Fun Facts

Little Rock's Claim to Fame Lies within Its
People and Places

Drive through Anytown, USA and you are bound to notice some local color: a "Lincoln Slept Here" sign, Home of the World's Largest Ball of Twine, Asphalt Capitol of the World. Little Rock is no different, but our citizens and places have been the chief painters of the canvas of our city. A few examples:

  • "Designing Women", a situational comedy about four interior decorators in the South, was produced by Little Rock native and former high school coach, Harry Thomason. In fact, the setting for the fictional design firm is the Villa Marre residence at 1321 Scott Street in Little Rock, and it is featured in the opening credits of each "Designing Women" episode.

  • Socks Clinton, former First Feline of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion and the White House, was born in Little Rock.

  • Joe Bob Briggs, drive-in movie critic and eight-ball gearshift aficionado, was created by his Little Rock-native alter ego, John Bloom.

  • Little Rock is home to the "cheese dog", a hot dog with cheese inserted in the middle. Invented in 1956 at the Finkbeiner Meat Packing Co., the cheese dog met with much success, but its predecessor, the "chili dog" - a frankfurter with a tiny amount of chili encased inside - did not fair as well.

  • Meyer's Bakery in Little Rock invented the brown-n-serve roll in the 1930s.

  • Black Panther leader and author Eldridge Cleaver was born in Little Rock in 1935.

  • The nation's all-time best-selling African American novelist, E. Lynn Harris, is a Little Rock native.

  • Little Rock is home to the Climber Car , a small automobile manufacturing company that built approximately 200 4-cylinder, 40-horsepower cars and 100 pickup trucks in the 1920s. There are still two Climber Cars in existence today.

  • Robert Palmer, Jr., the longtime New York Times music critic and superlative historian of rock-n-roll music in America, was born, fittingly, in Little Rock.

  • Author of "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", Little Rock native Dee Brown changed the teaching of American History.

  • William Grant Still, a Little Rock native, was the first African American conductor of a major symphony and the first important black classical music composer in the United States.

  • Albert "Al" Hibbler was lead male vocalist for Duke Ellington's orchestra in the 1940s after leaving his Little Rock home.

  • Little Rock retired engineer Edgar C. Whisenhunt reportedly made a quarter million dollars from his best-selling book, "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988".

  • Gilbert "Bronco Billy Anderson" Aronson was born in Little Rock in 1882 before becoming the silver screen's first beloved cowboy.

  • John Gould Fletcher, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, hails from Little Rock.

  • Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO commander in the air war against Yugoslavia in 1999, is a Little Rock native.

  • Little Rock's Old State House was constructed of handmade brick in 1836, served as the state capitol for 75 years and continues to inspire citizens and visitors alike as a history museum today.

  • Hall of Famer and third baseman for the Orioles Brooks Robinson knew Little Rock as home.

  • Little Rock is the birthplace of the Osborne Christmas Lights, the largest private holiday light display in Arkansas.

  • Adolphine Terry, a native of Little Rock, was the leading proponent of women's rights in Arkansas, an honor's graduate of Vassar College and an organizer of Arkansas' first PTA. A patron of the arts and proponent of education, she would later donate her home to become the Decorative Arts Museum in Little Rock and also helped created public libraries in various Arkansas communities. Mrs. Terry was the sister of poet John Gould Fletcher and the wife of Congressman D.D. Terry.

  • Charles Lindbergh made a stop in Little Rock in 1927, four months after he crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the "Spirit of St. Louis".

  • Niagra, the aphrodisiac soft drink sensation, caused a stir worldwide when a Little Rock distributor began selling the product in 2001. The subsequent attention made the product so sought-after that the distributor could not keep the fizzy drink on the shelves.

  • Jermain Taylor, the undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World in 2005 and 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist, was born and raised in Little Rock August 11, 1978.

  • Geese Ausbie, one of the best known members of the famous Globetrotters basketball team, was born in Little Rock on April 25, 1938

  • Derek Fisher, born in Little Rock on August 9, 1974, was a first round draft pick by the L.A. Lakers.

  • Actor George Newbern, who rose to stardom as the future son-in-law to Steve Martin's character in Father of the Bride, is a Little Rock native.

For more information about Little Rock and its amenities and attractions, contact the Little Rock Visitors Information Center at Historic Curran Hall at 501-370-3290 or toll-free at 1-877-220-2568.