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Arkansas Department of the Inspector General

The Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 (Act 910) elevated the existing office of Medicaid Inspector General to a cabinet-level agency. Additionally, the department took on oversight of Internal Audit for the State of Arkansas, as well as the Fair Housing Commission and Board. Elizabeth Thomas Smith, who was appointed Arkansas Medicaid Inspector General in June 2015, became the cabinet secretary for the Arkansas Department of Inspector General when it became effective in 2019. For additional information: Office of the Medicaid Inspector General. https://omig.arkansas.gov/ (accessed December 27, 2019). Department of the Inspector General. https://portal.arkansas.gov/agency/department-of-inspector-general/ (accessed December 27, 2019). Staff of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services

The Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 (Act 910) merged the Office of Transformation with the former Arkansas Department of Information Systems (ADIS) to create the Department of Transformation and Shared Services as a cabinet-level department in state government. In December 2016, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Amy Fecher (former director of the Arkansas Department of Rural Services) as the Chief Transformation Officer (CTO) for the new Office of Transformation. Created in anticipation of a large-scale state government reorganization, the office researched ways to reduce the number of cabinet-level agencies in state government and began putting together a proposal for this project, with the aim of crafting legislation to codify the transformation. Early “pilot projects” of the Office of Transformation included …

Arkansas Department of Transportation

The Arkansas Department of Transportation oversees the planning, maintenance, and policing of state roads and highways. Act 302 of 1913 established the State Highway Commission and renamed the Department of State Lands as the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements. However, there remained no designated highway system in the state. In 1921, a federal law required states to designate a system of state highways, to be managed by a state highway department. In 1923, a few months following the closure of the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements due to the Arkansas General Assembly’s failure to appropriate money for the agency, the governor called a special session of the legislature to deal with the resulting problems, eventually signing …

Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA)

The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) dates back to the post–World War I years and the need to care for Arkansas residents disabled during the war. It underwent transformation broadening its scope during World War II and following the Vietnam War. At present, ADVA operates two homes for disabled veterans, as well as two veterans’ cemeteries, and acts as a liaison for state residents and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The first move by people in the state to care for veterans in a systematized manner was the creation of the Arkansas Confederate Home in 1890, which provided care and services to indigent Confederate veterans and their widows. In 1891, the home secured an appropriation from the Arkansas …

Arkansas Derby

The Arkansas Derby is the most lucrative thoroughbred horse race in Arkansas, currently offering a “purse” of $1 million. The purse is the prize money that is divided among the horses competing in the race, based upon their finish, with the winner receiving sixty percent ($600,000). The one-and-one-eighth-mile race is restricted to horses that are three years old. It is traditionally held each year at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs (Garland County) on the second Saturday of April. Over time, it has developed into one of the nation’s leading preparatory races for the Triple Crown, which comprises the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The Arkansas Derby was first held in 1936 and carried a $5,000 purse. The …

Arkansas Diamonds

The Arkansas Diamonds professional football team competed in the Continental Football League in 1968 and 1969. The Continental Football League, a fledgling professional league, operated from 1965 to 1969. A. B. Chandler, former Kentucky governor and Major League Baseball’s second commissioner, was the league’s first commissioner and provided the upstart league with a recognized level of credibility. Nevertheless, by 1968, Chandler had departed and the league was struggling to survive. Still, the Continental Football League provided players with an opportunity to be paid to play, although in 1968 team payrolls were capped at $5,000 per game, and no player could earn more than $200 per game. Furthermore, the league offered players a chance to continue playing after their collegiate careers …

Arkansas Division of Aeronautics (ADA)

The Arkansas Division of Aeronautics (ADA) is responsible for regulating aviation in the state of Arkansas as well as encouraging the development of aeronautics-related industries. The Arkansas Division of Aeronautics was created as the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics by Act 457 of 1941, which established the agency for a period of twenty-five years, to be headed by a commission consisting of the chairperson of the State Police Commission, the adjutant general of the State of Arkansas, the chairperson of the State Penal Board, the chairperson of the State Highway Commission, and the head of the ADA. The duties, as defined by the act, consisted of providing for the examination, rating, and licensing of airports; adopting rules and regulations for airports …

Arkansas Division of Career and Technical Education (ADCTE)

