True Ghost Stories tonight on Tales from the South at Stickyz

The annual Scaredy-Tales Night at Tales from the South features three true ghost stories.

The featured storytellers are Amy Manning, Phillip Taylor, and Jimmie Meese Moomaw.  Live music is provided by The Salty Dogs and bluesman Mark Simpson.

Tonight’s program takes place at Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack.

“Tales From the South” is a radio show created and produced by Paula Martin Morell, who is also the show’s host. The show is taped live on Tuesday. The night is a cross between a house concert and a reading/show, with incredible food and great company. Tickets must be purchased before the show, as shows are usually standing-room only.

“Tales from the South” is a showcase of writers reading their own true stories. While the show itself is unrehearsed, the literary memoirs have been worked on for weeks leading up to the readings. Stories range from funny to touching, from everyday occurrences to life-altering tragedies.

Doors open for dinner, socializing at 5 pm; Live music at 6 pm; Dinner available for purchase until the kitchen closes at 6:30.  Show starts at 7 pm Tickets $10 (show only).

You MUST purchase your ticket before the show.

Previous episodes of “Tales from the South” air on KUAR Public Radio on Thursdays at 7pm.  This program will air on OCTOBER 30.

LR Cultural Touchstone: Margaret Deane Smith Ross

Ross bookMargaret Deane Smith Ross was born August 24, 1922 in Central Arkansas.  She attended both what is now Arkansas Tech University and the University of Arkansas. A journalism major at the latter, she left the university before graduating to marry Captain Edwin L. Ross in September 1942; he was killed in combat in Normandy on July 4, 1944.

Following the death of her husband, she lived in Little Rock and worked as a freelance writer for the Arkansas Democrat. In 1953 she became an associate editor of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, a position she retained until 1993. She was a charter member of the Pulaski County Historical Society, and from 1953 to 1957 served as its journal’s first editor. From 1954 to 1957 she was a research assistant at Arkansas History Commission.

In 1957 she became the Arkansas Gazette historian and curator of the J.N. Heiskell Collection of Arkansiana; she remained with the Gazette for twenty-seven years. From 1958 to 1968 she wrote a historical column for the Gazette, the “Chronicles of Arkansas.” She was a charter member of the Arkansas Genealogical Society, founded by Walter Lemke in 1962. In 1968 she became a member of the Arkansas Historical Association’s board of directors, a position she occupied until 1980. In 1969 she published a book, Arkansas Gazette: The Early Years, 1819-1866: A History; it received the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. From 1979 to 1984 she wrote “Grass Roots,” a genealogical column for the Gazette. Also in 1979 she became the first fellow of the Arkansas Museum of Science and History. In April 2000 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Arkansas Historical Association.

As a historian for the Gazette, she became the de facto historian for the State of Arkansas.  Her knowledge of Arkansas history was unsurpassed during her lifetime.  She also served as an unofficial teacher to generations who were interested in learning more about the history of their state, and how to do that research.


She died in Little Rock in December 2002.

Little Rock Look Back: The first steps to Little Rock government

LR sealLittle Rock started functioning as the capitol of Arkansas in June 1821. But by 1825 the settlement know as Little Rock was little more than a loosely defined group of structures. One hundred and eighty-nine years ago today, on October 27, 1825,Territorial Governor George Izard signed legislation which started establishing a framework for Little Rock to function as a city.

It established that Little Rock citizens could elect a board of trustees to decide matters. Those trustees would choose one of their own to be a presiding officer. Though Little Rock would not be officially incorporated until 1831, this was the first step towards incorporation. The first trustees, elected for 1826, were Robert Crittenden, Joseph Henderson, Nicholas Peay, Bernard Smith and Isaac Watkins. Smith was chosen to be the presiding officer.

Crittenden had been largely responsible for the relocation of the capitol to Little Rock, where he owned a lot of land. He was a major political force in Arkansas politics during the territorial days. Watkins was a nephew of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He had established the first tavern in Little Rock in 1821 and later he first mill in 1826. He was murdered in 1827 and the perpetrator was never captured.

Peay bought the tavern from Watkins in 1826 and continued in the tavern and hotel business the rest of his life. He later served on the Little Rock City Council and was acting mayor. His son Gordon Neill Peay served as Mayor of Little Rock. The Peay family also cofounded Worthen Bank and Christ Episcopal Church. Nicholas Peay’s great-great grandson Joseph B. Hurst, Sr. served on the Little Rock City Board from 1967 to 1970. Mr. Hurst’s daughter-in-law, Stacy, is currently on the City Board.

Through the Looking Glass to be dedicated today in Riverfront Park

Through The Looking Glass prior to installation

Through The Looking Glass prior to installation

Today at 11:30 a new piece of sculpture will be dedicated in Riverfront Park.

The City of Little Rock, Little Rock Parks and Recreation and the Sculpture at the River Market Committee will install and dedicate a new monument-size sculpture in the Vogel-Schwartz Sculpture Garden, directly behind the Little Rock Marriott.

Titled “Through the Looking Glass,” the sculpture stands at 12-feet wide and eight-feet tall. The stainless steel piece by sculptor Mark Leichliter features complex hexagons with a mirror finish. The ceremony will also feature the dedication of a new playground area,

LR Cultural Touchstone: Jane Rogers

Jane RogersJane Rogers is a Little Rock native who has had a hand in developing two different cultural entities in her hometown.  She helped organize the first Riverfest to be held in Riverfront Park in 1983.  Continuing her involvement, she later served as the first full-time executive director of Riverfest.  Under her leadership the festival experienced significant growth.  This, in turn, brought more people down to the banks of the Arkansas River and the new Riverfront Park.  Because of this, more people were familiar with the area which helped the fledgling River Market take hold in the mid-1990s.

