Explore State Parks History

The State Parks of Arkansas have played important roles in the history of our state. Visit a park and walk where history happened. Explore a prehistoric, American Indian mound site that the Hernando de Soto expedition visited. Walk hallowed ground where Civil War battles raged. Stay overnight in Civilian Conservation Corps-era cabins that are a tribute to the conservation achievements and craftsmanship of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Tree Army during the New Deal. Tour historic Washington where Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston traveled before they fought for Texas independence.

Time travel through history and explore our interactive timeline below that stretches all the way back to prehistory. It is designed to reveal stories about Arkansas's heritage and help you understand how the history of Arkansas relates to your life.


/ /

On This Day

in State
Parks History
10/1/2010
Mississippi River State Park

Beech Point Campground opens for business after a $1.7 million dollar renovation. There are 14 Class AAA campsites with water, 50 amp electricity and sewer drops at each site. Three walk-in tent sites and a family-style bath house are also included in the renovation. The entire campground is situated on a peninsula surrounded by Bear Creek Lake.

10/1/1939
Arkansas State Parks

Revenue for all state parks doubles over the previous year to $8000. Approximately 250,000 people visited parks, with Petit Jean, Devils Den, and Crowley’s Ridge getting 95% of the patronage. (Arkansas Gazette, 11-22-1939)

10/1/1937
Petit Jean State Park

Southwest Regional Conference on State Parks met at Petit Jean. Multiple dignitaries visited for this meeting, including Robert Fechner (Director of the CCC), Col. Richard Lieber (President of National Conference on State Parks) and Gov. Bailey. In newspaper accounts Dr. Hardison is called “the father of the Arkansas State Park System” and the lodge, prior to this known as the Petit Jean Lodge, is called the Stephen T. Mather Lodge. (Morrilton Democrat)

10/1/1937
Lake Catherine State Park

Boyle Park and Friendship Civilian Conservation Corps camps are consolidated to come to Lake Catherine State Park

10/1/1936
Petit Jean State Park

An effort will be made to search for more water for the park. Drilling equipment is brought by the NPS from Texas to test drill for well sites and foundation structures. (Morrilton Democrat)

10/1/1933
Petit Jean State Park

Of the 176 men in camp, 160 have decided to reenlist. This begins the Second Period of the CCC. (Periods run consecutively April-October, October-April) The company is brought up to strength of 200 with additional WW veterans from around the state. (Morrilton Democrat)

10/1/1891
Withrow Springs State Park

Withrow School District is established to serve people in the area surrounding Withrow Spring. A schoolhouse was built north of the spring and was used until the school district was annexed by Huntsville School District in 1940.

10/1/1891
Withrow Springs State Park

Withrow School District is established to serve people in the area surrounding Withrow Spring. A schoolhouse was built north of the spring and was used until the school district was annexed by Huntsville School District in 1940.