Located across the Arkansas River from downtown Little Rock, the community that is now the city of North Little Rock was known only as "opposite Little Rock" until after the Civil War. In 1866, the conglomeration of mills, factories, hotels, and saloons was surveyed and platted under the name Argenta, a reference to the silver mines discovered ten miles north of the town. In 1890, Argenta's attempt to incorporate as a city was foiled by Little Rock, which annexed the town. Argenta was the 8th ward of Little Rock until 1906, when it once again became a separate entity. The town of Argenta changed its name to North Little Rock in 1917.
The city is part of the Greater Littler Rock metropolitan area, which has a total population of 580,625. The population of North Little Rock has dropped at a slight but steady rate each year since 1990. The estimated population in 2007 was 59,490.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
- The Argenta Historic District contains many of the city's oldest buildings, including city hall.
- The Park Hill Historic District is North Little Rock's first planned suburban development, an eclectic mix of 1920s bungalows and 1940s Minimal Traditional housing. Annexed by the city in 1946, today the district contains a mixture of private homes, specialty businesses, restaurants, and art galleries.
- Camp Robinson, the headquarters of the Arkansas National Guard, is located on the northern edge of the city.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Built around the only railroad terminal in central Arkansas, North Little Rock originally developed as a collection of restaurants, hotels, and saloons designed to serve a transient population. Today the city remains a transportation hub, located at the crossroads of three interstate and two US highways and two freight railways. It is a terminal for four major trucking companies. Its small port facility on the Arkansas River is rated for international trade. The North Little Rock Municipal Airport handles overflow traffic from the larger airport across the river.
- As part of the federally designated Pulaski Empowerment Zone, North Little Rock enjoys significant federal tax incentives to help promote economic development.
- The median household income in North Little Rock is $41,770. The cost of living is about 17 percent below the national average; 16 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
North Little Rock has worked hard to turn itself into the "Sports and Entertainment Capital of Arkansas." The city offers a wide range of sports and recreational venues, including:
- Burns Park, which has over 1,600 acres of baseball and softball fields, hiking trails, and fishing; a 36-hole golf course; a 29-court tennis facility; a 17-field soccer complex; and an amusement park.
- The 14-mile pedestrian and bicycle Arkansas River Trail, which connects North Little Rock with Little Rock over the Big Dam Bridge.
- The Alltel Arena, home of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans basketball team, the Rim Rockers NBA D-league basketball team, and the Arkansas Twisters arena football team.
- Dickey-Stephens Park, home to the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team, a AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.
- Wild River Country, a 23-acre water theme park.
- The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
- The all-concrete Riverview Skate Park.
North Little Rock hosts a number of national and international sporting events each year, including the American Taekwondo Association's World Championships and the Busch-Pepsi Softball Classic.
- The Old Mill was built in 1933 as an authentic recreation of a water-powered gristmill from the 1880s and served as the backdrop to the opening credits of the 1939 film classic Gone with the Wind. Designed to look as if it were made of wood, stone, and iron, the mill is in fact made from tinted concrete over copper and steel rods. It is decorated with concrete sculptures by Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez. Today the Old Mill is a popular location for weddings.
- The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum offers guided tours of the submarine USS Razorback, which served in World War II and the Vietnam War, and the USS Hoga, a tugboat used for rescue work following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The museum offers programs and exhibits on the impact of maritime trade on the region, the inland waterways system, and the Arkansas River.
- The Windsong Performing Arts Center is a multi-use performance center with a 316-seat concert hall, a recording studio, twenty teaching studios, and a reception hall.
- The North Little Rock School District includes 22 schools and over 9,000 students.
- Although it is the smallest school district in the metropolitan area, its teacher salaries rank in the top 3 percent in the state.
- The city's newspapers are the North Little Rock Times and the Little Rock-based Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.