There’s Something Eerily Beautiful About This Historic Arkansas Swamp
One of the most educational and lesser known state parks in Arkansas, the Louisiana Purchase State Park, can be found near the town of Blackton in Monroe County. Not much remains of Blackton, despite the area being home to two locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Palmer House, constructed in 1973 near Blackton, burned down in 2014 during renovations. The Louisiana Purchase State Park, located two miles outside of Blackton, remains the town’s only historic attraction.
With more than 37 acres of swampland, the Louisiana Purchase State Park has become a rare gem because of the constant draining of swampland for agricultural use. The park’s main attraction is a 6-foot granite marker, placed in 1926 to commemorate the date (November 10, 1815) when United States engineers surveyed the Louisiana Purchase. Part of the inscription informs visitors that “the first survey from this point was made to satisfy the claims of the soldiers of the War of 1812 with land bounties.”
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The park was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993 while the granite marker was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The park remains one of the most satisfying educational experiences in Arkansas for visitors of all ages.
One interesting note about the park is the ‘Hollow Tree’ – a tree with its central support having rotted away that still continues to grow somehow. Two younger trees grew from the rotted natural phenomenon, having received enough nutrition from the living part of the Hollow Tree to survive and thrive.
The Louisiana Purchase State Park is a great learning location for those who are interested in Arkansas, as well as U.S. history. As one of America’s preserved swamplands, this state park is excellent for teaching younger generations about American expansion, as well as what a large portion of the South looked like before progress and technology drained and replaced uniquely beautiful swampland for more financially viable prospects. Take a trip out to Monroe County and have a look at how the west was surveyed!