Growing up in the Grand Prairie, I have fond memories of Carlisle, mainly a bubbly piano teacher who was a master at encouragement, in spite of the fact that my musical talent, on a scale of one to ten, was about a two!
That aside, Carlisle, Arkansas is a noteworthy town, primarily because it accurately claims to be the birthplace of rice farming in this area. Rice is quite the big deal in Arkansas. We are the is the nation’s largest rice-growing state, producing half the nation’s rice, nearly nine billion pounds annually. This industry funnels more than $6 billion into the state’s economy and accounts for more than 25,000 jobs.
So when Samuel McCormick and his wife founded this community in 1872, and began farming rice, they created a sustainable livelihood that lasts to this day!
A fun fact, the Carlisle Rice Mill, now named Riviana Foods, makes the crisped rice for the Nestle Crunch Candy Bar!
The Carlisle Rock Island Depot, constructed in 1920, is an outstanding example of the Tudor Revival architectural style, which became popular during the 1920’s in Arkansas for various types of buildings.
This building, now on the National Historic Register, was the site of two noteworthy events in the Grand Prairie. President Teddy Roosevelt spoke to a large crowd from the train caboose in 1905 after his trip to Little Rock. On March 15, 1912, the town’s merchants organized a fundraiser to entertain former president William Howard Taft. Upon arrival, Taft made a short speech from the train.
Carlisle is labeled a “bedroom community” by some because of it’s proximity (about 3o miles) to the Little Rock Metropolitan Area. I hope the residents take this as a compliment, because, as I see it, these folks have the best of both worlds, a quiet, friendly community with easy access to the amenities of the city!