On my first day of Fall Break 2012 I drove to Little Rock, Arkansas for a few days of vacation. The only photogenic stop was in North Little Rock at The Old Mill in Pugh’s Memorial Park. The Old Mill’s greatest claim to fame was that it was featured in the opening scene of 1937′s Gone With the Wind (jump to 1:40 in this clip to see it).
Constructed in 1933 by Justin Matthews as a replica of an old-water-powered grist mill, it was designed to look like an Arkansas mill from the 1800s. It is mostly tinted concrete over steel and copper rods, fashioned to resemble wood, iron, or stone.
I posed in front of the pretty scene and toured the area. One tree sported a large fungus and there were colorful tiny flowers and traditional flower beds. The park includes an odd but entertaining arched bridge with tree limbs, cacti, stones, and more crafted out of concrete by Dionicio Rodriguez of Mexico City and repaired in recent years by his grandson. The lovely mill and park were designed by Frank Carmean.
I am spending three nights at the new Holiday Inn Express in Maumelle, several miles northwest of Little Rock. I had never heard of Maumelle previously and was surprised to discover it has the highest household median income in Arkansas, is the fastest-growing city in the state, and over half of its population has an associate’s degree or higher, making it the best-educated Arkansas city as well with over half the population in managerial or professional occupations. The area had a small farming town dating back to the 1800s and there was a large munitions factory and storage facility here in World War II. It eventually became a master-planned city in the 1970s with five villages that grew together.
I wondered about the city’s name and was amused to find its origin is the French word for breast, because of the conical shape of the nearby mountain, which once was also known as Maumelle but has been renamed Pinnacle Mountain. That is where I shall hike tomorrow.