Arkansas: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

A list of important historic sites in Arkansas.

Bathhouse Row

Location: Hot Springs, Garland County

Relevant issues: Cultural history, health and medicine

Statement of significance: This, the largest grouping of bathhouses in the country, illustrates the popularity of the spa movement in the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is also an excellent collection of turn-of-the-century eclectic buildings in the Neoclassical, Renaissance Revival, Spanish, and Italianate styles. The hot springs are the resource for which the area was set aside as the first federal recreational reserve in 1832.

Camden Expedition Sites

Location: Little Rock, Pulaski County

Relevant issues: Civil War, military history

Statement of significance: The Camden expedition (March 23-May 2, 1864) involved Union forces stationed at Little Rock and Fort Smith under the command of Major General Frederick Steele. The plan called for Steele’s force to march to Shreveport, Louisiana, where it would link up with an amphibious expedition led by Major General Nathaniel P. Banks and Rear Admiral David D. Porter, whose force was to advance up the Red River Valley; once joined, the Union force was to strike into Texas. The two pincers never converged, however, and Steele’s columns suffered terrible losses in a series of battles with Confederate forces led by Major General Sterling Price and General Edmund Kirby Smith.

Fort Smith

Location: Fort Smith, Sebastian County

Relevant issues: Western expansion

Statement of significance: Established in 1817 near the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers, the first fort at this site was among the earliest U.S. military posts in Missouri Territory. The fort’s purpose was to control the encroachment into Osage lands by both the Cherokee and westward-moving American settlers. The second fort, begun in 1838 a short distance from the site of the first, was garrisoned until the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas moved to the town of Fort Smith in 1871.

Old State House, Little Rock

Location: 300 West Markham, Little Rock, Pulaski County

Relevant issues: Health and medicine, social reform

Statement of significance: From 1912 to 1916, the Arkansas State Board of Health, in partnership with the University of Arkansas Medical School, worked from this building on successful campaigns to control or eradicate hookworm, a scourge of the South, and malaria, a disease that plagued much of the planet. Arkansas’s drive against malaria was a model of success, long acclaimed in the history of public health, which was used to eradicate malaria in the rest of the United States and the world. From the town of Crossett, Arkansas, the office of the surgeon general distributed nationwide a full report of the Crossett experiment as Public Health Bulletin No. 88, and this detailed description became the formula for sanitation workers around the world.

Rohwer Relocation Center Cemetery

Location: Rohwer, Desha County

Relevant issues: Asian American history, political history, World War II

Statement of significance: Rohwer Relocation Camp was constructed in the late summer and early fall of 1942 as a result of Executive Order 9066 (February 16, 1942). Under this order, over 110,000 Japanese aliens and Japanese Americans were relocated from the three Pacific coast states–California, Oregon, and Washington. In all, ten relocation camps were established in desolate sites, all chosen for their distance from the Pacific coast. Over ten thousand evacuees passed through Rohwer during its existence, and over two-thirds of these were American citizens. The monuments found within the camp’s cemetery are perhaps the most poignant record of this time.

Toltec Mounds Site

Location: Scott, Lonoke County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: A large ceremonial complex and village site, Toltec Mounds represents the northhernmost occupation during the Coles Creek Period (c. 700-1000 c.e.) and may yield information about the interaction between Lower and Central Mississippi Valley cultures. It is part of Toltec Mounds Archaeological State Park.

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