History Commission

The mission of the North Little Rock History Commission is the collection, keeping and caring of materials bearing on the history of the city from the earliest times, and maintaining those materials in the archives of the City of North Little Rock.  The commission provides educational programs and services, and encourages and assists in scholarly research on the history of North Little Rock.

The History commission was established by city ordinance in 1975.  Seven volunteer members, appointed by Mayor Eddie Powell, began collecting historical photographs, documents, objects and oral interviews for the city archives. Active for more than a decade, the commission resigned en masse in 1987, stating it had accomplished what it set out to do, after publishing “North Little Rock: The Unique City,” a history book authored by commissioner Walter Adams with assistance from other commission members Evelyn Eubank, Gene Hull, Grayson Dickson, Pat Davis, Earlene Butterworth, and Alfred Schultz.

 Mayor Patrick Hays revived the commission in 1989, and two years later, Sandra Taylor Smith was hired as Director.  With archives stored at the William F. Laman Library at 2801 Orange Street, the commission opened an office in 1993 in the historic Barth-Hempfling House at 507 Main Street.  In 1999, the commission’s offices and archives were moved to the historic Park Hill Water Company building at 3427 Magnolia Street. The offices and archives moved again in 2003 to the second floor of the historic fire station and city hall building at 506 Main Street.

 In 2004, during the city’s centennial, the commission published a history book, titled “On the Opposite Shore: The Making of North Little Rock,” written by award winning journalist Cary Bradburn, who joined the staff of the History Commission in 2002.

Educational Programs and Services

PowerPoint presentations are offered by the North Little Rock History Commission staff to illustrate the  city’s history for various civic, school, church, municipal and social  organizations. While a general history of the city is available through these  presentations, the staff also offers programs by request on specific topics of North Little Rock  history. The power point presentations provide an excellent means to share the  historical images of the city and its people in the commission’s collection of  photographs.

A comprehensive book on the history of the city titled On the Opposite Shore-The Making of North Little Rock by Cary Bradburn is available for sale. The book includes 288 pages with more than 160 photographs, and is available at the City Clerk’s office at City Hall, 300 Main Street or at the North Little Rock History Commission offices at 506 Main Street.

Portable Exhibits:
  • Alonzo Clayton: Argenta’s Kentucky Derby Winner 
  • Early Schools of North Little Rock
  • Businesses of the Past
  • Historic Bridges
  • Photographs by Crystal Huie
  • Railroads