The Division of Career and Technical Education oversees vocational and technical education in the state. It was established to “create opportunities for strong comprehensive education regardless of the student’s ultimate career choice.” The Division of Career and Technical Education was originally created as the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education (ADWE) by Act 803 of 1997 to assume responsibility over vocational and technical education in the state. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) had previously overseen vo-tech education since its inception in 1931. Act 803 of 1997 abolished the State Board of Vocational Education, creating in its place the State Board of Workforce Education and Career Opportunities as well as ADWE, which became responsible for vo-tech education. The new department also …

Arkansas Division of Community Correction (ADCC)

The Arkansas Division of Community Correction (ADCC) oversees the state’s non-traditional correction programs, such as probation and parole, as well as community correction centers that offer drug/alcohol treatment and vocational programs. ADCC’s mission is “To promote public safety and a crime-free lifestyle by providing cost-effective community-based sanctions, and enforcing state laws and court mandates in the supervision and treatment of adult offenders.” ADCC was originally named the Arkansas Department of Community Punishment, which was created by Acts 548 and 549 of 1993. The act noted that “the ever increasing numbers of offenders in traditional penitentiaries” brought “added fiscal pressures on state government” and thus sought to bring the cost down “through the use of community punishment programs and non-traditional facilities” …

Arkansas Division of Higher Education

The Arkansas Division of Higher Education is responsible for the regulation of the state’s public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education. The first attempt to regulate higher education in the state came through the establishment of the Arkansas Committee on Higher Education in 1949, which consisted primarily of state legislators and the leaders of institutions of higher education. The commission’s report to the Arkansas General Assembly in 1951 recommended the creation of a control board to coordinate efforts regulating higher education. Prior to this, state institutions were fairly autonomous, and the legislature exercised oversight primarily through appropriations, which led to institutions competing with each other for state money. In addition, the commission reported that “in some cases local pride …

Arkansas Division of Information Systems (DIS)

The former Arkansas Department of Information Systems (ADIS) provided information technology solutions for the state government of Arkansas, maintaining the government’s telecommunication services and ensures connectivity and security among the various state agencies. The Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 (Act 910) merged the Office of Transformation with the former ADIS to create the Department of Transformation and Shared Services as a cabinet-level department in state government, which includes the Division of Information Systems (DIS). The forerunner of ADIS was the Arkansas Department of Computer Services (ADCS), created by Act 884 of 1977, which abolished the Administrative Services Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and transferred its duties and responsibilities to the newly created ADCS. The act …

Arkansas Division of Rural Services

What became the Arkansas Division of Rural Services under Act 910 of 2019 was created “to serve as a single point of contact for all organizations and individuals with a desire to enhance the quality of life” for the state’s rural citizens.” To that end, the agency provides grants to facilitate improvements in rural communities, funds research on solutions to problems faced by such communities, and conducts information sharing through a variety of regional forums and the annual Arkansas Rural Development Conference. ADRS was created as the Office of Rural Advocacy (ORA) by Act 302 of 1991, which noted that, until that time, “no state office has been specifically created to promote, harmonize, or assist efforts to address the unique …

Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (ADWS)

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (ADWS) is the state agency responsible for providing job-related services to unemployed state residents, such as coordinating training and educational opportunities, processing unemployment insurance claims, and connecting job seekers with employment opportunities in the state. ADWS began life as the Arkansas Employment Security Division of the Arkansas Department of Labor (ADL). This division was created by Act 391 of 1941, in the wake of New Deal legislation such as the Social Security Act of 1935 and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act of 1939, which created a national system of unemployment benefits and encouraged states to do likewise. Act 391, noting that “economic insecurity due to unemployment is a serious menace to the health, morals, …

Arkansas Economic Developers (AED)

In 1976, a group of professionals and volunteers involved in the economic development of Arkansas organized Arkansas Economic Developers (AED), a non-profit organization to enhance the quality of life in Arkansas by expanding employment opportunities through economic growth and community development. The constitution and bylaws were adopted on September 16, 1988. The organization is associated with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. AED has a board of directors and elected officers. Two directors come from each congressional district, two are at-large directors, and five are ex-officio. The members elect the officers. The board has the authority to develop, approve, and disseminate policy statements concerning economic development in the state. The organization’s activities …

