Entries - Entry Type: Thing - Starting with F

Face in the Crowd, A

A Face in the Crowd was a 1957 movie drama based on the short story, “Your Arkansas Traveler,” written by Budd Schulberg. It concerns a fictional Arkansas native, its opening scenes were set in northeast Arkansas, and it was filmed on location in Piggott (Clay County) using local residents as extras. The film marked the screen debut of Andy Griffith and Lee Remick, along with being Walter Matthau and Tony Franciosa’s first major roles. It is significant for its prophetic theme of the cult of celebrity, the power of television, and the merging of entertainment and politics. Writer Budd Wilson Schulberg (1914–) and director Elia Kazan (1909–2003) had previously worked together on the film, On the Waterfront (1954), based on …

Factory System

aka: Indian Trading Posts
aka: Indian Factory System
The Indian factory system was a system of trading posts created by an act of Congress in 1795 with the express intention of developing and maintaining Native American friendship and allegiance through government control of trade on the frontiers of the new nation. Within the present borders of the state of Arkansas, three factories were established for this purpose: Arkansas Post (1805–1810), Spadra Bayou (1817–1822), and Sulphur Fork (1818–1822). The United States took formal possession of Arkansas Post (Arkansas County) from Spanish authorities on March 23, 1804. An Indian factory (or trading post) was established in October 1805 with James B. Treat as factor (or chief trader). Most of the trade was directed to the local Quapaw. However, prior to the establishment …

Fairchild, Barry Lee (Trial and Execution of)

On August 31, 1995, Barry Lee Fairchild became the eleventh Arkansan put to death under the state’s modern capital punishment statute, despite controversy over the methods used to extract a confession that was later repudiated by Fairchild. On February 26, 1983, Arkansas state troopers pursued a car driven by two black males who managed to abandon their car and run away. The car was later identified as belonging to Marjorie “Greta” Mason, whose body was found the next day near an abandoned farmhouse in Lonoke County. Mason, a twenty-two-year-old U.S. Air Force nurse, had been raped and shot twice in the head. Six days later, acting on information provided by a confidential source, police arrested brothers Robert and Barry Lee …

Fairview Cemetery—Confederate Section

The Confederate Section of Fairview Cemetery, near the junction of 10th and McKibben streets in Van Buren (Crawford County), is the burial site of Confederate soldiers who died in the area during the Civil War. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 1996. After the Civil War began in 1861, the City of Van Buren donated a plot of land in the ten-acre city cemetery that John Drennen had donated as a burial ground in 1846. At least 100 Confederate soldiers, most of whom died of disease, were buried at the site during the war, and the remains of others were moved there from battlefield graves after the war ended. Ultimately, around 460 soldiers …

Far West Seminary

In the mid-1840s, the Far West Seminary, a planned collegiate-level educational institution in northwest Arkansas, failed due to political and religious factionalism, economic hard times, and a major fire. However, the effort proved to be a seedbed for other northwest Arkansas educational endeavors prior to the Civil War that helped Fayetteville (Washington County) earn the nickname “the Athens of Arkansas.” After the state failed to use its federal seminary grant to create a state university, northwest Arkansas educators and promoters in 1840 began discussing the need for a facility for higher education. On August 12, 1843, a group of interested citizens gathered at the Mount Comfort Meeting House, located three miles northwest of Fayetteville. This meeting resulted in the creation …

Farkleberry

Farkleberry is a common name for the shrub species Vaccinium arboreum of the family Ericaceae and is sometimes called the sparkleberry. This bushy evergreen is native to the southeastern United States and ranges from the East Coast to west Texas. It bears small, black berries that are appealing to birds but not to humans. The shrub, which can grow to be about twenty-five feet tall, is not generally considered desirable or valuable, but its bark has been used to tan leather and its wood to make tool handles. In Arkansas, however, the farkleberry has been long associated with Arkansas governor Orval Eugene Faubus due to cartoons drawn by George Edward Fisher. The shrub is nearly unknown today, but its funny-sounding …

Faulkner County Courthouse

The Faulkner County Courthouse, located at 801 Locust Street in Conway (Faulkner County), consists of brick and concrete masonry construction standing four stories tall. This building blends Colonial Revival and Art Deco styles, with the Colonial Revival details including the arched fanlight windows, accentuated front door, and classic pilasters. The Art Deco style has been artfully merged into it, evidenced by the smoothly rising vertical projection above the straight roofline, as well as the decorative accents on the building, such as the corner quoins and the symmetrical façade. The Faulkner County Courthouse was not the first courthouse built in Conway. In September 1873, the Board of Commissioners of Faulkner County selected Conway as the county seat. Asa Robinson, the chief …

Faulkner County Museum

The Faulkner County Museum is located near the Faulkner County Courthouse at 801 Locust Street in downtown Conway (Faulkner County). The museum features various exhibits of local history, including a circa 1850 dogtrot cabin, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) exhibit, and sports memorabilia from local athletes Ivan Grove, Bob Courtway, Stacy Pinkett, Elijah Pitts, Bryce Molder, and Scottie Pippen, among others. The upstairs portion of the museum showcases a model railroad built by museum volunteers. This exhibit replicates the Missouri Pacific Railroad’s path through Faulkner County. The building housing the Faulkner County Museum was used as a jail from 1896 until 1936, when a new courthouse/jail was built by the WPA. The old jail was renovated by the WPA and …

Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery

The Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville (Washington County) is the final resting place of Confederate soldiers who died throughout northwestern Arkansas. Closely associated with the activities of the Southern Memorial Association (SMA) and its efforts to commemorate Southern war casualties, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 3, 1993. The SMA of Washington County was established on June 10, 1872, when several women met in answer to a notice in the June 6 Fayetteville Democrat calling for establishment of a “Confederate burying ground.” SMA president Lizzie Pollard noted twenty-five years later, “Out of the many who answered this call, there were but thirty-eight enthusiastic enough to undertake the task to which we that day pledged …

Fayetteville Polka

“The Fayetteville Polka” was written by Austrian immigrant Ferdinand Zellner in honor of his adopted hometown of Fayetteville (Washington County). It was accepted for publication in 1856, becoming what is said to be the first published piece of sheet music by an Arkansan. Ferdinand Zellner came to the United States in 1850, when the showman P. T. Barnum brought Swedish soprano Jenny Lind from Europe to the United States on a concert tour that ran through 1852. Called the “Swedish Nightingale,” she was one of the greatest coloratura sopranos of the nineteenth century, possessing a voice of outstanding range and quality. Zellner, a young Austrian violinist, accompanied her on her prestigious U.S. tour. At the end of Lind’s U.S. tour …

Fayetteville Shale

The natural gas field known as the Fayetteville Shale, development of which began in 2004, became recognized as one of the ten largest gas fields in the United States. The exploration of this resource was initiated by Southwestern Energy Company, which, by its high point in 2008, had booked sufficient natural gas reserves to heat every home in New York City for four years. This large find attracted other operators, creating a large, although short-lived, economic stimulus for Arkansas. The Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) estimated the economic impact of the leasing programs, drilling operations, and royalty payments generated by the development in its first decade of operation at …

Ferguson House (Pine Bluff)

The Ferguson House, sometimes referred to as the Ferguson-Abbott House, is located on West 4thAvenue in the historic district of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). It was the first home in Pine Bluff to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which noted its historical and architectural significance within the community of Pine Bluff, as it has a unique architectural design and was the birthplace and childhood home of Martha Mitchell. The house was built by Calvin M. Ferguson, who was born in Chester, South Carolina, in 1852 and moved to Pine Bluff in 1893. Upon moving to Pine Bluff, he opened a grocery store with M. P. Russell, and he later started a wholesale grocery company with his son, …

Ferns

Ferns are among the most ancient plant forms, distinguished by having a defined vascular system, reproducing by spores, and often having deeply divided leaves that unfurl from a coiled fiddlehead (crozier). They originally appeared in the fossil record about 360 million years ago, but most modern ferns arose in the early Cretaceous period about 145 million years ago. Discussed here are “true” ferns as understood in the horticultural sense and not in the broader classification used by botanists that include horsetails (Equisetum, of which Arkansas has four species), whisk ferns (Psilotum, one species), and sometimes Selaginella (ten species). Using botanist James H. Peck’s inclusive 2011 list, Arkansas has about eighty species of true ferns that are native to the state, …

Festivals and Parades

Arkansas hosts a variety of annual festivals, fairs, and parades throughout the year. Some of the more well-known affairs, such as the Hope Watermelon Festival or the Arkansas Apple Festival, celebrate the centrality of agriculture to both local life and the wider state economy. Others celebrate some aspect of industry that is central to town life, such as the Malvern Brickfest or the Fordyce on the Cotton Belt Festival. A number of festivals focus upon arts and crafts, music, and movies, as well as an array of holiday-related celebrations centering upon Christmas or Independence Day. In addition, such events as Toad Suck Daze or the Lepanto Terrapin Derby simply provide opportunities for amusement.    For additional information: Arkansas South. http://www.arkansassouth.com/ …

Ficklin-Imboden Log House

The Ficklin-Imboden Log House, located in Powhatan (Lawrence Country), is considered the earliest house representing residential construction and architecture still standing in the twenty-first century in Powhatan. John A. Lindsay divided land in Powhatan into lots when the town was platted in 1849. The year before, Andrew Imboden married Lusinda E. Ficklin, niece of John Ficklin, who is credited with founding Powhatan. The newlyweds bought the lot where the log home would soon stand. The house is believed to have been constructed sometime between 1850 and 1853. The Ficklin-Imboden Log House location influenced the development of Powhatan. As imports and shipping on the Black River increased, jobs associated with lumber, trade, gristmills, farming, pearling, and fishing also emerged and attracted …

Fighting Mad

B-movie mogul Roger Corman was responsible for three films made in Arkansas. After directing Bloody Mama (1970), he produced Boxcar Bertha (1972), which was directed by Martin Scorsese, and Fighting Mad (1976), which was written and directed by Jonathan Demme. After directing three movies for Corman, Demme went on to direct major films like Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Philadelphia (1993). In 1976, Peter Fonda, the star of Fighting Mad, was near the end of his brief period of stardom after his hit Easy Rider (1969). Supporting actor Scott Glenn was at the beginning of his starring career. Corman once said that his films should have “a little violence but not too much; a little sex but not too …

Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, The

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs is a 2003 novel by international bestseller Alexander McCall Smith, who was born in Zimbabwe and has taught law both there and in Edinburgh, Scotland. A follow-up to Portuguese Irregular Verbs (originally self-published in 1996), the novel takes place partially in and around the campus of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs follows the comic misadventures of Professor Dr. Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of the Institute of Romance Philology in Regensburg, Germany, who is the pompous author of the linguistic monograph Portuguese Irregular Verbs. Von Igelfeld, who had regularly spurned invitations to lecture in the United States, finds himself seeking an opportunity to do exactly that …

Fish

Arkansas fishes are a combination of abundant and rare species—primitive and ancestral, commercial and sport, game and non-game, native and introduced, and transplanted and exotic. There are approximately 233 fish species in Arkansas. Arkansas has a relatively rich fish fauna compared to neighboring states (which range between 148 and 319 fish species). Some species, such as the western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), are common statewide, whereas other species, such as the yellowcheek darter (Etheostoma moorei), have more restricted distributions. Distinct differences in topography and geology between northwestern (upland) and southeastern (lowland) Arkansas have led to distinctly different groups of fish species developing in each of these regions. For example, because of an abundance of clear, gravel-bottom, flowing streams in northwestern Arkansas, …

Fishback School

Fishback School was established in 1885 as Washington County School District 68. At that time, the school was about two miles southeast of Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), in an area known for its fruit orchards. Two families, the Grahams and the Boyds, donated one-half acre each from their adjoining orchards as a location for the schoolhouse, a one-room wood-frame building. According to former Fishback student Truman Stamps, the school was named for William Meade Fishback, a prominent Fort Smith (Sebastian County) attorney and legislator who served as governor of Arkansas from 1893 to 1895. As was the case with most rural schools, grades one through eight were offered at Fishback. By 1915, enrollment at Fishback had grown to the …

Fitzgerald Station and Farmstead

Fitzgerald Station and Farmstead in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 27, 2003. Focusing on the time period 1857–1953, the National Register listing includes a barn used by Butterfield’s Overland Mail Company (1858–1861), an 1870s house, a stable, a pump house, a chicken house, a cistern, native stone entry markers, and an outdoor fire pit. Fitzgerald’s Station and Farmstead has also been designated by the National Park Service as a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. John Fitzgerald Sr. (1783–1875) and his wife, Mary Fitzgerald (1794–circa 1865), moved their family from Alabama to Washington County, Arkansas, in the late 1820s or early 1830s, settling on a …

Fitzhugh Snapp Company

Located six miles north of Augusta (Woodruff County) at the junction of County Roads 140 and 165, the Fitzhugh Snapp Company at Fitzhugh (Woodruff County) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 for its significance in two areas of merit: the general store’s important association with agriculture in Woodruff County and the building’s distinctive representation of twentieth-century commercial architecture. The Fitzhugh store was an integral part of an agricultural community that revolved around cotton production in the northeastern Arkansas Delta from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Rufus K. Fitzhugh and J. Harrison Snapp built the original wooden mercantile store in Fitzhugh, probably in the mid-to-late 1890s. Although its exact date of construction is not …

Flanagin Law Office

The Flanagin Law Office is located at 320 Clay Street in Arkadelphia (Clark County), across the street from the Clark County Courthouse. The building was finished by 1858 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1977. The office is named for Harris Flanagin, governor of Arkansas from 1862 to 1864. A New Jersey native, Flanagin moved to Arkansas from Illinois. Settling in the Clark County seat of Greenville, Flanagin moved to Arkadelphia when it became the county seat in 1842. The same year, he was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives, and in 1848 he was elected to the Arkansas Senate. In 1851, he married Martha Nash of Washington (Hempstead County). Sometime in that …

Fleas

Fleas are small, wingless, hematophagous (blood-feeding) ectoparasites that belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, and Order Siphonaptera. There are four recognized suborders—Ceratophyllomorpha, Hystrichopsyllomorpha, Pulicomorpha, and Pygiopsyllomorpha—with about 246 recognized genera and over 2,500 described species within sixteen families. Adult fleas feed on blood of mostly mammals (about ninety-four percent of known species), including dogs, cats, and humans, with the remainder of species parasitizing birds. Fleas are an important component of the worldwide biota. In addition, they can be nuisance biters, and some serve as vectors or intermediate hosts of flea-borne disease agents and parasites. The most recent summary listed twenty-nine species of fleas in Arkansas. Fleas are most closely related, evolutionarily speaking, to insects in the orders Diptera (true …

Flint Creek Power Plant

The Flint Creek Power Plant, located near Gentry (Benton County) and operated by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), is one of four coal-fired power plants in Arkansas. On April 9, 1974, SWEPCO and the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) jointly filed an application with the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) to build and operate a single-unit coal-fired power plant and related facilities in western Benton County near Gentry, close to the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line. SWEPCO would build and operate the plant. This application was the second request to build a major coal-fired generating plant in Arkansas filed within the first year after the Arkansas General Assembly adopted a law known as the Utility Facility Environmental Protection Act. The first request, …

Floods

Floods are one of the most commonly occurring natural hazards in the United States. Their effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or can occur in large scale, affecting entire river basins and several states. About 3,800 towns and cities in the United Sates with populations of more than 2,500 lie on floodplains. The National Weather Service has documented some ninety-two flood deaths per year in the United States since 1903. This figure does not include flood-related deaths associated with Hurricane Katrina (2005). Since 1997, more than half (about fifty-seven percent) of all flood deaths have been vehicle-related fatalities. Throughout its history, Arkansas has been drastically affected by floods, with the most notable being in 1927 and 1937. …

Florida Brothers Building

Constructed in 1936, the Florida Brothers Building is a commercial property located at 319 West Hale Avenue in Osceola (Mississippi County), directly across the street from the Works Progress Administration–built post office building. The structure is a one-story, flat-roofed building that features Indiana limestone and reflects the Art Deco style of architecture. The structure was built by Thomas P. Florida at the same time that he and his brothers, Andrew J. Florida and George H. Florida, constructed the First National Bank Building on the same block. It was designed to house the brothers’ real estate business, which had enjoyed considerable success during the Great Depression, allowing the Florida Brothers to lend millions of dollars to Mississippi County farmers and homeowners. …

Fly-fishing

Fishing for food and recreation has played a significant part in Arkansas’s history. Accounts of Hernando De Soto’s expedition mention Native Americans (possibly in northeastern Arkansas around the St. Francis River) having developed complex canals and marsh ponds for keeping fish to be caught later at a chief’s leisure. By the mid-1800s, early illustrations of Arkansas show anglers fishing from a bank with a rod and line (probably using a worm or minnow). In the 1920s and 1930s, as automobiles became more common, state parks and hatchery personnel discovered that fishermen did not hesitate to travel 200 miles or more to good fishing waters. Incidental newspaper reports began to appear about this time mentioning fly anglers traveling from Batesville (Independence …

Folk Music

Folk music is part of a society’s “unofficial culture,” much of which is passed on through face-to-face contact among close-knit people. Early folk music in Arkansas falls into two broad categories: folksongs (which do not present a narrative) and ballads (which tell a story). Folksong collectors sought to record and preserve this traditional music in the twentieth century, with Vance Randolph, John Quincy Wolf, and others working in Arkansas. The lyric folksong form of the blues developed in the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta regions in the late nineteenth century among the first generation of African Americans to come of age after slavery. Protest music of the early to mid-twentieth century, dealing with labor and social conditions—as well as war, civil rights, and …

Food and Foodways

Because nutrition is essential to human survival, the production and consumption of food has been central to life in what is now Arkansas for more than ten thousand years. Evolving social customs dictate when, where, and how food is presented. Because of Arkansas’s ties to rest of the South, as well as to the Southwest and Midwest, the core components of local food preparation followed traditional “American” lines, with little impact being felt from the small immigrant population. The globalization of food, mostly via restaurants, came generally after 1960. Prehistory The first humans in Arkansas, the Paleoindians, were hunter-gatherers. Despite Arkansas’s lack of excavated and analyzed sites, evidence from adjacent areas suggests that besides hunting the now-extinct mega animals (mammoths, …

Forest Fire Lookouts

aka: Fire Towers
Fire towers (also known as lookouts) go back thousands of years. The oldest lookout still standing is the Tuztoromy Firewatch Tower in Sopron, Hungary, which was built in the thirteenth century and remodeled in 1681. The first one built in America was in downtown Harlem, New York, constructed in 1856 in what is now Marcus Garvey City Park. The first fire lookout strictly for protection of American forests was built in 1902 at Bertha Hill near Headquarters, Idaho. At the height of their use (1930s to 1970s), Arkansas had more than 120 fire towers; in 1994, forty-eight were still standing. Arkansas has ten lookouts on the National Historic Lookout Register and three on the National Register of Historic Places. The …

Forest Management and Conservation

The Dictionary of Forestry defines “forest management” as the application of biophysical and socioeconomic principles to predominantly tree-covered lands to meet specific objectives while maintaining productivity. To this end, forest management encompasses the art and science of manipulating timberlands for a range of renewable natural resources, including (but not limited to) wood products, wildlife, water, clean air, carbon storage, biodiversity, aesthetics, and recreation. Conservation has always been an integral part of forest management, although its definition has evolved over the decades as the practice of forestry has matured. Today, conservation has more of an emphasis on long-term sustainability, but during the earliest years of professional forestry, any effort related to the non-exploitive treatment of forests was considered conservation. In Arkansas, …

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 …

Fort Bussey

Fort Bussey was an earthen fortification built astride the Military Road in Benton (Saline County) to protect Union forces occupying the town in late 1863 and early 1864. It was located at the intersection of the Military or Stagecoach Road and roads leading to Hot Springs (Garland County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The fort is no longer in existence, although remnants of it were still visible in the mid-twentieth century. With the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Union forces on September 10, 1863, Confederates retreated through Benton on the way to Arkadelphia (Clark County). Within a few days, Union cavalry entered Benton as they scouted southward. On September 22, 1863, the community was occupied by 500 cavalrymen …

Fort Hindman

Located on the Arkansas River near the site of Arkansas Post, Fort Hindman served as an important Confederate defensive fortification during the Civil War. Captured by a combined force of Federal troops and the Union navy, the fort was destroyed in 1863, and the site was eventually claimed by the river. On September 28, 1862, Major General Theophilus Holmes ordered the construction of fortifications along the Arkansas and White rivers. The construction of these fortifications was in direct response to Federal movements on the Mississippi River and followed a Union fleet attacking a Confederate post at St. Charles (Arkansas County), located on the White River. Located about twenty-five miles above the mouth of the Arkansas River, Arkansas Post was selected …

Fort Lincoln

aka: DeValls Bluff Fortifications
Fort Lincoln was an earthen fortification constructed in 1864 as part of the extensive network of earthworks Union forces built to protect the sprawling Federal base at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) during the Civil War. Confederate forces had used DeValls Bluff at various points early in the war because of its status as the eastern terminus of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad, which ran from the White River to the north side of the Arkansas River opposite Little Rock (Pulaski County). The site had few improvements, though, and what buildings were there were destroyed by Union raiders in January 1863. Major General Frederick Steele established a base at DeValls Bluff in August 1863 during his advance on Little Rock, …

Fort Logan H. Roots Military Post Historic District

aka: Fort Roots
In 1893, the U.S. Army chose Big Rock Mountain in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) as the location for one of its new military posts. Fort Logan H. Roots, as it was later named, served as an important military training facility in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Camp Pike (now Camp Joseph T. Robinson) was constructed to provide the military with a larger training facility. In 1921, Fort Roots was transferred to the Public Health Service and became a veterans’ hospital. Today, Fort Roots remains an important part of the Veterans Health Administration. The history of Fort Logan H. Roots begins with the history of Big Rock Mountain, …

Fort Smith Confederate Monument

The Fort Smith Confederate Monument is a sculpture erected in 1903 at the Sebastian County Courthouse in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) by the Varina Jefferson Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to commemorate local men who served in the Confederate army during the Civil War and to honor the Confederates buried in Fort Smith National Cemetery. Sebastian County supplied troops for both sides during the Civil War. In the initial months of the war, four infantry companies, a cavalry company, and an artillery battery joined the Arkansas State Troops, and at least five infantry companies and two companies of independent scouts were later raised for Confederate service. Sebastian County residents also enlisted in other Confederate units. U.S. troops …

Fort Smith Museum of History

Since 1910, the Fort Smith Museum of History has acquired, preserved, exhibited, and interpreted objects of historical significance relevant to the founding and growth of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and the region. Previously known as the Old Commissary Museum and the Old Fort Museum, the current name has identified the museum since 1999. The museum has its beginnings in 1910, when a group of local women learned that the city was planning to tear down its earliest remaining military structure. This building, known as the Old Commissary Building, was a significant historical site. Construction began in 1838, and it was used in various ways by the U.S. Army before being abandoned. It was purchased by the City of Fort Smith …

Fort Smith Regional Airport

The Fort Smith Regional Airport is a mixed-use airport located three miles southeast of Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The airport has two asphalt runways and scheduled commercial aviation to airports in Atlanta, Georgia, and Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas. The initial ideas for an airport date back to the Depression era. In 1939, two sod runways, built on land purchased with a municipal bond authorized in 1936, opened for business. The initial decade saw improvements such as hangars (1941) and paving of the runways (1945). During expansion projects, the two runways were extended from their initial length of 3,500 feet to 8,000 feet for the longer runway and 5,000 feet for the shorter. Construction of the control tower in 1951 permitted greater …

Fort Smith to Jackson Road

The Fort Smith to Jackson Road was one of several “military roads” the U.S. Congress funded during the 1830s to improve transportation in territorial Arkansas. A Baxter County segment of the road over which the John Benge detachment of Cherokee traveled in 1838 during the Trail of Tears was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 2004. On November 1, 1833, the Arkansas Territorial Assembly petitioned Congress to finance a road across northern Arkansas on the grounds that in “an immense extent of country, situated in the upper waters of White River comprising the counties of Lawrence, Izard and Washington, there is no great public road leading through any portion thereof [and the petitioners] would therefore suggest …

Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne was originally built in 1838 near the Arkansas-Oklahoma border for the defense of northwestern Arkansas and the Indian Territory to the west. In 1840, the fort was moved north to a spot about three miles southwest of present-day Maysville (Benton County). Although it was not in Arkansas, Fort Wayne played an important role in Arkansas-Cherokee relations following Indian Removal. After the Cherokee had settled in Indian Territory, political disagreements led to a three-way splintering of the Cherokee people: the Old Settlers who had moved west before the 1835 Treaty of New Echota was signed; the followers of John Ridge, who signed the treaty; and the followers of Chief John Ross, who had opposed the treaty outright. Fort Wayne …

Forts Lookout and Southerland

aka: Forts Southerland and Lookout
aka: Fort Diamond
Forts Lookout and Southerland are large earthen redoubts constructed in early 1864 to defend Camden (Ouachita County) from Federal attack during the Civil War. The forts were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 19, 1994, and designated as National Historic Landmarks on the same date as components of the Camden Expedition National Historic Landmark. In late 1863, following the September 10 capture of Little Rock (Pulaski County), Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith, Confederate commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, ordered Lieutenant General Theophilus Holmes to concentrate his forces along the Ouachita River to defend the approaches to Shreveport, Louisiana, against any Union advances to the south. Holmes, in turn, ordered Brigadier General Alexander T. Hawthorn, a prewar …

Fossils

Fossils are the remains of animals and plants that have been preserved in the earth’s crust. They can consist of the remains of invertebrates (animals without a backbone) or vertebrates (animals with a backbone). The majority of fossils in the fossil record, and from Arkansas, are invertebrate remains. Fossils are found mostly in sedimentary rocks, as compared to igneous and metamorphic rocks, and can form in a variety of ways. Animals living in the water column in the ocean die, and their shells or hard parts sink to the bottom of the seafloor and become preserved in sediments that later may lithify, or change to rock. Other animals crawl on the seafloor through sand and silt or burrow into the …

Fouke Monster

Fouke (Miller County) is a small town in southwest Arkansas that attracted attention in the early 1970s when a resident of Texarkana (Miller County) reported being attacked by a mysterious creature there. A reporter for the Texarkana Gazette wrote an article about the events, and from that small publication, a legend was born. Fouke and its monster became famous and were featured in a 1973 movie. In May 1971, Bobby Ford reported to the Fouke constable that he was attacked at his house by a hairy creature that breathed heavily, had red eyes, and moved very fast. Ford said the man-like creature, which was about seven feet tall and three feet across the chest, put its arm around his shoulder …

Fourche La Fave River

The Fourche La Fave River rises in the Ouachita Mountains near Boles (Scott County) and flows east-northeast for approximately 140 miles through Yell County and Perry County before emptying into the Arkansas River south of the town of Fourche (Perry County), which takes its name from the river. It is impounded in Perry County by Nimrod Dam. The origin of the river’s name is open to debate; “fourche” is French for “fork,” and “La Fave” may be in reference either to a family that once lived along the river or to early settler Peter La Fave. The “fork” of the river is the South Fourche La Fave River, which rises in the Ouachita Mountains near Onyx (Yell County) and empties …

Fourche Mountain Salamander

aka: Plethodon fourchensis
The Fourche Mountain salamander (Plethodon fourchensis) is a slender, large (115–178 millimeters in total length) terrestrial salamander that is one of twenty or so members of the caudate family Plethodontidae that can be found in Arkansas. This species is one of three endemic salamanders known to exist in Arkansas and is confined to Fourche Mountain and Irons Fork Mountain in the south-central region of the Ouachita Mountains. Normally, these salamanders can be found beneath the surface rock of hillsides and valleys within these mountains; however, they can also be found under rotting logs on the forest floor. Adults of this species possess two longitudinal rows of large, white blotches on the back; the dorsal body color is, otherwise, uniformly black. …

Franke’s Cafeteria

Franke’s Cafeteria was established by C. A. Franke in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1924. It is widely recognized as a culinary institution in the city and is one of the oldest restaurants in Arkansas. After leaving the military, C. A. Franke opened a doughnut shop in 1919 on West Capitol Avenue and then a bakery at 111 West 3rd Street in 1922. After determining that bakeries would soon spread and start competing with his own, he sold the bakery to Safeway and switched to the cafeteria business. He opened the first Franke’s Cafeteria in 1924 at 115 West Capitol. Since the 1920s, the cafeteria has seen four generations of Franke family members take the helm of the business. C. …

Franklin County Courthouse, Northern District

The Franklin County Courthouse for the Northern District, located at 211 West Commercial in Ozark (Franklin County), was constructed as a two-story structure fashioned in Classical Moderne style with Italian Renaissance design influences. This building is the fourth courthouse in this county seat. Franklin County emerged from part of Crawford County late in 1837. Ozark was designated as the county seat in 1838, and the first court proceedings were held in a school house without windows. The first building designated as a courthouse was built in 1840 on the northwestern corner of the square. This one-story, frame building, which measured twenty square feet, included fifteen windows, one door, and a stove. D. L. Bourland, the county treasurer, submitted the $400 bid for …

Franklin County Courthouse, Southern District

The Franklin County Courthouse for the Southern District, located at 607 East Main Street in Charleston (Franklin County), was constructed as a two-story structure fashioned in Classical Revival Style. Franklin County emerged from part of Crawford County late in 1837. Between 1838 and 1885, Ozark (Franklin County) was the only county seat. Due to difficulty people faced in crossing the Arkansas River, Governor Simon P. Hughes approved an act on March 14, 1885, that created two court districts within Franklin County. The court in Ozark became the Northern District, and Charleston was designated as the county seat for the Southern District in 1901. The Arkansas River drew the boundary line between districts. In June 1885, the sheriff of Franklin County obtained a two-story …

Freshwater Drum

aka: Grunter
aka: Gaspergou
The freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens) belongs to the order Perciformes and family Sciaenidae; it is the only freshwater member of the family. Freshwater drum are endemic to freshwater environs of the Americas, and their distributional range extends as far north as the Hudson Bay of Canada and reaches as far south as the Usumacinta River Basin of Guatemala. In the United States, eastward distribution includes the eastern Appalachians westward as far as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. This fish appears to have the greatest latitudinal range of any freshwater fish in North America. In Arkansas, A. grunniens occurs throughout the state but mainly is found in the larger lakes and rivers. The closest living relatives of A. grunniens are a group …