LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Little Italy is located on Hwy 300, north of Pinnacle Mountain, and is near Wye Mountain. Many people drive through Little Italy and may wonder where it gets the name.
In the early 1900’s families from Italy by the way of Chicago and Michigan learned of property selling for as little as $0.50 per acre in rural Arkansas.
This was attractive to these families who wanted to get out of the city, where crime was on the rise. Five Italian families made the move to central Arkansas to settle in what is now called Little Italy.
The rich soil was a prime spot for grapes, so wineries were prevalent in the area, hosting up to five wineries in the mid-1900’s, even during the prohibition of alcohol. The vineyards are no longer in Little Italy as a disease killed the crops in the mid-1900’s and were not recovered.
Direct decedents still live in Little Italy and attend the Saint Francis Catholic Church established in 1922.
One of the very well-known activities in this community is the Italian Festival which occurs in October. This event is an opportunity to enjoy food and festivities with some of the earliest Italian family members in Arkansas.
Little Italy is the home of a newly finished museum, open to visitors to discover the rich heritage of Little Italy.
The Discover Arkansas crew took a 2-minute drive past the museum to witness the cemetery where the founders of Little Italy were laid to rest.