Little Rock Look Back: Apollo 11 Lifts Off on July 16, 1969

On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off from Florida as 528 million people (15% of the world’s population at the time) viewed it on television.  As would be expected for that historic trip to the moon, both the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat were filled with stories covering all aspects of the preparations and the launch.

The Gazette carried a story in which Sargent Shriver, then Ambassador to France, recalled his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy saying that if he died before the US landed on the moon, he would be watching it from his rocking chair in heaven and would have a better view than anyone on earth. The comments were made on May 25, 1962, the same day President Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress about the quest to send man to the moon.

But Apollo 11 was not the only thing in the newspapers.

  • July 16 was the first preliminary night for the Miss Arkansas pageant.
  • Ruth the elephant was ailing at the Little Rock Zoo.
  • The Arkansas Constitutional Convention continued
  • The Loch Ness Monster had gone into hiding according to Scottish officials
  • Plans were underway to bring private Little Rock University into the University of Arkansas System

Sports headlines included:

  • The Cardinals beat the Phillies 5 to 0
  • The Travelers were rained out at home.
  • Joe Namath was in secret meetings with NFL leadership regarding his retirement plans. He’d announced them rather than give up ownership of a club frequented by mobsters.
  • Brooks Robinson was named to his 13th consecutive All-Star game.

In advertisements (and there were pages and pages and pages of advertisements – comparing them to papers of today one really sees how much a drop in revenue newspapers are facing):

  • Curtis Finch Furniture offered a side by side refrigerator with icemaker for $499
  • Bruno’s was now serving wine and cocktails
  • Moses Melody Shop had a color TV for $399.50
  • Pfeifer-Blass was selling shoes for $3.50 and women’s jersey dresses for $11.99
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Little Rock Look Back: Brooks Robinson

On May 18, 1937, Brooks Calbert Robinson, Jr. was born in Little Rock.  His father worked for Colonial Bakery and later the Little Rock Fire Department.  His mother worked for Sears and later state government.

As a boy, Brooks was a paper boy for the ARKANSAS GAZETTE and sold concessions at Lamar Porter Field.  He also played baseball there in youth leagues.

After graduating from Little Rock Central High School in 1955, he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles.  He would spend his entire Major League Baseball career with the Orioles.   His primary position was Third Base for the team but also was a powerful batter.

When he retired at the end of the 1977 season, Robinson had amassed many honors including 2 World Series Championships, 1 World Series MVP, 1 American League MVP, 16 Golden Glove Awards, 18 times in the All-Star game.  At the end of his final season, his number 5 was retired by the Orioles.  In 1983, his first year of eligibility, he was selected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

He spent his career and since retirement engaged in a number of charitable endeavors. Robinson was beloved by teammates and fans, as well as respected by opponents and the media.  There is no telling how many babies in Baltimore were named Brooks or Robinson during and after his 23 season career.

Robinson has also leant his name and time to efforts to restore Lamar Porter Field here in Little Rock.

 

Heritage Month – Lamar Porter Field

Lamar PorterLamar Porter Athletic Field is located in the Stifft Station neighborhood. Construction started in 1934 and continued for 18 months by the Works Progress Administration on a 10 acre site.

The 1,500 seat grandstand included club rooms, shower and locker rooms and a concession stand. It was first used by Boys’ Club teams in 1936. By 1937, City leagues and American Legion teams used it.  A playground, softball field and tennis courts were constructed next to the baseball field.

Lamar Porter Field is remarkable not only for its architecture, but also for its history.  Thousands of boys growing up in Little Rock played ball here.  One of those was future Baltimore Oriole Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson.  He has come back numerous times and has aided in fundraising efforts to restore the field.

The baseball sequence from A Soldier’s Story with Denzel Washington was filmed at Lamar Porter Field.

The field is named in memory of Lamar Porter, whose family donated the land and some money to help with the construction.  A Little Rock native, he was killed in May 1934 while he was attending Washington and Lee University.

Today Lamar Porter Field and the multipurpose field are home to RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner-city) which is an official program of Major League Baseball. Both Catholic High School and Episcopal Collegiate use Lamar Porter as their home field.

Lamar Porter Field was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 1990.

