Places to see, places to eat (food, that is)!

Capitol Address:

State Capitol

Little Rock, AR 72201

Hours: M-F 9-4;  Sat & Sun - 10-5

Tour Information: 501-682-5080

Joined the Union

June 15, 1836

Population (2010) 2,889,450 (32nd)

Area (Square Miles) 52,068 (27th)

Largest City                Little Rock

The Bronze Doors

Designed by architect Cass Gilbert (who designed the Minnesota and West Virginia capitols as well) and made by Tiffany Studios of New York (most famous for their stained glass creations), the 6 bronze doors on the east portico of the Arkansas State Capitol (which is the main entrance) are kept highly polished by the capitol staff. There are six doors altogether and each one is ten feet tall and four inches thick.

How would you like to be the one who has to polish those doors?And I bet they’re HEAVY!

“The Big House” is slang for prison, and the current State House (capitol) of Arkansas was built on the grounds of the old State Prison: while it was still there! In fact they used convict labor to help save money on the project (a lot of good that did; it wound up costing more than 2 times the original estimate). One of the state senators even wound up being sent to “the Big House” over corruption charges involving building this new capitol (maybe he got to help with the construction)!

It all started in 1899, when the ceiling fell in in the senate of the old capitol, and the legislature voted to build a new building. They hired an architect from Saint Louis and got started but they ran into all sorts of problems!

A new governor was elected during construction and he didn’t think the new capitol was a good idea! With the governor against it and all sorts of scandals happening,work on the new building almost stopped! In 1908 a new governor was elected, but with all of the problems (much of the building wasn’t made properly and had to be torn out, there were lawsuits back and forth, a new architect was hired, the legislature didn’t want to provide money even for work already done, etc), the building took another 7 years to fully complete!

None of the capitol’s past troubles are evident now, though, and while it’s no longer big enough to hold all of the state government offices (the Supreme Court and the Attorney General moved out) it is still a big building; spacious, attractive and elegant.