Attractions (Historic and Current)

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Albert Pike Memorial Temple

  The Albert Pike Memorial Temple is located at 700–724 Scott Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County). On November 13, 1986, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and historical significance. The temple is named for Albert Pike, a prominent figure in the history of Arkansas, who played a major role in the establishment of Freemasonry in the state. The Albert Pike Memorial Temple is the headquarters of the local governing body of Freemasonry, the Arkansas Grand Lodge. It was built to replace the original Masonic Temple, located on 5thand Main streets, which was destroyed by fire in 1919. The building is owned by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and houses another …

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 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 River Visitor Center

The Arkansas River Visitor Center, dedicated on August 20, 1985, was designed to acquaint visitors with the Arkansas River, its history and culture, and its transformation into the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. The visitor center is located in Russellville (Pope County) on Lock and Dam Road, three miles west of Highway 7. The visitor center was designed and constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, at the site of the Russellville Project Office. It overlooks the Dardanelle Lock and Dam and is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Russellville Project Office. The Dardanelle Lock and Dam was a logical choice for the center as it is located near the mid-point of the navigation …

Bathhouse Row

Bathhouse Row Historic District extends along the foot of the mountain that gives rise to the thermal springs in Hot Springs National Park. Located in downtown Hot Springs (Garland County), the scene is dominated by the most recent of a succession of bathing buildings dating back to 1830. Bathhouse Row includes eight surviving bathhouses: the Hale, Maurice, Buckstaff, Fordyce, Superior, Quapaw, Ozark, and Lamar. The landscape features sculptured fountains, water displays, and the Grand Promenade. Bathhouse Row has become the architectural core for downtown Hot Springs. History The first structures in the area to take advantage of the thermal springs were likely the sweat lodges of local Native Americans, which were followed by an unplanned conglomeration of buildings subject to …

Big River Crossing

aka: Harahan Bridge
The Harahan Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River to connect Memphis, Tennessee, with West Memphis (Crittenden County), was built in 1916 as a two-track railroad bridge and converted in 2016 to add a bicycle and pedestrian pathway, replacing one of the old abandoned auto roadways; the structure was renamed Big River Crossing. The Union Pacific Railroad owns the bridge and agreed to add the pathway, which was financed with a federal grant. The new pathway connects Main Street in Memphis to the Delta Regional River Park on the Arkansas side and to the Big River Trail. After completion, the Big River Trail, for use by pedestrians and bikers, will extend from the head waters of the river to the Gulf …

Black Fork Mountain Wilderness

The Black Fork Mountain Wilderness is located in the Ouachita National Forest in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. At an elevation of 2,403 feet, the east-west-oriented Black Fork Mountain, formed by a geologic uplift, features rock screes, or flows. The large rock flows, sometimes called “glaciers,” and sandstone bluffs stand above a forest dominated by oak and shortleaf pine. The U.S. Congress designated 13,139 acres as the Black Fork Mountain Wilderness in 1984. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and shared by Oklahoma and Arkansas (Arkansas has approximately 8,350 acres, while Oklahoma has approximately 4,789 acres), this area contains the thirteen-mile-long rugged ridge of Black Fork Mountain. In both states, the ridge rises to …

Blanchard Springs Caverns

Blanchard Springs Caverns (BSC) is a magnificent limestone cave system starting more than 200 feet underground in the Sylamore Ranger District of the Ozark–St. Francis National Forest, fifteen miles northwest of Mountain View (Stone County). The only cave administered by the U.S. Forest Service, it is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. Three guided tours through the caves are open to the public: the Dripstone Trail (open all year), the Discovery Trail (open during the summer), and the Wild Cave (open by special reservation). The limestone rock from which the cave developed was formed by fossilized sediment from sea creatures at the bottom of an ancient inland sea estimated to exist about 350–500 million years ago. When …

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (BGO) in Fayetteville (Washington County) opened in 2007 on acreage leased from the City of Fayetteville. The nonprofit organization is the result of a grassroots effort to establish a botanical garden with a mission of offering education, entertainment, and recreation to adults and children through a variety of events, programs, classes, and community connections. The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is a member of the American Horticulture Society—which allows BGO members reciprocal admission to gardens and arboretums across the country—and the American Public Gardens Association, which encourages involvement in gardening for all ages. The Botanical Garden Society of the Ozarks was incorporated in January 1994. The founder and first director was Donna Porter, who …

