News.

Little Italy is Incorporating into an Official Town! 

The year 2015 marked Little Italy's centennial 100th year anniversary as a community in Arkansas.  We want to make the community official, preserve our heritage, and improve services by becoming a town recognized by the state.  This is a grassroots movement 5 years in the making preceded by a 15 year promotional and historical preservation effort.

Town Hall meetings completed:  May 5, 6, 8, July 18, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015.

MEDIA RELEASE 8/6/14

Media Advisory 5-12-15

Media Release 5-13-15

Verification Letter 5-14-15

Public Hearing Scheduled December 16th 2015

INCORPORATION WAS DENIED BY PULASKI COUNTY JUDGE BARRY HYDE 2/26/16; AN APPEAL HAS BEEN FILED BY THE LITTLE ITALY INCORPORATION PETITIONERS 3/23/16.

Read Judge Hyde's 2/26/16 decision here.

Read the Little Italy Incorporation 3/23/16 appeal filing here.

Statement by Little Italy Incorporation Task Force on Judge Hyde's Decision

 

After a decades-long push for community preservation, we are extremely disappointed by today’s decision. With the same self-determination of our ancestors, we will persist in our dream of official township as long as there are other options still available to us.

 

- Kristy Eanes and Chris Dorer, co-chairs of the Little Italy Incorporation Task Force

CAW Affidavit filed 12-16-2015 morning of public hearing

CAW Affidavit supplemental comments filed 1-13-2016 morning of continued public hearing

Little Italy response to first CAW Affidavit

Little Italy Incorporation Task Force Offers Compromise Solutions to Central Arkansas Water (CAW)

Read the Little Italy 8-11-2015 Response Letter to CAW

Read CAW's 8-14-2015 Response to Little Italy's 8-11-2015 Letter

Read CAW's Original 6-26-2015 Letter and seven-page Declaration to the Little Italy Incorporation Task Force

Little Italy Clean Water Statement

"Little Italy historic preservation efforts have been in process for nearly 15 years with the publication of several essays and books to promote the area, well before the watershed zoning ordinance was proposed.  The people of the area have kept the land natural, unspoiled, and undeveloped for 100 years, before it was a watershed, and they want to keep it for 100 more, well after it is a watershed.  The voters' desire and driving force behind the incorporation is to keep the historic land we love natural and rural for the next 100 years and to live in peace and cooperation with our neighbors.  As we mark our centennial anniversary in 2015, we look forward to honoring our ancestors' heritage by becoming Arkansas' next municipality."

- Statement by Kristy Eanes and Chris Dorer, Little Italy Incorporation Task Force Co-Chairs

Incorporation Process.

Excerpts from Arkansas Code regarding Incorporation

Incorporation process has 2 Kickers:

  1. The court shall not approve the incorporation of any municipality if any portion of the territory proposed to be embraced in the incorporated town shall lie within five (5) miles of an existing municipal corporation and within the area in which that existing municipal corporation is exercising its planning territorial jurisdiction, unless the governing body of the municipal corporation has affirmatively consented to the incorporation by written resolution.  This has already been accomplished by receiving the resolutions from the cities of Bigelow and Fourche.

  2. A petition must be signed by the greater of either two hundred (200) or a majority of the qualified voters residing within the described territory, to the county court of the proper county.  Given the number of voters in the proposed boundary of Little Italy, 200 was required to sign.  This has been accomplished.


Butler Center's Legacies & Lunch featuring history of Little Italy.

April 20, 2016 -

Not long after Little Italy was settled in central Arkansas, the community became a Prohibition-era oasis for winemakers and consumers. At Legacies & Lunch on Wednesday, May 4, from noon-1 p.m. in the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) Main Library's Darragh Center, 100 Rock St., Chris Dorer will discuss his book, Images of America: Little Italy, and his research on the area's history.

Little Italy, a community in central Arkansas, was settled in 1915 by Italian immigrants. Little Italy's natural resources, population of skilled winemakers, and tolerant lawmakers contributed to the area's reputation during the Prohibition for producing clean alcohol during a time when many people died due to poisonous alcohol sold by amateur distillers. Dorer is a history teacher and chair of the history department at Central High School in Little Rock. Copies of Images of America: Little Italy will be available for purchase, and Dorer will sign copies after his talk.

Legacies & Lunch, the Butler Center's monthly lecture series, is free, open to the public, and sponsored in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. For more information, call 501-918-3033.

The Story of Dal Santo in Arkansas Life Magazine.

As Little Italy, a century-old community in the far western reaches of Pulaski County, fights for township, one man remembers the life that led him there.  Read more...

New Book tells story of Historic Little Italy in pictures.

Telling a story in pictures is Little Italy, the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series. The book by local author Chris Dorer was released on August 17, 2015. The book boasts 200 vintage images, many of which have never been published, and showcases memories of days gone by. 

Chris Dorer compiled this book in recognition of Little Italy’s 100th anniversary as a community. Its images offer a glimpse at everyday life in the early-20th century.  For more information and how to order, click here.

An Enchanting Evening Winery Grand Opening was November 29, 2014. 

An Enchanting Evening is reviving the art of commercial wine making in Little Italy, Arkansas by being the first licensed small farm winery manufacturer in over 70 years in this historic wine making community.  The facilities have been designed to not just sell wine, but to create an enchanting experience.  Spend time sipping and sampling wine while relaxing on the deck looking towards Pinnacle Mountain State Park; personalize the experience by helping to bottle, cork, seal and label the wine that you will serve at your special event; add your photo using their "label frame" and keep the bottle as a memory of your times shared at Enchanting Evening.  For more information visit www.anenchantingevening.com

St. Francis Catholic Church, Little Italy is now on Facebook.

Find out latest news about Little Italy and St. Francis of Assisi Church-sponsored events like the annual spaghetti dinners by following on Facebook!

Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas tour included Little Italy.

The 2013 Vines that Bind Ramble tour of enduring historic communities in the Arkansas River Valley concluded with a spaghetti dinner provided by St. Francis of Assisi Church and talk by Chris Dorer, author of "Boy the Stories I could tell", a narrative history of the Italians of Little Italy.

St. Francis Church 90th Anniversary Celebrated October 2012.

Little Italy, AR - St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church parishioners celebrated their 90th year since their founding as an official parish in 1922 during the first weekend of October 5-7, 2012.  Hundreds of relatives of the original Northern Italian settlers gathered Friday evening for a Homecoming lovingly planned and given by the parishioners of St. Francis Catholic Church.  The evening began with a brief prayer service led by Pastor Fr. Richard Davis with welcoming remarks delivered by Vince Chairo, descendant, and Chris Dorer who spearheaded the event.  A wine, cheese, and dessert reception followed in the parish hall.  In addition, the annual Spaghetti Dinner was celebrated on Sunday the 7th, which is an effective fundraiser for the parish.  Hundreds (if not in the thousands!) were in attendance from all over the state in this much anticipated event complete with homemade spaghetti sauce, sausage, insalata, and from-scratch desserts.  Keep your calendar clear for next year!

Click here to view the program from the Homecoming that includes a list of pastors past and present, history of the parish, and a special announcement about a establishing a permanent Exhibition/Museum dedicated to the history of Little Italy.

Little Italy Article in "Arkansas Life" Magazine.

Whitworth, Katherine.  "It Takes a Village."  Arkansas Life (November 2011):  15.