by Max Brantley
As predicted here last week, this nickname won an ad hoc contest for a new city nickname. News release from City Hall on the jump. Whether marketers will adopt this remains to be seen, though City Hall promises to tie the moniker into more prominent branding of the little rock that gave the city its name way back when.
CITY OF LITTLE ROCK NEWS RELEASE
Standing not far from the namesake, Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey today announced that “The Rock” was the choice of the vast majority of respondents to the Nickname Little Rock effort. He was joined by radio personality David Bazzel and other civic and City leaders in making the announcement.
Bazzel and his radio co-host Tommy Smith first floated the idea of re-establishing a nickname for Little Rock. “City of Roses” had been the nickname during the late 1800s up through the middle part of the 20th Century. The City solicited suggestions and then narrowed over 200 submissions down to six. The public was then invited to respond to the six. “The Rock” was the top choice of respondents. Other choices were: America’s Gem, River City, Rock City, Rocktown, and Southern Comfort.
“The Rock” had been considered the front-runner by some observers and pundits due to its wide use already throughout the City and State. Some of the people who responded made note of this. One respondent noted, “It's a simple, natural thing to say & I've heard people from other parts of the state already refer to it as that.”
At the press conference, a wordmark with “The Rock” on one line and “Little Rock, Arkansas est. 1722” was also unveiled. It pays tribute to the fact that Bernard de La Harpe first saw the rock outcroppings in 1722, though it would be another 80+ years before a permanent settlement would be established in what is now Little Rock. The wordmark will start appearing at City Hall events throughout the month of October. The Mayor expressed his wish that it not be limited to City Hall. “As we move forward with this, I hope that over the next few weeks and months, you will start seeing it in the general public on bumper stickers, T-shirts, ball caps, etc.
The Mayor also noted, “Next year will mark the 285th year of La Harpe’s 1722 journey up the Arkansas River. Since that time, the ‘Little Rock’ has played an important part in our history, as well as having been ignored and damaged. In 1813-1814, the earliest deeds refer to ‘The Little Rock.’ It was a landmark.”
“Later,” continued the Mayor, “a portion of that landmark was blasted away to make way for the railroad. While we cannot put it back together, I am pleased that the City is planning to re-emphasize the rock as part of the Junction Bridge and Riverfront Park redevelopment. As the bridge is being refitted, we will be clearing away some of the filler on top of the Little Rock to make it more visible and more prominent. In conjunction with the Medical Mile portion of the Arkansas River Trail, it will be easier for citizens and visitors alike to see ‘The Little Rock.’”