Arkansas Capital Actually Has a Little Rock -- If You Can Find It

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- This capital city was named for a rock. That's clear. But ask a local to point out which rock exactly and you're likely to draw a blank stare.

Once, people would have known: The city's namesake jutted into a crook of the Arkansas River from the steep south bank, creating a perfect landing spot for ferries and riverboats. But in 1872, huge chunks of the rock were blasted away to make room for a railroad bridge. The remnants soon disappeared from view, hidden by weeds and mud and, later, graffiti.

"It was never honored as it might have been," says Bill Worthen, director of the Historic Arkansas Museum.

Now, that's about to change. Little Rock's once-desolate riverfront has been transformed into a hip and hopping cultural district. The capstone: A $650,000 project, launched this month, to excavate the remains of the neglected Little Rock and restore it to a place of dignity.

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