Camping trip to the Foothills of the Ozarks – Pt. 2

All Sports Productions - Legend Highlands

Continued from Part 1:

Powhatan Courthouse 1888
Powhatan Courthouse 1888

Full bellies, legs stretched, new friends…we were ready to take on the afternoon. Just a short drive from Davidisonville Historic State Park is another piece of Arkansas history, Powhatan Historic State Park. We were moving through time. (maybe these posts should have been called “Time Traveling in the Ozarks.” The courthouse that no longer exists at Davidsonville was built around 1815. Now we were heading to one built around 1888. We traveled almost 75 years in 9 miles along the Black River.

Driving down highway 25 from Black Rock, as you come around a bend in the river the Powhatan Courthouse suddenly comes into view. My wife gasped, “That is beautiful.” We drove up the hill to park behind the courthouse and walked around the beautifully restored building to the front door. Walking past a couple of rooms with exhibits we headed for the visitor center/gift shop and met Steve.

Steve, a retired architect would be our tour guide through the historic buildings of the old town site. He announced that the tour would last about two and a half hours. My wife was skeptical that we needed to spend that amount of time wandering around the buildings. We started by walking down to the river. About half way down the wooden steps in from of the courthouse, Steve announced that once we stepped off the steps we would be traveling from the Ozarks into the Delta. Sometimes we don’t realize just how far we travel with just one step. We talked about scary high one lane bridges and river traffic, we peered down the old well, toured the old phone exchange building and wandered around inside the 1850 Ficklin-Imboden House, a log cabin home.

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1850 Ficklin-Imboden House "Log Cabin"
1850 Ficklin-Imboden House "Log Cabin"
The young one, happy she's not really in school.
The young one, happy she's not really in school.

We then headed back into the Ozarks (only steps away) and up the hill. Steve took us past the old jail and said we’d stop there on the way back to the courthouse, Steve is a teaser. Everyone wants to see the jail house, but first we were on to what my daughter might consider “the jail”, The Male and Female Academy at the very top of the hill.  Steve was also a very good listener. Instead of giving us a packaged tour presentation he listened to our comments and adjusted to give us information that we would be interested. After the Academy we walked next door to NEARA, the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives to visit. The building was constructed by Arkansas State Parks and would be run by the Arkansas History Commission. Here they archive historical documents from the area that help in telling the story of this wonderful part of the state. Researchers travel from all over the country to do genealogy and other historical research. Pretty cool place.

She wasn't too sure about closing the door all the way.
She wasn't too sure about closing the door all the way.
The beautifully restored courtroom.
The beautifully restored courtroom.

Now it was on to the jail. This place has incredible stories of hangings, confinement and a unique past including various uses. This is my teaser, you’re going to have to visit to hear those stories. Finally we headed back to the courthouse where we toured the upstairs courtroom, the two vaults, learned about the door to nowhere and visited with other park staff. By the time we were done it was getting past 5 pm but I had to drag my family out so the park staff could go home. Seems we filled up that two and a half hour tour and wanted more. This is a place truly worth seeing and experiencing.

Fleet Feet Little Rock

We were soon on our way back to the campsite at Davidsonville Historic State Park. Still full from lunch we had a simple supper and enjoyed the campfire. Lisa and I decided to do a quick night hike around Trapper Lake. We shined our flashlights into the leaves on the side of the trail to see the spiders eyes, heard various animals scurry into the lake as we passed by and listened for the owls.

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Finally we packed it in. The next day would take us on an out of state trip where we would have the opportunity to brag some more on The Natural State.

The Community Bicyclist

4 Responses

  1. i was born in blytheville arkansas,i now live in san diego,i try to get back to the arkansas as much as i can, what a beautiful state. I will be there in june hope to go to jacksonport

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