QUESTION: I am fairly new to Little Rock. I have lived here for a couple of years now. My parents were visiting from Massachusetts and while driving along Rebsamen Park Road Dad pointed out what he called a gorge in the Arkansas River. We couldn’t quite see the river from where we were sitting (in my car) but because I wasn’t aware of a gorge on the Arkansas River as it passed through Little Rock, I asked him, Mom, my two brothers and sister to provide alternate explanations for what we saw. Now, what we saw was a rather large outcropping of rock that looked almost like a canyon wall on the North Little Rock side of the river. It’s stunning. What is it? Thanks Zeb.
SCUTTLEBUTT: According to Little Rock photographer, Brian Cormack the story goes something like this: “The Big Rock was noticed by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe in 1722, who called the hill “Le Rocher Français” or “French Rock.” Le Harpe is also the guy who called a nearby smaller outcrop along the Arkansas River “little rock,” a name that stuck around….when the French explorers were sailing up the Arkansas River, Native Americans [Quapaws] told them of a massive green rock along the river…the explorers thought that it must be a massive jewel-encrusted rock…the large green rock they had been dreaming about was just a bluff with trees on it.”
SKINNY: Zeb, thank you for the question. I know the spot where you and your family were on Rebsamen Park Road. You were heading east past the Rebsamen Golf Course and just before Rebsamen becomes Riverfront Drive there it is that great wall of rock on the North Little Rock side of the river…..