LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Are you feeling Street Smart yet? Our last street name goes to a man who changed the landscape of Little Rock and hit it out of the park: William Marmaduke Kavanaugh, who moved to Little Rock in 1896.
“He’s considered to be one of the premier leaders of the city,” Historian Mike Polston said. “The number of offices that he held – county sheriff, county judge, he was the managing editor of The Gazette at one time.“
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He stepped up to the plate to bring more attention to the number one spectator sport in the country.
“He was the president of the Southern Baseball Association at a time when baseball was king in Little Rock,” Little Rock Civil Engineering Director Mike Hood said.
Lighting the way to success, he was the president of the Little Rock Railway and Electric Company, U.S. Senator and banker.
“He was credited with being instrumental and raising funds – setting up improvements, districts and all the financial things that drove the development of the Pulaski Heights and Kavanaugh Boulevard area,” Hood said.
Kavanaugh also supplied the funds that helped build the first modern office skyscraper in Arkansas. Today, that building still stands on the corner of Second and Center streets. When Kavanaugh died in 1915, it is said that around 5,000 people came to his funeral
“That kind of tells you how important you are if you have 5,000 people attending your funeral service,” Polston said.
In 1936, Prospect Avenue was changed to Kavanaugh Boulevard in his honor. So next time you pass a street sign, keep in mind that it could be historic.
“They were named for the people who had influence at that time,” Hood said.
Or it could be more random…
“We have a whole line of streets named for presidents and a whole line named for trees,” Hood said.
But if you’re thinking about renaming a street, Hood said that the board recently voted that they do not want to rename streets for a living official.
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