Locations

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Arkansas Confederate Home

The Arkansas Confederate Home was opened late in 1890 in a small remodeled residence on some sixty acres near Sweet Home (Pulaski County) through the efforts of the Ex-Confederate Association of Arkansas. This organization, composed of a group of philanthropic-minded Confederate veterans, founded the home to care for indigent Confederate veterans, along with their widows and orphans, in Arkansas. At its peak, it housed over 200.  On May 21, 1890, the Sweet Home site, consisting of sixty acres and a frame building, was purchased by the association for $3,000. The legislature made its first appropriation of $10,000 for the upkeep of the home in 1891. At that time, the facility included the original frame structure and two buildings referred to as …

Arkansas Military Institute

The Arkansas Military Institute was one of the earliest schools of its kind in the state. Established in Tulip (Dallas County) during the town’s heyday as the “Athens of Arkansas,” the school instructed male students in the subjects of the day as well as in military history, tactics, and procedures—skills some would eventually employ as Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, an event that would also signal the demise of the institution, as well as the community that supported it. By the mid-1850s, the school had shifted its focus away from military pursuits. In August 1849, George Douglass Alexander established the Alexander Institute in Tulip for the education of both girls and boys. Less than a year later, Alexander persuaded …

Arkansas National Guard Museum

The Arkansas National Guard Museum’s primary mission is to collect information and artifacts relating to the Arkansas National Guard and its militia predecessor and make that information and those artifacts available to the public and to posterity. In addition, the museum tells the story of Camp Pike/Camp Robinson. It is located in Lloyd England Hall on Camp Robinson in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Lloyd England Hall, originally constructed in 1931, is on the National Register of Historic Places. There has been a museum in Lloyd England Hall since the mid-1970s. The hall was constructed in 1932 as a multi-purpose center with a reading room, writing room, and large area with a stage and a balcony that held a movie …

Arkansas State Veterans Cemeteries

Two Arkansas State Veterans Cemeteries have been established in the state to accept the interments of military veterans and selected family members. In 1997, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 235 to authorize the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs to establish and operate a state veterans’ cemetery system. National cemeteries are located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Fayetteville (Washington County), and Fort Smith (Sebastian County). In 2001, the Little Rock National Cemetery closed to new interments with the exception of veterans or eligible family members in an existing gravesite. In an effort to offer additional burial locations for veterans and their families, the state veterans’ cemetery system was created. The system uses eligibility guidelines to determine which veterans and family …

Batesville National Guard Armory

aka: Abraham Armory
The Batesville National Guard Armory at 380 South Ninth Street in Batesville (Independence County) is a single-story, Art Deco–style structure built in 1936–1937 with assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 1998. Citizen-soldier militias have had a constant presence in the United States since the colonial era, but it was not until Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903—also known as the Dick Act for sponsor Senator Charles W. F. Dick, chairman of the Committee on the Militia—that the National Guard became an official partner in the nation’s armed services, receiving federal support for training, equipment, and wages. Arkansas’s state militia was …

Batteries A, B, C, and D (Battle of Helena)

Batteries A, B, C, and D are fortifications used by the Federal army during the Civil War to protect the city of Helena (Phillips County) from enemy attack. Along with Fort Curtis, these fortifications formed the core of the Helena defenses, most notably during the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena. When the Army of the Southwest arrived in Helena after the Battle of Pea Ridge, Major General Samuel Ryan Curtis immediately began to fortify the approaches to the city. As Helena was deep in Confederate territory, the forts were necessary to prevent the destruction of the Union army in the town. The batteries were named A, B, C, and D, with A at the northern edge of the line …

Blue Star Memorial Highways

Markers for Blue Star Memorial Highways, which honor members of the armed forces, are located along highways across the United States, including several examples in Arkansas. Members of the National Council of State Garden Clubs envisioned creating “living memorials” for members of the armed services who served during World War II, rather than monuments or buildings. The first Blue Star roadway was established in New Jersey in 1945 following work completed the previous year. A five-and-a-half-mile section of road was named Blue Star Drive, and dogwood trees were planted along the road. The state legislature designated the roadway a memorial and banned the posting of billboards along the route. The project was well received and approved by the National Council …

Camden Army Air Field

aka: Harrell Field
Camden Army Air Field (a.k.a. Harrell Field) was one of three contract primary flying schools located in Arkansas during World War II. The other two were at Grider Field in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Thompson-Robbins Field in West Helena (Phillips County). The Arkansas communities where the schools were located gained much-needed jobs not only for the construction phase but also from operation of the schools. The need for these contract flying schools arose because Kelly Field in Texas could only graduate 500 pilots a year, and most of the current Army Air Force (AAF) pilots did not have enough flying hours to be instructors. AAF’s commanding general, Henry Arnold, devised a plan for contract primary flying schools located in …

Camden Water Battery

The Camden Water Battery was part of a system of Civil War fortifications that Confederate soldiers built in late 1864 to protect the city of Camden (Ouachita County) and block any Union movements toward Shreveport, Louisiana. In mid-September 1864, Major General Sterling Price led a force of 12,000 Confederate men—including most of the cavalry serving in the state—on a raid into Missouri, which left only a few infantry divisions around Washington (Hempstead County) to defend southern Arkansas. Those troops were under the command of Major General John Bankhead “Prince John” Magruder, who faced the challenge of defending southwestern Arkansas as aggressive Federal patrols probed the region in the absence of Price and the Confederate cavalry. Magruder’s ability to defend the …

