The area known as Riverdale began as farmland along the Arkansas River. In time, the Rock Island Railroad, and other rail lines started traversing the area. This gave rise to the establishment of mills, warehouses, barns, lumber yards, and other associated businesses.
The Great Flood of 1927 devastated the Riverdale area. While the rail lines were rebuilt, the farm land was left undeveloped. Eventually they would give rise to the Riverdale Country Club (which in the 1960s moved west to become the Pleasant Valley Country Club).
In the 1950s, the city of Little Rock and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department started planning for Riverfront Drive. Also during this time, landowner Raymond Rebsamen donated land to the city of Little Rock to become the city’s second public golf course — the one which now bears his name.
The Riverside Drive-In single screen had opened in the mid-1950s. In 1962, a second screen had been added, and it became the Razorback Drive-In. In 1975, the name changed again to the Big Red Twin Drive-In, before it shuttered in the 1980s. (The Riverdale 10 Cinema and accompanying shopping center now sit on the spot of that long ago twin screen drive in.)
The McKellen-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation project of the late 1960s and early 1970s brought about not only the creation of Murray Park, but also the Murray Lock and Dam. The project allowed for the Arkansas River to not only become more navigable for commerce, but it also meant that the river itself was more stable and would be less prone to flooding or drying up.
Today, Riverdale remains a mix of residential, corporate, restaurants, and retail. It has a mix of longtime businesses as well as newcomers. The Big Dam Bridge atop Murray Lock and Dam and Two Rivers Park at the western edge of Riverdale have added another dimension to outdoor recreation opportunities.