1. It’s illegal to mispronounce Arkansas
If you’re not from around these parts, you might be tempted to pronounce the name Ar-KANSAS. But be warned, you might go to jail, so you better get it right. Just kidding, there’s no penalty attached to the law, but it drives us nuts when the name is mispronounced...it’s Ar-KANSAW.
2. There’s a castle completely covered in rocks and crystals with trees growing on the inside.
Deemed the Ozarks' strangest dwelling, Quigley Castle is a one-of-kind home that is out of this world. Built in 1943, this dream home of Elise Quigley is in Eureka Springs, the quirkiest town in Arkansas. So, there’s no doubt that it’s right where it belongs.
3. Little Rock got its name from an actual rock called La Petite Roche (French).
The name derived from French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in 1722, who used the rock for navigation purposes. The rock outcropping was situated along the south bank of the Arkansas River, but most of it was destroyed to build a bridge, which ultimately never came to fruition. The good news is, part of the little rock now sits next to the old railroad bridge in the River Market District for all to see. Be sure to stop by and get a pic of it.
4. The delicious cheese dip was created in Arkansas
This might not be a fact, per se, but it is true that in 1935, the original owner of Mexico Chiquito Restaurant in Little Rock introduced the cheese dip to Arkansas. Of course, prior to this, queso existed but it was not widely known in the U.S. So, if you love cheese dip, you have Arkansas to thank for introducing it to America.
5. There is a World Cheese-Dip Championship in Arkansas
Well, if Arkansas is going to claim the cheese dip, it might as well celebrate it right? Each year, the World Cheese-Dip Championship is held in Little Rock, and it attracts thousands of visitors. Mark your calendars for October and become part of this quirky food festival.
6. The largest ostrich farm in America was located in Hot Springs
By now, you should know that Hot Springs has been a popular tourist destination for almost a hundred years. So, it’s no surprise that it was home to the Ostrich Farm in the early twentieth century. This farm had as many as 300 ostriches that provided entertainment for all who visited. It can’t get any quirkier than an ostrich farm, or does it?
7. The only garden tiller race in America is here in Arkansas
This might sound like it’s made up, but it’s 100% fact. The PurpleHull Pea Festival and World Championship Rotary Tiller Race is held in the tiny town of Emerson every year. This quirky one-of-a-kind spectacle attracts thousands of visitors to Arkansas, and it also garners lots of international coverage as well. This race can be dangerous and not for the faint of heart, but it’s one of the quirkiest events in America that you can only find in the Natural State.
8. The biggest diamond in America was found in Arkansas
It’s no secret that Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only public diamond mine in the country. This means that anybody can strike it rich on their next dig. In 1924, the largest diamond in America, nicknamed the Uncle Sam was discovered at the park. It weighed over 40 carats, and there have been many other smaller diamonds discovered in the fields as well. So, we recommend you try your luck…you never know.
9. Angel Soft and Quilted Northern are manufactured in Arkansas
Ok, the cat has nothing to do with the tissue being manufactured in Arkansas, but you gotta admit that it's ADORABLE. And yes, if you love Angel Soft and Quilted Northern, you can thank Arkansas for that. Those soft, pillowy necessity items, produced by Georgia-Pacific in Crossett, are used in millions of homes across the country. So, if you’re using any other brands, do consider switching.
10. One of the last original, single McDonald Golden Arch is in Arkansas
I must admit, it took me a minute to accept this one as fact. But it’s true that in its early days, McDonald's logo consisted of only one golden arch. Today, the golden arches have become iconic to the brand, but there are 12 restaurants with the vintage sign still remaining. And luckily, Arkansas has one that is located in Pine Bluff, and in 2006, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
11. Arkansas was also called the "Bear State"
Did you know that Arkansas had a huge population of Louisiana black bears? And due to the number of bears dwelling in the state, it was nicknamed the "Bear State." Today, there are less than 10,000 of these bears that survived. Other nicknames include the Toothpick State, Rackensack, and the Land of Opportunity. We’re glad they finally settled on the Natural State because it is a true representation of Arkansas. What do you think?
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