Arkansas Economic Development Commission

The Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (AIDC) was created in 1955 by Act 404 of the Arkansas General Assembly to make the state more economically competitive in the post–World War II era. The AIDC was renamed the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). Act 910 of 2019 placed the Arkansas Economic Development Commission under the umbrella entity of the Department of Commerce. Industry in the United States became more sophisticated in the postwar period, and Arkansas was largely an agricultural state with farming and related manufacturing (mostly raw foodstuff), forestry, and paper products. The Arkansas governor, Orval Faubus, the legislature, and the public realized that the state had not made strides in industrial development, so the governor proposed, prior to the 1955 legislative …

Arkansas Education Association

The Arkansas Education Association (AEA) is a group of teachers, administrators, and support staff who promote public education and the teaching profession. The association closely monitors the state legislature, the state Department of Education, and school boards, and it lobbies for policies decided on in its Representative Assembly. The association was organized on July 2, 1869, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) as the State Teachers Association. Thomas Smith, the first state superintendent of public instruction, founded the group and was its first president. Twenty-two people signed on as charter members. Smith wrote that the group’s purpose was “promoting the cause of popular education in the state and uniting the teachers and superintendents in closer and more intimate fraternal relations in …

Arkansas Egg Men

The Arkansas Egg Men were a notorious band of chicken thieves who ruffled plenty of feathers in northeast Arkansas during the 1960s and 1970s. Most famously, they are said to be the inspiration for the Beatles’ iconic track “I Am the Walrus”: On the group’s brief stopover in Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County) on September 20, 1964, it is alleged that Beatle John Lennon overheard someone in the crowd whisper “I am an Egg Man,” a line that he later adapted for the song. In the early 1960s, members of the Egg Men were considered first-rate poachers. However, as farmers in the region grew wise to their tactics, by the mid-1960s they were increasingly forced to scramble away from their targets. …

Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) was created to honor Arkansans who have made outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry. Honorees include performers, non-performing contributors (such as writers, directors, and producers), and pioneers in the entertainment industry. In 1985, the Arkansas General Assembly authorized the establishment of a museum honoring Arkansans who have made a considerable contribution to the entertainment industry. The first inductees were honored in 1996. The following year, the state legislature transferred the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame to the Department of Parks and Tourism, along with $300,000. Several cities competed to host the museum. Pine Bluff was eventually chosen, with the Pine Bluff Convention and Visitors Bureau receiving $250,000 to establish …

Arkansas Entomological Society

The Arkansas Entomological Society (AES) was founded in May 1991 by entomology educators, researchers, and industry professionals under the guidance of Dr. William Yearian, former chair of the Entomology Department at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). The first president of the society, Dr. Timothy Kring, drafted the society’s constitution with the purpose of fostering entomological accomplishment among its members as well as bringing about closer coordination and understanding among research, regulatory, educational, and commercial entomologists. Entomology is the study of insects and related organisms. Meetings of the society have been held annually since its founding, with locations and dates varying, but most often held on the first Friday and Saturday in October. Every other year, the …

Arkansas Ethics Commission

The Arkansas Ethics Commission is the appointed body that oversees the implementation and application of Arkansas’s governmental ethics laws. It was created by an initiated act in 1990, and its authority has been altered since that time by a series of laws and constitutional amendments. During the legislative sessions of the 1980s, including a particularly rancorous 1988 special session, Bill Clinton’s gubernatorial administration put forward bills requiring lobbyists to register, disclose interactions with elected officials, and limit the size of their gifts. These efforts to bring Arkansas’s ethics laws into the national mainstream were continually thwarted by an Arkansas General Assembly accustomed to a political culture in which cozy relationships between lobbyists and decision-makers had existed for years. Taking advantage …

Arkansas Fair Housing Commission

The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission was created by Act 1785 of 2001 (as amended in 2003) of the Arkansas General Assembly to provide statewide enforcement of fair housing and fair lending laws. The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission is an enforcement agency that constitutes Arkansas’s sole civil rights regulatory authority. The commission is headed by an executive director and thirteen commissioners who are appointed statewide. The commission regulates unfair practices in real estate–related transactions based on disability, familial status (presence of children under eighteen and pregnant women), religion, sex, race, color, and national origin. As a quasi-judicial agency, with powers akin to a court, the commission may resolve issues through an administrative hearing and may order relief to include damages, attorney …

Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation

The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation (AFB) is a private agricultural advocacy group composed of more than 230,000 families working to improve farm and rural life throughout the state. Arkansas was the thirty-ninth state to join the American Farm Bureau. Each county has its own chapter that operates autonomously from the state organization. The AFB was incorporated on April 28, 1931, with James Feagin Tompkins as the first president. In 1935, the organization began with sixty-five members from Mississippi County, and by the end of 1936, the group boasted 8,657 members across the state. Early leaders of the Arkansas movement cited several reasons why the state needed a strong federation of farmers, such as fighting for farmers’ rights on the state …

Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program

The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program was started in 1947 to recognize the importance of the farm family and agriculture in the continuing development of the state. It is the longest-running farm family recognition program in the country. The primary emphasis of the program is recognizing county farm families and the importance of agriculture in the county. The specific objectives of the program are, first, to recognize and encourage farm families who are doing an outstanding job in farming, homemaking, and community leadership; second, to highlight the importance of agriculture to the economy of the community and the state; and third, to disseminate information on improved farm practices and effective farm and home management. The selection of district …

Arkansas Farmers Union

aka: Arkansas Farmers Educational Cooperative Union
The Arkansas iteration of the Farmers Union—founded as the Farmers Educational Cooperative Union of America—took root in Spring Hill (Hempstead County) in 1903, one year after the national organization’s founding in Point, Texas. Its populism mirrored earlier farmers’ movements, including the Farmers’ Alliance and the Agricultural Wheel. Focused on those who actually produced food and fiber, the union was often at odds with banks, commodity exchanges, processers, and shippers. As larger corporate farms emerged, the union aspired to speak for “family farmers,” a goal it continues to embrace in the twenty-first century. By 1907, the union’s Arkansas state convention reported 718 locals and 78,085 members. That number probably included lapsed members, as Secretary-Treasurer Ben Griffin reported no more than 42,039 dues-paying …

Arkansas Fatmucket

aka: Lampsilis powellii
The Arkansas fatmucket is a bivalve mollusk belonging to the family Unionidae, commonly referred to as freshwater mussels, naiads, or clams. Each freshwater mussel is composed to two halves (valves) of a hard outer shell, with the living animal (soft tissues) residing securely inside. The Arkansas fatmucket (Lampsilis powellii) was described as a species new to science in 1852 by Isaac Lea, a naturalist and publisher by trade residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lea based his description on specimens provided to him by Dr. Josiah Hale and Professor W. Byrd Powell from the Saline River at Benton (Saline County). Adults rarely reach a length of four inches (100 millimeters), and males and females are sexually dimorphic—that is, they have slightly different …

Arkansas Folk Festival

The annual Arkansas Folk Festival takes place on the third weekend in April in Mountain View (Stone County). Held since 1963, the event attracts thousands of people to the small mountain community, where the livelihood of many residents is based on tourism. The town has become nationally renowned for its folk music, and the downtown area is a popular place for impromptu “pickins” as musicians gather informally to perform. The Arkansas Folk Festival has its roots in the Stone County Folkways Festival held in 1941, celebrating the musical heritage of the area. Musical performances and a jig dance contest were among events held at the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area. World War II prevented subsequent gatherings at the time, but the …

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame was established by the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH) in 2017, with the first honorees inducted in an event held that winter. The goal of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame is to honor the food traditions and the Arkansans involved in the local culinary arts that represent the culture of Arkansas. The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame divides the awards into five categories: Arkansas Food Hall of Fame (for restaurants), Food-Themed Event, Proprietor of the Year, People’s Choice, and Gone but Not Forgotten. Every year, a nomination period is open to the public to choose restaurants for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee selects the blue-ribbon …

Arkansas Forestry Association

The Arkansas Forestry Association (AFA) is a private association of firms and individuals in the forestry industry. The focus of the association is on those who grow trees, both corporate and individual growers. The corporate growers may be integrated both upstream (a business term meaning closer to the point of manufacture or production than to the point sale) and downstream (meaning closer to the point of sale). Downstream is most common as the corporate growers are often wood processors or paper makers. Some corporate growers are integrated upstream, providing such things as management services, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, seedling trees, and logging machinery. The Arkansas Forestry Association Education Foundation, Inc. (AFAEF) is part of the private Arkansas Forestry Association. The primary …

Arkansas Forestry Commission

The Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC) was established by Act 234 of 1931 and amended by Act 48 of 1939. Its initial responsibilities included fire control, education in fire safety, and forest management. Its activities have expanded to include oversight of rural and volunteer fire departments, disaster response, assistance with private land management, tree seedling nurseries and genetics, educational programs for the Arkansas public schools, urban forestry, and participation in events such as Arbor Day and Earth Day throughout the state. As of 2011, the Arkansas Forestry Commission has nine district offices statewide and smaller offices in almost every county in Arkansas. With the passage of Act 1978 of 2005, the Arkansas Forestry Commission was combined with the Arkansas State Plant …

Arkansas Freedom of Information Act

aka: Freedom of Information Act
aka: FOIA
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), signed into law by Governor Winthrop Rockefeller on February 14, 1967, is generally considered one of the strongest and best models for open government by investigative reporters and others who research public records for various purposes. The intent of the FOIA is to keep government business and government records open and accessible to the people of Arkansas. The Arkansas FOIA has been called “the people’s law” in that it provides the citizens of Arkansas open access to the conduct of the public’s business at every level of government, as well as ready access to public records on file with a host of custodians for those records in county courthouses, city halls, public schools, …

Arkansas Freeman

The Arkansas Freeman, which began publication on August 21, 1869, was the first newspaper in Arkansas printed by an African American and focusing upon the black community. It was in publication for less than one year, having become symptomatic of the divisions within the Republican Party, particularly where African Americans were involved. The idea to found a black press was approved on June 20, 1869, by a committee of African Americans, led by local advocate Jerome Lewis, at Wesley Chapel Methodist Church on the campus of Philander Smith College; a dinner was later held at the City Hall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to raise funds to establish a newspaper. The committee included several ministers and community leaders who felt …

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) manages wildlife and natural habitat and sets hunting, fishing, and trapping regulations. It works with public, private, local, state, and federal groups to enhance conservation efforts and educate the public about the importance of healthy wildlife populations and their habitats. AGFC also publishes the bimonthly Arkansas Wildlife magazine, which began as Arkansas Game and Fish in 1967 but changed its name in 1992. The AGFC is overseen by a board of seven governor-appointed commissioners who serve seven-year terms. An ex-officio member is the chairman of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) biology department. Commission meetings usually are held at AGFC headquarters in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on the third Thursday …

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission State Fish Hatcheries

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission State Fish Hatcheries were built between 1928 and 1940 for spawning and culturing game fish to manage fish populations in natural lakes, rivers, and streams and for stocking lakes built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. A surge of lake construction began in 1944 with the Corps’ Norfork Lake project in Baxter County, followed by the Game and Fish Commission’s 6,700-acre Lake Conway in Faulkner County. More than thirty Game and Fish Commission lakes were constructed in the next forty years. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission now operates four warm-water fish hatcheries, and one cold-water hatchery, which produce millions of fish each year for stocking …

Arkansas Gazette

The Arkansas Gazette, Arkansas’s first newspaper, was established in 1819, seventeen years before Arkansas became a state. Its editorial stance for law and order during the desegregation of Central High School in 1957 earned the newspaper two Pulitzer Prizes—the first time in history one newspaper won two Pulitzers in the same year. Known for its liberal editorial pages in a conservative Southern state, the Gazette closed on October 18, 1991, after a bitter newspaper war with its cross-town rival, the Arkansas Democrat. William E. Woodruff published the first edition of the Arkansas Gazette on November 20, 1819, introducing it as Republican (the name that evolved into the modern Democratic Party) in politics. Woodruff, a New Yorker who had completed a …

Arkansas Genealogical Society

The Arkansas Genealogical Society, Inc., Arkansas’s only statewide genealogical organization, was organized in Fayetteville (Washington County) on May 4–5, 1962, in response to a call by the Washington County Historical Society. Under the guidance of the longtime editor of its quarterly, Flashback, Professor Walter J. Lemke of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville, this organization took the lead in collecting Arkansas genealogical data for many years. However, by 1962, growing interest in this hobby had overwhelmed its limited resources, and a decision was made to call for the formation of a statewide genealogical society to take over this work. Drawing upon the resources of this local group, volunteers published the first issue of the Arkansas Family Historian, Arkansas’s first …

Arkansas General Assembly

aka: State Legislature
aka: Arkansas State Legislature
aka: General Assembly
aka: Arkansas House of Representatives
aka: Arkansas Senate
aka: Arkansas Legislature
The Arkansas General Assembly is the legislative body governing the state of Arkansas. Since statehood in 1836, Arkansas has been governed by five constitutional charters. Under each charter, the composition and powers of the Arkansas General Assembly has changed. Since the adoption of the 1874 constitution, the most recent one, multiple amendments have altered the body’s operations as well. According to the 1836 constitution, members of the state House of Representatives had to be at least twenty-five years of age, and members of the state Senate had to be thirty. Under this constitution, members had to be white males and had to have resided in the state for at least one year. The Arkansas General Assembly was to meet every …

Arkansas Geological Survey (AGS)

The Arkansas Geological Survey (AGS), formerly the Arkansas Geological Commission (AGC), is a division of the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment (ADEE) charged with the investigation of the geology, geologic processes, and geologic resources of the state. It is further charged to encourage the effective management and utilization of the various mineral, fossil-fuel, and water resources with proper consideration of the potential environmental impacts of that activity. The Geological Survey of Arkansas was first established in 1857 with engagement of David Dale Owen as state geologist. He was funded for three years and was only able to publish part of his findings. Owen ultimately published another report in 1860 just a few days before he died. His training in geology …

Arkansas Girls State

aka: Girls State
Arkansas Girls State is a summer program of education that has been sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Arkansas since 1942. As of 2014, it has provided training for more than 55,000 Arkansas girls in the fundamental aspects of citizenship and practical government. The purpose of Arkansas Girls State is to educate young women of high school age in the duties, privileges, and responsibilities of American citizenship and to provide an opportunity for them to participate in the actual functioning of their government. The National American Legion Auxiliary, which had established a Boys State program in 1935, first sponsored Girls State in 1937–38, and as of 2014, fifty-one departments have such a program. More than 25,000 high school students …

Arkansas Goat Festival

The first Arkansas Goat Festival was held in Perryville (Perry County) on the first weekend in October in 2016, with festivals held each year after. While there are other goat-related festivals across the United States, the Perryville festival is said to be the only one of its kind, held totally out of appreciation for goats. Comparing the festival to the famous motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, one of the founders, Sarah French, stated, “If you have a motorcycle, you have to go to Sturgis. If you have a goat you have to go to Perryville.” In 2016, French and Liz van Dalsem were discussing the development of possible activities to draw people to downtown Perryville for a program known …

Arkansas Governor’s School (AGS)

Arkansas Governor’s School (AGS) is a six-week summer residential program for gifted and talented students who are upcoming seniors in Arkansas public and private high schools. AGS is funded by the Arkansas state legislature as a portion of the biennial appropriation for gifted and talented programs in the budget of the state Department of Education. The state funds provide tuition, room, board, and instructional materials for each student at the school. A site selection team from the Department of Education reviews applications from Arkansas colleges and universities and awards a three-year contract to lease the site. Hendrix College was the host institution since the inception of AGS in 1980 until 2018, when the state Board of Education voted to transfer …

Arkansas Health Center

The Arkansas Health Center (AHC), located in Benton (Saline County), is a 310-bed nursing facility licensed and regulated by the Office of Long Term Care. AHC is the largest nursing home—and the only state-operated nursing facility—in Arkansas. With more than 550 employees, AHC provides nursing home care to Arkansans with special medical and behavioral needs that are not generally met through traditional nursing facilities. AHC houses specialty units to treat individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, those with behavioral or psychiatric disorders, and those who are ventilator dependent for survival. AHC takes a holistic approach to healthcare, treating both the physical and psychiatric health concerns of the residents while also focusing on spiritual needs. Services available …

Arkansas Heritage Month

Arkansas Heritage Month is a program of the Division of Arkansas Heritage (a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism) with a mission “to encourage communities and organizations to celebrate their history and heritage.” It began as Heritage Week in 1982 and expanded into a month-long program in 1998. Each year, the Division of Arkansas Heritage selected one of its various agencies to highlight during the month of May. In 2018, for example, Arkansas Heritage Month’s theme was “Off the Beaten Path: Explore and Enjoy Arkansas’s Natural Heritage.” This theme highlighted the work of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC). Various events are held throughout the state as part of Arkansas Heritage Month, including festivals, space studies, …

Arkansas Heritage Trails System

The Arkansas Heritage Trails System is a network of driving tours created by the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH), Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT), and Arkansas Department of Transportation to mark the approximate routes through Arkansas of the Trail of Tears, Southwest Trail, Butterfield Overland Mail Route, and Civil War campaigns. The Eighty-seventh Arkansas General Assembly mandated the development of a trails system through Act 728 of 2009, the Heritage Trails System Act. The act called for the system to include the Butterfield Overland Mail Company route, which included routes from the Missouri state line near Pea Ridge (Benton County) to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and from Memphis, Tennessee, to Fort Smith; the Southwest Trail from the Missouri border …