Shortly after he became Governor, Mike Huckabee tapped her to lead the Department of Arkansas Heritage.  In that capacity, she oversaw the Arkansas Arts Council, Old State House Museum, Historic Arkansas Museum, Delta Cultural Center, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.  She served as Director for two years.

In 2003, she was appointed to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees.  In that capacity, she has been involved in efforts to strengthen cultural offerings and facilities at the various campuses in the University of Arkansas system.

Her most recent cultural endeavor has been as a founder of Sculpture at the River Market.  In 2007, she helped recruit volunteers to create Little Rock’s first nation-wide sculpture invitational show and sale.  Since that time, Sculpture at the River Market has built a $2,000,000+ collection of public sculpture placed in beautiful surroundings along the banks of the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock.  As a result of pieces of these efforts, the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden was created in Riverfront Park.

Little Rock Look Back: Pratt C. Remmel, LR’s 52nd Mayor

PrattRemmel-2bOn October 26, 1915, future Little Rock Mayor Pratt Cates Remmel was born.  He was one of five children of Augustus Caleb and Ellen Lucy Remmel.  His father died when he was five, leaving his mother to raise five children by herself.  After graduating from high school in 1933, he received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia in 1937.  During World War II, he held the rank of Lieutenant in the US Navy.

The Remmel family had long been involved in politics.  A great-uncle had been the GOP nominee for governor and senator as well as serving on the GOP national committee.  Remmel’s father had been the state GOP chair and his mother was the Arkansas Republican national committeewoman for nearly three decades.  In 1938, shortly after returning from college, Remmel ran for the Little Rock City Council but did not win.  In 1940, he became chairman of the Pulaski County Republican Executive Committee. For the next several decades, he held various leadership posts in the GOP at the county, state and national level.

Remmel made his second bid for public office in 1951 when he challenged incumbent LR Mayor Sam Wassell, who was seeking a third term.  Wassell shared the often held belief at the time that the GOP could not win any races in Arkansas because of the aftereffects of Reconstruction.  Remmel ran a vigorous campaign and won by a 2-to-1 margin becoming Little Rock’s first Republican mayor since Reconstruction.  In 1953, he sought a second two year term and was re-elected.  Though he had worked to build the GOP in Arkansas, he did not emphasize party affiliation in this campaign. He stressed he had been “fair to all and partial to none.”  This campaign included a rally which was aired live on six LR radio stations at the same time, a first for Arkansas. He won by over 3,000 votes this time over alderman Aubrey Kerr.

Remmel had been mentioned as a potential candidate for US Senate or Congress in 1954.  Instead, he ran for governor and was defeated by Orval Faubus in his first race for the office.  Remmel did receive more votes for governor than any GOP candidate had since reconstruction.  He is credited with laying the groundwork for the future successful campaigns of Winthrop Rockefeller.

A month before the election in 1955, Remmel announced he would seek a 3rd term as Mayor.  While later admitting he should have stuck with the customary two terms, he also said he ran to give voters an alternative to the Democratic nominee Woodrow Mann.  Mann, like Remmel, was in the insurance business; Remmel considered Mann to have a questionable reputation.  Several statewide Democratic leaders campaigned for Mann, who beat Remmel by 1,128 votes, one of Little Rock’s closest mayoral elections.

As Mayor, Remmel served in leadership positions with the US Conference of Mayors and the Arkansas Municipal League.  It was during his tenure as mayor that the land which is now Rebsamen Golf Course was given to the City.

After he left office, Remmel returned to business interests and staying active in civic affairs.   He was an active leader of First United Methodist Church and Gideons International.  He was a Mason, a Shriner, a member of the American Legion, and the American Red Cross.   Remmel served on the Arkansas River Basin Commission and chairman of the Arkansas Waterways Commission.  In 1996, he was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas River Hall of Fame.

Married for many years to Catherine Couch, the couple had three children, Pratt Jr., Cathie and Rebecca.  Lake Catherine in Arkansas is named for his wife. Remmel Park and Pratt Remmel Road in Little Rock are named for Mayor Remmel.

Mayor Remmel died on May 14, 1991.  He and Catherine (who died in 2006) are buried in Oakland Cemetery.

LR Cultural Touchstone: Jeannette Edris Rockefeller

J RockefellerJeannette Edris Rockefeller only lived in Arkansas for about fifteen years. But her impact on the cultural life of Little Rock and all of Arkansas continues to be felt today.

Born and raised in Seattle, as a young mother she met Winthrop Rockefeller while both were in New York.  He moved to Arkansas in 1953; after their 1956 marriage, she joined him. They split their time between Little Rock and Petit Jean.

In 1959, she was asked to become involved in plans for a new art museum in Little Rock.  She became a tireless advocate and fundraiser for the new Arkansas Arts Center.   In 1960, she assumed the role of president of the Arkansas Arts Center Board of Trustees, a position she held until 1968.  During that time period she oversaw the planning, construction and opening of the building.  She also invited Townsend Wolfe, who she had met when he taught some classes at the Arts Center, to apply to become the museum’s first executive director.

From 1967 to 1971, she was First Lady of Arkansas.  In that capacity, she supervised renovation of the Governor’s Mansion and started the tradition of displaying art on the walls.

Shortly after her 1971 divorce from Rockefeller, she relocated to California.  She continued to be a supporter of the Arts Center.  One of the galleries in the Arts Center is named in her honor.  In addition, one of the sculptures on the lawn of the Arts Center, Standing Red, was dedicated in 1970 in recognition of her service on the Arts Center Board.