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

Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War Service
The worth of life lies in the experiences that fill it.” In this way Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women and many other beloved children’s classics of the 19th century once summarized a part of her life’s view. That summary occurred during a short period of Alcott’s life that involved her service as a wartime nurse ministering to wounded Union soldiers. Although Louisa May Alcott’s nursing service encompassed only a few weeks, it shaped many of her core values and nearly cost her life. While Alcott is best known for her career as a writer it can scarcely be an exaggeration to say that the short span of weeks during which she nursed sick and maimed Union soldiers left an indelible imprint upon her spirit, beliefs, and future writing. These imprints are best understood via the series of articles Alcott penned about her nursing experiences, which were published under the title Hospital Sketches. Read the entire article -

Part of her experience included time spent in a hospital which was in reality a converted hotel. The use of available buildings to treat wounded and sick during the Civil War was a common happening. At Historic Washington State Park, the historic Baptist Church was one such building. The original was destroyed in a tornado, but the replica can bee seen today. Many of those treated in the "hospital" here were never to leave Washington. They are memorialized in the Old Washington Cemetery just north of the park. We hope you will make this a stop during your visit to take note of the final resting place of those treated by the doctors and citizens of Washington, Arkansas while so far from their homes.

From the Washington Telegraph Newspaper

Hospital Stores (April 30, 1862)This is a featured page

HOSPITAL STORES.--About twenty-five ladies had an informal meeting at this place last Monday for the purpose of co-operating in forwarding stores for the hospital at Little Rock. Upon comparing notes they supposed they could get ready a wagon load to start tomorrow afternoon, and they have had the offer of a wagon and team to convey it free of charge, upon payment of road expenses only. The name of the liberal owner will be given in due time. It will be one record of his devotion to the cause, anyhow.
It is to be hoped--that is a bad phrase! We mean to say we know, that the ladies throughout the country will send in to any friend in town, as rapidly as possible anything they can spare. Those articles which arrive by to-morrow morning will go with the wagon and those which come later will be dispatched by other wagons, and so on, until they may be notified they are no longer needed. It may not be generally known that half worn clothes, such as shirts, drawers, socks, underclothes of all sorts, sheets, pillow cases, &c., are very much needed, and also large quantities of soap for washing. Soldiers are brought into the hospital in heavy woolen clothes, generally much soiled. They have mostly no change of garments, and are utterly unfit to be comfortably nursed. The hospital requires large stores to be kept constantly clean for frequent change. Life often depends on it, to say nothing of the comfort of the poor fellow, who lies many a weary day, thinking of home. Any food or herbs suitable for the sick or convalescent will also be acceptable. The articles will be stored and packed at Mr. Carrigan's Commissary store, next to Moore & Smith's drug store.
In the hospitals at Nashville and Memphis we have known matrons, amidst all the unpleasant associations of the wards, devotedly nursing strange men, the sons of women whom they never knew; humbly praying, that, if need be, God would provide like maternal care, to bathe the fevered brow, and adjust the couch to the wounded limbs of their own sons, in some far theatre of the east.

Washington Hospital (June 25, 1862)This is a featured page

WASHINGTON HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION.--The treasurer of this Association reports the amount of sixty-three dollars sixty cents in cash contributed to the hospital, which appears to have been properly expended. Most of the assistance given the Association has been in clothing and other necessaries.
The matron, Mrs. McDonald, would be glad to designate all the citizens who have humanely come to the assistance of the ladies by their contributions. But it seems they have been following the Scripture and generally not letting "their left hand know what the right hand doeth." The contributions, she says, have been made in such an indirect way and with so little ostentation, that it is often impossible to know the donors. It gratifies us to notice, but it is not modest to boast of the proper feeling which our citizens exhibit towards the soldiers from a distance, who have fallen sick amongst us.

Our Hospitals (June 1, 1864)This is a featured page

OUR HOSPITALS.--By request, the patriotic and humane citizens of the county are invited to meet at the Presbyterian Church next Saturday at 11 o'clock, to take measures for improving the condition of our hospitals, and contributing to the comfort of the patients. Many sick and wounded are coming in, who appeal strongly to our humanity. Let each man feel this a personal duty and not tire in well doing.

We Have Company
We got word last month that Historic Washington was going to have company coming. We were excited and started making plans for their visit. On an icy January day, Flat Austin and Flat Summer arrived from the Waldron School District. They are spending a few days hanging with the people in the park, having their pictures taken, and trying out all kinds of new activities. Their trip is part of The Flat Stanley Project. This is a program that increases literacy and geography awareness. Participants can even download an app to their smart phones to follow Flat Stanley Project members around. We hope Flat Austin and Flat Summer have fun and and go back to Waldron with great memories to share with the class and the school.
See them on their visit - Link to Photos
Learn more about Flat Stanley and his adventures -

No Longer in the News- We are in the Blog!
Here is a great little piece that mentions Historic Washington and is full of experienced insight.

Receipt and Recipe

I am thinking warm and creamy comfort food. I think it has something to do with having a delicious aroma coming from the oven on a chilly day. This one looked good and is a timeless classic. Something similar may have been cooked regularly in Washington's past.
For dessert I am going to repeat a classic recipe from an earlier newsletter for all of our new subscribers. It too is a one every housewife new how to make in the days of yore.

Classic Chicken Pot Pie
You can bake these pies in any 2-quart baking dish. For personal pies, use six 10-ounce dishes.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 3/4 hours, plus chilling
Yield Serves 6
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    For the Crust
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
  • For the Filling
    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small (1 1/2 cups)
    • 4 medium carrots, diced small (2 cups)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
    • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (15 ounces)
    • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons ice water); do not overmix.

  2. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or overnight (or freeze, up to 1 month).

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling: In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and carrots and cook until softened, 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add flour and stir to coat vegetables.

  4. Slowly add broth, whisking constantly until sauce is smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in peas. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in chicken and parsley. Pour filling into a 2-quart baking dish.

  5. On a floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Place dough over dish and fold overhang inward while pinching to crimp edge. Cut vents in dough. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling around edge, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's Note

Roll your dough a couple inches larger than your dish: Folding it up and over, pinching as you go, forms a beautiful decorative edge.

To make potpies ahead of time, let the filling cool, then assemble and freeze for up to 4 months. Bake at 425 degrees, 1 1/4 hours (1 hour for small pies).


1700s Pound Cake Recipe - A little Pound Cake History at this link.
- One pound sugar, one pound butter, one pound flour, ten eggs, rose water one gill, spices to our taste; watch it well, it will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes.

4 cups of flour, 2 ¼ cups  sugar, and 4 sticks of butter for two loaves
Mix, bake at 350 degrees until it passes the toothpick test.

Hands-On Historic Happenings

Introduction to Forging Workshop          January 26 - 27,    9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Dutch Oven Cooking 2                           February 2,         10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Valentine's Dinner                                 February 8,           6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Valentine's Dinner                                 February 9,           6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Frontier Days for Home Schools              February 15, 2013         

Frontier Days at the Hill of Five Trails       February 16 - 17,                

Introduction to Forging Workshop          February 16 - 17,  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Basic Dutch Oven Cooking Workshop      February 23,       10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Call 870-983-2684 for details  or check the online Calendar of Events

Ways to Be Involved
Volunteer! Call Vicky at 870-983-2558 or email.
Special Rates
Coupon - $1.00 off Horse drawn surrey ride.
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-Individual -$20.00 or Family- $30.00
For 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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