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Welcome to the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas

The CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas is a free, authoritative source of information about the rich history, geography, and culture of Arkansas. It is updated regularly to ensure the people of Arkansas have an accurate and accessible resource to explore our heritage. It will also benefit people outside the state who are seeking information about Arkansas. We invite you to browse our text entries and media galleries to learn more about the people, places, events, legends, and lore of the 25th state. The CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas is a work in progress. We are continually adding new entries, photographs, maps, videos, and audio files, so check back frequently to see what’s new.

Photo Of The Day
Fort Smith National Historic Site

The old barracks building at the Fort Smith National Historic Site has changed considerably since its construction in the 1840s. In 1889, a new jail wing was added to the far end of the building. For several years, the building served as the courtroom of the famous Judge Isaac Parker. Completely renovated in 2000, it serves as the park service visitor center, with many exhibits detailing the long history of the fort and the area.

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This Day in Arkansas History
September 19, 1939

William Overton, who served as U.S. district judge from 1979 to 1987, was born in Hot Spring County. Overton was known for the clarity of his writings and his ability to get to the heart of a question. He became known especially for rulings in the McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education case, which declared the teaching of creationism in public schools to be unconstitutional. Also notable was the case of Donovan v. Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation, in which it was ruled that the foundation must pay minimum wages, rather than compensation of only room and board, to young workers who were followers of a quasi-religious group.

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