Calico Rock Museum and Visitor Center

The Calico Rock Museum and Visitor Center, which was formally dedicated on April 12, 2014, occupies two of the oldest surviving buildings in downtown Calico Rock (Izard County): the E. N. Rand Building (built in 1903) and the Bluff City Bank Building (built in 1896). The museum foundation also owns the 1906 Calico Rock Progress Building, which houses a café and ice cream parlor. While the museum preserves and displays the art and history of the community, it also has a contract with the City of Calico Rock to provide visitor center services. In 2007, a group of interested citizens formed the Calico Rock Organization for Revitalization Efforts (CORE) and began searching for a location to establish a museum to …

Clinton Birthplace

aka: President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site
aka: Bill Clinton Birthplace
William Jefferson Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States, lived the first four years of his life in his grandparents’ home at 117 South Hervey Street in Hope (Hempstead County). Since June 1997, known as the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site, has been open to the public as a museum. The house was built in 1917 for Dr. H. S. Garrett, who evidently designed the house to imitate his previous dwelling in France. The two-and-a-half-story, 2,100-square-foot building contains six rooms, including a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and the nursery where Clinton slept. The house was purchased in 1938 by Eldridge Cassidy and Edith Grisham Cassidy, Clinton’s grandparents. Their daughter, Virginia Cassidy Blythe, made her home …

Community Theatre

The Community Theatre in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) is one of the oldest one-screen, nickelodeon-type theaters in Arkansas, complete with a soundproof room where mothers could take their crying children and continue to watch the movie. The renovated structure is now owned and operated by a local non-profit agency and was used for part of the Pine Bluff Film Festival. Pine Bluff’s Community Theatre first opened its doors in 1922 in what was once known as the Breckinridge Building. The building was completed in 1889 and owned by local congressman and minister to Russia Clifton Rodes Breckinridge. Contractor William I. Hilliard built the Breckinridge Building, as well as the Jefferson County Courthouse (1890). S & H Kress & Co., a …

Crescent Hotel

The Crescent Hotel was built in 1886 in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) by the Eureka Springs Investment Company, the president of which was former governor Powell Clayton. The organization purchased twenty-seven acres of wooded land for the site of the hotel and hired Isaac S. Taylor from St. Louis, Missouri, as architect for the project. The massive eighteen-inch-thick stones used for the body of the hotel were made of limestone, hand-carved from a quarry on the White River near Beaver (Carroll County) by a crew of Irish workers. These stones were hauled to the site of the hotel by trains and specially constructed wagons, and were placed in such a fashion that no mortar was needed. The hotel boasted every …

Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, National Scenic Byway

As Arkansas’s first National Scenic Byway, Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, merges six U.S. highways, nine Arkansas highways, and 11.5 miles of well-maintained gravel road through a national forest to track the crest of Crowley’s Ridge, the sole geographical phenomenon ridge formation in North America and one of only two similar geological ridge formations in the world (the other being in Siberia). The parkway stretches 198 miles over a half million acres in Arkansas, encompassing eight counties and eleven communities from St. Francis (Clay County) to Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). An additional 14.2 miles run through Missouri. As one of Arkansas’s three national byways—the other two being Talimena Scenic Byway and the Great River Road—Crowley’s Ridge Parkway is one of the 126 …

Diamond Cave

Diamond Cave, one of Arkansas’s many noteworthy caves, is located on Henson Creek, three miles from Jasper (Newton County). Diamond Cave is an underground natural wonder, containing a display of stalactites, columns, and stalagmites running many miles into the mountain. The discovery of Diamond Cave is credited to Samuel Hudson, a veteran hunter, an early settler in Newton County, and a member of the eleventh Arkansas General Assembly. Folklore has it that he and some companions discovered this cave while hunting bear early in the nineteenth century; he followed his dogs into the cave, discovered two of them dead from a battle with bears, and then killed one of the bears. The name Diamond Cave probably came from the abundant …

Dogpatch USA

Dogpatch USA operated from 1968 to 1993 as an amusement park based on characters and locations in Al Capp’s popular “Li’l Abner” comic strip. The town of Marble Falls (Newton County) between Jasper (Newton County) and Harrison (Boone County) changed its name officially to Dogpatch to help promote the park. The name was changed back in 1997. Harrison real estate broker Oscar J. Snow conceived the park when Albert Raney Sr. listed his Ozark trout farm for sale in 1966. Snow and nine other investors formed Recreation Enterprises, Inc. (REI) and approached Bostonian Al Capp with the idea. Capp, who had rejected such offers in the past, agreed to be a partner in the enterprise. The partners acquired 1,000 acres, …