Busy Saturday at the Arkansas Literary Festival

AR Lit Fest 2014Today is the busiest day of the 11th annual Arkansas Literary Festival. Unless otherwise specified the events are free.

Highlights for today are:

10:00 am

  • Ron Robinson Theater: “Other People’s Secrets” – Mona Simpson (Casebook) and Curtis Sittenfeld (Sisterland) with moderator Eliza Borné.
  • Darragh Center of CALS Main Library: “Love or Hate a Cowboy” – Joe Nick Patoski (The Dallas Cowboys) with moderator Tim Jackson
  • Lee Room of CALS Main Library: Workshop – “Get the Reference”
  • Room 124 of Arkansas Studies Institute: “Ecotone” – Kevin Brockmeier (A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip), Cary Holladay (Horse People) and Rebecca Makkai (Astoria to Zion) with moderator Kyran Pittman.
  • Cox Creative Center: “Fantasy & Fangs” – Colleen Doran (Vampire Diaries series, A Distant Soil) with moderator Randy Duncan
  • Historic Arkansas Museum: “Eat, Prey, Love” – Cindy Grisham (A Savory History of Arkansas Delta Food) and Kat Robinson (Classic Eateries of the Ozarks and Arkansas River Valley) with moderator Rex Nelson
  • MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History: “Peace” – Lisa Leitz (Fighting for Peace) with moderator Alex Vernon
  • Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center: “A Piece of the Extraordinary” – Alan Lightman (The Accidental Universe) with moderator Lance Turner

11:30 am

  • Ron Robinson Theater: “Canal Voyage” – Mary Roach (Gulp) with moderator T. Glenn Pait.
  • Darragh Center of CALS Main Library: “Modern Parenthood” – Jennifer Senior (All Joy and No Fun) with moderator Amy Bradley-Hole
  • Lee Room of CALS Main Library: Workshop – “Literacy Action”
  • Room 110 of Arkansas Studies Institute: Workshop – “Wonder-Filled Work” with Jeff VanderMeer (Wonderbook)
  • Room 124 of Arkansas Studies Institute: “Fever & Fatherhood” – Mary Beth Keane (Fever) and Wiley Cash (The Dark Road to Mercy) with moderator Susan Moneyhon.
  •  Cox Creative Center: “Dream Navigators” – Dylan Tuccillo (A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming) with moderator Michael Hibblen
  •  Historic Arkansas Museum: “Hattie!” – Nancy Hendricks (Senator Hattie Caraway) with moderator Tricia Spione
  •  MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History: “Veterans Write Their Lives” – with moderator Sherry F. Clements
  •  Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center: “Dino-Might” – Brian Switek (My Beloved Brontosaurus) with moderator Kevin Delaney

 

1:00 pm

  • Ron Robinson Theater: “The Fine Art of Suspense” – Catherine Coulter (The Final Cut) with moderator Susan Fleming.
  • Darragh Center of CALS Main Library: “Class and Character” – Doug Wilson (Brooks: The Biography of Brooks Robinson) with moderator Rod Lorenzen.
  • Lee Room of CALS Main Library: “Tongues & Virginia” – Cary Holladay (Horse People) and David Jauss (Glossolalia) with moderator Karen Martin
  • Room 110 of Arkansas Studies Institute: “Poetry I” – Megan Volpert (Only Ride) and Tess Taylor (The Forage House) with moderator Bryan Borland-Pennington
  • Room 124 of Arkansas Studies Institute: “Stellar Debuts” – Kelly Luce (Three Scenarios in which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail), Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower) and Mario Alberto Zambrano (Loteria) with moderator Angelle Gremillion
  • Cox Creative Center: “Evangelical Adoption Movement” – Kathryn Joyce (The Child Catchers) with moderator Judith Faust
  • Historic Arkansas Museum: “Southern Journeys” – Mark Nichols (From Azaleas to Zydeco) and Akasha Hull (Neicy) with moderator Paula Morrell
  • MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History: “Western Mythmaking” – Glenn Frankel (The Searchers) with moderator Alex Vernon
  • Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center: “Area X” – Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation) with moderator Ben Fry

 

