Grand Prairie Historical Society
The Grand Prairie Historical Society (GPHS) was founded in 1953 to preserve the Grand Prairie area’s rich abundant history and make others aware of this heritage. Among the founders were Reverend Lawrence Maus, J. E. Howard, John M. Henderson, Lillian C. Young, Ballard Deane, Dr. Harold V. Glenn, Garner Allen, Grover C. Carnes, and Arthur Macom. The group adopted a constitution stating the society’s purpose as promoting the history and historical records of the Grand Prairie, marking historical sites, encouraging tours, and informing the public of the society’s work.
Publication of the Grand Prairie Historical Bulletin has played a major role in achieving the society’s objective of collecting and preserving data on the early history of Arkansas County and the surrounding region. The Historical Bulletin was first published in 1958 by editor Boyd Johnson, making it one of the first local historical journals in Arkansas. Since its inception, the publication has received sixteen awards from the Arkansas Historical Association for articles and overall presentation.
The society holds quarterly meetings in January, April, July, and October. Meetings are held throughout the region in diverse venues such as churches, schools, libraries, community centers, hunting lodges, museums, and other historical sites, with new places scheduled each year. Meetings feature interesting programs given by knowledgeable speakers on topics of area interest. GPHS has participated in countless heritage preservation events over its history, including the dedication of a new visitor center at Arkansas Post National Memorial and the Arkansas County Bicentennial activities of 2013. The group has twice hosted the Arkansas Historical Association’s annual conference and has seen three of its members—Dr. H. V. Glenn, Boyd W. Johnson, and Reverend Lawrence Maus—serve as president of the statewide organization.
Society members were instrumental in the elevation of the original Arkansas Post State Park to national memorial status in 1960, and in the founding of Arkansas Post County Museum (the current Arkansas Post Museum State Park) in the same year. GPHS conducted Civil War centennial observances in the 1960s at Arkansas Post and St. Charles (Arkansas County) and, in 2011, placed a sesquicentennial plaque commemorating the Battle of Arkansas Post. Over the years, other markers have been placed at locations of historical significance around the region.
The group led several U.S. bicentennial observances in Arkansas County in 1976, and assisted with the 1986 Arkansas Sesquicentennial, as well as various archaeological efforts at the Menard-Hodges Native American site. GPHS has sponsored the microfilming of old county records, restored and cataloged early boxed county documents, and published all the available census records of French and Spanish colonial Arkansas. The society is active in an ongoing effort to preserve the oldest and most fragile Arkansas County record books, which number among the earliest existing county records west of the Mississippi River.
For additional information:
Allen, Garner. “Grand Prairie Historical Society.” Grand Prairie Historical Bulletin 22 (April 1979): 5–7.
Conine, Bill. “Grand Prairie Historical Society’s Half Century of Service.” Grand Prairie Historical Bulletin 46 (July 2003): 3–60.
H. Glenn Mosenthin
Cherokee Village, Arkansas
Last Updated: 01/13/2017