Little Rock’s La Petite Roche Tricentennial task force announced Tuesday the start of the “La Petite Roche Tricentennial” celebration next month. April 2022 marks 300 years since French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe and his crew first came upon “la petite roche” or “the little rock” that gave the Little Rock region its name.
City of Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., La Petite Roche Tricentennial Chairperson Denver Peacock, Arkansas Honorary Consul General for France Beatrice Moore, Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst, and Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde gathered March 8 at a special news conference in Little Rock to announce the celebration. Comprised of business and civic leaders from across central Arkansas, the La Petite Roche Tricentennial task force is committed to honoring the history of the Little Rock region’s founding.
Special commemorative events will span the first two weeks in April and will include service days, a free community concert with fireworks, attraction exhibits and educational programs highlighting the importance of the discovery of la petite roche.
“The tricentennial anniversary provides community members and visitors with the unique opportunity to rediscover the rock and celebrate the diverse history of our region,” said La Petite Roche Tricentennial chairperson Denver Peacock. “We hope residents from across the state and region will join us for the kickoff to mark this milestone anniversary year.”
Key highlights for the kickoff celebration include:
- Friday, April 1
- Arkansas Historic Preservation: Sandwiching in History: La Petite Roche
- Saturday, April 2 & April 9
- City Church Network’s La Petite Roche Serve Days
- Tuesday, April 5
- La Petite Roche Landing at Sturgis Plaza in Riverfront Park Media Opportunity with Consul General of France (Houston) Valerie Baraban (TBD)
- Rotary Club of Little Rock: Consul General of France Valerie Baraban
- Wednesday, April 6
- CALS’ Legacies & Lunch: Arkansas Geological Survey on the geology of the Arkansas River basin around La Petite Roche with Angela Chandler
- Riverfront Park’s Tricentennial Jazz in the Park
- Thursday, April 7
- UA Little Rock Downtown: Little Rock: A Pivotal Point on the Trail of Tears by Dr. Daniel Littlefield of the Sequoyah National Research Center
- Historic Arkansas Museum: History is Served: Arkansas Foodways Dinner Series featuring Quapaw Cuisine (date to be finalized)
- Friday, April 8
- Arkansas State Archives: Finding the French Rock: de la Harpe Lecture by Dr. David Ware
- Tricentennial 2nd Friday Art Night in Little Rock’s River Market District
- Saturday, April 9: Tricentennial Commemoration and Dedication Day
- La Petite Roche Tricentennial Dedication Event
- Family-friendly activities, kid rides, bounce houses, vendors and cultural and historic offerings with the Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association, Quapaw Nation and others
- Fireworks celebration and free community concert with Randall Shreve and the DeVilles, Philander Smith Collegiate Choir and others
- Wednesday, April 13
- Old State House Museum’s Monthly Lunch Lecture: Tricentennial of La Petite Roche by Scott Carter
In the late 1940s, longtime Arkansas Gazette editor and owner J. N. Heiskell discussed what he felt was Little Rock’s lack of awareness of its place in history and its importance. In a speech he said:
“The 200th anniversary of the discovery of our rock was allowed to pass absolutely unnoticed. If the year 2022 should pass with no proper observance of the Tercentennial of the discovery of the historic rock, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
For more information and details about La Petite Roche Tricentennial events, visit littlerock.com/300.
Photo credit: Spencer Watson, Pictured: Stacy Hurst speaks at the Tricentennial news conference on March 8. She is joined by (from left) Denver Peacock, Beatrice Moore, Frank Scott Jr., and Judge Barry Hyde