History of Maumelle
Maumelle has a colorful and historical past that started long before the early 1970s when it was developed as a "New Home Town Coming True." In fact, the site on which the 5,000-acre planned community rests today has a heritage that is older than the State of Arkansas and even the Arkansas Territory. There is evidence that man first inhabited the area around 400 B.C. In later years, the Osage Native Americans claimed the lands north of the Arkansas River, including Maumelle, as their hunting grounds. Artifacts discovered by the Maumelle Historical Committee, such as a crude stone tool found in the Riverland Subdivision, give credence to our claim.
The first European to see what is now Maumelle was the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto. In 1541, he and his men made their way up the Arkansas River searching for gold. Very little is known about activities in the Maumelle area prior to 1812 because early settlers neglected to record events. They were primarily interested in survival in this rugged territory.
One of the first notable events in Maumelle on record was the arrival of a group of settlers from northern Alabama in March of 1812. They were led by Jacob and James Pyeatt, who were brothers. The area in which they settled is now a part of the golf course of the Maumelle Country Club. The settlement became known as Pyeattstown. Jacob Pyeatt operated a ferry on the Arkansas River and James Pyeatt was a farmer.
It was at the home of James Pyeatt in 1812 that the Reverend John Carnahan, an exhorter for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, conducted the first Protestant services ever held on Arkansas soil. By 1819, the settlement had grown to include more than 150 persons. It was reported to be a center of fashion, intelligence and religion.
James Pyeatte continued to operate a large farm until his death in 1833. He was buried near his land in a small cemetery that is now near the Maumelle Country Club’s golf course. His grave is marked with a hand carved headstone made from sandstone.
The Pyeatte-Mason cemetery is located at Lily Drive and Waterside Drive. It occupies a small wooded lot, and has ten marked graves. It contains graves of some of Pulaski County's earliest settlers, the Pyeatte and Carnahan families.
The land in Crystal Hill for which Governor Miller had paid hundreds of dollars was sold in 1843 for taxes in the amount of $3.99. Only farmers remained in the Maumelle area in the mid to late-1800s.
One of the early settlers was General Edmund Hogan who served in the special Arkansas County Militia of the Missouri Territory. He and his wife built a home in the vicinity of the River Run Subdivision in 1821. His home was reported to be the finest in the Arkansas Territory.
General Hogan was also appointed the first postmaster of the Crystal Hill - Maumelle area and was a representative to the legislature of the Missouri Territory, of which Arkansas was then a part. In March of 1821, General Hogan registered a plat for a town site to be called Crystal Hill. However, no record of the plat of the exact location of the town exists. It is believed the town now lies under the Arkansas River just south of Maumelle.
James Miller was appointed governor of the Arkansas Territory in 1819, and in 1822 he purchased most of the property belonging to General Hogan including the General's fine home. At that time, the territorial capital was at Arkansas Post and the governor traveled from his Crystal Hill home. Governor Miller wanted a new territorial capital built near his Crystal Hill home, but the territorial legislature voted to build it in Little Rock. Maumelle missed becoming the capital of the territory and state by a small margin. In spite of not getting his wish, Governor Miller continued to purchase land in the Crystal Hill area, including a ferryboat.
Before being appointed territorial governor, Miller had won acclaim as a soldier and hero in the battle of Lundy's Lane in the War of 1812. He was a good soldier and knew his duties. Military techniques do not solve political problems and he was unable to control the politics of early Arkansas. Governor Miller did not remain long in Arkansas. In 1822, he returned to his native New Hampshire. An old monument honoring him is located on the north side of Palarm Creek where it crosses Highway 365 near Maumelle. The monument is made of pieces of crystal set in concrete.
The land in Crystal Hill for which Governor Miller had paid hundreds of dollars was sold in 1843 for taxes in the amount of $3.99. Only farmers remained in the Maumelle area until 1941.
Crystal Hill and the land that now comprises the City of Maumelle continued to serve as farmland until 1941, when the United States Government purchased it through eminent domain proceedings from dozens of land owners for the purpose of a munitions manufacturing and storage facility. It became known as the Maumelle Ordnance Works, and produced munitions for the army during World War II. After the war, the Army had no use for the facility and in 1959 sold it to the Perry Equipment Company for a salvage operation. Two years later, in December, 1961, the company sold the property for $600,000 to the City of North Little Rock, which had plans to develop the area into an industrial park.
North Little Rock's plans were unsuccessful and the land was put up for sale again. The land was purchased by Jess Odom for a little more than 1 million dollars to begin his New Town Project.
Jess P. Odom, an Arkansas businessman and insurance executive, submitted an acceptable bid for the approximately 5,000 acres and set out to fulfill his vision of building a "New Town." He formed Maumelle Land Development, Inc. and with assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, designed a master plan for an ideal community in which people of varying backgrounds, interests and income levels could live together in a harmonious blending of individual pursuits.
Maumelle became one of the thirteen "New Towns" that sprung up across the nation in the early 1970s. By the spring of 1974, the new town's infrastructure, complete with a master plan, was in place and the first family moved in. They chose an ultra-modern home in the fashionable Club Manor Subdivision near the number two tee on the Maumelle Country Club golf course. A brass historical marker commemorating the occasion was attached to a wall inside the home.
Since its beginning nearly 200 years ago, Maumelle has grown into an attractive and complete community with businesses and industries, shopping centers, churches and schools. The population today exceeds 18,000 residents. The planned community was declared a first-class incorporated city on June 20, 1985 and has a mayor/aldermanic form of government.
The Maumelle Rings:
Although there are no confirmed definitions for the "Maumelle Rings", many say that they are to represent Maumelle's three values; Live, Work, and Play.
Mike Odom, one of the original city directors thought they stood for industrial, residential, and commercial; the three land uses needed in the planned community.
Beverly Masters (former Maumelle City Clerk) says that Jess Odom saw the "rings" while on a trip out of state. He liked emblem and decided to make it the signature of his New Town.
Developers Jay DeHaven and Mike Todd trademarked the rings in 1988. DeHaven passed the trademark onto the City, which took official ownership of it on March 18, 2002.
The Rings along the Boulevard:
Two large sculptures were prominently displayed on the boulevard for about 20 years starting in the mid-1980s before being removed at different times for highway improvements around 2005.
The two original sets of rings were inside the median near each end of the city limits on Maumelle Boulevard. They were taken down during road construction projects -- the last one around 2005, because they were inside the state Highway and Transportation Department's right of way. Maumelle Boulevard obtained state highway status as Arkansas Highway 100 in 1987.
Since 2005, the two sets of rings had been stored at the city's Public Works Department. The effort to restore them began in 2015 when many residents called for the city to bring them back. It was suggested after Mr. Robert Cogdell's (long time Public Works Director) passing that it would be kind of a tribute to him to put them back up since he was involved with their creation.
One set of rings was added to the south end of Maumelle Boulevard on June 9, 2016. The wording "Welcome to Maumelle" is below the rings.