📍 Now I’m in…Maumelle, AR

The Maumelle, Arkansas region was originally inhabited by the Caddo and Tunica peoples, and later by the O-ga-xpa (Quapaw) and Osage. European explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541, observed extensive farmsteads and sprawling villages along the Arkansas River, then spent two years brutally extracting food and other resources from the population during a drought. When the region appeared in the logs of explorer Jaques Marquette in 1673, the villages were much smaller and many communities had disappeared. The area was sparsely settled by French traders throughout the 18th century, before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 led to a series of treaties with the United States that eventually saw the area overrun with displaced Muscogee, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coushatta, Lenape, Shawnee, and other native peoples (see the Trail of Tears), as well as American settlers. By end of the 19th century, the 1887 Dawes Act had effectively ended Native American presence in the region.

The nearby “petit rouche” along the Arkansas River was named by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in 1722 and used as a landmark by river travelers. A city was founded near this little rock as Arkopolis in 1821, but is now known as Little Rock. Maumelle, to the west of Little Rock (and a satellite city thereof), was named after the French name for the mountain in view across the river, which resembles a breast and is today called Pinnacle Mountain. The first farming settlement named Maumelle was established here in 1842. In 1941, the area became the site of the Maumelle Ordnance Works. With the assistance of the Federal Government through the National Urban Policy and New Community Development Act of 1970, insurance executive and Arkansas businessman Jesse Odom established a planned community here in 1974 that was incorporated as the City of Maumelle in 1985.

Today, the city is about 12.02 square miles in area and home to 19,251 people, 69% percent of whom are white. It is notable for its warehousing and manufacturing industries, one of the most extensive municipal bike/walking trail systems in Arkansas at 13 miles in length, and Lake Willastein Park, which contains bunkers remaining from the Maumelle Ordnance Works.

Sources: Native Land, Wikipedia, The Central Arkansas Library System Encyclopedia of Arkansas (1) and (2)

Jeremy @restlesslens