Historic Washington State Park

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Historic Washington State Park
Arkansas state park
Original Courthouse at Historic Washington State Park IMG 1481.JPG
The Old State House, Washington, Arkansas
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Arkansas.svg  Arkansas
County Hempstead
City Washington, Arkansas
Location The State Park Visitor Center  [1]

 - coordinates 33°46′25.6″N93°41′2.6″W / 33.773778°N 93.684056°W / 33.773778; -93.684056 Coordinates: 33°46′25.6″N93°41′2.6″W / 33.773778°N 93.684056°W / 33.773778; -93.684056
Area 101 acres (41 ha) [2]
Opened July 1, 1973 [2]
Management Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Pioneer Washington Preservation Foundation
NRHP Reference # 72000204 [3]
Added to NRHP June 20, 1972
Boundaries original 1824 plat of Washington
USA Arkansas location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Historic Washington State Park in Arkansas
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Historic Washington State Park (the US)
Website: Historic Washington State Park

Historic Washington State Park (formerly Old Washington Historic State Park) is a 101-acre (41 ha) Arkansas state park in Hemsptead County, Arkansas in the United States. The museum village contains a collection of pioneer artifacts from the town of Washington, Arkansas, which is a former pioneer settlement along the Southwest Trail. [1] Walking interpretive tours are available throughout the 54 buildings. [2] Washington served as a major trading point along the Southwest Trail, evolving into the Hempstead county seat and later the capital of Arkansas from 1863 to 1865 when Little Rock was threatened during the Civil War. [2] The original plat of Washington was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 as the Washington Historic District. [3]

Hempstead County, Arkansas County in the United States

Hempstead County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,609. The county seat is Hope. Hempstead County is Arkansas's fourth county, formed on December 15, 1818, alongside Clark and Pulaski counties. The county is named for Edward Hempstead, a delegate to the U.S. Congress from the Missouri Territory, which included present-day Arkansas at the time. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.

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.

Contents

During the 1820s and 1830s, Washington was a stopover for travelers going to Texas. It was originally the county seat of Hempstead County until a new courthouse was completed in Hope, which was designated the seat of government in 1939. The park emphasizes regional 19th century history from 1824 to 1889. [4] It is located in southwestern Arkansas east of Texarkana and near the entrance to Interstate 30.

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.

Texarkana, Arkansas City in the United States

Texarkana is a city in Arkansas and the county seat of Miller County. The city is located across the state line from its twin city, Texarkana, Texas. The city was founded at a railroad intersection on December 8, 1873, and was incorporated in Arkansas on August 10, 1880. Texarkana is the principal city of the Texarkana metropolitan area, which is ranked 274th in terms of population in the United States with 150,098 in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau.

Interstate 30 (I-30) is a 366.76-mile-long (590.24 km) expressway in the southern states of Texas and Arkansas in the United States, part of the Interstate Highway System. I-30 travels from I-20 west of Fort Worth, Texas, northeast via Dallas, and Texarkana, Texas, to I-40 in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The highway parallels U.S. Route 67 (US 67) except for the portion west of downtown Dallas. Between the termini, I-30 has interchanges with I-35W, I-35E and I-45. I-30 is known as the Tom Landry Freeway between I-35W and I-35E, within the core of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

History of Old Washington

The Southwest Trail ran from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Red River port of Fulton in Hempstead County some twelve miles from Washington. At the time, the Red River was the border between the United States and Mexico. The trail was a route taken by people headed to Mexican Texas. William B. Travis, Sam Houston, and Davy Crockett each separately traveled through Washington on their way to Texas. In the early 1830s until the 1840s, bands of Cherokee and Choctaw travelled through Old Washington on their way to Indian Territory under the Indian removal policies of U.S. President Andrew Jackson. In 1846, Washington was a mustering point for Arkansas troops marching south to fight under General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War. [2]

Red River of the South major tributary of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers in the southern United States

The Red River, or sometimes the Red River of the South, is a major river in the southern United States of America. It was named for the red-bed country of its watershed. It is one of several rivers with that name. Although it was once a tributary of the Mississippi River, the Red River is now a tributary of the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi that flows separately into the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to the Mississippi River by the Old River Control Structure.

Fulton, Arkansas Town in Arkansas, United States

Fulton is a town in Hempstead County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 201 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Hope Micropolitan Statistical Area. The community is named after steamboat inventor, Robert Fulton.

Mexico country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

On February 14, 1820, Washington was authorized for a post office. That facility remains the oldest continuous postal operation west of the Mississippi River. A new postal building was dedicated on May 29, 1988, by then U.S. Senator David Hampton Pryor. [5] Washington became a town on George Washington's birthday, February 22, 1824. [1]

Mississippi River largest river system in North America

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

George Washington 1st president of the United States

George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence, and he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government. He has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.

