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Category: History

Imagine a group of Indians sitting quietly under the shade of a tree, wiping sweat from their brow and calculating how many more trips they must make with their baskets to complete their newest mound.  They have made countless trips already and their efforts are almost complete.  Hard work and sweat were some of the tools used recently to preserve a piece of Arkansas’ history.  Recently, the staff at Toltec…

Read More Hard Work and Sweat

For kids here in Arkansas, August means it’s time to head back to school.  The end of the summer is near.  School sports have started, school supply shopping is in full swing, and kids are slipping back into their educational routines.  However, a few weeks ago many of our kids were enjoying their summer breaks without a thought of routine and involving themselves in one of my best summer memories:…

Read More Growing up in day camps

On December 1, 2010, Petit Jean State Park’s historic Mather Lodge closed its doors – but not forever.  The lodge closed for more than a year’s restoration, renovation and major rebuilding.  On the first of December, for the first time in nearly a half-century, the day had come again to begin construction on a modern new restaurant to adjoin the old lodge – a restaurant designed by architects to capture…

Read More The Once and Future Mather Lodge

One more time, I go over the list in my hand. Baskets of wool, mohair and cotton, check drop spindles, check koolaid for dyeing, check gallon jars for koolaid, check Hand cards, check Niddy noddy, check and on down the row. I think I’m all packed to teach the first day of the Sheep to Shawl class at the Ozark Folk Center’s Folk School. The students in the class will…

Read More Laughing and Learning

Interpreters, like most educators, know what it is like to operate on a shoe string budget – utilizing the resources at hand (leaves, seeds, and scenic vistas) and re-utilizing everyday materials (popsicle sticks, material scraps, and my favorite – peanut butter jars). There is something gratifying about not needing all the bells and whistles to highlight the significance of a place as special as Devil’s Den State Park.  However, when…

Read More When All is Lost

I have an atypical Park Interpreter station here at Parkin Archeological State Park.  The largest part of my job seems to be researching Arkansas History. Arkansas is an exceptionally colorful state, with complex and vivid stories about things you wouldn’t believe, not even if I told you.  This is one of those great Arkansas stories- the story of Aunt Caroline Dye. One of Arkansas’ biggest Blues legends wasn’t even a…

Read More The Hoo Doo Woman of Arkansas

The fallen leaves crunch under my feet as I walk down the path from the Administration building to the Homespun Gift Shop. The sunlight has a strobe effect through the newly barren limbs.  I pull my jacket snug in front and wish I had remembered a hat. John the potter hollers a friendly, “Hello,” from the front of his workshop. I reply in kind and continue on my errand. It’s…

Read More Winter at the Ozark Folk Center State Park

Not too long after I moved to Northeast Arkansas I was talking with a local who wanted to know where I worked.  When I told them that I worked at Crowley’s Ridge State Park they immediately asked “Have you seen the electric chair room?”  No one had told me anything about an electric chair on the park grounds, so I asked about it when I went in to the office…

Read More The Electric Chair

…Announcing the State Park Explorer Program “Throwing rocks in the river Is oh so very fun Rocks splashing in the water The fun has just begun! Hiking along the many trails Are fun things to do here too! But throwing rocks in the river Is my favorite thing to do!” –Poem by Linda S., Arkansas State Parks’ first official State Park Explorer, May 30, 2010   On May 30, 2010,…

Read More Connecting Kids’ Minds and Hearts to State Parks…

Most visitors to Petit Jean State Park in the Arkansas River Valley remember it as a place of majestic scenery, beautiful trails, and hospitable, friendly people at the park’s visitor center or historic Mather Lodge.  But those interested in the distant past will also remember fascinating geology, as well as rare rock art found in the park’s primary archeological site: the Rock House Cave.  Petit Jean State Park holds a…

Read More Petit Jean State Park’s Archeological Treasures