and 180+ tie downs.

The Big Dam Bridge

The Big Dam Bridge Opening Ceremony - September 30, 2006

"Welcome to YOUR Bridge

The most important question in any public endeavor is……………..why?

This bridge, like the very early bridges, connects people and places. Spanning this river that would divide us, it connects us in a very human way. We will bring our families and our friends here, and we will meet other families and make new friends. We will be better and our community will be better for the experience. Let this be a BRIDGE TO FRIENDSHIP AND COMMUNITY.

We live in a time where the lack of physical activity presents the greatest threat to our health. This bridge beckons us, challenges us to scale its heights again and again, until we can do so without breathing hard or feeling our muscles tighten. We can be healthy. We can be physically fit. Let this be a BRIDGE TO HEALTH AND FITNESS.

We know that there are visitors here today from as many as thirty states and three foreign countries. We welcome you. It is a part of our nature and culture to extend our hospitality to those who visit us. We also appreciate the money you spend as you stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our shops. It is good for our economy. We are a community committed to economic growth. We are also a community committed to enhancing the quality of life for those who live here. Our goal is to create a community where people want to live, work and play, not just a place they have to come to work. Let this be a BRIDGE TO ECONOMIC GROWTH AND QUALITY OF LIFE.

A significant public structure should be about more than concrete and steel, more than form and function. It should in some way reflect the highest aspirations of our people. The beauty of the design of this bridge reaches skyward. As we begin the ascent it causes us to look up and forward, with each turn of the pedal or each step moving us toward our goal. When we achieve its heights, there will be sense of accomplishment and feeling of-if we can do this, what else can we do. Our spirits will be renewed as we gaze upon the beauty before us, over this river whose waters have come and passed this way for thousands of years, connecting us to our history, our past, our present and our future. Our future, our history yet to be written. We can be what we choose to be. If we can conceive it, we can achieve it! For all things are possible, if we only believe! Let this be a Bridge of Dreams.”

Bridge Dam And Facts

Vital statistics: 4226 linear feet of bridge
679 feet of walled embankment
14 feet wide
54 inches to the top of the handrail
Approaches to the bridge are at 5% grade
72 feet above the Arkansas River upstream
90 feet above the Arkansas River downstream
8 observation areas
Capable of holding two 36" utility pipelines
Contains over 3 million pounds of steel
Contains over 24 million pounds of concrete
160 L.E.D. light fixtures on the piers
16 L.E.D. light fixtures on the towers
63 light fixtures for walkway illumination

Visitor license plates observed from other States and Countries:

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Ontario, Canada

First wedding: September 28, 2006 - Rich Cosgrove and Nancy Green, vows given by Judge Villines.

First official cyclist: September 30, 2006 - crossing the Bridge, Mayor Jim Dailey (City of Little Rock) and Mayor Patrick Hays (City of North Little Rock)

First BDB 5K: September 30, 2006 - winners-male Robby LeBlanc, female-Barbarie Hildebrand

First BDB100 Bike Tour: October 1, 2006 - first rider to finish, Noah Singer

First 110 year old to stroll across the Bridge:
September 30, 2007 - Birthday Stroll - Ruth Lincoln

First U.S. Surgeon to walk across the Bridge:
June 19, 2008 - Steven K. Galson, M.D. MPH

Other facts: The bridge connects approximatley 15 miles of scenic riverside trails in the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock, and assists in the connection of 70,000 acres of various city, county, state and federal park land.

Big Bridge Dam

Bridge History, The Name

It took eight years from conception to completion to build "The Big Dam Bridge". There have been many who wondered about that name. How did it get that name? Was it just a marketing ploy or a statement of the obvious, a big bridge on a dam. It was a little of both and more.

Cyclists enjoy a beautiful day on the Big Dam Bridge

The first two or three years were tough, pulling together several federal, state and local agencies. There was some resistance. The design was complex. The cost were great. There came a time when everyone involved was ready to quit.

I walked into one of those meetings where the frustrations were running high with the tone and attitude of giving up. My response was simple, "we are going to build that dam bridge". There was a pause and then laughter as people realized that I said "dam" instead of "damn". But it served its purpose. That became an expression of resolve as we moved forward.

Walkers enjoying a beautiful day on the Big Dam Bridge.

When we were preparing for the opening, I took the planning group, Denver Peacock and Jordan Johnson, up on the bridge. I Think the comment was, "wow, this is big". To which I responded, "yes, it's a big dam bridge". They recognized the marketing value for the opening and beyond.

Thus, we have "THE BIG DAM BRIDGE".

