Flag Day 2019

Flags mark graves at Mount Holly Cemetery

Flag at the Clinton Presidential Center

Flag at Robinson Center

The red, white and blue stand out against the night sky and limestone of the Arkansas State Capitol.

The flag on the Capital Hotel balcony at Christmastime

Little Rock Look Back: General Grant in Little Rock

On April 15, 1880, former president Ulysses S. Grant spoke in Little Rock as part of his world tour. While here he made a couple of appearances and participated in a parade. It was General Grant’s first visit to Arkansas either as a soldier or a politician.

(At the time, and through much of the 20th Century, former US presidents were not referred to as President after leaving office. He was referred to as General Grant or Mr. Grant during his time in Little Rock.)

At his outdoor speech, his remarks followed brief comments by Governor William R. Miller and Mayor John Gould Fletcher (erroneously referred to as John C. Fletcher in the Memphis Appeal story the next day). Grant’s comments were brief and flowery. He thanked Arkansans for a warm welcome, praised the future prospects of Arkansas and discussed the demise of what he termed “sectionalism” which was undoubtedly a reference to the division between the Union and and former Confederate states.

Also that day, Grant addressed a banquet in Concordia Hall (now part of the Arkansas Studies Institute complex on the Central Arkansas Library downtown campus). His was one of fifteen toasts that evening. It was simply “The United States of America, forever United.” He expounded briefly on the theme of unity of citizens from all states. He also discussed immigration noting, “All foreigners find a welcome here. We make them American citizens. After we receive them, it is but one generation until they are Americans.” He noted that he could speak much more on the topic, but that since he was but one of fifteen toasts and that there was to be music after each toast, “It will be to-morrow (sic) morning when we get through if we all take as much time as the subjects admit of.”

Not everyone was thrilled to have the former commander of the Union Army in Little Rock. The story goes that when he was parading down the street, some Little Rock women (in a display of Souther un-hospitality) sat in chairs with their backs to the parade route. But all in all, it appears to have been a successful visit for the man who was the only Republican in the 19th Century to win Arkansas’ Electoral votes.

Grant arrived in Little Rock on the night of April 14 and lodged at the Capital Hotel. He undoubtedly enjoyed some whiskey and cigars while at the Capital. Grant had originally planned on departing in the afternoon of April 15, but Little Rock leaders pled with him to stay so that he could be honored at the banquet. He assented.

Incidentally, there is an urban myth that, while in Little Rock, General Grant rode his horse in the oversized elevator of the Capital Hotel.  This is a relatively recent story. The oversized elevator was not installed until the 1980s, over 100 years after Gen. Grant was a guest of the facility.

21st Wine & Food Feastival tonight at Wildwood Park

FEASTival 2019 features wine, spirits, beers, and artful edibles from central Arkansas’ best culinary creators, a silent auction and raffle.

The band Greasy Greens will join the party to provide music for onstage dancing!

The fun starts at 6:30pm tonight at Wildwood Park.  Ticket information is here.  Proceeds go to support Wildwood’s gardens, art exhibitions, the Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts and Wildwood’s educational programs.

Join Wildwood Park as it celebrates a diversity of culinary delights from central Arkansas, including:

Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse / Oceans at Arthur’s

Bonefish Grill

Blue Cake Company

The Capital Hotel

Diamond Bear Brewing Company

The Faded Rose

Moe’s Southwest Grill

Red Lobster


Nothing Bundt Cakes

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe

Petit and Keet

YaYa’s Euro Bistro

Table 28

The Vintage Kitchen

The Rusty Tractor Vineyards

Tonight – Oxford American welcomes Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings & Bill Stewart Trio

Image result for PETER BERNSTEIN, LARRY GOLDINGS & BILL STEWART TRIOThe Oxford American welcomes the Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings & Bill Stewart Trio to Little Rock! This is the fifth and final show in their 2018-19 Jazz Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.

The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication.

Additional season partners include Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Chris & Jo Harkins, J. Mark & Christy Davis, EVO Business Environments, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Stacy Hamilton of Pulaski Heights Realty, Margaret Ferguson Pope, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Capital Hotel, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery of Little Rock.

Tickets are $30 (General Admission), $44 (Reserved), and $46 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart). Full season ticket pricing and options are also available in a consolidated format, here.

Guitarist Peter Bernstein, organist Larry Goldings, and drummer Bill Stewart make up one of the best organ jazz trios of the past two decades. The respect the musicians have for one another comes through in the subtle and intricate manner of their musical conversation on stage. Indeed, you can hear them listening to each other. Drawing mainly on jazz standards, and a few original pieces, they re-imagine the organ jazz trio in a quiet, sensual, and grooving presentation.

All members of the Young Lion jazz movement at the close of the 20th century, and now all firmly established jazz stars, this group has been together for twenty-five years, making multiple recordings that display their distinctive sound, whether exploring the depths of jazz standards, or playing their original compositions. Jazz enthusiasts recognize the trio for charting new ground with hard-swinging, yet thoughtful music. Peter’s warm, feather-light touch and fluid improvisation with Larry Goldings’s warm hum, alongside Bill Stewart’s polyrhythmic and melodic focus, create a vivid combination of synergistic playing. With the trio’s extensive use of the music’s dynamic possibilities, the passion and joy of this amazingly versatile instrumental lineup is there for all to hear.


