Throughout the 1800s, this busy port on the Black River was one of the chief shipping and distribution points for northern Arkansas. In 1888, high on a hill overlooking the busy riverfront, an Italianate-style courthouse was built from bricks made on site. Dramatically, the courthouse was placed high atop the first rocky ridge at the eastern edge of the Ozarks. The two-story courthouse was erected on the foundation of the original courthouse, completed in 1873, that burned in 1885. Restored in 1970 to the architect's original plans, the Victorian courthouse is this state park's dominant feature.
A 2005 state-of-the-art renovation of the courthouse's interior was based on research, paint analysis and historical documentation.
New exhibits were recently added to the museum that tell the story of the commerce, politics, and lifestyles that shaped north Arkansas and illustrate the history of Lawrence County, mother of about 30 north Arkansas counties, from its beginning to the early years of the 20th century.
Along with the 1888 courthouse, the park features the historic Powhatan Jail, the circa 1850 Ficklin-Imboden House, circa 1887 Commercial Building and circa 1890 Powhatan Male and Female Academy, a unique two-room schoolhouse. All on the National Register of Historic Places, these structures tell the story of this important 1800s river port that was the chief shipping point for a large territory. Take a guided tour through these five buildings that tell the stories of domestic and commercial life in the 1800s here at this Black River steamboat port.
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. These historic structures, ferry and steamboat landing became an Arkansas state park in 1974.
The park is on Ark. 25 in Powhatan.
Courthouse and Exhibit Gallery: Free
Guided Townsite Tour:
Adult: $5 each
Child (6-12): $3 each
Adult Group Rates (15 or more with advance notice): $.50 off above fees
Bona Fide School Groups (with advance notice): $3/person
For more information about Arkansas State Parks historic, heritage and cultural parks, and museums, go to: http://www.historystateparks.com/