Maumelle has a colorful and historical
past that started long before the early 1970's 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
There is evidence that man first
inhabited the area around 400 B.C. In later years, the Osage
Indians 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 white man 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. It was the 1700's before the next visitors came to this
area, passing through on their way to the Cadron Settlement near
Very little is known about activities in
the Maumelle area in the 1700's 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
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.
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 18 2 1. 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 commuted 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 in the mid- to late-1800's. One of the area's first settlers,
James Pyeatt, continued to operate a large farm until his death in
1833. He is buried in a small graveyard near the Maumelle Country
Club's golf course. His grave is marked with a hand carved
headstone made from sandstone.
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 from a
number of individual landowners for a munitions manufacturing and
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 to the City of North Little Rock, which
had plans to develop the area into an industrial park.
A New Town
The city's plans never materialized. By
1967, the property was back on the market. 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
Maumelle became one of the thirteen "New
Towns" that sprung up across the nation in the early 1970's. 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 13,000 residents. The
planned community was declared a first-class incorporated city on
June 21, 1985 and has a mayor/aldermanic form of government.
Information provided by
the City of Maumelle. The History
of Maumelle was obtained from