Entries - Entry Category: Recreation - Starting with S

Saline County Fair and Rodeo

The Saline County Fair and Rodeo is considered one of the oldest continual annual fairs in Arkansas, with roots going back to a small gathering at Riverside Park in Benton (Saline County) in 1908. In comparison, the first Arkansas Livestock Show—later changed to the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show—was held in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1938, although there were other efforts to create a state fair in the later part of the nineteenth century. Since its inception, the Saline County Fair has grown to include a parade, a full rodeo, livestock sales, games, carnival rides, contests, live music, and exhibits showing off locally made products. Since the beginning, the Saline County Fair has been managed and funded …

Sesquicentennial Celebration

The Arkansas Sesquicentennial Celebration was a year-long event in 1986 commemorating the 150th anniversary of Arkansas’s admission into the Union. The celebration sparked a renewed interest in Arkansas and local history. Arkansas was admitted to the Union as a state on June 15, 1836. In 1986, a series of statewide and local events were held to honor the anniversary. Planning for the sesquicentennial began in 1982, with Governor Frank White appointing an Arkansas Sesquicentennial Commission. Tom W. Dillard, director of the Department of Arkansas Natural and Cultural Heritage (now the Department of Arkansas Heritage), was appointed by White to lead the commission. In early 1985, the Arkansas General Assembly passed legislation awarding a $400,000 grant to the Department of Arkansas …

Shriners

aka: Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
Shriners International, formally known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, is a fraternal organization commonly known as the Shriners. The order inducted its first two Master Masons on August 13, 1870, and the remaining eleven charter members on June 16, 1871. Arkansas has two chapters: Sahara Shrine in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), founded in 1889 and chartered the next year; and Scimitar Shrine in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), founded in Little Rock (Pulaski County) as Al Amin Temple in 1904 and chartered early the next year. Historically, to become a noble of the Shrine, a potential member had to complete three degrees and a series of tests to become a Master Mason of …

Six Bridges Book Festival

The Six Bridges Book Festival is an annual celebration of literacy, language, and the written word. The event was begun by Arkansas Literacy Councils, Inc., (ALC) with the goals of increasing awareness of the importance of literacy and raising funds for adult literacy programs in Arkansas—all through a culturally vibrant event that highlights the state of Arkansas and its rich literary heritage. The festival started in 2002 as the Arkansas Literary Festival (known as Lit Fest), and the Central Arkansas Library System took over management of the festival in 2008, renaming it the Six Bridges Book Festival in 2019. Proceeds from the event benefit the state’s community-based literacy programs that recruit and train volunteers to help adults improve their basic …

Smith, George Rose

George Rose Smith was a prominent twentieth-century lawyer and state Supreme Court justice. He remains the longest-serving Arkansas Supreme Court justice. George Rose Smith was born on July 26, 1911, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), one of five children of Hay Watson Smith, a minister who served as the pastor of Little Rock’s Second Presbyterian Church for almost forty years, and Jessie Rose Smith. He received his early education in the Little Rock schools before graduating first in his class from Little Rock High School in 1928. Following graduation, Smith went to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He soon returned home, however, to attend the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He graduated first in his …

Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV)

The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) is a historical, patriotic, and non-political organization established to honor the memory of soldiers who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. In Arkansas, there are eighteen camps of the SCV (as of 2010), and the organization works to commemorate Arkansas’s Confederate heritage through annual memorial events and more. The SCV is a direct offshoot of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV), a voluntary organization of many veterans who fought for the Confederacy during its brief existence (1861–1865). The SCV was organized at Richmond, Virginia, in 1896 at the convention of the UCV. Initially, the SCV was charged with two duties: assisting the UCV and its elderly members at their conventions and other activities, …

South Arkansas Arboretum State Park

South Arkansas Arboretum State Park preserves native flora and fauna of the West Gulf Coastal Plain while offering educational and recreational activities for visitors. Located in El Dorado (Union County), it is Arkansas’s only natural state park located within a city. Added to the state park system in the 1990s, it is Arkansas’s fiftieth state park. The late James Riley, a biology teacher at the adjacent El Dorado High School, is credited as the driving force behind the arboretum’s creation, including securing federal education grants for land acquisition and early development. Using an office in the high school, Riley devised a plan to use land belonging to the school system for educational displays, scientific studies, and a park-like setting for …

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 …

Southland Park Gaming and Racing

aka: Southland Greyhound Park
Southland Park Gaming and Racing, formerly known as Southland Greyhound Park, is a gambling and entertainment center in West Memphis (Crittenden County) near the intersection of Interstates 55 and 40. Begun as a dog-racing track, it now includes games of skill such as blackjack and live poker games played with electronic cards along with trivia contests, karaoke, and live music. Southland Park began as a dog track in 1956. It was the only gambling venue in the Mid-South region and drew visitors from several nearby states. The track offered pari-mutuel betting (French for “mutual stake”), a system common to horse racing as well as greyhound racing. In this system, bets are put together in a pool with odds established before …

St. Francis National Scenic Byway

The St. Francis Scenic Byway is a twenty-one-mile stretch of road wholly within the St. Francis National Forest linking Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) and Marianna (Lee County) and traversing the hilly southern portion of Crowley’s Ridge; it is designated a National Forest Scenic Byway. The route merges Arkansas Highway 44 and Forest Service Road 1900, combining nine miles of pavement and fourteen miles of well-tended gravel. Rambling across national forest lands, this corridor is included in both the Crowley’s Ridge Parkway and the Great River Road. The Federal Highway Administration oversees the National Scenic Byways Program, America’s Byways, yet the title “byway” may be bestowed by some 600 byway organizations, both government and private. The National Forest Service initiated its …

State Parks Division

aka: State Parks
aka: Arkansas State Parks
The State Parks Division, which is part of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism, manages the state’s fifty-two state parks and promotes the state of Arkansas as a tourist destination for people around the country. Arkansas’s first state park, Petit Jean State Park, was established in 1923 after the passage of Act 276, which authorized the commissioner of state lands to accept land donations for state parks and reservations. However, the state did not have an agency overseeing the development of state parks until 1927, when the legislature, through Act 172, created the seven-member State Parks Commission “to select and acquire such areas of the State of Arkansas which, by reason of their natural features, scenic beauty and …

Strengthen the Arm of Liberty Monuments

The Strengthen the Arm of Liberty Monuments in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Fayetteville (Washington County) are replicas of the Statue of Liberty. They were erected in the 1950s as part of a patriotism campaign conducted by the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts were incorporated on February 8, 1910, bringing to America a program begun in Great Britain by Robert S. S. Baden-Powell. By 1912, Boy Scouts were enrolled in every state in the Union. The Boy Scouts, with their famous motto “Be Prepared,” participated in local and national efforts to offer assistance in patriotic campaigns. The Cub Scouts, enrolling younger boys, were established in 1930, and by 1935, there were 1,027,833 active Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts …