“The first cut is the deepest”
For many, many years, doctors were forbidden from dissecting human bodies to obtain medical knowledge in Arkansas -- and lots of other places. Religious beliefs held that corpses had to be intact in order to go to the afterlife. That taboo was finally broken in Arkansas in November 1874, at the Little Rock Armory. The event was later judged so important by the Arkansas Medical Society that it erected a monument on the spot in 1927. This obelisk stands about shoulder high on the grounds of the old Little Rock Armory, now Macarthur Park. General Douglas MacArthur was born on the first floor of that red brick building in the background. (He was not a general at the time, of course, but he was born here and became a general at a later date.) There's no comment to be made about this monument other than to note that all kinds of things get commemorated. Here's the text carved in the marble: "THE FIRST HUMAN DISSECTION IN ARKANSAS WAS MADE ON THIS SPOT IN NOVEMBER 1874 BY JAMES H. LENOW, M.D., LITTLE ROCK, AND RICHARD S. VICKERY, M.D., U.S. ARMY... ERECTED BY THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL SOCIETY TO PERPETUATE THE EARLY HISTORY OF MEDICINE IN THE STATE MAY 12, 1927."
What a bizarre monument. It's a little trick to find at first. Park in the parking lot almost exactly in the middle of the park. As other reviewers have mentioned, the park has some sketchy folks cruising around, so just be alert. When I visited in August the grass was also a little unkempt. Is it a thing you'll stand and gaze at for hours? No. Is it something your friends will say WTF when you post it on instragram? Absolutely.
My hubby and I love odd spots and this was perfect. Would have like to look around but it is def in a sketchy area. A quick pic and left.
I came here because I'm a professor at a Nursing and Health Sciences college and I know the nursing professors and our biology professors would think I was cool for appreciating this place. :) I teach Ethics, so I also think the tension between the religious and scientific beliefs over the rightness of dissecting a human body is interesting. If you like history, scientific moments in our history, and places with an unusual story, then this spot is for you.
Very cool monument! Park in the middle and it's over by the bathrooms. There are quite a few other monuments to walk around and see and a park for the kids to play on. It didn't seem sketchy at all.
Really cool monuments in the parks. I also recommend caution -- park was covered up with homeless.
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First Human Dissection in Arkansas Monument
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