Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County Courthouse in Ashdown.

Editor’s note: The event featured in this article occurred in 2017, but you’ll find other great happenings on our Events page.

Ashdown is located in Little River County, which got its name from the Little River, which flows into the Red River near Texarkana. Little River County is celebrating a Sesquicentennial this year and a festival to celebrate the occasion is set for March 2-3.

“In addition to the county being 150 years old, Ashdown city will be 125 years old and the Little River County Courthouse itself will be 110 years old,” said Deanna Sivley, the County Clerk of Little River County.

On March 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. in the courtroom of the Little River County Courthouse, the Ashdown High School drama class will put on a dramatization of a trial that could have been from that era. Tickets are $5.

On Friday March 3, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, Sivley said a festival is set to take place at the Courthouse Square in downtown Ashdown with vendors and displays and school kids coming in to perform. They will also be cutting a birthday cake for the county in celebration of the event and state dignitaries will be there at 11 a.m.

Some workers from Historic Washington State Park will be on site too for the event.  “We plan to have a guide representing a U.S. Colored Troop of the federal army during the reconstruction days,” said Leita Spears of Historic Washington State Park. “He will be dressed in uniform with accoutrements and will demonstrate his equipment including loading and firing (blanks) during the day.”

Two Rivers Museum. Photo by Z. Clift

Spears said there will be a Dutch Oven cooking demonstration of some typical food common in a South recovering from the Civil War. “Games and toys of the period will be demonstrated so that young and old(er) can try them out,” she said. “Twice during the day, 19th century dances will be taught and all will be encouraged to join in. The Ashdown High School theater department spent some time at Historic Washington State Park recently learning the dances so they can have a great time encouraging others to join in. And park staff will be dressed in clothing of the late 1860s.”

While in town, you can also visit the Two Rivers Museum. This stop includes exhibits and artifacts of southwest Arkansas and is home to an impressive Civil War gun exhibit.

For more information on the town, you can stop by the Little River County Chamber of Commerce, located in a former railroad depot, at 180 E Whitaker Street.