May 16-18, 1911 Confederate Veterans Reunion in Little Rock Pictures and story (Part 1)

A montage of archival footage from the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

I really enjoyed the article “REBEL GRAY’S GOLDEN DAYS: In 1911, LR filled to the brim with Confederate veterans,” by Jake Sandlin that ran in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on May 15, 2011. It took 81 years before more people to gather in Little Rock for another event (Bill Clinton’s election to president)  I will be sharing portions of it the next few days and here is the first part: 

Camp Shaver Little Rock, Ark., DURING CONFEDERATE VETERANS REUNION MAY, 1911

Camp Shaver Little Rock, Ark., DURING CONFEDERATE VETERANS REUNION MAY, 1911 

 At a time when the men who fought in the Civil War could still gather to be revered and celebrated, Little Rock laid out the red carpet for the 1911 United Confederate Veterans Reunion marking the war’s 50th anniversary.

Up to 140,000 visitors — mostly Confederate veterans, their wives, sons, daughters and widows — converged on Little Rock. Only about 50,000 had been expected. At the time, Little Rock’s population was 45,941.

Not until November 1992, when former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton was elected president, were more people believed to have gathered in Little Rock at one time than during the May 16-18, 1911, Confederate reunion.

“Whatever city hosted the war’s golden anniversary reunion for the United Confederate Veterans was going to benefit significantly from the influx of tourism dollars,” said Bill Gurley, curator of the Arkansas Civil War exhibit “An Enduring Union” at the Old State House Museum in downtown Little Rock. “It was a big deal to see who could host that particular reunion. It also meant a significant financial outlay to make everything ready for the tourists coming into the city.

“I can’t think of anything that would come close to that now,” he added.

Riverfest, Little Rock’s annual Memorial Day weekend arts and music festival, typically draws more than 220,000 people each year, but that’s counting repeat visitors who buy three-day passes and volunteers who work at the event.___________

The United Confederate Veterans (UCV) National Reunion parade in Little Rock (Pulaski County), one of the largest gatherings of Confederate veterans in the United States in the twentieth century; May 1911. The national UCV Reunion returned to Little Rock a second time in 1928.

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