Arkansas History

The people working to build a museum dedicated to U.S. Marshals are working with the Army Corps of Engineers on officially securing land on which the building will be constructed on.

Museum president and CEO Jim Dunn says the Robert Westphal family is ready to donate land along the Arkansas River to the museum. But an easement issue with the Army Corps of Engineers has to be resolved first.

Dunn says the Corps' easement was established when it was building the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.

U.S. Marshals Museum
www.usmarshalsmuseum.com

Formal groundbreaking has been held in Fort Smith for a U.S. Marshals Museum on the banks of the Arkansas River overlooking Oklahoma.

Federal, state, tribal and local officials that included U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman; Rep. Steve Womack; Gov. Mike Beebe; Principal Chief George Tiger and marshals services officials were among the estimated crowd of 1,000 that turned out for Wednesday's ceremony.

The groundbreaking took place on the 225th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Oliver Stone
oliverstone.com

Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone is visiting Little Rock Saturday as part of this year’s Reel Civil Rights Film Festival. Stone will participate in a moderated discussion following the screening of an episode of his 2012 television documentary series, "The Untold History of the United States."

Part of the 60-minute episode explores the decision of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to send the 101st Airborne to Little Rock to enforce the 1957 integration of Central High.

vietvet.org

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies is launching the Arkansas Vietnam War Project, with the hopes of documenting the stories of people who were in the war, or knew someone who was. The Center hopes to record oral histories as well as collect letters, photographs and diary entries from willing participants.

Brian Robertson is manager of the Research Services Division at the Butler Center and is leading the project. He says at the time of U.S. involvement, Arkansans largely supported the war effort.

The Arkansas Archaeological Society has received a $63,000 grant to document and return human remains and cultural objects to their native people.

The grant announced Wednesday was among $1.5 million awarded nationwide by the National Park Service under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The grants were awarded to museums, Indian tribes and Alaska native villages.

City of North Little Rock Facebook page

The city of North Little Rock will be allowing the public to tour its city hall in an open house on Sunday. It marks the 100th anniversary since the placement of the building’s cornerstone on July 27th, 1914. North Little Rock City Clerk and Collector Diane Whitbey says people will be able to go through rooms and mingle with Mayor Joe Smith and other council members.

The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission has approved two new historical markers in Benton and Phillips counties.

The two markers announced Wednesday will be placed in Rogers and Helena-West Helena. The first will be placed at Hobbs State Park and will commemorate Peter Van Winkle's Mill, which was destroyed in the war.

The commission also approved a historical marker to commemorate the Lick Creek Skirmish in east Arkansas. That marker will be placed within Delta Heritage Trail State Park in Helena-West Helena.

Robinson Center Music Hall Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Mike Beebe, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and others used crow bars Tuesday to rip up part of the stage at Little Rock’s historic Robinson Center Music Hall, formally signifying the start of renovations to the venue.

The $68 million project will modernize the facility, which was built in 1939.  The work will improve its acoustics and seating, while enabling it to host any touring Broadway production.

Stodola said it has taken a lot of work to get to this point.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A group of photographers is working to document a long-closed, historic hotel in Pine Bluff, while it's also being studied by architecture students. The hotel was once considered among the finest in Arkansas, but has been abandoned for nearly half a century and after a hard winter, the once grand structure is deteriorating fast.

The two story lobby with marble walls and plaster ornamentation is crumbling. The curved ceiling once featured stained glass, but that’s broken, allowing water to pour in.

rohwer
astate.edu

The National Park Service has awarded nearly a quarter-million dollars in grants to projects in Arkansas that help preserve and interpret sites that were used to confine Japanese Americans during World War II.

The grants announced Thursday are among $2.9 million awarded nationally. In Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock received a $220,000 grant for its cemetery conservation project at the Rohwer Relocation Center in Desha County. It held more than 8,000 Japanese Americans during the war.

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