Camp Hot Springs

To alleviate overcrowding of German and Italian prisoners of war (POWs) in Great Britain and the rest of Europe, the United States assisted its Allies by transporting around 425,000 POWs to the United States. Approximately 500 POW camps were located across America, and Arkansas accepted its first POWs in 1943. Eventually, the state took in about 23,000 German and Italian prisoners, mainly from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps. In 1945, the U.S. Army designated a portion of Lake Catherine State Park as a prisoner-of-war camp and identified it as Camp Hot Springs. The compound seems to have been located on what later was known as Picnic Hill. It was one of thirty-three branch camps, or side camps, from the …

Camp Jesse Turner

Camp Jesse Turner, located on Pickett Hill on the east side of Van Buren (Crawford County), was a small, specialized railroad training camp for soldiers to learn to operate railroads captured in enemy territory, worldwide, during World War II. It was briefly named Camp Walter Johnson, but on September 24, 1943, the press reported a name change to honor Jesse Turner, a justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court from the area. The soldiers assigned to four Railroad Operating Battalions (ROBs)—the 759th, 748th, 733rd, and 734th—were trained in the Missouri Pacific Railroad yards and roundhouse in Van Buren. Their weapons of war were locomotives, cars, tracks, bridges, telephone and telegraph lines, and repair shops. In 1941, the federal government allocated funds …

Camp Joseph T. Robinson

aka: Camp Pike
aka: Camp Robinson
Camp Robinson in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) is home to the Arkansas National Guard and is the principal training area for the Arkansas Army National Guard. It is also used by a number of other military and civilian agencies. The forerunner to Camp Robinson was known as Camp Pike, named in honor of General Zebulon Montgomery Pike. The camp was awarded to the central Arkansas area due to the efforts of the Little Rock Board of Commerce. The board offered, at no cost to the U.S. government, the purchase and lease of the lands needed to establish the post. Little Rock (Pulaski County) was awarded the camp on June 11, 1917, and the money needed to fulfill the promises …

Camp Lee

Camp Lee was a small military instruction camp near Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) used by the Confederate States of America. Two camps in Arkansas reportedly shared the name, the other being near Lewisville (Lafayette County). The camp in Pine Bluff was established near Lee Springs Road, about three quarters of a mile west of Camp White Sulphur Springs, in August 1861. At first, Camp Lee was used to muster several Arkansan units. The camp was used in August to house the Ninth Arkansas Infantry Regiment (CS). The camp was established because Pine Bluff and the surrounding facilities could not house several regimental-sized units. Shortly after establishment, the Ninth Arkansas Infantry was brought to Pine Bluff; records show that the regiment’s …

Camp Magnolia

Camp Magnolia, also known as Civilian Public Service Camp No. 7, was the only World War II–era work camp in Arkansas established for religious conscientious objectors (COs). There, COs engaged in much the same work as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and took part in government-controlled medical experiments. The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 contained a provision that allowed those who objected to military service on grounds of religious or personal beliefs to render public service for the nation in alternative settings. This provision had been the result of intense lobbying by historic peace churches, such as the Society of Friends (Quakers), the Mennonites, and the Church of the Brethren. When conscription for the anticipated war began on …

Camp Monticello

Camp Monticello was a World War II prisoner-of-war (POW) camp south of Monticello (Drew County). The camp was built in the southeastern part of the state because that area offered the required rural, isolated location. Advocacy by local civic leaders like Congressman William F. Norrell and the need for labor in the agricultural and timber industries also influenced the site choice. The camp, which housed Italian POWs, was one of four main camps and thirty branch camps in Arkansas that interned Axis prisoners. The 1929 Geneva Convention regulated many of the conditions within POW camps. POWs were to be treated the same as the troops of the retaining power. Therefore, Camp Monticello was built to the standards of American military …

Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery

Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery, located approximately four miles southeast of Cabot (Lonoke County), is the site of a mass grave with as many as 1,500 soldiers who died of various diseases. It is one of a small number of all-Confederate cemeteries in Arkansas. In 1862, thousands of Confederate soldiers from Texas and Arkansas began to gather near the settlement of Austin (Lonoke County), about thirty miles northeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Perhaps as many as 20,000 soldiers camped in the area named Camp Hope. Life in camp was routine, with the exception of a mutiny in the summer of 1862 by a number of soldiers whose enlistment had expired. After the initial group deserted—disgruntled about the lack of pay—nine …

Camp White Sulphur Springs Confederate Cemetery

Camp White Sulphur Springs, located in the community of Sulphur Springs (Jefferson County) two miles southwest of present-day Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), served as a staging and training facility for the Confederate army during the early parts of the Civil War. Later in the war, the camp and surrounding area functioned as a Confederate military hospital following a smallpox outbreak. In the early stages of the war, Camp White Sulphur Springs served as a recruiting and staging area for volunteers who came from Pine Bluff and the surrounding towns to organize and assign troops to various units. Early in the war, the Ninth Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment and Fagan’s Guard, which later became B Company of the Second Arkansas Infantry …

Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System

The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare provider. It is part of the South Central VA Health Care Network (VISN 16), which includes facilities in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida. CAVHS, a tertiary care facility classified as a Level 1b on the VA Complexity Model, is one of the largest and busiest VA medical centers in the country and was recognized nationally in 2010 with the Robert W. Carey Performance Excellence Award—the highest honor a VA facility can receive for quality achievement and service excellence. The system’s two hospitals, John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), …