Little Rock named 'distinctive destination' | Arkansas Blog

Little Rock named 'distinctive destination'



We alluded to this impending announcement on the Arkansas blog yesterday, but today the National Trust for Historic Preservation officially named Little Rock one of America's "Dozen Distinctive Destinations." (North Little Rock in included in the props.)

The list is compiled annually, and according to a news release, "Little Rock was selected from 63 destinations in 27 states that were nominated by individuals, preservation organizations and local communities."

The other eleven communities on the list are detailed in the news release, which is available after the jump.

National Trust Names Little Rock, Ark., One of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations
Annual List Promotes Heritage Tourism

Washington, D.C. (March 7, 2007) –  Its name will be forever linked with a seminal episode that changed the course of  history a half century ago – but today Little Rock, Ark., is defined by much more than the events at Central High School.  While no visit to this vibrant city would be complete without following in the footsteps of the “Little Rock Nine” at Central High’s Visitor Center, Little Rock offers a wide range of attractions -- from historic neighborhoods to a presidential library – sure to delight visitors.  

Incorporated in 1831, the city has a rich history that is reflected in stately antebellum homes and ornate Victorian buildings standing next door to gleaming glass skyscrapers.  Visitors won’t want to miss the early 19th century Greek Revival Old State House; the distinctive Capitol Building, a downscaled replica of the U.S. Capitol; and the Historic Arkansas Museum, a collection of restored buildings that date from Little Rock’s early days and a National Trust Partner Place.  Since opening in 2004, the William J. Clinton Presidential Center has helped revitalize the city’s downtown River Market district and is a popular tourist destination. 

Directly across the river in North Little Rock, the U.S.S. Razorback provides visitors with a fascinating look inside a decommissioned WWII submarine. North Little Rock is a member of the National Trust Main Street Center program.  The riverfront is also home to one of the most significant sites on the Trail of Tears, the name given to the forced exodus of thousands of Native Americans removed from their ancestral lands.  Nearby, the much photographed Old Mill, which appears in the opening scenes of the 1937 classic, “Gone with the Wind,” is believed to be the only remaining site from the film and is open for tours.  For those who can’t resist a spectacular sunset, a stroll across the Big Dam Bridge, the world’s longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge, hits the spot.

For these reasons, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the country's largest private, nonprofit preservation organization, today named Little Rock, Ark., to its 2007 list of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations, an annual list of unique and lovingly preserved communities in the United States. Little Rock was selected from 63 destinations in 27 states that were nominated by individuals, preservation organizations and local communities.

“Little Rock offers so many exciting attractions for the eager visitor. From a world-renowned presidential library to a site that changed the course of history, there is something for every age and interest to experience,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “This outstanding city has a rich past that is celebrated by residents and visitors alike.”

The 2007 list of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations includes:

Charlottesville, Va. -- In the shadow of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville, Va., is a picture-perfect college town with vibrant shops, restaurants, wineries and a slew of presidential homes including Jefferson’s Monticello, Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland and Madison’s Montpelier, a National Trust Historic site located in nearby Orange, Va.

Chatham, Mass. -- Beloved by fishermen and sea captains for centuries, the charming coastal town of Chatham, Mass., boasts exquisite natural beauty, a charming, architecturally rich walkable downtown and some of the best, unspoiled beaches on the East Coast.

Chestertown, Md. -- An 18th-century jewel on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Chestertown was once a thriving Revolutionary-era port and today boasts a treasure trove of perfectly preserved 18th- and 19th-century homes, specialty stores, sidewalk cafes and scenic boating, biking and hiking along the drop-dead gorgeous Chesapeake coast. 

Durango, Colo. -- Nestled between red sandstone bluffs in the lush Animas River Valley, Durango, Colo., offers natural beauty and a colorful history that is today reflected in a charming Victorian downtown and some of the most spectacular and well-preserved Puebloan ruins in the United States. 

Ellensburg, Wash. -- Located in the heart of the beautiful Kittitas Valley and in the center of Washington State, historic Ellensburg is a wonderfully preserved Victorian town that’s home to Central Washington University, a delightful downtown historic district and some of the best fly fishing in the Northwest. 

Hillsborough, N.C. --A picturesque and charming Southern town that played an important role in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Hillsborough, N.C. boasts a lovely downtown historic district, an original, rare NASCAR speedway from the inaugural 1949 season and festivals for war re-enactors and barbeque lovers.

Little Rock, Ark. --With a presidential library, scores of well preserved historic buildings, an important Native American site, a WWII era submarine, the world’s longest pedestrian bridge and a site that forever changed race relations in this country, Little Rock, Ark., has it all.

Mineral Point, Wis.  -- A hidden gem nestled in the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin, Mineral Point -- and its Cornish rock houses, Craftsman bungalows, simple log cabins and neoclassical confections -- is an architectural treasure trove, which celebrates its mining heritage and the abundant beauty of its pastoral setting.

Morgantown, W. Va. -- Nested along the Monongahela River in northern West Virginia, Morgantown, home to West Virginia University (student enrollment over 27,000), has a vibrant and active downtown, a Riverfront park with an amphitheatre and miles of paved rail/trail for recreational activities.

Providence, R.I. --The capital of one of the nation’s 13 original colonies and the home of several prestigious colleges, Providence, R.I., has a colorful four-century history proudly and prominently displayed in landmark structures, a Victorian-era park and a blazing riverfront festival that has revitalized this historic city.

West Hollywood, Calif. -- In a sprawling metropolis nicknamed the “City of Angels,” West Hollywood, Calif., maintains a unique identity as a quirky yet sophisticated urban village, which boasts diverse historic architecture, people watching along glittering thoroughfares, designer boutiques, hip restaurants and unique tourist attractions such as the 1922 Rudolf Schindler House.

Woodstock, Ill. -- Only 45 miles from Chicago, the small, warm, Victorian village of Woodstock, Ill., which served as a stand-in for Punxsutawney, Pa., in the 1992 movie Groundhog Day, has a unique and beguiling charm with a celebrated town square and downtown historic district, a nationally renowned Mozart festival and a Victorian Christmas -- right out of Dickens.

In addition, the National Trust recognized the city of New Orleans for exemplary achievement in heritage tourism.  The citation reads, “New Orleans is a richly unique, authentic, historic community that is reinventing itself through preservation-based revitalization.  The National Trust salutes the unflagging spirit of the people of New Orleans.”

This is the eighth time the National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced a list of Dozen Distinctive Destinations. To date, there are 96 Dozen Distinctive Destinations located in 41 states throughout the country. To see a complete list, visit In each community, residents have taken forceful action to protect their town’s character and sense of place. Whether by enacting a local preservation law to protect historic buildings against demolition, rewriting zoning codes to prevent commercial sprawl, removing regulatory barriers to downtown housing, making downtown areas more walkable, enacting design standards, or taking some other major step that demonstrates a strong commitment to their town, residents have worked hard to preserve the historic and scenic assets of their communities, with rewards that transcend town limits.

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