Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring in Little Rock, Arkansas

It was almost over-whelming Thursday, everywhere we went we saw masses of blooming pink and white azalea bushes. It seemed like spring had happened over night. Dogwood trees are now also in bloom as well as camellias, wisteria and roses.
Our first stop of the day was at Mount Holly Cemetery. The land was donated to Little Rock in 1843 and has earned the nickname "The Westminster Abbey of Arkansas". Interred here are 11 state Governors, 14 state Supreme Court justices, five Confederate Generals, and 22 Little Rock mayors. I could have wandered all day among the tombstones- it has to be one of the most fascinating cemeteries I have been in!  However, we had reservations for a tour at the Governor's Mansion, so we had to move on. We enjoyed our tour at the mansion. Our tour guide was quite friendly and reassured us that we could walk on the million dollar Persian rug in the dining room and sit anywhere we want. The home is sitting on what use to be the grounds of a school for the blind. That property was bought by the state in the 1940s. Until that time the Governors of Arkansas lived in their own homes. In 1950 the building was ready for occupancy. In 2003 a garden atrium was built onto the back wall and a Grand Hall was also added on for entertaining large numbers of guests.
We were most fortunate to be at the Governor's Mansion in the springtime. Framing the home are drifts of azaleas as well as a dogwood tree planted by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as the First Lady of Arkansas.
We found Little Rock's  biggest blaze of spring glory at T.R. Pugh Memorial Park. We drove there to see the famous Old Mill. The mill was built in 1931 and was never intended to be used. The developer constructed it in honor of his friend T.R.Pugh, for whom the park is named. I was not surprised to learn that the park is the setting for about 200 weddings a year.  The Old Mill was filmed in the opening scenes of the movie Gone With the Wind, and is the only remaining structure from that movie.

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