Little Rock Arsenal
Little Rock Arsenal (1840-1890) - A U.S. Army post established in 1840 in the city of Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas. The post was built under the supervision of John Wormley Walker on a site selected by U.S. Army Major Robert B. Lee. The post became Little Rock Barracks in 1873. Abandoned in 1890. Also known as Post of Little Rock.
Little Rock Arsenal History
Construction on the Little Rock Arsenal began in 1838 along with the adjacent Post of Little Rock. The post was built out as a two company post with brick buildings on a 36 acre site on what was then the outskirts of Little Rock. The arsenal was completed in 1840 and grew to include more than thirty buildings. The arsenal building itself was a two story brick building with an unusual central octagonal tower between two wings. The tower was actually used to move munitions between floors of the building. Other buildings included office buildings, a storehouse, a magazine, a guardhouse, a hospital and other service structures. The hospital and service structures were built of wood.
As the U.S. Civil War loomed, the State of Arkansas took steps to secure the Arsenal for the secessionists. The commander of the Arsenal, Captain James Totten surrendered the facility to Gov. Rector on 8 Feb 1861. Confederate troops occupied the Arsenal until 1863 when it was reoccupied by Union forces. The Confederates attempted to burn down the Arsenal building as they left but were unsuccessful.
The Post of Little Rock was described in official surgeon reports in 1870 as having five large brick buildings, the arsenal building, the commanding officer's quarters, a one company barracks, ordnance storage building and commissary building. Also included were a magazine, a brick stable and outhouses. The report also indicated that nine framed barracks, each capable of housing a complete company, had been obtained and moved from the Little Rock General Hospital to the Arsenal grounds. Each of these buildings was 160 feet long and 30 feet wide and they were aligned in parallel at the rear of the officer's quarters facing north. The report describes the tower building as having been tastefully altered into 25 rooms for officer's quarters. The mean strength of the post in 1869 was 480 men.
On 25 Jul 1873 the Little Rock Arsenal became the Little Rock Barracks and remained that until the facility was abandoned 25 Sep 1890. The tower building was converted into married officer quarters. Douglas MacArthur was born 26 Jan 1880, in the tower building at the Little Rock Barracks to then Captain Arthur MacArthur, Jr. and his wife.
The site was turned over to the city 23 Apr 1892, stipulated for use as a city park. In return, the City of Little Rock gave the U.S. Government 1,000 acres in North Little Rock on which Fort Logan H. Roots was established by the U.S. Congress on the same date, 23 Apr 1892. All of the remaining buildings on the original site were sold or destroyed except the Arsenal Tower building.
The arsenal tower building is the home of MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, part of MacArthur City Park, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas. The tower building is the only remaining building from the Arsenal period.
Location: MacArthur City Park, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.
Maps & Images
Lat: 34.738368 Long: -92.265372
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 54
- North American Forts - Little Rock Arsenal
- Wikipedia - Little Rock Arsenal Tower Building
- Museum Site
Visited: 25 Oct 2011
Little Rock Arsenal Picture Gallery
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