Elna M. Smith Foundation

aka: Five Sacred Projects
aka: Sacred Projects
The Elna M. Smith Foundation was created in 1965 by Gerald L. K. Smith and his wife, Elna M. Smith, for whom it was named. The foundation is the nonprofit organization that serves as the umbrella company supervising the Five Sacred Projects and other activities and attractions on Magnetic Mountain, just east of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Gerald L. K. Smith was a controversial politician and anti-Semitic minister in the 1930s and 1940s. That controversy followed him to Eureka Springs. When he retired, he decided to leave politics and other activities behind him, and he and his wife committed to focus their energies on creating a legacy of preserving Americana. Included in their dream was buying and restoring historic houses. …

Esse Purse Museum

Esse Purse Museum in the historic urban neighborhood of Southside Main Street (SoMa) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is one of three brick-and-mortar purse museums in the world. The museum’s name comes from the Latin infinitive for “to be,” and the logo is styled as ESSE. The owner, Anita Davis, created the permanent museum in Little Rock in 2013 after exhibiting selections from her purse collection around the country from 2006 to 2011. Esse Purse Museum has a permanent exhibit that showcases purses throughout an entire century, including what they held; the museum also occasionally holds temporary exhibits. The museum’s gift shop offers designer purses, jewelry, wallets, and other accessories. The historic building on 1510 South Main Street that houses …

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center

The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro (Craighead County) was built through the efforts of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). It is one of four such nature centers that were built after the 1996 passage of a one-eighth-cent conservation sales tax. Named after Forrest L. Wood, former commissioner and longtime supporter of the AGFC, the center opened on August 25, 2004, after nearly two years of construction. Located on the northern, wider part of the 200-mile-long Crowley’s Ridge, the center provides the public an opportunity to view wildlife in its habitat and learn about the area’s history. The facility maintains several interactive indoor/outdoor exhibits and offers two related films. Educational programs focus on Arkansas’s history …

Front Porch Stage

Located in Mount Ida (Montgomery County), the Montgomery County Front Porch Stage (MCFPS) is a nonprofit organization that produces free music concerts on the lawn of the Montgomery County Courthouse. Officially incorporated in 2013, MCFPS is governed by a five-member board of directors and raises money to provide musical instruments and equipment to schools in Montgomery County. The original idea for building a stage came from musicians and friends who were meeting on the courthouse lawn on Saturday afternoons to visit and play music. The stage started with a donated flatbed trailer, donated lumber, and volunteer labor in the summer and fall of 2000. Soon, a covered stage was constructed on the eastern side of the courthouse lawn, with a …

Garvan Woodland Gardens

Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs (Garland County) is a department of the School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). It is a 210-acre botanical garden located on four and a half miles of Lake Hamilton shoreline and operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to be a resource for people desiring to improve their aesthetic, cultural, and scientific knowledge of plants, gardening, architecture, and landscape architecture, within a woodland environment. Arthur Cook, a Malvern (Hot Spring County) businessman, purchased the acreage in the 1920s for the purpose of harvesting the timber to manufacture hardwood flooring at his mill, Wisconsin-Arkansas Lumber. Shortly after the acquisition, the land was transformed into a large …

Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center

aka: Delta Rivers Nature Center
The Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) is Arkansas’s first nature center. Located in Regional Park, it opened on July 28, 2001. It is run by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Education Division. The construction of the center, originally known as the Delta Rivers Nature Center, was funded by a conservation sales tax passed in 1996. The center consists of a 13,000-square-foot main building with exhibits highlighting Delta wildlife and history; it also includes a large meeting facility, a working laboratory, and a nature store. Located outside the main building are two aquariums totaling 22,000 gallons in volume. They display fish and other aquatic species native to the region in a natural setting. …

