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"Cultural and Recreational Activities in Pioneer Arkansas"
Cultural and Recreational Activities in Pioneer Arkansas
Shelia Olander
Walter Moffatt describes how, even though the early settlers were very much concentrating on the everyday life necessities, they also found time for serious and light entertainment. "Throughout the Pioneer Period there are references not only to balls, circuses, and horse races but also to concerts, rental libraries, debating societies, and painting."

Little Rock had a society of debating as early as March of 1822. This organization had regular meetings for the people that were members and also held discussions that anyone could attend. The organization put together a library for its members. Later on, the library was opened to the public in hopes of making it a permanent establishment.

However, by 1835 there was so little interest in debates that the society became basically non existent. The pioneers also enjoyed music. At one time a man announced to the people of the Arkansas Post that there would be a concert at the Arkansas Hotel in the ballroom. Due to bad weather, the concert was cancelled, but did take place on a later date. The tickets only cost fifty cents! At one time there was a man, by the name of Featherstonhaugh, that was traveling in Arkansas's Red River valley and heard the sounds of a piano playing. He was very pleased to hear this sound.

By June of 1836 the "Professor of Music", Mr. Wagner, proclaimed that piano lessons would be taught by him in Little Rock. He would charge ten dollars for twelve lessons or twenty-five dollars per quarter (thirty-six lessons).

There was not any orientation of painting until 1834. Harry Seckendorff opened a little shop in Little Rock where he had paintings as well as "music boxes, double-barreled shot guns, pistols, bed ticking, winter and summer clothing, stockings, and ladies shoes--all of which could be bought 'cheap for cash.' "

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