Look Up, Little Rock! A Walking Tour of Little Rock, Arkansas
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
Early travelers on the Arkansas River were well acquainted with the navigational aid on the south bank that had been known as “le petit rocher” (the little rock) since French explorer and trader Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe had recorded its existence in 1722. Settlement of the area, however, did not take hold for another 100 years. With its access to water transportation and its central location, Little Rock was named territorial capital in 1821, incorporated as a town in 1831 and as a city in 1835. Still, by the coming of the Civil War in the 1860s the population was little more than 3,000.
Following the Civil War the railroad arrived in Little Rock in 1873 and was followed in short order by the telephone, electricity and cobblestone-paved streets. By the 1890s Main Street had evolved into a vibrant commercial thoroughfare and the shopping destination of the state, lined with fashionable shops, five-and-dime variety emporiums and full-service department stores.