RSS

IN SEARCH OF THE QUAPAW LINE

20 Jan

I took advantage of the nice weather last Friday afternoon and did something I had been wanting to do for a while. Search for any remnants of the Quapaw Line.

Arkansas IndiansThe Quapaw Indians, like most Native American tribes, has a sad history once settlers began to move into Arkansas. The Quapaw lived in the delta region of Arkansas but over time were forced to sign a series of treaties that eventually took away all of their land in the state. The first such treaty was in 1818 in which the Quapaw Indians agreed to give up all their lands in Arkansas save for a small piece of land described as follows

      “Beginning at a point on the Arkansaw river, opposite the present post of Arkansaw, and running thence, a due southwest course, to the Washita river; thence, up that river, to the Saline fork; and up the Saline fork to a point, from whence a due north course would strike the Arkansaw river at the Little Rock; and thence, down the right bank of the Arkansaw, to the place of beginning”

This land was swampy lowlands and flooded river bottoms which seemed like a perfect area to stick the Quapaw Indians because no white man wanted to live there. That was until the plantation came to Arkansas and people realized the Quapaw were living on the best cotton growing area in the state! So in 1824 a new treaty was signed and the Quapaw relinquished all of their lands in Arkansas

Quapaw Map

Map of Arkansas showing the territory before the Osage Treaty in 1808 (67), 1818 (97) and 1825 (123), the Caddo Treaty in 1835 (202) and the Quapaw Treaty in 1818 (94) and 1824 (121)

The part of the boundary of the 1818 treaty that started at “the Little Rock” and traveled due south was known as the Quapaw line and laid at the eastern edge of the tiny settlement of Little Rock (Or Arkopolis) You may know that the actual Little Rock does still exist but I found this is not the only remnant of the original line left in the city.

USGS Little Rock Map The line is still noted on USGS maps. You can click on this portion of one to the left to enlarge it and see about halfway down, it notes “OLD INDIAN TREATY BOUNDARY” At first it doesnt look like it really lines up with anything. I was afraid I had hit a dead end before I even started. But I also looked at the Pulaski Area GIS (PAGIS) and found something different.

Untitled-1

PAGIS maps show individual land plots. Most of the original plats of Little Rock are oriented towards the river, 9 degrees from true North. But you can see in this map to the right, a line running due south through town. This line is slightly to the east of the one shown on the USGS map, but it still ends at the Little Rock. It also lines up with the west boundary of MacArthur Park and the center of Park street.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

But are there any physical remnants of the line left anywhere? I started at the Little Rock, which I new still existed, though heavily altered from its natural state after the construction of the Junction Bridge. From here, the line was pretty well defined, a result of recent revitalization efforts of the riverfront park.

The Little Rock

The Little Rock

The Quapaw Line defined by some stone work, a line on the sidewalk and a public art piece

The Quapaw Line defined by some stone work, a line on the sidewalk and a public art piece

A view from the Junction Bridge of the Quapaw Line

A view from the Junction Bridge of the Quapaw Line

P1110091Once out of the park, I kept walking due south, looking for any sign of the old boundary, and while I didn’t find anything in the built environment I was surprised to find the first of a series of markers that I discovered stretched across the city. This one was located near the parking kiosk behind the farmers market. I’m not sure when these were installed but they all looked like they had been there for a while.

.

.

P1110095The second marker is probably the one most people see. I had noticed it before but never paid it much attention. It’s located in the crosswalk across Rock Street.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

P1110096

Does the line shoot straight down the middle of this tree? Close, but not quite.

I kept walking south and found this cool tree which I was hoping was in line but it was just a little off; however, I did find that it lined up almost perfectly with the southern most Main Library Columns. I doubt it was on purpose but who knows.

The Library Columns

The Library Columns

The markers continued on through the city, one or two on each block notting the line as it invisibly and unassumingly passed through the city. It crossed through empty lots, historic homes, and apartment buildings on its way south.

Marker on 3rd st.

Marker on 3rd st.

Marker at 4th

Marker at 4th st

One of the markers on Capitol Ave in front of the Arkla Building

One of the two markers on Capitol Ave in front of the Arkla Building

Trapnall Hall lies just to the east of the other marker on Capitol Ave

It cut right through the center of the breezeway in this apartment building.

The line cuts right through the center of the breezeway in this apartment building.

The line crossed the street from here, through the porch of an old home and twords the Terry house. The next marker in the sidewalk on 7th street lie in line with the corner fence post of the Terry House, whose eastern property edge, angles away from all the other typical lots downtown and instead runs due south along the Quapaw Line.

Terry House

The Pike-Fletcher-Terry House

The Pike-Fletcher-Terry House

The eastern fence line of the property

The eastern fence line of the property

The markers continued a few more blocks south towards MacArthur Park.

This marker in the middle of Commerce street was polished pretty well from all the car tires running over it

This marker in the middle of Commerce street was polished pretty well from all the car tires running over it

Map showing the location of the Quapaw Line markers through the city.

Map showing the location of the Quapaw Line markers through the city.

The final marker is a stone monument at the corner of Commerce and 9th street.

The Quapaw Line Stone Marker

The Quapaw Line Stone Marker

From here, I did not fine anymore remnants of the line in the Park, though the fountain in front of the Arts Center is almost centered on the line.

P1110169

Overall, it was a pretty interesting find. Typically physical things and terrain are placed on a 2 dimensional representational graphic we know as a map, but it’s interesting to find those reverse instances of an arbitrary line on a map eventually having an impact in our physical environment.

Advertisements
 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Little Rock

 

5 responses to “IN SEARCH OF THE QUAPAW LINE

  1. basignorelli

    January 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing your sleuthing!

     
  2. John Borst

    October 3, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Interesting field work. What wasn’t completely clear to me is relationship between the line and the old Arsenal grounds/MacArthur Park. The maps didn’t enlarge very well on my computer.

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: