Davidsonville Historic State Park

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Davidsonville Historic State Park
Old Davidsonville State Historic Monument
Arkansas state park
Davidsonville Historic State Park 004.jpg
"Ghost structure" at the Davidsonville town site to illustrate a former structure
Named for:Davidsonville
Country United States
State Arkansas
Regions/ Arkansas Delta, The Ozarks
County Randolph
City Pocahontas
Location Old Davidsonville State Historic Monument  [1]

 - coordinates 36°9′23″N91°3′23″W / 36.15639°N 91.05639°W / 36.15639; -91.05639 Coordinates: 36°9′23″N91°3′23″W / 36.15639°N 91.05639°W / 36.15639; -91.05639
Area 163 acres (66 ha) [2]
Established 1957 [2]
Management Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
 - location Visitor Center
 - elevation 322 ft (98 m)
 - coordinates 36°9′31.5″N91°3′27.8″W / 36.158750°N 91.057722°W / 36.158750; -91.057722
NRHP reference # 74000499 [3]
Added to NRHP January 18, 1974
USA Arkansas location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Davidsonville Historic State Park in Arkansas
Website: Davidsonville Historic State Park

Davidsonville Historic State Park (formerly Old Davidsonville State Park) is a 163-acre (66 ha) Arkansas state park in Randolph County, Arkansas in the United States. Situated on a border between The Ozarks and the Arkansas Delta, the park preserves the remains of the abandoned frontier town of Davidsonville. [1] The town was one of Arkansaw Territory's first settlements when founded in 1815, serving as an important river port town on the Black River. The former townsite was made into a state park in 1957 and a monument was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. [2] [3]

Randolph County, Arkansas County in the United States

Randolph County is located between the Ozark Mountains and Arkansas Delta in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The county is named for John Randolph, a U.S. senator from Virginia influential in obtaining congressional approval of the Louisiana Purchase, which includes today's Randolph County. Created as Arkansas's 32nd county on October 29, 1835, Randolph County has two incorporated cities, including Pocahontas, the county seat and most populous city. The county is also the site of numerous unincorporated communities and ghost towns.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.




There is evidence that the site was occupied by French colonists prior to the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Archeologists have discovered evidence of Native American use of the site as early as 4,000 BC. The 1822 courthouse was apparently built on top of an Indian mound which was built before 1,100 AD.

Louisiana Purchase Acquisition by the United States of America of Frances claim to the territory of Louisiana

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory of New France by the United States from France in 1803. The U.S. paid fifty million francs ($11,250,000) and a cancellation of debts worth eighteen million francs ($3,750,000) for a total of sixty-eight million francs. The Louisiana territory included land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The territory contained land that forms Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; the portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River; a large portion of North Dakota; a large portion of South Dakota; the northeastern section of New Mexico; the northern portion of Texas; the area of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River ; and small portions of land within the present Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Its non-native population was around 60,000 inhabitants, of whom half were African slaves.

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

Headstones in the Phillip-Reeve Cemetery, 2011. Phillip-Reeve Cemetery Old Davidsonville SP Pocahontas AR 010.jpg
Headstones in the Phillip-Reeve Cemetery, 2011.

Davidsonville was founded in 1815 and rapidly became the most important town in northeast Arkansaw Territory, but was abandoned by the 1830s. The community served as a river port town on the west bank of the Black River, near the confluence of the Spring River and Eleven Point River with the Black River. The town was on important stop on the Southwest Trail and featured several important frontier establishments. In 1817 the first post office of Arkansas Territory opened in the town, followed in 1820 by the first federal land office of the territory. In 1822, the first courthouse of Arkansas Territory was built in Davidsonville. The town became the county seat of Lawrence County, which at the time comprised roughly the northern third of Arkansas.

The Spring River is a 57-mile (92 km) long river which flows through the U.S. states of Missouri and Arkansas. It consists of two branches, the South Fork of the Spring River and the Spring River proper. The South Fork of the Spring River starts in Howell County, Missouri and flows south through Fulton and Sharp counties in Arkansas. The South Fork of the Spring River joins the Spring River proper near the town of Hardy, Arkansas. The South Fork is a quiet stream with gravelly bars that are ideal for camping.

Eleven Point River river in the United States of America

The Eleven Point River is a 138-mile-long (222 km) river in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, United States. It originates near Willow Springs, Missouri. It more than doubles in flow when Greer Spring Branch runs into it, adding over 200 million US gallons (760,000 m3) of water per day to the river. The name derives from the Mississippi Valley French word pointe, which is a wooded point of land marking a river bend. Voyageurs marked distance by counting these points of land or river bends. The river flows into the Spring River southwest of Pocahontas near the small town of Black Rock.

Southwest Trail

The Southwest Trail was a 19th-century pioneer route that was the primary passageway for American settlers bound for Texas.

Shortly after the town's founding the Southwest Trail was rerouted onto higher ground, bypassing Davidsonville. New towns appeared along the trail's new route, diminishing Davidsonville's importance. In 1828 the land office was moved to Batesville, about 60 miles (97 km) southwest. In 1829 the county seat and courthouse began a series of moves to a number of other towns. Today there are very few remains above ground. The townsite, which had been a grid of streets with a central square where the courthouse stood, now looks like a grassy field with a few trees. Only upon closer inspection does one begin to see hints of the former town. The park's interpretive signs point out where certain buildings used to stand. There are two small cemeteries. By the time of Arkansas statehood in 1836, Davidsonville was essentially abandoned.

Batesville, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Batesville is the county seat and largest city of Independence County, Arkansas, United States, 80 miles (183 km) northeast of Little Rock, the state capital. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city was 10,268. The city serves as a regional manufacturing and distribution hub for the Ozark Mountain region and Northeast Arkansas. This small town in the foothills of the Ozarks offers a diverse view from Ramsey Hill at the Southside to the vast Plains in the East.

A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.

Park history

Monument marking the old town site of Davidsonville, 2011 Old Davidsonville SP Pocahontas AR 015.jpg
Monument marking the old town site of Davidsonville, 2011

Old Davidsonville State Park was created in 1957. The park offers interpretive programs, camping, hiking, fishing, and canoeing. Park facilities were originally built on the old townsite. The site was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1974 as "Old Davidsonville State Historic Monument", also known as Lawrence-Davidsonville. [3] During the 1980s the townsite was cleared in order to facilitate archeological studies. The park facilities are now located on nearby ridges. The first careful archeological study was conducted in 1972, and several others followed.

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is often viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines.


Although one of Arkansas's historic state parks, there are opportunities for recreation at Davidsonville Historic State Park also. Fishing is available on the Black River, Eleven Point River, Spring River, and a small fishing pond within the park. An interpretive guide is available for tours of the original platted site year round. [4] Picnic tables, screened pavilions, playgrounds, and a visitor's center with gift shop. Campers can utilize the 30 campsites (twelve class AAA, eight class A, ten tent). [1]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 "Davidsonville Historic State Park". Arkansas State Parks Guide, 2011. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. p. 25. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 Staff of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (February 7, 2012). "Davidsonville Historic State Park". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. The Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  4. "Old Davidsonville State Park" (PDF). Arkansas State Parks and Tourism. 2005. Retrieved March 9, 2012.