The first definite account of the site we call the "little rock" is from Benard de la Harpe, a French officer sent in 1722 to explore the Arkansas River. He identified "some rocky country" and a league further upriver to the right, a rock which he called "French rock."
Today we call it "big rock."
Those who traveled by land also knew the rocky outcroppings as landmarks. Indians, trappers, traders, and early settlers who used the Southwest Trail from St. Louis to the Red River and Mexico crossed the river in this vicinity. The landmark that designated the low water ford became known as "little rocks," "the rock," "the Little Rock Bluffs," and "point of rocks." Today it is called "the Little Rock." The rock served as a survey point in 1818 for a line that ran south from "the point of rocks" and was the east boundary of the property that the Quapaws ceded to the United States government.
The rail tracks and bridges constructed during the last half of the Nineteenth Century considerably changed the appearance of the riverfront. Today only the top surface of the "little rock" can be seen and it is overwhelmed by man-made landmarks.