Wednesday, October 21, 2009
My brother and I were playing disc golf at Burns Park in North Little Rock and were cursing a interesting geographic hazard. A long mound extending from near a playground to the fence line of the park blocked our shot. This developed into a conversation about the mound building societies in early Arkansas history. We attributed the mound to the Toltecs and had some fun imagining them building it just to spite us playing disc golf generations later.
Burns Park is an amazing place. It is one of the nation's largest municipal parks. It boasts a 36 hole golf course as well as the aforementioned disc golf course, boating, hiking, tennis, BMX biking, camping, picnicking and amusement park. From the disc golf course the Arkansas River is not visible but the evidence of it is everywhere. In the distance you can see mountains that the river skirted as it made its way to the Mississippi River.
Dr. William Burns practiced medicine in the area and was mayor of North Little Rock from 1919-1925. He pushed hard for the funding and the creation of the park and later it was named for him. The original acreage for the park was purchased from Camp Robinson after World War II.
Oh and the mound? The park was used as training grounds during WWI as Camp Pike before it was absorbed into Camp Robinson. The mound was probably built for training maneuvers during this time. Not nearly as romantic as being built by Native Americans but quite cool nonetheless.