Great Passion Play

aka: Passion Play
The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) is an outdoor drama depicting the last week in the life of Jesus Christ. There was a “soft” media opening on July 14, 1968, followed the next night with the first public performance. More than 7.5 million people from all over the world—an average of 100,000 a year—have attended this tourist attraction, the outdoor play with the largest attendance in the United States. The production includes animals, period costumes, a life-sized city street scene, numerous special effects, original music, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and more than 200 cast members. The Great Passion Play is one of the Five Sacred Projects of the Elna M. Smith Foundation, created by Gerald L. K. Smith and …

Great River Road-Arkansas National Scenic Byway

The Great River Road-Arkansas National Scenic Byway is part of a ten-state driving route along both sides of the Mississippi River, from its headwaters at Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. In Eastern Arkansas, the route travels through ten counties that are along the river or historically associated with the river. The route began in 1938 when the Mississippi River Parkway Planning Commission was formed through the urging of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. After more than ten years of discussion, a feasibility study was completed in 1951 by the Bureau of Public Roads (the predecessor of the Federal Highway Administration), and the National Park Service. The study recommended that, rather than constructing a …

Happy Hollow

aka: McLeod's Amusement Park
McLeod’s Amusement Park, more commonly known as Happy Hollow, served as one of Hot Springs’s most popular tourist attractions from the late 1800s until the 1940s. It was located at the head of Fountain Street, just off Central Avenue, and north of Hot Springs Mountain. Photographer Norman McLeod owned and operated Happy Hollow from the time of its founding through 1908. McLeod, who was born in Georgia, became a wanderer after his college days, when he came to Hot Springs (Garland County) in 1888 and established his business. Happy Hollow began as a picture studio. The amusement park complex gradually developed from McLeod’s vision. He owned Happy Hollow until 1908, when he sold the property to Dave Anselberg. T. E. …

Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash

aka: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home
When the Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash opened in 2014, it became the fourth heritage site established by Arkansas State University (ASU) to preserve the history and culture of eastern Arkansas. The site consists of two main structures in Dyess (Mississippi County): the Dyess Administration Building, located at 110 Center Drive, and the Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash, located at 4791 W. County Road 924. The museum allows visitors to explore the construction of one of America’s first and largest New Deal agricultural resettlement colonies, see what it was like to live in the colony, and learn how colony life influenced and helped shape legendary musician Johnny Cash as well as music promoter Gene Williams. The white, …

IQ Zoo

Founded in 1955, the IQ Zoo of Hot Springs (Garland County) allowed visitors to view animals in their natural habitats and watch them perform trained behaviors that showcased the psychological concept known as operant conditioning. The zoo, at 380 Whittington Avenue, became a destination for tourists seeking entertainment but also attracted the attention of companies such as General Mills and Walt Disney Enterprises, which were eager to market the animal performances. The IQ Zoo is the first known attraction of this type, though other tourist attractions have been based on the IQ Zoo model. IQ Zoo founders Keller Breland and Marian Breland met while working under renowned psychologist B. F. Skinner in the early 1940s. During World War II, the Brelands …

Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center

The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center located in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) is one of four nature centers owned and operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). It interprets the natural environment of the Arkansas River Valley, as well as expands upon the mission of the agency, which is to manage the fish and wildlife resources in Arkansas while providing an enjoyable experience for visitors. The 14,000-square-foot nature center is located on 170 acres of land typical of the river valley, along with a twelve-acre manmade lake. The facility features exhibits interpreting the natural history of the area, and nature trails around the property give visitors a first-hand view. The four nature centers built by the …

Kenda Drive-In

The Kenda Drive-In was opened in April 1966 in Marshall (Searcy County) by Kenneth and Marilyn Sanders. The Sanderses were already running the in-door Ken Theatre in downtown Marshall when they decided to build a drive-in theater on six acres on the north side of town. They named the new business the Kenda Drive-In after their daughter. The couple ran both theaters for two years until the Ken Theatre burned in 1968. Kenneth and Marilyn Sanders enlisted the help of their sons, Steve and Bill, and daughter Kenda in running the drive-in—mowing, picking up trash, running the projection booth, and working the concessions. Running seven nights a week with a rotation of as many as four movies per week was …

King of Clubs

Part of an informal network of roadside nightclubs, often called roadhouses, the King of Clubs operated for more than fifty years under the ownership of Bob and Evelyn King until they sold the club in 2003. Located on U.S. Highway 67, just north of Swifton (Jackson County), the club was a familiar stop for some of the most famous pioneers in rock and roll music in the 1950s. These performers traveled constantly, making extra money and promoting their records by playing dances and shows in countless venues in cities, small towns, and in roadhouses such as the King of Clubs, which was especially favored by those who played the more southern form of rock and roll commonly termed rockabilly. Those …

Little Rock Zoo

The Little Rock Zoo is Arkansas’s only public zoo. Since its beginning, the zoo has grown and become a major attraction in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The zoo began in 1926, with only an abandoned timber wolf and a brown bear. Soon after, the Arkansas Democrat began a public campaign for the zoo and bought three buffalo with the funds it had raised. The public donated small animals, while others were donated through the help of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The city bought a lion, and several deer were donated. The zoo was then part of the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department. In 1928, the city hired a carnival, and the zoo received the proceeds of its …

MacArthur Park

The thirty-six-acre MacArthur Park is the oldest municipal park in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Located at 9th Street and McAlmont Street across the street from the St. Edward Catholic Church and just west of Interstate 30, it includes the Arkansas Arts Center and the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. The park and its surrounding area have been designated the MacArthur Park Historic District. In many ways, the park preserves the history of the city of Little Rock and the state of Arkansas, as well as providing recreational opportunities for citizens of Little Rock and visitors to the city. The first known use of the land that would become MacArthur Park was as a horse racetrack in the 1830s. In 1836, …

Memphis-Arkansas Speedway

During a four-year span in the 1950s, the Memphis-Arkansas Speedway located near Lehi (Crittenden County) was the longest racetrack and one of the fastest racetracks on the NASCAR circuit. Only Darlington Speedway in South Carolina and the beach course in Daytona, Florida, saw speeds exceeding the Arkansas speedway’s. In the twenty-first century, approximately a third of premier NASCAR races are run on 1.5 mile, oval tracks; the Memphis-Arkansas Speedway was the first of this kind of track. The paper clip–shaped track, one and half miles in length, was made up of 550-foot-radius, high-banked turns, connected by 2,500-foot straights. “I remember going there a long time ago. We raced there in the summer and I went with Daddy,” said seven-time NASCAR …

Monte Ne (Benton County)

Monte Ne (Benton County) was a resort town founded by William H. “Coin” Harvey in 1900. It had the world’s largest log hotels, designed by architect A. O. Clark, and attracted visitors from across the country for more than two decades. It was the site of Harvey’s nomination to the Liberty Party’s 1932 presidential ticket and the location for his planned monument to the future. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Located five miles southeast of Rogers (Benton County), Monte Ne began as the community of Silver Springs. Betty Blake Rogers, financial advisor and spouse to entertainer Will Rogers, was born here in 1879. Harvey, who had worked all over the country as a lawyer, silver …

Museum of Discovery

The Museum of Discovery, founded in 1927, is the oldest museum in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Its mission as of 2012 is “to ignite a passion for science, technology and math in a dynamic, interactive environment.” The original name of the Museum of Discovery was the Museum of Natural History and Antiquities, and it was founded by local author Julia Burnell (Bernie) Smade Babcock. She created the institution in response to the commonly held belief outside the state that Arkansas had no cultural centers and that its citizens were “bumpkins.” The museum’s articles of incorporation emphasized popular education and intellectual subject matter, “encouraging and developing the study of natural science…to the end of furnishing popular instruction and advancing educational standards.” …

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

aka: Oaklawn Jockey Club
Even before the Civil War, the former pasture where Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort now stands in Hot Springs (Garland County) was home to impromptu races between local farm boys riding their fastest ponies. Today, the track is Arkansas’s only thoroughbred horse racing venue and the lone remaining gambling center in a city once known as much for its casinos as for its famous thermal baths. The popularity of Sportsman’s Park, built on the southeastern edge of Hot Springs in the early 1890s, sparked an interest in developing the sport of thoroughbred horse racing in the area. Following the 1903 repeal of anti-gambling laws, Essex Park was built in 1904. Charles Dugan, Dan Stuart, and John Condon—owners of the Southern Club—decided …

Ohio Club

The Ohio Club at 336 Central Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County) is considered Arkansas’s oldest continually operating bar. It was founded by John “Coffee” Williams and his nephew, Sam Watt, in 1905. It became a popular watering hole and meeting place for notorious figures such as Al Capone, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, as well as local legends like Owen “Owney” Madden and Arkansas gambling czar William Stokley Jacobs. The Ohio Club has never closed its doors despite bans on both gambling and alcohol. The Ohio Club was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Hot Springs Central Avenue Historic District on June 25, 1985. In 1905, Coffee Williams and Sam Watt …