Judge Buddy Villines

River Rail Streetcar Project History

Phase I of the River Rail Streetcar Line began revenue operation on November 1, 2004. Three replica vintage trolleys operate on the 2.5-mile route linking some of the most vibrant destinations in the River Cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock. The streetcars operate on an overhead power supply and travel across the Main Street Bridge over the Arkansas River to connect the two cities. Passengers not only have great views of the river and the Little Rock skyline, but are quick to spot the U.S.S. Razorback, a World War II submarine now owned by the City of North Little Rock and anchored on the river's north shore. In its first year of operation, River Rail carried 200,000 passengers.

Ridin Rocks

Among the points of interest along the River Rail route are the 18,000-seat Alltel Arena, the 220,00 square-foot Statehouse Convention Center, the River Market, numerous loft apartments, hotels, two city halls, the historic Argenta neighborhood, restaurants, Historic Arkansas Museum, Museum of Discovery, the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System, two Chambers of Commerce, courthouses, the Robinson Auditorium Concert Hall, Riverfront Amphitheater, dozens of office buildings, fascinating shops and art galleries. The DoubleTree Hotel; the historic Capital Hotel; the Little Rock Peabody Hotel and its "celebrity" ducks; and the Courtyard By Marriott Downtown Hotel are on the route in Little Rock. The Riverfront Wyndham Hotel is only a block away from the streetcar line in North Little Rock.

River Rail Day Passes are $2 each and are available at these locations:


Central Arkansas Library Main Branch at 100 Rock Street, and at all other library locations;

Courtyard By Marriott Downtown — 521 President Clinton Avenue

Historic Arkansas Museum — 200 East Third Street

River Cities Travel Center — 310 East Capitol Avenue


City Services Building — 120 Main Street

Argenta Bead Company — 703 Main Street

North Little Rock is the state’s third-largest city, though once the second largest, with historical ties to the transportation industry and the military. Before railroad companies spurred the growth of a town of mills, stockyards, and small businesses in the last three decades of the nineteenth century, the flood-prone north side of the Arkansas River across from Little Rock (Pulaski County) had few residents. But starting in the 1820s, its ferry and riverboat terminals prospered at a junction of roads on routes between St. Louis, Missouri, or Memphis, Tennessee, and Texas or Oklahoma. The military continues to have an economically viable relationship with central Arkansas, with Fort Logan H. Roots atop Big Rock Mountain since 1897; Camp Pike, established northwest of the city in 1917; Camp Robinson, headquarters of the Arkansas National Guard; and the nearby Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville (Pulaski County). In 1921, the U.S. Congress established Fort Roots as a veterans hospital, which is known today as the Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center.

James Peter Faucette; circa 1910. He and his brother William Chesly Faucette were instrumental in the proceedings that separated Argenta, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County), from Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the early part of the twentieth century.
Courtesy of the North Little Rock History Commission

Early Statehood through the Gilded Age

Chronic flooding on the low north bank, while good for farming, killed early efforts to found any large settlement in the nineteenth century. One venture that led to financial ruin, the town of DeCantillon, washed away in the flood of 1840. The northside junction was a major crossroads and campground for the relocation on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma of 50,000 Native Americans in the 1830s and 1840s. During the Civil War, an unincorporated town known as Huntersville clustered around the Memphis and Little Rock Railway depot near the north approach to what is today the Junction Bridge.

William Chesley Faucette, a politician and businessman and the first mayor of Argenta, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County); circa 1910.
Courtesy of the North Little Rock History Commission

In 1865, William E. Woodruff, founder of the Arkansas Gazette, tried to sell lots on the platted town site of Quapaw immediately east of Huntersville, yet nothing more was heard of it beyond newspaper ads. The heirs of territorial and early statehood politician Thomas W. Newton Sr. platted the town of Argenta in 1866. The name, derived from the Latin “argentum” (silver), recognized Newton’s leadership during the late 1840s and early 1850s in the Southwest Arkansas Mining Company that operated the Kellogg lead and silver mine about ten miles north of Argenta. A majority of the population on the north side in 1870 was African American, including many former slaves. European immigrants began arriving in the 1870s to take the railroad jobs and other employment connected to the railroads, fueling development of Argenta. Mining at Big Rock quarry, as well as timber and agriculture, also benefited from the access to transportation. Argenta likely gained the unwanted nickname of “Dogtown” from this working-class origin. According to oral tradition, people from Little Rock dumped their unwanted dogs in North Little Rock, but the name probably predates this practice and was a disparagement of the north side’s blue-collar base. In the mid-1900s, Little Rock students often taunted North Little Rock students with chants of “Dogtown” at sporting and other events.

