I had to run an errand in downtown Little Rock yesterday afternoon, and since I had the camera with me I decided to stop and take a few pictures. I ended up visiting the Old State House, which is the first capitol building in Arkansas. Construction on the Old State House ended in 1843, although it was open enough for the legislature to meet there when Arkansas became a state in 1836. It served as the capitol until 1912, when the current capitol building was completed. It's a really neat old building, and one of the few old buildings in Little Rock that was never torn down.
The old canon here isn't just a random piece of yard decoration. The canon was brought to the city during the Civil War in 1861 via steamboat. It was placed on the north side of the State House to help defend against ships floating up the river. It was never used, and was disabled by Union troops when they took over the city in 1863. But the canon was found and repaired, and fired once during the Brooks-Baxter War in 1874. The brief Brooks-Baxter War was a conflict that occurred when one faction of the Republican party (called the Brindle Tails, or the Scalawags (seriously)) staged a coup d'état to remove the sitting governor. The fights resulted in a few armed skirmishes across Little Rock, and was resolved only when President Grant called an end to the fight and declared a governor. Since then, the canon has been left on the Old State House lawn.
One of the Old State House's biggest claim to fame is being the setting for Bill Clinton's election night victories in 1992 and 1996. During last year's election, I remembered back to 1992 when my family decided to head over to the Old State House to watch the party. But then I had the sudden realization that this happened 20 years ago, which made me feel old.
Here's one last shot of the Old State House, with the tall trees that stand in the statehouse lawn: