American Frontier Life in Arkansas
Three historic towns in the Arkansas State Parks system preserve the fabric of American frontier life, in the developing new state, and at a busy riverport. Two are preserved towns with complete structures; the third is but landmarks from one of Arkansas's earliest town sites. Stand in these places. See, hear and envision life in these once-thriving historic villages.
Established in 1815 on the banks of the Black River, Davidsonville is one of the most important historic towns of Arkansas and the epitome of American frontier life. It was home to Arkansas Territory's first post office, courthouse and land office. When bypassed by the Southwest Trail from St. Louis to Mexico, the town began to fade, and was virtually unoccupied by the 1830s. Because there has since been little disturbance, archeologists have recently uncovered the town three inches below ground. Finds include corners of buildings, streets, and a volume of artifacts, which are currently at the University of Arkansas being catalogued and preserved.
Historic Washington is a restored 19th-century town with 45 historic structures. Historic Washington stands out among historic villages of Arkansas 1900. From its establishment in 1824, Washington was an important stop on the rugged Southwest Trail to Mexico, and later, Texas. James Bowie, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett each traveled through Washington at various times. Stroll the plank boardwalks along streets that have never been paved, and explore this tree-shaded historic town many call "the Colonial Williamsburg of the Southwest." Come enjoy a step back to American frontier life.
In the late 1800s, this busy river port on the Black River was the shipping point for a large territory, which served many of Arkansas historic towns and villages. In 1888, a Victorian courthouse was built. Restored to the architect's original plans, the courthouse today serves as a regional archive that contains some of the oldest records in Arkansas. Tour the 1888 courthouse, 1873 Powhatan jail, 1840s Ficklin-Imboden house, 1888 telephone exchange building, and a unique 1880s two-room schoolhouse, all on their original foundations.