Arkansas History

The Holly Jolly Trolley: A Ride Through Arkansas History

Dec 21, 2016
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On this special holiday episode of Arts & Letters, we uncover true tales of Arkansas's past while touring the streets of Little Rock and North Little Rock inside the Rock Region Metro Streetcar—our “Holly Jolly Trolley.”

 

Along the streetcar rails we enounter a cast of characters, who tell of the cities' history bound up in the brick and mortar of the buildings—filled with ghosts and song.

 

Dr. Daniel Littlefield, the director of the Sequoyah National Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
UALR

The months-long encampment of thousands of Native Americans at Standing Rock, to block the path of a U.S. Army acting to further the interests of extractive industries, seems both remarkable and routine in the history of American Indians.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman spoke with Dr. Daniel Littlefield, the Director of the Sequoyah National Research Center at UALR to put some context to the fight.

Hoga
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is highlighting a week of events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

North Little Rock may seem an unlikely site of naval significance but those with the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum say it’s the only place in the U.S., other than Hawaii, where visitors can tour U.S. Navy ships present at the beginning and end of U.S. involvement in World War II. The museum claimed this distinction when it became home to the U.S. Navy Tugboat Hoga one year ago.

Family members say former Arkansas governor and U.S. Sen. David Pryor is recovering in a hospital after suffering a stroke.

The family issued a statement Tuesday saying the 82-year-old Pryor suffered a stroke Monday and underwent surgery "that appears to have been successful."

The Democrat was Arkansas' governor from 1975 to 1979, and then served nearly 20 years in the U.S. Senate. He now serves on the board of trustees for the University of Arkansas.

baxtercountyhistory.org

The oldest public building in Arkansas will soon have a new owner.

The Baxter County Quorum Court voted this week to transfer ownership of the Jacob Wolf House in Norfork to the Department of Arkansas Heritage. The Wolf House, which was built as a courthouse in 1829, overlooks the intersection of the White and North Fork rivers.

The wooden structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Command And Control
PBS

Screenings are planned around the state this coming weekend for the new documentary thriller Command & Control. It looks at the September 1980 accident at a Titan II Missile silo involving a nuclear weapon in the north Arkansas town of Damascus.

A worker doing routine maintenance on the missile dropped a socket from a wrench which fell, puncturing the rocket's fuel tank, causing it to leak. The film’s director, Robert Kenner, says the military was unprepared for the accident or how to respond, with those involved doing the best they could in the situation.

Rock Island Choctaw Station
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former employees of the Rock Island Railroad joined officials from the Clinton Foundation and Clinton School of Public Service on Monday, August 29, to unveil a vintage sign attached to the brick facade of what was the railroad’s longtime Little Rock passenger station. Today the two organizations, aligned with Bill Clinton’s neighboring presidential library, have offices in the restored building.

Secretary interior Sally jewell transportation secretary Anthony Foxx National Park Service Ranger Jodi Morris
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Two members of President Obama’s cabinet visited Little Rock Tuesday, getting a firsthand look at the historic Central High School. It was part of a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas

The city of Hot Springs is urging residents to avoid the demolition site of the Majestic Hotel complex because of "extremely dangerous conditions."

Assistant City Manager Lance Spicer says the degraded structure and hazardous substances makes the site dangerous to the public. He says anyone who enters the building without protective gear could face health complications.

Crews have removed asbestos and other hazardous materials as they demolish the hotel complex, which was heavily damaged in a 2014 fire.

Bill Clinton Hope Home House
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The home in Hope where former President Bill Clinton spent the first four years of his life is set to reopen following a Christmas Day fire.

National Parks Service officials told reporters that volunteers and employees are unpacking boxes in an effort to have the home ready for visitors on Saturday.

The Christmas Day fire that was called arson damaged the exterior and some of the interior of the home and graffiti was found on a sidewalk and on a door of the home. Authorities did not immediately return phone calls Thursday for comment on whether any arrests had been made.

Robert Miller of Arkansas's chapter of the League of the South holds a Confederate battle flag and the LOS flag on Capitol grounds.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Former Ku Klux Klan leader and former Louisiana Republican state representative David Duke says the climate is right for him to seek public office once again. Duke, referencing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, announced on Friday he's running in the state's U.S. Senate race.

Historic Arkansas Museum / Historic Arkansas Museum

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola will proclaim Tuesday “Historic Arkansas Museum Day” at a celebration commemorating the museum’s 75th anniversary.

The Little Rock museum, once known as Arkansas Territorial Restoration, officially opened in July 1941. Chris Hancock, spokesman for the museum, said having a day declared as Historic Arkansas Museum Day honors both the museum and the city.

Little Rock Nine former President Bill Clinton prime minister Tony Blair Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in Little Rock Thursday, sharing concerns about growing divisiveness in the world. They spoke along with members of the Little Rock Nine to graduates of a leadership program before severe weather cut the event short.

The event was held in the auditorium at Central High School, with the former world leaders lamenting changes that have led to a hyper-partisan culture.

Bobby Ampezzan/KUAR

Former governor and senator David Pryor again helped the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies pack the Ron Robinson Theater June 8, and again opened by talking about his contemporary Dale Bumpers.  

Bobby Ampezzan/KUAR

  

  Housed deep inside Education Building Two on the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences campus is the state’s only dedicated repository for medical history, devices and photographs, and physician’s personal papers. 

This is the vaguely named Historical Research Center, and its archives and artifacts are up five stories, just beyond a wide wall of glass accessed by a thin skywalk open on either side to a leg-shattering fall. The skywalk starts at the doors of a single passenger elevator not wide enough for one fat wrestler delivering two wedding cakes.

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