March 1960 B-47 explosion over Little Rock topic of discussion today

Arkansas Gazette map of debris and damage

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program will host a free talk featuring Travis Ratermann, who will present a lecture on “A Living Hell: The Story of a B-47 Crash that Devastated Little Rock Neighborhoods.”

The lecture will happen today (September 8) at the Darragh Center at the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library Systems in downtown Little Rock.  It will begin at 2pm.

Travis has presented this paper to very positive reviews as it shares the history and retelling of a B-47, assigned to the Little Rock Air Force Base, that was torn apart over Little Rock, causing a debris field that stretched from Allsopp Park, all the way to what is now Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Travis will also discuss how this accident affected the community and the Air Force personnel involved in the aftermath of the tragic accident that took the life of all but one crew member, and the lives of two civilians on the ground.

Travis Ratermann is the Survey Historian for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, located in Little Rock, AR. He has a B.S. in Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri State University and a M.S. in Historic Preservation from Ball State University. As the Survey Historian, Travis is involved with reviewing Residential and Commercial District Surveys throughout the state. Travis gathers information by surveying the property, completing site forms, taking photographs, and researching historical records of the property, to determine its authenticity and historical significance. His main focus is on documenting Arkansas’ current and former military installation including: Fort Chaffee, Pine Bluff Arsenal, Blytheville Air Force Base and former Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot.

Veterans Day Sculpture Vulture, Kathleen Caricof’s Stars and Stripes sculpture in War Memorial Park

Veterans Day is a good day to visit Kathleen Caricof’s Stars and Stripes in the Sturgis Veterans Plaza at War Memorial Park.  This 36 by 40 feet stainless steel sculpture welcomes visitors to the park and was dedicated in 2008 in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of War Memorial Stadium.

There are five interlocked stars which represent the five branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard – both the active duty and the reserve segments of each branch as well as their affiliated guard units.

The gleaming stainless steel is both light and durable to represent the strength and vitality of the men and women who protect the United States and have done so for centuries.

Caricof, a member of the National Sculptors Guild, was selected for the commission after a national competition by the War Memorial Stadium Commission.  She has several other pieces in Little Rock including several in Riverfront Park and the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden.