Step into history throughout the Arkansas River Valley

Dardanelle Rock Natural Area
Dardanelle Rock Natural Area

In every county of the Arkansas River Valley, you’ll find a special destination overflowing with history. Visit one or all of these six historic attractions and discover what makes this region so unique.

Logan County “Old Jail” Museum

In Paris, Arkansas, you’ll find the Logan County “Old Jail” Museum, the official site of the last legal hanging in Arkansas. This historic brick building has been open since 1903 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1993. Take a free tour of the museum’s many historical artifacts and attend programs that educate visitors on the history of Logan County and the former jail. For a unique visit, schedule your trip in advance, and the museum attendants will arrange a reenactment hanging at the gallows complete with a prisoner, sheriff and other characters dressed in 1800s period costumes. It is a truly unique experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Camp Ouachita Girl Scout Camp Historic District

Overlooking Lake Sylvia, Camp Ouachita Girl Scout Camp Historic District is the only surviving Civilian Conservation Corps-constructed Girl Scout facility in the United States. Between 1937 and 1979, Camp Ouachita was the hearthstone for learning outdoor skills and social development skills for the Arkansas Girl Scouts. The camp is a well-preserved example of the rustic-style architecture for which the CCC is well known and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, visitors can rent the Great Hall for reunions, meetings, weddings and other events. Stay awhile in one of the seven furnished camper cabins or one of the many campsites along Lake Sylvia, and enjoy swimming, fishing, hiking, gravel grinding and beautiful views of the Ouachita National Forest.

Potts Inn Museum

Built in the 1850s, the Potts home in Pottsville, Arkansas is a fine example of antebellum architecture and a true piece of history. The home, now operating as the Potts Inn Museum, is one of the best-preserved stagecoach stations on the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail, a mailing route that connected the east and west coast. While here, you can see the home and five log structures that house a hat and clothing collection from the 1870s to modern times, Native American artifacts, antique farm equipment and a doll collection that features exact replicas of inaugural ball gowns of the First Ladies of the United States. 

Pottsville Potts Inn Museum

Mather Lodge

Built in 1930, the Mather Lodge holds the distinction of being the only lodge built in Arkansas by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The warmth of this rustic mountain lodge, built of native log and stone, is an inviting gathering space at Petit Jean State Park. Enjoy one of the 24 guest rooms, a grand lobby and the massive dining room that overlooks Cedar Creek Canyon. The lodge is also the perfect place for watching dramatic sunsets every night. While at Arkansas’s first state park, you can witness jaw-dropping overlooks, the famous Cedar Falls waterfall, large caves and bluffs, turtle rocks and more.

Mather Lodge Petit Jean State Park

Dardanelle Rock

Dardanelle Rock is a legendary rock formation that rises over the Arkansas River and was used as a lookout point by Native Americans and later by Confederate soldiers. Take the 0.4-mile hiking trail and stand on top of this incredible piece of history. While at the overlook, you’ll enjoy views of the Arkansas River, Mount Nebo and the rolling Ozark hills. It is also a prime location for taking in a sunrise or sunset.

Union Schoolhouse

Union Schoolhouse is a historic school building located in the Ozark St. Francis National Forest in the Mt. Levi Community. The original schoolhouse was built in late 1800s but sadly burned down in 1928. The schoolhouse was quickly rebuilt later that year and can still be seen today. Here, you can take a step back in time while viewing the traditional two-story wooden schoolhouse that serves as a reminder of what life was like in the early 1900s rural areas. To make your trip to the schoolhouse even more memorable, visit one of the many natural features nearby like the Arkansas sphinx rock formation and the beautiful waterfall at Pam’s Grotto.