Explore Pocahontas and Randolph County
If you’re looking for a getaway this month, think about a visit to Pocahontas and Randolph County.
Located in Arkansas’s Upper Delta, where the Ozarks meet the Delta alluvial plain, Pocahontas and Randolph County are a haven for fishing and floating, with five great rivers passing through the area. The Black, Current, Spring, Fourche and Eleven Point Rivers all offer top-notch canoeing and kayaking as well as plenty of opportunities to hook trout, bass, bream and crappie.
The first documented settler came to the area in the first years of the 19th century – Ransom Bettis, a transplant from Missouri, built a house along the Black River. In fact, the community was known as Bettis Bluff from 1815-1835. In 1826, Thomas S. Drew (who would become Arkansas’s third governor) moved to the county and married Bettis’ daughter, Cinderella. Drew played an instrumental part in the founding of what is now known as Pocahontas.
Not far from the scenic banks of the Black River, visitors find Davidsonville Historic State Park. The park preserves the site that was once Davidsonville. The town, established in 1815, is considered one the most important frontier settlement in northeast Arkansas. It was the location of the first post office in Arkansas Territory, as well as the first federal land office and the first courthouse. For nearly 20 years, Davidsonville was an important center of commerce. Guests to the park can explore the old town site and learn more about the town’s history at the park’s visitor center.
Historic downtown Pocahontas itself is a treasure trove of Arkansas history. The 17-block area of downtown historic district features buildings dating from the early 1870s and offers unique shopping and dining opportunities. Stop by the Futrell Pharmacy, one of the oldest pharmacies in Arkansas, which still boasts an old-fashioned soda fountain. Check out the Sanitary Barber Shop, said to be the oldest continuously operated barber shop in the U.S. It’s also home to the Randolph County Heritage Museum, where visitors learn more about the area, its people and the history of the county. And don’t miss a stop by one of the newest businesses on the historic square…Buttercream Bakery and Frozen Custard. You’ll find cupcakes, milkshakes, brownies, coffee, pie, macarons, teas, cookies and more. It’s a great place to grab a snack and have a quick rest. Black River Beads and Pottery is just half a block away and has a wonderful collection of handmade items, ranging from handblown glass to custom designed items like jewelry and specialty gifts.
Nearby, you’ll find the Eddie Mae Herron Center, which preserves and interprets the African American experience in Randolph County. The one-room building served as a church and school for over five decades. It now houses photographs, artifacts and exhibits of over 200 years of African American history in the region.
Take time to explore the city’s park that runs alongside the Black River, just a few blocks from the historic downtown. The Black River Overlook Park is home to the Century Wall, a collection of the most influential Americans of the 20th Century, etched in stone. It was erected in 2000 as a tribute to the turn of the century. There’s also a life-size limestone statue of the town’s namesake, Princess Pocahontas. Several other historical markers and within the park, located along a paved path with great views of the Black River.