Little Rock, Arkansas
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Little Rock Business Signs
Prior to European intrusion, what would become Central Arkansas teamed with various Native American Tribes. These tribes included the Folsom people, the Bluff Dwellers, the Mississippians, Caddo, Quapaw, Osage, Choctaw, and Cherokee. Then, in 1722, French explorer and trader Jean-Baptiste Bernard de la Harpe landed near a small rock formation located on the south bank of the Arkansas River. La Harpe named it ‘la Petite Roche,’ or ‘Little Rock.’ The city of Little Rock was eventually founded in 1821, and officially incorporated in 1831.
Modern day Little Rock serves as the capital of Arkansas, and according to a 2014 US census estimate, has a population of 197,706 people. This makes it the most populous city in the state and the 118th most populous city in the United States. Little Rock is part of the five-county Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway (Central Arkansas) Metropolitan Statistical Area, which according to a 2013 estimate by the census bureau, has a population of 724,385 people. This makes it the 75th most populous metropolitan area in the country.
Little Rock serves as the headquarters for diverse corporations such as Dillard’s, Windstream Communications, Acxiom, Stephens Inc., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Heifer International, the Clinton Foundation, Simmons Bank, Bank of the Ozarks, and the Rose Law Firm. The largest employers in the area, however, include Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Entergy, Siemens, and AT&T Mobility.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is also one of the largest employers in Little Rock, responsible for 10,552 jobs. UAMS, established in 1879, includes 6 academic units serving 2,890 postgraduate students.
Little Rock is perhaps best known for its role in the 1960s era of American Civil Rights. In fact, Little Rock Central High School is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is considered a U.S. National Historic Landmark due to its significance as the “focal point” of the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957, where Nine African-American students (now often referred to as the ‘Little Rock Nine’) were denied entry into the school in violation of Federal Law. Eventually, the army was sent in to see justice served.
Little Rock has several other attractions as well, including the Arkansas Arts Center, which was founded in 1960. The center’s permanent collection includes various works of art as well as special exhibits. The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, which began operation in 1976, features a 354-seat MainStage and 99-seat black box SecondStage, and its company has produced more than 280 theatrical productions.
Little Rock also boasts Quapaw Quarter, a city district considered to have the oldest and most historic businesses and residencies. In fact, the Quarter is made up of as many as fifteen separate districts listed on the National Historic Register as well as more than 200 separate homes and buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
As for Little-Rock based professional sports teams, the city has one. The Arkansas Travelers, who were established in 1895, are an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and play in the Texas League. The Travelers play their home games at Dickey-Stephens Park, and they have won a grand total of nine league championships.
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