Originally a part of the Pulaski County Special School District, the original Dodd school opened in 1924. The present structure was built in 1959 with an addition in 1974. The Little Rock School District annexed the school in 1987. It is named for Civil War figure David Owen Dodd (1846-1864).
Photo: "The Arkansas Roadside Travelogue" website.
David O. Dodd is known in Arkansas as a "boy martyr" for being hung as a Confederate spy at the age of 17. Dodd was born in 1846 in Victoria, Texas, and his family moved to Little Rock in 1861. His father joined the Confederate Army the following year while he went to work for a telegraph office at age 16. In 1863 Union soldiers occupied Little Rock, and the Dodd family moved south to Camden. Several months later young Dodd returned to Little Rock to handle some family business, and on the way back to Camden he was stopped by Union officers and arrested because he did not have the proper traveling papers. During the subsequent search the Union soldiers found a memo book in Dodd's shoe containing Morse code characters of the Union Army numbers, positions and armament in Little Rock. He was convicted as a spy after a four-day court martial and hanged before 5,000 spectators on the campus of St. Johns' College (near present-day MacArthur Park) on January 8, 1864. He was offered his life at the last moment if he would give up the names of those who aided him in gathering the intelligence; he refused the offer. The Union soldiers forgot to bring a blindfold to the hanging, so Dodd offered his own handkerchief for that purpose. He is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.
Dodd Elementary is built on land that once was part of Washington Dodd's (David's uncle's) farm. There is a stone marker (photo, above) near the school's entrance that is believed to be the spot where Dodd was captured. The marker was erected by the David O. Dodd Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Pine Bluff), and reads:
DAVID OWEN DODD
ARKANSAS BOY HERO
OF THE WAR BETWEEN
THE STATES, WAS
CAPTURED AT THIS
PLACE DEC. 31, 1863,
AND EXECUTED IN
LITTLE ROCK JAN. 8 1864.
"He died to save.
We live to serve."
Erected by David O. Dodd Chapter
United Daughters of the Confederacy
"The Civil War in Arkansas" web site; David O. Dodd biography page
"The Arkansas Roadside Travelogue" web site; David O. Dodd history page: f you have information about a Little Rock school or photographs that you would like to contribute to this project (we will return photographs if requested), please contact us!
Updated October 2005