While I was in downtown Little Rock last weekend, I had time to try to take a few pictures. It was right around sunset, and I stopped by a few spots along Markham Street. The first was the Old State House, which was built between 1833 and 1842 and is the oldest surviving state capitol building west of the Mississippi. It was replaced by the current state capitol building in 1912, and in the years since served as a medical school and as a museum. The building has seen its fair share of excitement over the years. In 1837, when the state of Arkansas was just one year old, the Speaker of the House of Representatives killed a state representative in a knife fight on the house floor. In less extreme news, the Old State House served as the backdrop when Bill Clinton announced he was running for President, and then was the site of his election night victory parties in 1992 and 1996.
Just down Markham Street is the Pulaski County Courthouse. Unfortunately, I’ve had to make too many visits here in the past year or so while waiting for a case to make its way through the system. But it is an impressive building. It was built in 1914 by the same architect that designed the current state capitol building. The four story limestone building was designed in the Beaux Arts-style, and has Classical features like tall Ionic columns and Roman arches. The interior features a large stained glass dome, and below a rotunda with twelve statues that represent art, agriculture, machinery and justice.
Across the street is the Robinson Center Music Hall, the municipal auditorium that was built in 1939 by the Public Works Administration. The building is named after Joe T. Robinson, who served as a U.S. Senator and who also ran for Vice President in 1928 (he ran with Al Smith, the governor of New York. They lost to Herbert Hoover). Since it opened, Robinson Center has hosted all sorts of concerts and plays, including performances from Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald (I think my first concert there was Third Eye Blind in 1997). The building just recently reopened after a massive $70.5 million renovation.