Little Rock Look Back: In 1832, the first Little Rock Council meeting

TowncouncilplaqueOn January 16, 1832, Mayor Matthew Cunningham MD presided over Little Rock’s first council meeting. Since Little Rock did not yet have a government hall, the Mayor and his wife hosted the meeting at their house. The Cunninghams owned the entire block which was bordered by what is now Main Street, 3rd Street, Louisiana Street and 4th Street.

A plaque at 3rd and Main Street commemorates this meeting and was placed at the northeast corner of the block in the 1930s. The Cunningham’s house was likely closer to the southwest corner of the block.  The records of this meeting do not exist, though the Arkansas Gazette did carry brief coverage of it. (The earliest records at City Hall date to November 1835 when Little Rock became a city.)

The plaque is on the Fulk building which now houses CJRW. The block also includes the Mann on Main project, which is comprised of the buildings originally constructed for the Gus Blass Department store.  Bruno’s and Samantha’s are also on the block.

Little Rock was chartered as a town in November 1831 and elections were subsequently held. Dr. Cunningham outpolled Rev. W. W. Stevenson to become the first Mayor. (Rev. Stevenson would be elected the second mayor in January 1833; Mayor Cunningham did not seek re-election.)

Joining Mayor Cunningham at the first meeting were the original four Town Council members – Charles Caldwell, Benjamin Clemens, David Holt and John McLain.  Both Mayor Cunningham and Alderman McLain had served on the Little Rock Board of Trustees, Little Rock’s pre-incorporation governing body.

In 1931 a plaque, as part of Little Rock’s Centennial, a plaque was erected to note the first meeting. The plaque erroneously implies that the first meeting was in 1831. This mistake is understandable since the legislation incorporating Little Rock was approved in November 1831. The plaque also refers to the body as the City Council. It was, in fact, the Town Council. There would not be a City Council until 1835 when Little Rock was elevated to City status.

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Little Rock Look Back: First Little Rock Council Meeting in 1832

TowncouncilplaqueOn January 16, 1832, Mayor Matthew Cunningham MD presided over Little Rock’s first council meeting. Since Little Rock did not yet have a government hall, the Mayor and his wife hosted the meeting at their house. The Cunninghams owned the entire block which was bordered by what is now Main Street, 3rd Street, Louisiana Street and 4th Street.

A plaque at 3rd and Main Street commemorates this meeting and was placed at the northeast corner of the block in the 1930s. The Cunningham’s house was likely closer to the southwest corner of the block.

The plaque is on the Fulk building which now houses CJRW. The block also includes the Mann on Main project, which is comprised of the buildings originally constructed for the Gus Blass Department store.  Bruno’s and Samantha’s are also on the block.

Little Rock was chartered as a town in November 1831 and elections were subsequently held. Dr. Cunningham outpolled Rev. W. W. Stevenson to become the first Mayor.

Joining Mayor Cunningham at the first meeting were the original four Town Council members – Charles Caldwell, Benjamin Clemens, David Holt and John McLain.

In 1931 a plaque, as part of Little Rock’s Centennial, a plaque was erected to note the first meeting. The plaque erroneously implies that the first meeting was in 1831. This mistake is understandable since the legislation incorporating Little Rock was approved in November 1831. The plaque also refers to the body as the City Council. It was, in fact, the Town Council. There would not be a City Council until 1835 when Little Rock was elevated to City status.

Little Rock Look Back: Little Rock Council Meets for First Time in 1832

TowncouncilplaqueOn January 16, 1832, Mayor Matthew Cunningham MD presided over Little Rock’s first council meeting. Since Little Rock did not yet have a government hall, the Mayor and his wife hosted the meeting at their house. The Cunninghams owned the entire block which was bordered by what is now Main Street, 3rd Street, Louisiana Street and 4th Street.

A plaque at 3rd and Main Street commemorates this meeting and was placed there in the 1930s. The Cunningham’s house was likely closer to the southwest corner of the block. The plaque is on the Fulk building which once housed Bennett’s Military Supply. Currently the plaque is covered as the building undergoes renovation in preparation of it housing CJRW.

The block also includes the Mann on Main project, which is comprised of the buildings originally constructed for the Gus Blass Department store.  Bruno’s and the new Samantha’s are also on the block.

Little Rock was chartered as a town in 1831 and elections were subsequently held. Dr. Cunningham outpolled Rev. W. W. Stevenson to become the first Mayor.

Joining Mayor Cunningham at the first meeting were the original four Town Council members – Charles Caldwell, Benjamin Clemens, David Holt and John McLain.

In 1931 a plaque, as part of Little Rock’s Centennial, a plaque was erected to note the first meeting. The plaque erroneously implies that the first meeting was in 1831. This mistake is understandable since the legislation incorporating Little Rock was approved in November 1831. The plaque also refers to the body as the City Council. It was, in fact, the Town Council. There would not be a City Council until 1835 when Little Rock was elevated to City status.

Little Rock Look Back: First Little Rock Council Meeting in 1832

TowncouncilplaqueOn January 16, 1832, Mayor Matthew Cunningham MD presided over Little Rock’s first council meeting. Since Little Rock did not yet have a government hall, the Mayor and his wife hosted the meeting at their house. The Cunninghams owned the entire block which was bordered by what is now Main Street, 3rd Street, Louisiana Street and 4th Street.

A plaque at 3rd and Main Street commemorates this meeting and was placed there in the 1930s. The Cunningham’s house was likely closer to the southwest corner of the block. The plaque is on the Fulk building which contains Bennett’s Military Supply. The block also includes the Mann on Main project, which is comprised of the buildings originally constructed for the Gus Blass Department store.

Little Rock was chartered as a town in 1831 and elections were subsequently held. Dr. Cunningham outpolled Rev. W. W. Stevenson to become the first Mayor.

Joining Mayor Cunningham at the first meeting were the original four Town Council members – Charles Caldwell, Benjamin Clemens, David Holt and John McLain.

In 1931 a plaque, as part of Little Rock’s Centennial, a plaque was erected to note the first meeting. The plaque erroneously implies that the first meeting was in 1831. This mistake is understandable since the first election was in 1831. The plaque also refers to the body as the City Council. It was, in fact, the Town Council. There would not be a City Council until 1835 when Little Rock was elevated to City status.

Little Rock Look Back: First Council Meeting in Little Rock

TowncouncilplaqueOn this date, January 16, 1832, the very first Town Council meeting took place in Little Rock.  It was held at the home of Dr. Matthew Cunningham, Little Rock’s first Mayor. (Prior to the establishment of a City Hall, the Mayor was responsible for hosting the Council meetings.)

Dr. Cunningham owned several properties in Little Rock.  His home was situated on a block at  the southwest intersection of Markham and what is now 3rd Street.  Currently Bennett’s Military Supply anchors that corner in the Fulk building.  The block also includes the Mann on Main project, which is comprised of the buildings originally constructed for the Gus Blass Department store.

Little Rock was chartered as a town in 1831 and elections were subsequently held.  Dr. Cunningham outpolled Rev. W. W. Stevenson to become the first Mayor.

Joining Mayor Cunningham at the first meeting were the original four Town Council members – Charles Caldwell, Benjamin Clemens, David Holt and John McLain.

In 1931 a plaque, as part of Little Rock’s Centennial, a plaque was erected to note the first meeting.  The plaque erroneously implies that the first meeting was in 1831. This mistake is understandable since the first election was in 1831.  The plaque also refers to the body as the City Council.  It was, in fact, the Town Council.  There would not be a City Council until 1835 when Little Rock was elevated to City status.

(Incidentally, the plaque is not the only incorrect date regarding City meeting places.  The date stone above the entrance to City Hall reads 1907. Though construction of the building was largely finished in 1907, City offices did not move in until 1908. The building was not officially dedicated until April 1908.  When the plaque was installed it was probably due to wishful thinking.)

Little Rock History: 180 years of Little Rock

Last week (November 2) marked the 1835 incorporation of Little Rock as a City.  However, today marks the 180th anniversary of Little Rock first being incorporated as a town by the Arkansas Territorial Legislature.

The first Mayor of the Town of Little Rock was Dr. Matthew Cunningham; he was elected January 2, 1832.  The first City Council meeting took place at his house.  In 1931, a plaque was installed at that site to mark the historic event. (Though it implies that the first city council meeting took place in 1831 not 1832.)

Bennett’s Military Supply is now located on the spot at what is now 3rd Street and Main Street.

Mayor Cunningham, MD

Prior to serving as the first Mayor, Dr. Cunningham had already made quite a few other “firsts” in Little Rock.  He was the first physician to take up residence in the settlement known as Little Rock arriving in February 1820.  His wife, soon joined and became the first female resident of Little Rock.  She had children from her first marriage, but after arriving in Little Rock, she and Dr. Cunningham had their first child together — Chester Cunningham, who became the first baby born in Little Rock.

Dr. Cunningham, Mrs. Cunningham and Chester Cunningham are buried next to each other in Mount Holly Cemetery.  Interestingly, Dr. Cunningham was involved in a 30 year land ownership dispute with Chester Ashley and Roswell Beebe who also donated the property on which Mount Holly sits.

Graves of Matthew Cunningham, Eliza Cunningham and Chester Cunningham