On January 26, 1880, Douglas MacArthur was born in the Arsenal Building while his father was stationed at the Little Rock Barracks. Though he left Arkansas a few weeks later when his father was transferred, he returned to his birthplace on March 23, 1952. On that day he was greeted by crowds welcoming one of the USA’s most famous military figures.
Though Gen. MacArthur spent only a few weeks in Little Rock, he was baptized at Christ Episcopal Church. The location of the baptism remains a mystery today because the church was meeting in temporary locations due to the first structure having been lost to a fire.
When the General returned to Little Rock in 1952, he did pay a brief visit to Christ Church. He also spoke at the Foster Bandshell in the park which bore his name. He was one of three presidential candidates to speak at the Foster Bandshell in 1952, the others were the eventual Democratic and Republican nominees Adlai Stevenson and Dwight Eisenhower.
When General MacArthur died, he was granted a state funeral. He was one of the few non-Presidents to have been given this honor.
Today, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is located in the Arsenal building. It was created to interpret our state’s military heritage from its territorial period to the present. Located in the historic Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal–the birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur–the museum preserves the contributions of Arkansas men and women who served in the armed forces. Exhibits feature artifacts, photographs, weapons, documents, uniforms and other military items that vividly portray Arkansas’s military history at home and abroad.