Today’s One Tank Travels gives visitors the opportunity to see a beautiful section of eastern Arkansas and learn more our state’s history. Today’s trip focuses on four Arkansas State Parks that interpret the state’s past.
Today’s Trip: History Parks in Eastern Arkansas
We all know that our Arkansas State Parks are a wonderful opportunity for a variety of outdoor activities, ranging from camping to kayaking to geocaching to swimming. But here in the eastern part of Arkansas, we’re very lucky to have several state parks that interpret and preserve the history of our great state! So today’s One Tank Travels is a way of encouraging you to get out, visit some wonderful Arkansas State Parks and get a history lesson along the way!
Davidsonville Historic State Park in Pocahontas is one of the state’s earliest outposts, including the old town site that dates back to 1815. It’s the site of the Arkansas Territory’s first post office, courthouse, and land office. The town had faded by the 1830s. Archeological excavations here are uncovering remarkable finds of streets, foundations, and objects that tell a fascinating story of life on the Arkansas frontier following the Louisiana Purchase. Park exhibits and interpretive tours provide information about this important frontier town. The state park offers camping, lake and river fishing, trails, pavilions, playgrounds and picnic areas.
In nearby Powhatan, you’ll find Powhatan Historic State Park. Back in the 1800s, the community was a busy river port on the Black River and the main shipping point for the territory. The beautiful Victorian courthouse, perched on a hill, was built in 1888 from bricks made on site. The courthouse is the park’s dominant feature. Visitors will find exhibits that interpret the commerce, politics, and lifestyles that shaped north Arkansas and illustrate the history of Lawrence County, the mother of north Arkansas counties, from its beginning to the early years of the 20th century. Guests can take a guided tour through five buildings that share the stories of domestic and commercial life here in the 1800s.
Jacksonport State Park, near Newport, was a thriving river port in the 1800s. The town became the Jackson county seat in 1854, and in 1869, construction began on a stately, two-story brick courthouse. The structure was completed in 1872. This courthouse now serves as the park’s museum, featuring exhibits ranging from pioneers to steamboats to the Civil War and beyond. The exhibitry is themed “If These Walls Could Talk” and incorporate first-person dialogue audio, court records, and vintage photos to tell Jacksonport’s story.
In Des Arc, definitely check out the Lower White River Museum State Park. Located on the White River, Des Arc was a thriving river town prior to the war, with the Butterfield Overland Mail route playing a major role in the development of the community. Steamboats were a very important part of the town’s history. The Lower White River Museum State Park in Des Arc details the important part the Lower White River played in the lives of early settlers in the area. Exhibits also focus on the Civil War, agriculture, the timber industry, pearling and button making, and fishing and hunting.
To learn more about any of these history state parks, visit www.ArkansasStateParks.com.
Another great thing about these museums is they are all within a two-hour drive of each other! So fill your tank, grab the family and head and learn more about our great state’s history! Safe travels!