Hidden Treasures

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Artist rendering of Davidsonville.

In mid-March, I gave a talk to the Woman’s Club of Cherokee Village, AR. When I was first asked to speak to them, I thought they wanted me to give a general “What do Arkansas State Parks have to offer?” presentation, which is a fairly common request. I was very excited, though, when I realized they wanted me to talk specifically about the park I am an interpreter for, Davidsonville Historic State Park in Northeastern Arkansas. Never heard of it? Neither had these ladies, which is why they wanted to learn more.

In 1815, Davidsonville was the first planned town in Arkansas and held Arkansas’s first post office, land use office and courthouse. This is the original town plat of Davidsonville.

During my talk with the Woman’s Club, I explored Davidsonville’s rich history. I gave them the facts: created in 1815, Davidsonville was Arkansas’s first planned town; it was the location of Arkansas’s first post office, land use office and courthouse; by 1830, the town was no more; today, nothing above ground remains of the town.  I also tried to breathe life into those facts: nearly two hundred years ago, this state park had been home to many frontier families; babies were born here; couples were married; others were buried; this was a bustling town where lives had been lived. After painting them a picture of the town that once was, I explained how we know so much about

Artifacts like these jaw harps and dice, unearthed at Davidsonville, show the townspeople lived lives that included leisure time.

Davidsonville: archeological excavations by the Arkansas Archeological Survey, which have uncovered hundreds of thousands of artifacts, and court documents that have managed to survive all this time. When my presentation ended, I had more than one woman tell me, “I can’t believe I never knew about Davidsonville!”
Unfortunately, that is a common response of many visitors to Davidsonville Historic State Park. Like many of the smaller parks in Arkansas’s State Park system, Davidsonville is well known only by those who live near it or happen upon it by accident. Those who do know it, though, find they have come across one of the many hidden treasures within Arkansas’s state park system. Although Davidsonville Historic State Park may be too far for you to visit, there is bound to be a hidden treasure of a state park near you just waiting to be discovered.  Like Davidsonville, each of those hidden treasures has a unique story to tell and amazing opportunities for making memories.

Davidsonville Historic State Park as it appears today.

Davidsonville Historic State Park as it appears today.

 

Joe Jacobs

Since 2005, Joe Jacobs has served as the manager of Marketing and Revenue for the Arkansas State Parks. Trails are a passion for Jacobs, he serves on the boards of the Central Arkansas Trail Alliance, an IMBA chapter, and the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series. He has also been instrumental in the design and creation of mountain bike trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Woolly Hollow State Park and Boyle Park in Little Rock.