2:30 pm

  • Ron Robinson Theater: “Vanguard” – Doug Dorst (S.) and Victor LaVelle (The Devil in Silver) with moderator Phillip Huddleston
  • Darragh Center of CALS Main Library: “Real Girlz” – ReShonda Tate Billingsly (Fortune and Fame; Real As It Gets) with moderator Angela Thomas
  • Room 110 of Arkansas Studies Institute: “Poetry II” – John Bensko (Visitations), Sandy Longhorn (Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths) and Ash Bowen (The Even Years of Marriage) with moderator Hope Coulter.
  • Room 124 of Arkansas Studies Institute: “Great TV” – Brett Martin (Difficult Men)with moderator Philip Martin
  • Cox Creative Center: “Measuring the World” – Ethan Hauser (The Measures Between Us) and Michael Parker (All I Have in This World) with moderator Jay Jennings
  • Historic Arkansas Museum: “Storytellers” – Suzanne Hudson (All the Way to Memphis, The Shoe Burnin’) and Joe Formichella (Waffle House Rules, The Shoe Burnin’) with moderator Shari Smith
  • MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History: “Preludes and Memorials” – David Sesser (The Little Rock Arsenal Crisis) and W. Stuart Towns (Arkansas Civil War Heritage) with moderator Mark Christ
  • Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center: “Puma Tale” – Darcy Pattison (Abayomi: The Brazilian Puma) with moderator Mary Ruth Marotte
  • Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: “Mysterious Duo” – Attica Locke (The Cutting Season) and Qiu Xiaolong (Enigma of China) with moderator Sharon Lee

 

4:00 pm

  • Ron Robinson Theater: “Wonka Times 2” – Rick & Michael Mast (Mast Brothers Chocolate) with moderator Kevin Shalin
  • Darragh Center of CALS Main Library: “7th Grade in Little Rock” – Kevin Brockmeier (A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip) with moderator Nickole Brown
  • Lee Room of CALS Main Library: Poetry Competition
  • Room 110 of Arkansas Studies Institute: “Make or Break” – Carla Killough McClafferty (Fourth Down and Inches) with moderator Rhonda Thornton.
  • Room 124 of Arkansas Studies Institute: “Terrifically Tiny” – Dee Williams (The Big Tiny)with moderator Lyndsey Lewis-Pardue
  • Cox Creative Center: “Badass Presidents” – Daniel O’Brien (How to Fight Presidents) with moderator Joel DiPippa
  • Historic Arkansas Museum: “Spa City Gangsters” – Orval Albritton (The Mob at the Spa) and Robert K. Raines (Hot Springs: From Capone to Costello) with moderator Liz Robbins
  • MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History: “Photographic History” – Carl Moneyhon (Portraits of Conflict series) with moderator Bobby Roberts
  • Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center: “Go Indie!” – with Darcy Pattison
  • Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: “Illustration” – Kadir Nelson (Baby Bear), Colleen Doran (Vampire Diaries series) and Nate Powell (March: Book One) with moderator Paul A. Crutcher

 

5:00 pm

  • Christ Episcopal Church: “Nourishment” – Fred Bahnson (Soil and Sacrement)

 

7:00 pm

  • Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack: “Pub or Perish”

 

The Cox Creative Center will be having a used book sale on Saturday from 9am to 5pm. In addition there will be a used book sale in the CALS basement from 10am to 4pm.

Brooks Robinson at Lamar Porter Field Tonight

brooksrobinsonLittle Rock native Brooks Robinson, who was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, returns to his hometown on Saturday, June 15, to lead the birthday festivities for the field where he first honed his playing skills.

Lamar Porter Field, at the corner of 7th and Johnson Streets in the Stifft Station neighborhood, will mark its 77th year, making it the oldest actively-used baseball stadium in the state of Arkansas. The complex also includes the Billy Mitchell Boys and Girls Club.

Robinson, who played his entire 23-year major league career with the Baltimore Orioles, will help kick off a multi-million dollar effort to restore the facilities and grounds to better serve the city’s youth.

The program will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Lamar Porter Field (3200 West 7th Street). Tickets are $10 each and are available at Sportstop (10720 Rodney Parham Road). Each ticket includes admission to the event, a hot dog, soft drink and popcorn. Robinson will be available to sign autographs as well. All proceeds will benefit the campaign to restore the Lamar Porter Field and complex