Center for Arkansas History and Culture Receives Grant for Arcade Exhibit

The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture has been awarded a $1,000 planning grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop an exhibit about Little Rock’s City Market and Arcade building.

The building, demolished in 1960, recently found new notoriety.  Developers announced last October that a new structure in the city’s River Market District would be named the Arcade Building in honor of the marketplace that once occupied the entire 600 block of Louisiana Street.

Construction scene, City Market and Arcade building

Upon its completion in 1914, the City Market and Arcade building was heralded as an innovative structure, boasting a design similar to marketplaces in Europe and the latest in technology. Its most distinctive characteristic was the open-ended, arched passageway that bisected the building. This feature, called an arcade, is how the building received its name.

During the 1914 grand opening ceremony, Little Rock’s mayor praised the building: “I have made a study of a number of market places of different cities and find that the Little Rock market is far in advance of those in most cities, and it compares favorably with the greatest market places of the world.” The Diocese of Little Rock’s newsletter, Southern Guardian, called it “a thing of beauty and a joy forever.”

When the building was demolished in 1960 it was replaced by the Downtowner Motor Inn. Today, the entire block is a parking lot.

CAHC’s exhibit will feature a history of the original City Market and Arcade building and include details about its founders and architects, as well as original blueprints of the structure. CAHC hopes to open the exhibit in early 2014.  The date and location will be announced later this summer.  For more information contact the center at 501.320.5780 or

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