Tonight’s OXFORD AMERICAN “Americana” concert features Dom Flemons

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument and guitarThe Oxford American is excited to welcome Dom Flemons to Little Rock tonight (February 21).

Dom Flemons is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area. He is known as “The American Songster” since his repertoire of music covers nearly 100 years of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. Flemons is a music scholar, historian, record collector and a multi-instrumentalist.

This is the third show in their 2018-19 Americana Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor Stella Boyle Smith Trust.

Additional season partners include Chris & Jo Harkins, J. Mark & Christy Davis, UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, EVO Business Environments, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Stacy Hamilton of Pulaski Heights Realty, Margaret Ferguson Pope, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Capital Hotel, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery of Little Rock.

Tickets are $25 (General Admission), $32 (Reserved), and $34 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart)

February is National Pie Month

February is National Pie Month!

As it has for the past several years, the Capital Bar & Grill is celebrating with a specialty pie a day.

Here is the schedule:

Friday, 1st – Derby Pie
Saturday, 2nd – Banana Cream Pie
Sunday, 3rd – Chocolate Chess Pie
Monday, 4th – Ice Box Lemon Pie
Tuesday, 5th – Steak & Ale Pie
Wednesday, 6th – Lemon Brulee Pie
Thursday, 7th – Chocolate Cherry Pie
Friday, 8th – Key Lime Pie
Saturday, 9th – Sweet Potato Pie
Sunday, 10th – Apple Pie
Monday, 11th – White Chocolate Velvet Pie
Tuesday, 12th – Pecan Pie
Wednesday, 13th – Apple & Rhubarb Pie
Thursday, 14th – Chocolate Raspberry Pie
Friday, 15th – Snickerdoodle Pie
Saturday, 16th – Banoffee Pie
Sunday, 17th – S’More Pie
Monday, 18th – Blueberry Pie
Tuesday, 19th – Chicken Pot Pie
Wednesday, 20th – Strawberry Jello Pie
Thursday, 21st – Black Forest Pie
Friday, 22nd – Traditional Chess Pie
Saturday, 23rd – Peach Pie
Sunday, 24th – Lemon Meringue Pie
Monday, 25th – Sugar Cream Pie
Tuesday, 26th – Butterscotch Pie
Wednesday, 27th – Coconut Cream Pie
Thursday, 28th – Peanut Butter Banana Pie

Little Rock Look Back: Opening of 1868 LR City Hall

The 1868 City Hall as featured on a city report.

On January 22, 1868, a charity ball (including a supper) was the first special event held in the new Little Rock City Hall located at 120 to 122 West Markham.

The two story building featured city offices downstairs, including an engine house for the volunteer fire department. Upstairs was the council chambers and a special event space. The facility was the width of two storefronts. The upstairs was accessed by a central staircase which went from street level through an archway directly up to the second floor. The first floor had a stone exterior and the second floor was a combination of brick and woodwork.

Records do not indicate when the first city council in the new building took place. At the January 21, 1868, meeting, the body formally accepted the building and cancelled any clauses in the contract about penalties should the contractor not meet the construction deadline. But there is no indication whether that meeting took place in the new building or in the previous city hall. (The location of that prior city hall is a mystery.). The minutes from the council meetings just prior to and just after the January 21 meeting give no indication as to which building was the site for the meeting.

It IS known that March 30, 1908, was the date of the final council meeting in the 1868 City Hall. After that meeting, city offices completed their move to the edifice at Markham and Broadway, which still serves as Little Rock City Hall.

As early as November 1867, the City Council was getting requests for special events to be held in the new city hall. In November and December the council refused to take action on any requests because the building was still under construction.

The January 22, 1868, event was created to help the destitute in Little Rock. The ARKANSAS GAZETTE encouraged people to be generous and purchase tickets. Even the day before the event, the weekly version of the GAZETTE (which at the time had added daily editions in addition to its weekly issue) was assuring people there would be plenty of space in the splendid new building so there was still room for additional ticket purchases. Tickets were $5 to admit a lady and a gentleman.  (That would be the equivalent of $83.71 today. While cheap for two people to attend a Little Rock event in 2018, in the post-Civil War era, it was a definite hit to the pocketbook.)

The unnamed organization which put on the charity event was led by W. W. Wilshire (president), George W. Clark (secretary), Joseph Meyer (treasurer) and a standing committee of Dr. C. M. Taylor, Dr. P. O. Hooper, A. Adams, F. H. Moody, and E. Langley.  Donations could be made to any of the officers.  The arrangements for the event were handled by Joseph Meyer, A. Adams, J. P. Jones, Alexander George, Jr., Joseph W. Bossert, and Daniel Ottenheimer.  The reception committee was W. D. Blocher, H. C. Ashley, A. McDonald, P. W. McWhorter, T. Lafferty, and F. H. Moody.   Tickets could be purchased at the stores of J. E. Reardon, G. H. Gibbs, Joseph Meyer, Lafferty & Raleigh, S. L. Griffith, McAlmont & Stillwell, Beideman & Co., and Dodge & Co as well as at the Anthony and Commercial Houses.  (It is interesting to note how so many people at the time were publicly listed by only their first initial.)

The building stood for 56 years after City Hall vacated it.  It housed a variety of businesses over the years.  The building was torn down in 1964 as part of Urban Renewal.  Today it is the site of part of the Statehouse Convention Center.  It is directly across from the One-Eleven restaurant side of the Capital Hotel.