Powhatan Historic State Park

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Powhatan Historic State Park
Historic Powhatan courthouse
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Location of Powhatan Historic State Park in Arkansas
Location Lawrence County, Arkansas, United States
Coordinates 36°5′56″N91°7′10″W / 36.09889°N 91.11944°W / 36.09889; -91.11944 Coordinates: 36°5′56″N91°7′10″W / 36.09889°N 91.11944°W / 36.09889; -91.11944
Area9.1 acres (3.7 ha) [1]
Elevation292 ft (89 m) [2]
EstablishedMarch 28, 1970
Governing body Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Website Powhatan Historic State Park

Powhatan Historic State Park (formerly Powhatan Courthouse State Park) is a 9.1-acre (3.7 ha) Arkansas state park in Lawrence County, Arkansas in the United States. The park contains the 1888 Powhatan courthouse which served as the home of county government from 1869-1968. [1] Today the structure displays items of cultural and historical significance and hosts the park's Visitor Center. The park includes four additional historical buildings and the Arkansas History Commission's Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives. A tour of the historic structures is available. [1] [3] Powhatan served as an important stop for traffic on the Black River until the installation of the Kansas City-Memphis Railwayline two miles north in 1883 significantly decreased the need for river transportation. [4]

Lawrence County, Arkansas County in the United States

Lawrence County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,415. The county seat is Walnut Ridge. Lawrence County is Arkansas's second county, formed on January 15, 1815, and named for Captain James Lawrence who fought in the War of 1812. 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 comprising 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.



Powhatan Courthouse, June 2011 Powhatan Historic State Park Powhatan AR 013.jpg
Powhatan Courthouse, June 2011

Community history

The community was the economic hub of Lawrence County before its first platting in 1849. Situated on the Black River, the community took advantage of river traffic both along the river and as a ferry point for crossing the river. The Military Road passed nearby in the 1830s, and the local economy flourished. The Civil War shut down commerce on the river, especially after the Union acquired Arkansas. Skirmishes throughout the region caused havoc for residents, but a slow recovery began to take place following the war. County government was relocated to Powhatan from Clover Bend, a decision greatly helping Powhatan recover.

Southwest Trail

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

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Clover Bend is an unincorporated community in Lawrence County, Arkansas, United States. It is the location of two historic sites listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: the Clover Bend High School, on Arkansas Highway 228 (AR 228), and the Clover Bend Historic District, at the junction of AR 228 and Co. Rd. 1220.

Following the natural contours of the land, the Kansas City-Memphis Railway crossed the Black River two moles north of Powhatan through the town of Black Rock, ultimately causing the decline of commercial traffic to Powhatan. The Lawrence County judiciary chose to split in 1887, allowing court to be held in Walnut Ridge and Powhatan. US Route 63 (US 63) was rerouted to bypass Powhatan in the 1950s with the building of the new bridge spanning the Black River, and all county government moved to Walnut Ridge in 1968. [5]

Black Rock, Arkansas Town in Arkansas, United States

Black Rock is a town in Lawrence County, Arkansas, United States, along the Black River. The population was 717 at the 2000 census.

Walnut Ridge, Arkansas Town in Arkansas, United States

Walnut Ridge is a town in Lawrence County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 4,925 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Lawrence County. Walnut Ridge lies immediately north of Hoxie. The two towns form a contiguous urban area with approximately 8,000 residents. Williams Baptist College is in College City, a formerly separate community that merged into Walnut Ridge in 2017.

U.S. Route 63 in Arkansas highway in Arkansas

U.S. Route 63 is a north-south U.S. highway that begins in Ruston, LA. In the US state of Arkansas the highway enters the state from Louisiana concurrent with US 167 in Junction City. The highway zigzags through the state serving the major cities of Pine Bluff, West Memphis and Jonesboro. The highway exits the state at Mammoth Spring traveling into Missouri.


Ficklin-Imboden House, June 2012 Powhatan Historic State Park Powhatan AR 011.jpg
Ficklin-Imboden House, June 2012
Telephone Exchange Building, June 2012 Powhatan Historic State Park Powhatan AR 002.jpg
Telephone Exchange Building, June 2012

Ficklin-Imboden House

Also known as the Powhatan Log House, this is a single-pen log structure with a gable roof, with a second pen added to the rear at a later date. Although its construction date is uncertain, it is believed to date to c. 1850, and to be the oldest extant example of residential architecture in Lawrence County. [6]

Powhatan Courthouse

The courthouse is set on a rise overlooking the Black River. It is a two-story brick building, set on a stone foundation. Brick pilasters rise two stories at its corners, and between its window bays. It square tower is decorated with heavily bracketed cornices at the top of each stage, and is topped by a pyramidal roof. It was built in 1888, and is one of the government buildings from that period remaining in northeastern Arkansas. [7]

Powhatan Jail

The jail, located a short walk from the courthouse, is a small single-story limestone and concrete structure with a hip roof that has a cupola-like raised central section to provide ventilation. The jail was built in 1873, and is the only structure in Powhatan to survive from the period of the first courthouse. The building was used as a cannery from 1935-1937 by the county's Home Demonstration Clubs (today's Home Extension Service), and has since been restored.

Powhatan Schoolhouse

The schoolhouse is a single-story wood frame structure, with a side gable roof and a projecting front-gable section, which houses vestibule area for the two-room schoolhouse. The classroom has a sliding wall partition, enabling its conversion into two rooms. It was built c. 1888, replacing an earlier log structure. [8]

Commercial (Telephone Exchange) Building

This is a single-story brick building, standing at a historically major street corner in Powhatan. It has a simple three-bay front with segmented-arch openings for windows and a central door. It was built in the 1880s, and is the only surviving commercial building of historic Powhatan. It first served as home to the city's first telephone exchange; later uses included a doctor's office, general store, post office, and private residence. [9]


Powhatan Historic State Park does not have camping or recreational facilities on site.

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Staff of the Arkansas State Parks (May 29, 2012). "Powhatan Historic State Park". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture . The Butler Center. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  2. "Powhatan Historic State Park". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey. December 2, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  3. "Powhatan Historic State Park". Arkansas State Parks Guide, 2011. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. p. 65. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  4. Staff (2012). "Powhatan Historic State Park" (PDF). Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  5. Polston, Mike (January 24, 2012). "Powhatan (Lawrence County)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. The Butler Center. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  6. "NRHP nomination for Ficklin-Imboden House" (PDF). Arkansas Preservation. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  7. "NRHP nomination for Powhatan Courthouse" (PDF). Arkansas Preservation. Retrieved 2014-12-15.
  8. "NRHP nomination for Powhatan Schoolhouse" (PDF). Arkansas Preservation. Retrieved 2014-12-17.
  9. "NRHP nomination for Telephone Exchange Building" (PDF). Arkansas Preservation. Retrieved 2014-12-18.