Panoramic view of the Old Mill in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), showing sculptures by Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriquez; circa 1931. The mill is perhaps best known for appearing in the opening scenes of the movie, Gone With the Wind (1939).
Photo by Worth Horton, courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System

The Baring Cross Bridge (named after British financial backers Baring Brothers of London) opened for railroad, wagon, and foot traffic in 1873, becoming the first permanent structure across the Arkansas River. It was followed by the Valley Route (Junction) Bridge in 1884, the free bridge in 1897, and the Rock Island Bridge in 1899. But, politically, the territory remained unincorporated until Little Rock forcibly annexed it in 1890 without giving northsiders a vote in the matter.

Barracks at Camp Pike in North Little Rock (Pulaski County); circa 1918.
Courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System

The town of North Little Rock was organized on July 1, 1901, as part of an elaborate scheme hatched by politician and businessman William C. Faucette to reclaim Argenta, which Little Rock called the Eighth Ward. The secret plan to reannex Argenta grew out of resentment by north side residents who never wanted to be a part of Little Rock. Faucette, an Eighth Ward representative on the Little Rock City Council, frequently complained of the lack of services provided to Argenta during the 1890s and early 1900s, despite the payment of taxes to the south-side city. North Little Rock’s southern boundary from 1901 to 1904 bordered the Eighth Ward along what is today Fifteenth Street. Legislation known as the Hoxie-Walnut Ridge bill was signed into law in 1903 and surprised Little Rock’s leaders as to its statewide implications—because any town or city within a mile of another had the ability to annex all or part of the other. Sponsors of the bill worked secretly with Faucette and other northside businessmen to disguise the bill’s true intent, which also provided that only electors in the areas to be merged could vote on annexation. Little Rock sued to try to stop the election. The courts allowed it to proceed on July 21, 1903, although the state Supreme Court sealed the results, which overwhelmingly favored annexation. The state Supreme Court upheld “Hoxie-Walnut Ridge” on February 6, 1904, and North Little Rock, a rural town of about 1,200, officially took control of the Eighth Ward on February 23. Three days later, North Little Rock, by proclamation of the governor, became a first-class city with a population of 8,203.

Training exercises at the Citizens Training Camp in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). The caption indicates that one of the observers was then-governor Thomas McRae.
Courtesy of James McDaniel

Early Twentieth Century

Faucette was elected the first mayor of the new city government on April 5, 1904. All three previous mayors of the old town of North Little Rock—Frank Cook, William Mara, and Michael Brown—guided the town and its five-member council from 1901 to 1904. The North Little Rock City Council, an eight-member board, first met on April 11, 1904, in the fire station at 506 Newton Avenue (now Main Street). In January 1906, the city adopted Argenta as its name but changed it back to North Little Rock in October 1917 at the urging of James P. Faucette, the first mayor’s brother and the city’s third mayor. The elder Faucette died in January 1914, after which the town built a new city hall and opened it in 1915 in his honor. The building at Main and Broadway is still the city’s seat of government.

Washington Street looking east in downtown Argenta (now North Little Rock in Pulaski County); circa 1907.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

West of Argenta, the railroad and farming community of Baring Cross (named after the bridge) incorporated in 1896, but in January 1905, it voted to join North Little Rock. Similarly, the settlement of Levy northwest of Argenta incorporated in 1917 with a mayor and five aldermen and became a second-class city in 1941. Levy (named for Morris Levy, a prominent Argenta merchant) was annexed voluntarily by North Little Rock in 1946. The unincorporated areas of Rose City, Dixie, Park Hill, Fort Roots, and others were annexed in 1946, enabling North Little Rock’s population to leap from 21,137 in 1940 to 39,552 in a special census in 1948. Beginning in the 1890s, Rose City and later Dixie were home to manufacturers, cotton oil mills, and many blue collar workers. Park Hill, perched on ridges above the river valley, was the brainchild of Justin Matthews Sr., who also spurred the development of the Lakewood and Sylvan Hills neighborhoods. Construction in Park Hill began in 1922 and blossomed until the Depression. Despite the economic downturn, which led to the closing of numerous small businesses in the downtown, Matthews’s company completed the future Lakewood’s six lakes in 1932. He also commissioned Mexican sculptor Dionicio Rodriguez, who had perfected the faux bois (fake wood) technique, for construction of the Old Mill in Lakewood’s Pugh Memorial Park in 1933. The mill, a replica, is one of the city’s major attractions and appeared in the opening credits of the 1939 movie Gone with the Wind. However, the Depression brought the development of Park Hill to a near stand-still and delayed the development of Lakewood until the latter half of the 1940s.

