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Built with over 300,000 bricks salvaged from other buildings, the Arkansas Governor's Mansion was completed in 1950. This grand Georgian colonial mansion sits on 8 pristine acres (3 hectares) of manicured herb gardens maintained by the National Herb Society. Visitors can partake in guided tours on Tuesday and Thursday and must be scheduled one day in advance. The tours are completely free and include a visit to all rooms deemed public.
A compact state capital with larger-than-life charm, Little Rock is Arkansas' largest city. This riverfront city lies along the Arkansas River in the heart of Pulaski County and its River Market District is home to a plethora of nightlife options, restaurants, and cultural institutions. Few forget the day history was made at Little Rock Central High School and this milestone of the American Civil Rights Movement is a major attraction along with other landmarks like the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Arkansas State Capitol. Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty to do here as well, and Pinnacle Mountain State Park offers hiking and biking trails topped by some of the best views of the verdant river valley below.
Located in Little Rock, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is run in partnership with Little Rock public schools and the National Park Service. This regular high school came into the public eye when it was the site of desegregation in public schools during the Civil Rights Movement in 1957. The event gained national attention for its controversy, with many still being staunchly anti-integration at the time. After several attempts to enter and attend the school that was marred by violence, nine African-American students were finally escorted into the school by the U.S Army's 101st Airborne Division. This event provided a huge step towards equal civil rights in the American South, and all over the country. The site has a visitor center that displays a film and various exhibits centered around the Civil Rights Movement. Apart from this, there is a garden which has nine trees planted in honor of the Little Rock 9, who was at the center of the Little Rock Integration Crisis.
The official seat of the Arkansas state government, the Arkansas State Capitol gleams brightly with a pristine white facade. Awash in semblances of striking Neoclassical style, this palatial building sits atop Capitol Hill and is fronted by rolling verdant lawns. However, history has it that Arkansas State Capitol's design was originally intended to be the Montana State Capitol after a competition was held to find a new design. However, the Montana capitol was never built, and the architect brought his design to Arkansas instead. The rest is history. The very place where Bill Clinton governed before taking up President-ship, the Capitol is solemnly crafted using Arkansas limestone. Sitting under a monumental dome, the capitol today is complete with exhibits illustrating the state's long-standing history, culture, traditions, and governance. The capitol is an incandescent canopy during Christmas, where a towering tree graces the rotunda while a string of lights bedecks its outsides. Having been used in plenty of films, the Arkansas State Capitol is truly the crowning glory of Little Rock.
Discover the secrets of Arkansas' history in the oldest still-standing state capitol building to the west of the Mississippi River. Peruse permanent exhibits of Arkansas' women, President Clinton's journey to Washington, the first Arkansas House of Representatives, Arkansas' first families, period rooms and the State House's history. Special exhibits change various times per year, always featuring fascinating subject matter about the Natural State. Visitors may either take a self-guided tour of the museum or take one of the guided tours available each hour.
Dubbed the 'Little Rock Nine' for being the first nine African American students to attend Little Rock Central High School after segregation was ruled unconstitutional in 1954, this statue depicts the brave individuals fighting for their civil liberties. As the only civil rights memorial located on any of the State Capitol grounds in the South, the statue features plaques with the students names and a brief comment from them. Symbolically opening the doors of segregation in America, this moving testament is a must visit.
Home to a variety of festivals and concerts, this park is the center of activity in Little Rock. Here you can see the actual "little rock" that inspired European-explorer Benard de la Harpe to name the city. Take a break from shopping and visiting museums downtown to watch barges and riverboats float down the lazy Arkansas River. Children can enjoy the playground, while adults check out the history pavilion, which offers background on the park and the city. Bands often perform at the amphitheater. In May the park is filled with the frivolities of the annual Riverfest.
The Clinton Presidential Center is a monument to the 42nd president of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton. This $200 million library offers visitors a view of the controversial former President that is as complicated and as multi-dimensional as the man himself. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the U.S. economic expansion, balancing the budget and the budget surplus, NAFTA; they're all there. The Center also has a lot to say about the scandals that rocked the Clinton presidency, including the historic impeachment that preoccupied the country in his second term. The Clinton Presidential Center does provide a well-balanced portrait of this elemental and larger than life charismatic leader of America and the free world.
Old Mill has been called the most picturesque spot in North Little Rock. The actual mill, which operated in the 1800s, provided the background for the opening scenes of 'Gone With the Wind'. Today, visitors can explore the inside of the mill or sit on the surrounding mushroom-shaped benches and watch the waterwheel churn. In the spring and early summer, flowers decorate the banks of the pond. You can take in the scenery while enjoying lunch at one of the numerous picnic tables in the surrounding TR Pugh Memorial Park.