Arkansas History

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

Little Rock’s historic Robinson Center Music Hall will soon be closing its doors to begin two years of renovations to modernize the facility.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Center for Arkansas History and Culture has been awarded a grant of nearly $140,000 to curate the papers of former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker.

The funding represents the largest National Historical Publications and Records Commission award in the state. The commission is part of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Clinton Foundation Clinton School of Public Service
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A former railroad station in Little Rock that today houses the Clinton Foundation and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is getting a new certification for energy efficiency.

To mark Earth Day, officials gathered Tuesday in front of Sturgis Hall, which was built in 1899, to make the announcement.

A national wildlife refuge in southeastern Arkansas will be renamed after former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers in a ceremony planned in St. Charles.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a renaming ceremony Friday afternoon for the White River National Wildlife Refuge after Bumpers, a Democrat who was Arkansas' governor during the early 1970s before serving four terms in the U.S. Senate.

Bumpers, his wife Betty, and other family members are expected to attend the event in addition to wildlife service director Dan Ashe.

Officials in Hot Springs are marking the start of work by a documentary filmmaker who is to depict the history of spring training baseball in the Spa City.

Documentarian Larry Foley is to discuss the project at a Thursday event. The film is to show the city's role as a spring training site in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Starting in 1886 and into the 1940s, teams that included the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Highlanders - later the New York Yankees - got ready for the season in Hot Springs.

Kezia Nanda

Families of firefighters who died in the line of duty gathered Saturday for the dedication of the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial. 

The ceremony included the marching of colors by bagpipers, drums and honor guard, the unveiling of the statue, reading of the 1958 A. W. "Smokey" Linn's Firefighter’s Prayer, the ringing of bells for each fallen firefighter and the laying of a rose on top of memorial wall for each name.  

Governor Mike Beebe was on hand and thanked the families of fallen firefighters.

Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

After 28 years of work and fundraising to make it a reality, the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial will be dedicated this Saturday at the state Capitol.  It pays tribute to the 104 firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty.

Their names are engraved at the 50-by-70 foot circular memorial, which features a bronze statue in the center with four firefighters, each representing the different kinds of work fire crews do.  Two are holding fire hoses, another equipment, while the fourth is treating a wounded child.  Flowing underneath the statue is a fountain.

Majestic Hotel
Save Her Majesty: Restore The Majestic Hotel Facebook Page

Hot Springs' fire chief says the fire that destroyed the Majestic Hotel was likely set by trespassers - but that the cause may never be determined because it wasn't safe to send investigators inside the building before it was torn down.

Fire Chief Ed Davis says investigators believe the Feb. 27 fire was likely set by either "urban explorers" or homeless people who were inside the abandoned building on a regular basis.

Davis tells The Sentinel-Record that someone may have set the fire to keep warm, not as an attempt to burn the building down.

Majestic Hotel
Save Her Majesty: Restore The Majestic Hotel Facebook Page

Crews continue to battle a massive fire that consumed an abandoned historic hotel that's been a Hot Springs landmark for more than 130 years.

The blaze broke out Thursday evening at the Majestic Hotel near Bathhouse Row downtown.

The hotel, which was built in 1882, had fallen into disrepair after its closure in 2006.

Authorities say the fire apparently started in the center section of the fifth floor of the original hotel building, then spread to the north and south ends of the building and lower floors.

Little Rock Nine 9
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Three of the nine students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957 are speaking in the area this week.

Two will be at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City Monday.  The university says Carlotta Walls LaNier and Terrence Roberts are scheduled to speak during an event titled "History Speaks: Little Rock Nine" on Monday.  The free event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the university's Hardeman Auditorium.

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