Arkansas Highway 57 Bridge

The Arkansas Highway 57 Bridge crosses railroad tracks in Stephens (Ouachita County). Constructed in 1928, the bridge is a Warren pony truss with a pedestrian walkway located on the outside of the superstructure. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2005. Once used for vehicular traffic, it later became a pedestrian bridge. Stephens was founded as a stop on the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railway. The St. Louis Southwestern Railway, also known as the Cotton Belt, took control of the line after 1882. With a 160-acre plot to construct a settlement, the owners of the rail line convinced several business owners in nearby Richland (Ouachita County) to move to the new settlement in …

Arkansas Highway Commission

In the early part of the twentieth century, Arkansas’s roads were not designed for the arrival of the automobile. The state’s roads were rough and dusty in dry weather, and were impassable during the rainy season. There was no statewide authority to plan or direct road construction in Arkansas, so road construction was handled at the local level, with county courts in charge of road planning and construction. Most roads were built to serve specific neighborhoods or even individuals, and a connected statewide system of roads was far from a reality. These issues came to a head in 1913 in the Thirty-ninth Arkansas General Assembly, which created the State Highway Commission by Act 302 in response to these transportation issues. …

Arkansas Highway Police

The Arkansas Highway Police is the oldest statewide law enforcement agency in Arkansas and serves as the law enforcement branch of the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The duties of the agency have changed over time, but the emphasis remains on protection of the state’s highway and transportation system. The Highway Police is overseen by an agency director with the rank of chief. The chief serves at the pleasure of the director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The Highway Police’s main headquarters are located in Little Rock (Pulaski County) next to the central office of the Department of Transportation. The Highway Police is divided into five districts, each of which is commanded by an officer with the rank of captain. …

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) is the state agency charged with preserving the buildings, sites, neighborhoods, and structures that constitute the state’s built heritage. The agency’s genesis can be traced to the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act, which created a national preservation program, required state preservation activities, and provided funding for state historic preservation programs. Following a failed attempt to create a state program in 1967, the Arkansas General Assembly in 1969 created the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, funded by the transfer of $20,000 from the moribund Stonewall Jackson Memorial Board. In 1969, the primary activities of the agency were those for which federal funds were available—the identification, evaluation, and documentation of historic properties. This effort comprises the Arkansas …

Arkansas Historic Wine Museum

The Arkansas Historic Wine Museum in Paris (Logan County) is the only museum in the United States dedicated to preserving the wine heritage of an entire state. The museum stores and displays artifacts from the earliest days of the Arkansas wine industry up to the present. Formally incorporated in 1994 (though it had been established by Robert G. Cowie, owner of Cowie Wine Cellars, in 1967 as a hobby), this institution has received numerous awards, including the Bootstrap Award from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, which is presented to those institutions that make great achievements on a limited budget. The museum has also been featured in American Profile magazine. Cowie started collecting artifacts of regional winemaking in 1957 …

Arkansas Historical Association (AHA)

The Arkansas Historical Association (AHA) is dedicated to maintaining an active statewide historical group involving all aspects of Arkansas’s history. The association holds annual conferences and publishes the Arkansas Historical Quarterly (AHQ). Headquartered at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), which partially underwrites the expenses of the organization, the AHA assists historians and educators in Arkansas in preserving and interpreting the history of the state. In 1903, John Hugh Reynolds, professor of history at UA, and a group of his students formed the Arkansas Historical Society, the forerunner of the AHA. The group soon realized that a continually changing student body made membership problematic and reorganized to become the first AHA. James Kimbrough Jones served as president. …

Arkansas Holiness College

Arkansas Holiness College (AHC), founded in 1904, was the focus for a body of Wesleyan holiness believers who congregated for nearly three decades in Vilonia (Faulkner County). The preaching of Methodist evangelists Beverly Carradine and H. C. Morrison at camp meetings held at Beebe (White County) in the 1890s spurred a holiness association in Vilonia composed of Methodists and Free Methodists. Members of the association formed a grammar school that opened in 1900 under the direction of Fannie Suddarth, a teacher (and later minister) from Kentucky. The school added grades and academic levels, including a Bible department in 1905, when the Reverend C. L. Hawkins came to head the school. The name Arkansas Holiness College was adopted at this time. …