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The State Parks of Arkansas - The Natural State: E-Newsletter

 2013 Begins; Thoughts from the Past and Present


Early Mail Carrier     

150 Years Ago
Post Office Department, Richmond, Nov. 27, 1862.

SEALED PROPOSALS will be received at the contract bureau of this department until 12 a.m. of the 15th of January next, for carrying the mails of the Confederate States, within the State of Arkansas until the 30th day of June, 1866, with certainty, celerity, and security on the following post route, viz; From Washington by Columbus, Saline, Brownstown, and Paraclifta, to Doaksville, 110 miles and back, twice a week. Leave Washington Wednesday and Saturday at 5 a.m. Arrive at Washington next day by 6 p.m.
John H. Regan, Postmaster General

 [Source: Washington Telegraph Newspaper, December 1862]

A White What?
Read more about the probability and reality of snow happening on Christmas Day in Arkansas.
More pictures of Historic Washington's historic snow are available at

Courtesy of volunteer photographer, Kerry Spears. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Sheila Ballard

Local Group Celebrates at Park
The Nashville Drug Store employees Christmas party hosted by Jamie Pinegar, owner, was celebrated at Historic Washington State Park. After a lovely meal at Williams’ Tavern, the guests were treated to 19th century dance lessons with Josh Williams, Park Curator and founding member of Washington Vintage Dancers. They were introduced to three dances; the Grand March, Virginia Reel, and Patty Cake Polka. While at supper, they were visited by Father Christmas. Later in the evening, a fun and relaxing craft was enjoyed by all. Here the guest show off their handy work of paper angels.  Crafts were led by Cyndi Wallace and Sheila Ballard, museum guides.
Schedule a special event
for your group with a private booking to have memories like these.


A New Boardwalk for A New Year

Historic Washington State Park has had a boardwalk since the 1880s. These are made from treated yellow pine and as you might expect, must be replaced from time to time. The maintenance crew at Historic Washington has been replacing old areas near the 1836 Courthouse. Here are some pictures of the results.

They do good work!

Want to know more about boardwalks on the national landscape? Read about the very first, and most famous, at this link.


Picture: Volunteer, Ginger Russell

Step Right Up!

One of our volunteers comes several days a week and is learning the printer’s trade. Another comes two Saturdays a month to dress in Historic clothing and greet visitors, chat about the area, and answer frequently asked questions, and, another still, can be seen with camera in hand photographing for the newsletter. Yet, another stops in to do a little mending or sewing to help behind the scenes. Many of our volunteers love to be all dressed up and be right in the big thick of things for special events. Who can blame them? They look so wonderful and are a tremendous help. Others do not like the limelight quite so much and want to use their skills in a supportive way. But, there is a downside to only volunteering for big events. 

On such occasions, several hundred people are in Historic Washington visiting all at once. It is very difficult on those days for the volunteer to really enjoy an historic craft and experience one on one attention by learning the “how to”s and “why for”s from out staff. To solve that problem, we encourage any of you to come and volunteer at your convenience, as often as you like.

Do you have a favorite site you would like to help show regularly? Come on!
Is there an activity such as Dutch oven cooking, woodworking, crocheting, weaving, harness driving, or heritage gardening that you would like to learn? Then, come on!

Do you have a skill you would like to share without being in the limelight? Again, come on!

We can accommodate you and you are welcome!


Two Dates for Freedom..
“Now, therefore, I Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and Government of the United States, and as fit and necessary war measure for suppressing this rebellion, do on this 1st day of January A.D. 1863 . . . .order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the United States . . . ..I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are and hence forward shall be free . . ."

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified on December 18, 1865, actually freed the slaves including those held in the four Confederate States that did not secede from the Union.
[Source: Shared by Bronzeville Historical Society Board of Directors and supported by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

Recipe and Recipe

"Make you feel good" warm food has been on my mind. How about yours? My husband loves scalloped potatoes and this version seems "working wife" friendly.

Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes
Recipe adapted from Family Fresh Meals
Serves 12

1 cup sour cream (can use fat free)
1 can condensed cream of potato soup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 lb small red potatoes (I peeled mine but that is optional)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp paprika
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives for topping

Thinly slice potatoes and set aside.  Mix sour cream, can of potato soup and Worcestershire sauce together in a large bowl.  Add thinly sliced potatoes to the mixture and mix until all potatoes are well coated.  Spoon 1/2 of the potato mixture into a crock pot sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with 3/4 cup of shredded cheese.  Repeat layer with remaining potatoes and cheese.  Cook on HIGH for 3.5 to 4.5 hours (or on LOW 7 to 8 hours). Serve topped with a sprinkle of paprika and chives.

Another food subject I have been hearing lately, has been the Southern tradition of eating Blackeyed Peas on New Year's Day for Good Luck in the coming year. Here are a couple of links to sites discussing the history of eating peas for good luck and the way this turned into a shared "tradition." Feel free to write in and let us know if you think the hoax became reality.
Best Ever Black-eyed Peas
1 (16 ounce) package dried black-eyed peas
6 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ham hocks or 2 cups cooked ham, cut into small cubes
1 -2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and chopped


Sort and wash peas; place in a large Dutch oven.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until peas are tender.

[Source: ]


Coming Soon - 2013 Calendars of Events!

January Events - Sign up early
This red heart symbol designates programs involving physical activity and promoting heart health. Dancing with the Stars "Washington Style"
January 5,  7 p.m. - 10 p.m.
FULL Introduction to Forging Workshop
January 5 - 6,  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Trial by Jury Dinner
January 12,  6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Basic Dutch Oven Cooking Workshop
January 19, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Volunteer opportunities! Call Vicky at 870-983-2558 or email.

Group Rates - Book a reservation for your group of 20 or more and everyone gets $1.00 off.
Annual Passes - Unlimited visits and special events, at all Arkansas State Parks
Admission choices- Individual -$20.00 or Family- $30.00 (Parents and children through age 18)
or more information - 870-983-2684
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  Historic Washington State Park
P.O. Box 98
Washington, AR 71862

Phone: (870) 983-2684
Fax: (870) 983-2736

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