Grand Opening of Restored 1888 Powhatan Courthouse and New Exhibits Slated for Saturday, May 5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2007


Grand Opening of Restored 1888 Powhatan Courthouse and New Exhibits Slated for May 5

For Immediate Release

(Powhatan) — Powhatan Historic State Park will celebrate the grand opening of the state-of-the-art interior restoration of the 1888 Powhatan Courthouse and its new museum exhibits on May 5. Festivities will kick off at 10:00 a.m. and continue until 3:00 p.m. The event will feature a small fur trader camp, live musical entertainment, an open house at the park’s five historic buildings featuring docents sharing interpretive information at each stop, and Dutch oven cooking demonstrations. A full-scale replica keelboat will arrive on the river in the morning. Lunch including hot Dutch oven cobbler for dessert will be provided.

A grand opening ceremony is slated for 1:00 p.m. State Representative J.R. Rogers of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas State Parks Director Greg Butts and Park Superintendent Corinne Fletcher will be joined by other area officials at the ceremony. The day’s events are open to the public and all activities are free. Parking for the event will be located below the courthouse near the Black River.Shuttle vans will be available. For more information, contact: Powhatan Historic State Park at (870) 878-0032.

The striking, 1888 Italianate-style courthouse is the dominant feature of Powhatan Historic State Park. The interior renovation was based on research, paint analysis and historical documentation, according to Park Superintendent Corinne Fletcher. New museum exhibits were installed following the restoration. The work included:

Interior Restoration of the interior of the 1888 Courthouse

Design
• Consultant: Clements and Associates, Architects, of North Little Rock, Arkansas
• Funding: $46,471 Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council

Renovation and restoration
• Consultant: KMC General Contractors of Jonesboro, Arkansas
• Funding: $806,928 Amendment 75 (Arkansas’s 1/8-cent Conservation Fund)

Museum Exhibits

Design
• Consultant: Explus, Inc. of Dulles, Virginia
• Funding: $92,097 Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council

Fabrication of the interior exhibits and acquisition of fixtures, furnishings and equipment
• Consultant: Explus, Inc. of Dulles, Virginia / Arkansas State Parks Staff
• Funding: $429,924 Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council

Two subcontractors working with Explus, Inc. on the exhibits were Ueland Junker McCauley Nicholson (EJMN) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who served as exhibit designer and LaPaglia and Associates of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who served as planner/researcher.

Conservation treatment for a vault and a floor safe in the courthouse
• Consultant: Norton Arts, Inc. of Marshall, Arkansas
• Funding: $65,000 Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council

Re-roof the courthouse prior to the interior restoration work
• Consultant: Clements and Associates, Architects, of North Little Rock, Arkansas
Contractor: KMC General Contractors of Jonesboro, Arkansas
• Funding: $307,471 Amendment 75 (Arkansas’s 1/8-cent Conservation Fund)

Additional work on the museum’s exhibits was done by the staff of the Arkansas State Parks Exhibit Shop in Little Rock. This included the acquisition and restoration of furnishings, museum figures with audio units in the judge’s chamber, and interior and exterior signage.

One of the historic/cultural sites within Arkansas’s state parks system of 52 parks and museums, Powhatan Historic State Park conserves and interprets the historic Powhatan site, the former county seat of Lawrence County, the mother of north Arkansas counties, that flourished after 1869 as an important river port on the Black River. The historic river ferry and steamboat landing was established as an Arkansas state park in 1974.

Along with the 1888 Powhatan Courthouse, the park features the historic 1873 Powhatan Jail, the circa 1840 Ficklin-Imboden House, circa 1887 Telephone Exchange Building and circa 1889 Powhatan Male and Female Academy, a unique two-room schoolhouse. Collectively, these structures tell the story of this important 1800s river port that was the chief shipping point for a large territory. Each structure tells the story of life in town, and all are on their original foundations. Guided tours of the structures are offered by the park staff.

Dramatically, the Victorian courthouse was built high atop the first rocky ridge at the eastern edge of the Ozarks. The courthouse overlooked the busy river front. The two-story courthouse was erected over the foundation of the original courthouse, completed in 1873, that burned in 1885. The courthouse was restored in 1970 to the architect’s original plans.

Powhatan Historic State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. The park is on Ark. 25 in Powhatan.

For further information, contact: Corinne Fletcher, park superintendent, Powhatan Historic State Park, P.O. Box 93, Powhatan, AR 72458, phone (870) 878-0032, e-mail: corinne.fletcher@arkansas.gov.



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