Riverfront History Hunt – Summer @ CALS 2024

graphic of map with scavenger hunt sites marked with photographs and letters

Follow the map available via Google Maps and this webpage, or in a printable form to these five sites around the Arkansas riverfront in Downtown Little Rock to learn more about our local history. After visiting the last site, let the staff person at the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor know that you have completed the hunt and receive a prize!

Learn more about these subjects from entries in the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas (EOA) and photos and manuscript documents from the collections of the CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (BC) at the CALS Roberts Library; links provided below each description.

Stop A: Every Word We Utter Statue – Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden

This 2019 Suffrage Centennial sculpture created by Jane DeDecker was inspired by a letter from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Lucretia Mott in which she wrote: “Every word we utter, every act we perform, waft unto innumerable circles, beyond.” It recalls the collective energy from all women who contributed to the movement including Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color. Atop are statues of national suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Stanton Blatch, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul, and Ida B. Wells, alongside Little Rock’s Bernie Babcock and Josephine Miller Brown. How many names can you find on the sculpture?

Learn more:

Stop B: The “Little Rock” – Riverfront Park at Junction Bridge

The Little Rock or Point of Rocks is the rock outcropping on the Arkansas River that was used as a navigation point during the early exploration of what would become the state of Arkansas, the ancestral land of the Quapaw. Several early accounts tell of the rock being totally submerged by the Arkansas River at its highest stage. In 1818, the United States restricted the Quapaw to a reservation in Arkansas, the western boundary of which—known as the Quapaw line—began at the Point of Rocks and extended due south. How much larger was the Point of Rocks originally?

Learn more:

  • Learn more about the “Little Rock” and the earliest days of the settlement by the Arkansas River. 
  • In 1818, the United States restricted the Quapaw to a reservation in Arkansas, the western boundary of which began at the Point of Rocks and extended due south. Read about the Quapaw.
  • At 1,460 miles long, the Arkansas River is the sixth-longest river in the United States. 
  • This page of a 1907 publication describes more about the Little Rock/Point of Rocks and the development of the city. 
  • The bridge near the Little Rock site is called the Junction Bridge. Here is a photo of the Junction Bridge when it was still a railroad bridge, in 1890.

Stop C: Rick Redden Statue by John Deering – Cache Restaurant Exterior

Architect Rick Redden designed many downtown buildings, including several in the River Market District. He was involved in new projects like the 300 Third Tower and rehab projects like the Ottenheimer Market Hall and the Museum Center (which houses the Museum of Discovery). This sculpture, by John Deering, was commissioned by Jimmy Moses, Rett Tucker and CALS to honor Redden’s memory. The sculpture is in front of the Arcade Building, one of his designs, which contains archival workspace for CALS and UA Little Rock and has space for entertainment. How many buildings can you see that Redden worked on near the sculpture?

Learn more:

  • The Arcade building, located behind the statue, was designed by architect Rick Redden. Its name and function were inspired by the City Market & Arcade building, which was once located on the west side of Louisiana Street, between 6th and 7th Streets. It opened in 1914 and was demolished in 1960. 
    Photo of the City Market & Arcade Building, 1914 
    Photo of the  Arcade Building, 1957 
  • Learn more about the River Market District and other developments in Little Rock. 

Site D: Concordia Hall – CALS Roberts Library Exterior

The first Jewish organization in Little Rock was a social club. The Concordia Club was organized in 1864 by the elite of the city’s growing Jewish community and operated until the 1930s. The club’s location on East Markham was leased in 1882 in what became known as the Porbeck & Bowman Building, which went on to house various businesses. In 2009, the building became part of the CALS Roberts Library. The library’s Concordia Hall Gallery (home to Mini-Main’s Youth and Teen Department during the renovation of the Main Library) was named in honor of the club. What does the plaque on the outside of the building tell us about the club’s history?

Learm more:

Site E: Scipio Jones Image Panel – CALS Roberts Library 2nd Floor

Scipio Africanus Jones was a prominent Little Rock attorney and one of the city’s leading Black citizens in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was a founding member of the Mosaic Templars of America and was a resident of the Historic Dunbar Neighborhood. Jones is most significantly remembered for his role defending twelve Black men sentenced to death following the Elaine Massacre of 1919. The U.S. post office at 1700 Main Street in Little Rock was named for Jones in 2007, and a portrait of Jones by artist Wade Hampton was installed in 2022. What other images of Black Arkansans can you find in the CALS Roberts Library?

  • Learn More about Scipio Africanus Jones (1863–1943) .
  • The image panel in the Riverfront History Hunt comes from this item in the CALS Butler Center’s Pulaski County Black History Photograph Collection. View the 1915 photograph here.
  • Scipio Jones served as the defense attorney for the twelve Black men unjustly sentenced to death following the Elaine Massacre of 1919. He was photographed in 1923 with six of the defendants. 
  • The Elaine Massacre of 1919 was by far the deadliest racial confrontation in Arkansas history and possibly the bloodiest racial conflict in the history of the United States.