From 1863-1865, Old Washington was the site of the Confederate capitol of Arkansas after the fall of Little Rock to Union forces. The original Arkansas Confederate capital, where the refugee government fled, still exists in the park. It is a part of the Camden Expedition Sites, named in part for the town of Camden, Arkansas, in southern Arkansas.

Confederate States of America (de facto) federal republic in North America from 1861 to 1865

The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.

Little Rock, Arkansas Capital of Arkansas

Little Rock is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. It is also the county seat of Pulaski County. It was incorporated on November 7, 1831, on the south bank of the Arkansas River close to the state's geographic center. The city derives its name from a rock formation along the river, named the "Little Rock" by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in the 1720s. The capital of the Arkansas Territory was moved to Little Rock from Arkansas Post in 1821. The city's population was 198,541 in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau. The six-county Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 78th in terms of population in the United States with 738,344 residents according to the 2017 estimate by the United States Census Bureau.

Union Army Land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War

During the American Civil War, the Union Army referred to the United States Army, the land force that fought to preserve the Union of the collective states. Also known as the Federal Army, it proved essential to the preservation of the United States of America as a working, viable republic.

In the early 1864, Washington was threatened by Union forces under the command of Major General Frederick Steele which moved south along the Military Road en route to Shreveport, Louisiana. A Confederate force under the command of Major General Sterling Price blocked Steele's army. The two forces engaged in battle on April 10, 1864, some fourteen miles north of Washington. Steele was forced to move east to Camden, a movement which spared Washington from invasion. This encounter was known as the skirmish at Prairie D'Ane. Many wounded soldiers were brought to Washington for medical treatment. Several buildings, including the Washington Baptist Church, were turned into hospitals to treat the wounded. Seventy-four unknown Confederate soldiers from this battle were buried in a mass grave in the Washington Presbyterian Cemetery. [2]

Frederick Steele Union Army general

Frederick Steele was a career military officer in the United States Army, serving as a major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was most noted for his successful campaign to retake much of secessionist Arkansas for the Union cause.

Shreveport, Louisiana City in Louisiana, United States

Shreveport is a city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is the most populous city in the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area. Shreveport ranks third in population in Louisiana after New Orleans and Baton Rouge and 126th in the U.S. The bulk of Shreveport is in Caddo Parish, of which it is the parish seat. Shreveport extends along the west bank of the Red River into neighboring Bossier Parish. The population of Shreveport was 199,311 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. The United States Census Bureau's 2017 estimate for the city's population decreased to 192,036.

Sterling Price American politician

Sterling "Old Pap" Price was an American lawyer, planter, soldier, and politician from the U.S. state of Missouri, who served as the 11th Governor of the state from 1853 to 1857. He also served as a United States Army brigadier general during the Mexican–American War, and a Confederate Army major general in the American Civil War. Price is best known for his victories in New Mexico and Chihuahua during the Mexican conflict, and for his losses at the Battles of Pea Ridge and Westport during the Civil War–the latter being the culmination of his ill-fated Missouri Campaign of 1864.

This Methodist Church at Historic Washington State Park is the oldest church of that denomination in Arkansas. Methodist Church at Historic Washington State Park IMG 1467.JPG
This Methodist Church at Historic Washington State Park is the oldest church of that denomination in Arkansas.

In the early 1870s, the Cairo and Fulton Railroad built a line through southwest Arkansas which bypassed Washington. Instead the depot was nine miles away and became the origin of the city of Hope, incorporated on April 8, 1875. Fire swept through Washington on July 3, 1875 and destroyed much of the business district. A second fire occurred on January 21, 1883. Most of the businesses in Washington relocated to Hope, which proposed that it supersede Washington as the county seat. Several fraudulent elections were held over the matter. The Arkansas Supreme Court intervened and, in a ruling in May 1939, declared Hope the county seat. [2]

In 1958, the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation began preserving the unique buildings and sites that currently lie within the park. The park was established in 1965 and opened eight years later. The Southwest Regional Archives was established there in 1978. Since that time, more than 200,000 artifacts related to 19th century life have been recovered in the park and is the site of ongoing archaeological research on small-town life.

The historic buildings provide excellent examples of the architectural styles popular in the 19th century American South. Examples on display are Southern Greek Revival, Federal architecture, Gothic Revival, Italianate, and the rough-hewn timber or brace-frame construction of the frontier.

