Courtesy: Old State House Museum
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Did You Know that Saturday is Arkansas' birthday? On June 15, 1836, we became the 25th state of the union.
On that day, we were in the process of giving ourselves quite a birthday present-the Old State House. While it wasn't yet completed, we had the audacity to begin building a state capitol building before we even joined the union.
"As Arkansas was about to become a state, the old statehouse had already been under construction for about three years," said Brooke Malloy, development director for the Old State House.
She also pointed out that Arkansas was poor back in the day, and as anyone who has worked with a contractor knows, when you run out of money, you cut corners. Bricks for the new state capitol were made onsite. You can still see some of them today in the museum, and those gleaming, white columns are actually bricks coated with plaster. It was called frontier engineering.
With all of the corner-cutting, there were problems along the way.
"There was a hole in the central temple, so rain fell to the floor until 1842," said Malloy.
All three buildings were completed in 1842; it took nine years to finish. When it was done--and what most Arkansans don't know--the front and the back looked exactly the same.
"As you were coming up the Arkansas River on a steamboat, you would see the same gorgeous facade with that you see on Markham Street today," Malloy explained.
Thanks to some nifty preservation, a few makeovers, and some plaster surgery, Arkansas is 177 years old, and hardly looks a day over 140.
Happy birthday, Arkansas!
(By the way, the Old State House Museum is free of charge and open seven days a week.)