Little Rock, Arkansas, is a great city with a rich history. One of the best ways to explore the city’s history is through photographs and images. This digital exhibit presents a pictorial history of Little Rock Now, Then, and Could Have Been. Here you can see historic photographs of Little Rock learning, playing, shopping, working, politicking, as well as the city’s landmarks and Main Street.
Picture this: The city of Little Rock infused with nature. The Capitol surrounded by a small thicket with a creek flowing nearby and streets lined with mulberries and myrtle bushes to provide a constant shade from the heat and sun. Markham Street is the heart of the city with museums, libraries, hotels, apartment complexes, and shopping centers fused together to make a bustling metropolis.
These are just some of the many suggestions given by John Nolen in his 1913 “Report on a Park System for Little Rock Arkansas.” Some of these suggestions have come to fruition. The riverfront has undergone revitalization efforts that have led to greater recreational usage of the space. Markham Street, one of the city’s oldest social and business areas, has the zoo, the Old State House museum, and more.
This plan, now 100 years old, was not meant for immediate implementation: “It should be remembered that Mr. Nolen does not advise that all of his plans be put into immediate execution, for the cost of doing so would more than offset the benefits derived.”
What could Little Rock have looked like if these plans, as well as others proposed through the years, were enacted? You may get a sense of that by taking an archival tour in pictures in this new virtual exhibit “Little Rock: Now, Then, and Could Have Been.”
Inspired by the cover story in the Arkansas Times on the Main Street revival and the unveiling of “The Creative Corridor: A Main Street Revitalization” report, this exhibit’s goal is it to let pictures digitized from archival collections tell Little Rock’s story. Hopefully those pictures will encourage residents and fans of Little Rock to seek a deeper understanding of the city’s rich history through the collections housed at UALR.