Visitors follow plank board sidewalks along streets that have never been paved. The largest magnolia tree in Arkansas, planted in 1839, also graces the town. Everything within the original 1824 boundaries of the town are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Major buildings

1874 Courthouse WASHINGTON HISTORIC DISTRICT.jpg
1874 Courthouse

Park tours begin at the previous Hempstead County Courthouse, which was constructed in 1874 and is maintained as the museum headquarters and visitors center. On the top floor, one may meditate in the courtroom where trials and hearings were formerly held. After the county seat was moved to Hope, the 1874 courthouse was used as a school beginning in 1914. A gym was built during the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration. Both are still used for meeting rooms and group rental facilities. [2]

Crouch House CROUCH HOUSE - HISTORIC WASHINGTON.jpg
Crouch House
Presbyterian Church at Historic Washington Park has a cemetery with a mass grave of Confederate soldiers. Presbyterian Church in Washington, AR IMG 1497.JPG
Presbyterian Church at Historic Washington Park has a cemetery with a mass grave of Confederate soldiers.

In 1929, the United Daughters of the Confederacy secured state funding to restore the 1836 Hempstead Courthouse. This was the first restoration money ever appropriated by the Arkansas General Assembly. The building now included in Washington Park has paintings of Confederate icons J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, and Pierre G.T. Beauregard on the walls. [8]

In 1958, a group of Washington citizens formed the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation to preserve the old structures and interpret the history of Washington. They operated tours of some of the historic homes for fifteen years. In 1973, they invited the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to assist in the preservation and interpretation of the village. The foundation donated property, buildings, and antiques, and Old Washington Historic State Park opened as the then thirty-fourth Arkansas state park on July 1, 1973. [2]

Blacksmith shop BLACKSMITH SHOP - HISTORIC WASHINGTON.jpg
Blacksmith shop
1914 school 1914 SCHOOLHOUSE - HISTORIC WASHINGTON.jpg
1914 school

Museum information

Surrey rides are available on special occasions. The Williams Tavern Restaurant offers country cooking. Part of the funding for Arkansas state parks such as Washington comes from a .125-cent sales tax allocated for Game/Fish and Parks/Tourism. [4]

The park provides a variety of events for local residents and visitors including demonstrations and workshops on blacksmithing, weaving, quilting, sewing, candlemaking, forging, and harness driving.

Historic Washington offers Civil War weekends and reenactments, the Five Trails Rendezvous (commemorating the origin of five Native American trails in the region) held in February, the annual jonquil festival in March, and a Christmas festival and Victorian era Christmas ball. The park is decorated for Christmas each December. [2]

At Historic Washington, the American Bladesmith Society operates the only bladesmithing college in the United States. The program, affiliated with Texarkana College, claims to be the only school in the world dedicated to the art of making knives and swords. [1]

Restoring Old Washington

Among the leading figures in the restoration of Old Washington was James H. Pilkinton of Hope, who served as president of the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation twice between 1959 and 1990. Others involved in the restoration are Parker O. Westbrook, a former aide to the late U.S. Senator J. W. Fulbright, and Westbrook's sister, Lucille.

Old Washington has been called the "Colonial Williamsburg of the Southwest" or "Colonial Williamsburg of Arkansas", in reference to the Colonial Williamsburg restoration in Virginia which opened in 1957 courtesy of the Rockefeller family.

Collections

Historic Washington houses the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives which is the primary center for historical and genealogical research in the region. The archives contain rare books, court documents, newspapers, census information, photographs, scrapbooks, sheet music, and assorted family histories. [1]

See also

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Grandison D. Royston House

The Grandison D. Royston House is a historic house at Columbus and Water Streets in Historic Washington State Park, Washington, Arkansas. It is a single-story wood frame structure, about 55 feet (17 m) wide and 51 feet (16 m) deep, with a hip roof pierced by two chimneys with corbelled tops. The main entry is centered under a projecting gable-roof porch, and is framed by sidelights and transom windows. The porch is supported at the front by pairs of square columns with moulded capitals and a square plinth. At the back of the house is a shed-roof addition which housed the kitchen. The interior of the main block is divided into four rooms, two on either side of a large central hall.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Historic Washington State Park". Arkansas State Parks Guide, 2011. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. p. 32. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 McDade, Bryan (December 16, 2011). "Historical Washington Museum State Park". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. The Butler Center. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  3. 1 2 National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Brochure entitled "Programs, Tours, and Activities, Historic Washington State Park, August 7, 2008
  5. Hope Star, Hope, Arkansas, May 30, 1988
  6. B.W. Edwards exhibit, Historic Washington State Park
  7. Thomas Hamilton Simms exhibit, B.W. Edwards Weapon Museum, Historic Washington State Park, Washington Arkansas
  8. Exhibit at 1836 Courthouse, Historic Washington State Park
  9. Exhibit at Washington High School restoration in Washington State Park

Further reading