Fort Logan H. Roots on Scenic Hill Drive in North Little Rock (Pulaski County); circa 1970s.
Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

World War II through Modern Era

After World War II, building activity picked up again, and Lakewood came to fruition in the 1950s and 1960s. Other residential developments in that period were Glenview, Ranch Estates in Amboy, and Indian Hills. In 1949, the city acquired 870 acres—and another 700 acres in 1955—from the federal government for development of Burns Park, one of the nation’s largest municipal parks. It was named for physician and parks advocate William Burns, a former North Little Rock mayor. William F. “Casey” Laman, mayor from 1958 to 1972 and 1979 to 1980, spearheaded the construction of ball fields, tennis courts, pavilions, and other park amenities. In the early 1960s, Laman relocated the city’s police and courts headquarters and library (named for Laman) to Pershing Boulevard. Memorial Hospital also opened on the hill above Pike Plaza. During the Laman administration, the city started five recreation centers, built a new main fire station as well as two branches and improved its sewer system and electric company.

North Little Rock City Hall at 3rd and Main streets; circa 1970s.
Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Urban renewal from 1960 to 1980 modernized the city’s poorest neighborhoods, but it also displaced many residents, slowed population growth, and razed most of the city’s historic downtown south of Broadway. McCain Mall, the state’s largest, opened in 1973 during a period of smaller mall openings in suburban areas. While suburban growth has continued, a downtown revitalization movement that began in the early 1990s has led to the restoration of historic properties and construction in older areas. The city’s oldest commercial building at 4th and Main has housed three pharmacies since its construction in 1887—Humphreys Drugs (1887–1903), Hall Drug Company (1903–1916), and Argenta Drug Company (1917–present). Alltel Arena opened near the river as a sports and entertainment venue in 1999, and in 2005, the city, under the leadership of Mayor Patrick Hays, launched the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum with the USS Razorback, a submarine commissioned in 1944, as its centerpiece. The submarine served in World War II and the Vietnam War under the U.S. flag and in the Cold War under the Turkish flag. In 2005, North Little Rock voters approved a two-year, one-percent sales tax for construction of the Dickey-Stephens baseball stadium on land adjacent to the Broadway Bridge. Beginning in 2007, it will be the home of the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team.

Crossing the frozen Arkansas River from Little Rock to Argenta (Pulaski County), now North Little Rock; winter of 1876.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission


A rural school district that dated to the 1870s was replaced by the North Little Rock School District in 1901, shortly after North Little Rock incorporated. Northside High School (through grade eleven) was built in 1902. Argenta High School, built in 1912, became a junior high in 1929 with the opening of the present Art Deco–style North Little Rock High School building designed by noted architect George R. Mann. Scipio A. Jones High School, an African-American school, started teaching through the twelfth grade in 1928. Named for a civil rights activist and lawyer born a slave, Jones High closed in 1970 during the desegregation of North Little Rock schools. The district opened a new high school, Northeast, in 1969 but merged the city’s two high schools in 1990. North Little Rock public schools enroll more than 8,000 students, down from a peak of about 13,000 in the early 1970s. Immaculate Conception, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Patrick’s (the city’s oldest parochial school), and Central Arkansas Christian Schools offer private education. North Little Rock has a pair of two-year higher-learning institutions: Shorter College, which located in Argenta in 1897, and Pulaski Vocational Technical College (now Pulaski Technical College), which moved to the city in 1976.

Street scene of Rose City in North Little Rock (Pulaski County); 1922.

Famous Residents

Among North Little Rock’s famous former residents are Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner, and movie actresses Mary Steenburgen and Joey Lauren Adams. Al Bell, former owner of Stax Records, was part of the Memphis music scene, developing rhythm and blues legends such as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, and Booker T. and the MGs. Samuel P. Massie Jr., whose parents taught school while he grew up in North Little Rock, was recognized as one of the top seventy-five chemists of the twentieth century.

Oscar-winning actress Mary Steenburgen, who was born in Newport (Jackson County) and lived in North Little Rock (Pulaski County); circa 1978.
Photo by Guy Webster, courtesy of the photographer

Joey Lauren Adams, an accomplished actress who has appeared in a number of films, with her breakthrough role coming in Dazed and Confused (1993).
Courtesy of the Little Rock Free Press

U.S. government warehouses constructed circa 1865 at the Little Rock and Memphis Railroad terminal in Hunterville, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County).
Courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System

Missouri Pacific engine No. 6001, known as the Madam Queen, leads mail and express train No. 8 northbound through North Little Rock (Pulaski County); June 1943.
Courtesy of Gene Hull

Arkansas National Guard Museum in North Little Rock (Pulaski County).

Three of the North Little Rock Six, who attempted to integrate North Little Rock High School, at a recognition ceremony in front of the school; September 9, 2007. (Left to right): Gerald Persons, Harold Smith, and Richard Lindsey.
Photo by John Jones, courtesy of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program