Old Mill

Famous for its appearance in the opening credits of the 1939 classic movie Gone with the Wind, the Old Mill in the five-acre T. R. Pugh Memorial Park in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) contains the work of noted Mexican sculptor Dionicio Rodriguez, who perfected the folk art style known as faux bois (fake wood) by crafting reinforced concrete to resemble petrified logs. Justin Matthews, the developer of the town’s Park Hill and Lakewood subdivisions, hired Rodriguez in 1932 to create a tourist attraction for his new suburban development. Formally named Pugh’s Mill in honor of Matthews’s lifelong friend Thomas R. Pugh, the mill features a two-story stone building, bridges, benches, and other examples of Rodriguez’s art, all designed to …

Ostrich Farm in Hot Springs

In the early twentieth century, a number of distinctive tourist attractions enjoyed tremendous popularity in the resort city of Hot Springs (Garland County). These attractions drew visitors to the town, as did the Spa City’s hot springs. Beginning in 1900, one of the city’s most remarkable places to visit was the Ostrich Farm on Whittington Avenue. After the Civil War, visitors from all parts of the country began to pour into Hot Springs. With the increasing patronage and resulting improvements in facilities and services, the sleepy little village rapidly acquired the characteristics of a wide-open boom town. By the end of the 1870s, Hot Springs enjoyed widespread acclaim across the nation as a health resort. Naturally, the health seekers needed …

Ouachita National Forest

The Ouachita National Forest, originally called the Arkansas National Forest, was created through an executive order issued by President Theodore Roosevelt on December 18, 1907. Forest Service Chief Gifford Pinchot remarked at the time that this national forest was the only major shortleaf pine forest under the federal government’s protection. In January 1908, the Arkansas Sentinel newspaper reprinted an article from Forestry and Irrigation Magazine that praised the hearty spirit of cooperation manifested by Arkansas’s people and spoke of benefits to be gained by the conservation of timber supplies. At first, the Arkansas National Forest consisted solely of reserved public domain lands (part of the Louisiana Purchase) south of the Arkansas River. The 1911 Weeks Law, which authorized federal purchase …

Ouachita National Recreation Trail

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail, an approximately 225-mile back country trail, runs east and west the length of the Ouachita Mountains. More commonly referred to as the “Ouachita Trail,” it lies primarily within the Ouachita National Forest. Most of the trail (177 miles) is in Arkansas, with forty-six miles extending into Oklahoma. Both ends of the trail are in state parks. The eastern terminus is in Pinnacle Mountain State Park west of Little Rock (Pulaski County); the western terminus is in Talimena State Park in Oklahoma. The trail also crosses a third state park, Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Polk County. Terrain across the length of the trail is rugged, providing a variety of hiking experiences and scenic opportunities. Elevation …

Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail

The Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail is a 165-mile-long hiking and backpacking route across northwestern Arkansas. The trail’s western terminus is Lake Fort Smith State Park in Crawford County, and its eastern terminus lies within the Buffalo National River park in Searcy County. The trail runs almost entirely through the Ozark National Forest, which regulates use. The Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT), as it is often called, was created by the National Forest Service in the 1970s, though inadequate federal funding limited route planning and construction to short segments. In response, area hiking enthusiasts in 1981 formed the Ozark Highlands Trail Association (OHTA). This all-volunteer group took over trail design and construction, completing the OHT in 1984. The association, working in …

Ozark Mountain Folk Fair

The Ozark Mountain Folk Fair was a music festival and craft fair held north of Eureka Springs (Carroll County) in 1973 on Memorial Day weekend (May 26–28). The festival drew an audience from around the United States, with an estimated attendance of up to 30,000, and featured a diverse mix of rock, blues, bluegrass, gospel, country, and folk music performances. The rise of 1960s and early 1970s counterculture throughout America was especially relevant within the environmental back-to-the-land movement burgeoning in the Arkansas Ozarks, in which people sought a more mindful and sustainable way of life and rejected commercial aspects of society. In this culture, journalist Edd Jeffords, founder of the Ozark Mountain Folklore Association, organized the Ozark Mountain Folk Fair. …

Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

The Ozark-St. Francis National Forests are replete with distinct topographical, geological, and biological features. The forests are overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, which employs a multiple-use management concept to serve the best interests of the landowners and visitors. The forests serve as a source of renewable hardwood for industry and as prime recreation areas in the state. On December 18, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a proclamation creating the Arkansas National Forest (now the Ouachita National Forest) from the land south of the Arkansas River. On March 6, 1908, he signed the proclamation creating the Ozark National Forest from the land north of the river. The Ozark National Forest was the only major hardwood timberland …

Pig Trail Scenic Byway

The “Pig Trail” is the name of a winding, mountainous byway between Fayetteville (Washington County) and Ozark (Franklin County), one used for decades by students from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville and sports fans. A driver following the route travels on State Highway 16 southeast from Fayetteville just past Greasy Creek in Madison County to a junction called Brashears Switch, then turns right on the southbound State Highway 23 to Ozark and the intersection with U.S. Highway 64—some fifty-two miles. The Pig Trail Scenic Byway is a nineteen-mile stretch of this road located in the heart of the Boston Mountains, running through Ozark National Forest and over the Mulberry River. Today’s traveler is more likely to use the …

Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake

Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake is located near the small community of Casscoe (Arkansas County) approximately twenty miles southeast of Stuttgart (Arkansas County). The general purpose of the facility is conservation education, focusing on the bottomland hardwood forests and upland community of forests that surround the center. This is accomplished by introducing various audiences to hands-on outdoor learning activities. The property is recognized as an important wildlife sanctuary, especially for migrating waterfowl. In 1990, the forty-nine nations of the Ramsar Convention (an international treaty for conserving and sustainably utilizing wetlands) recognized the 200-acre Cook’s Lake and its surrounding property as a “wetland of international importance,” representing the diverse natural features of the Cache/Lower White River ecosystems. In 2001, …

Quigley’s Castle

The eighty-acre Quigley Farm is located four miles south of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Quigley’s Castle, which is located on the farm, conveys the unique design and creative workmanship of Elise Quigley. Quigley’s Castle was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places on May 30, 2003. The Quigley family had been cutting timber in the area since 1900. In 1921, W. D. Quigley, Elise Quigley’s father-in-law, chose the land to be the base of a new lumber operation. In 1930, W. D. Quigley deeded the property to his son, Albert, and Albert’s wife, Elise Fioravanti Quigley. Albert promised his bride a new house that she could design herself. Construction on the house began in 1943. Elise Quigley created a …

Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary

Opened in 1990 by Scott and Heidi Riddle, Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary, located on 330 acres outside of Greenbrier (Faulkner County), provides a permanent home for African and Asian elephants in need of sanctuary for any reason, regardless of age, sex, species, health, or temperament. Elephants come from private owners, circuses, or zoos. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit sanctuary—which raises money through grants and donations—houses up to a dozen elephants at any given time, with three baby elephants born at the facility as of 2010. Maximus, an African elephant born at the sanctuary in 2003, starred in Animal Planet’s television show Growing Up Elephant. Scott and Heidi Riddle met while both were working at the Los Angeles Zoo, and they married …

South Fork Nature Center

South Fork Nature Center (SFNC), which opened in 2010, is the Gates Rogers Foundation’s premier conservancy project. Located in central Arkansas just east of Clinton (Van Buren County), it lies in the Boston Mountains range of the Ozark Mountains on the banks of the South Fork of the Little Red River section of Greers Ferry Lake. Featuring two miles of interpretive nature trails on the peninsula and a spectacular view of the lake, the center serves as a model to educate and inspire the public to be aware of the environment, to protect vulnerable plant and animal species, and to adopt practices that are ecologically sound. It seeks to preserve Arkansas’s native flora and fauna in a manner that ensures …

Southern Club

The Southern Club was a gambling and entertainment facility established in 1893 in Hot Springs (Garland County) that gained notoriety during the 1930s as a hangout for visiting gangsters. Among the oldest structures in Hot Springs, the club is located at 250 Central Avenue near the center of the downtown business district. The building was added to the National Register of Historic places on June 25, 1985, as part of the Hot Springs Central Avenue Historic District. At the end of the nineteenth century, Hot Springs experienced tremendous growth as a health resort and spa. One of the buildings constructed during this period was the private club of Charles Dugan and Dan Stuart, the Southern Club, which was built and …