Arkansas June 07, 2020
These 20 Hidden Gems Around Arkansas Are Quite Attractive
The Crater of Diamonds isn’t the only place in Arkansas where you can find a real gem and make great memories. The rest of the Natural State offers places and locations that aren’t as frequented as other popular and well-known attractions in the state, but the quality of these quaint locales make up for being diamonds in the rough. Here are some of our favorite hidden gems in Arkansas that you should add to your bucket list this year.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
20. Louisiana Purchase Historical Marker: Located near Blackton, Arkansas at the Louisiana Purchase State Park, this marker was laid by Prospect K. Robbins and Joseph C. Brown on October 27, 1815.
The marker was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The 55 mile stretch of land Robbins traversed is even today some of the most difficult terrain in Arkansas to negotiate.
19. Beech Street Brick Street: This is a historic section of the Beech Street roadway in Texarkana, Arkansas. It consists of a section of road, between 14th and 24th Streets, which was paved in brick circa 1904.
The road section is a rare surviving example of the use of brick as a paving material, as most such roads have since been paved over with asphalt. It contributes to the historic significance of the Beech Street Historic District, which includes the residential properties on Beech Street and some adjacent roads.
18. United States Highway 61 Arch: This arch crosses U.S. Highway 61 at the Arkansas-Missouri state line, between Blytheville, Arkansas, and Steele. The concrete horseshoe arch reads "Entering Arkansas" on one side and "Entering Missouri" on the other.
The Mississippi County, Arkansas Road Improvement District built the arch in 1924 after paving the highway; it erected a similar arch over the highway at the Crittenden County line, but the other arch was removed in the 1950s.
17. Sugar Creek Vista Overlook: A beautiful scenic overlook in Ouachita National Forest, this historic location is found in Polk County, Arkansas on Polk Co. Road 64, just south of Dicks Gap. The overlook is a simple roadside pullout on the west side of the road, with a angular retaining wall about 84 feet long.
The wall was built out of quarried novaculite stone set with grapevine mortar in 1935 by a crew of the Civilian Conservation Corps. It is one of only two CCC-built overlooks in the national forest, and the only one built with these particular materials.
16. Bard Springs Dam: This historic recreational support facility is located in Ouachita National Forest at the Bard Springs recreation site, southeast of Mena and north of Athens in Polk County, Arkansas on the banks of Blaylock Creek.
The dam itself is located at the western end of the recreation area, and is about 65 feet long and 8 feet high at its center. It is made of fieldstone, and has a series of chutes and steps across its top. The dam was built in 1936.
15. Butterfield Overland Mail Route: The Butterfield Overland Mail route was a stagecoach route chosen to be snow-free unlike the more northern but shorter routes in place at the time. It ran from St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California beginning in 1858. Fayetteville, Arkansas was located between the major stops at Tipton, Missouri and Fort Smith, Arkansas and the city grew significantly during the trail's operation.
Located in Lake Fayetteville Park, this segment of land also overlapped a formerly well-traveled Native American removal route from Springfield, Missouri to Fayetteville from the 1830s.
14. Crowley's Ridge Bathhouse: This historic recreational facility is at Crowley's Ridge State Park, located in Greene County, Arkansas.
The 1-1/2 story log structure, built on a fieldstone foundation, is covered with a hip roof. A wood and log frame ell extends to the building's rear. The bathhouse was built circa 1935 by a crew from the Civilian Conservation Corps, and is an excellent local example of the Rustic style architecture popularized by the CCC.
13. Toltec Mounds: This historic location is an archaeological site from the Late Woodland period in Arkansas that protects an 18-mound complex with the tallest surviving prehistoric mounds in Arkansas.
The site is on the banks of Mound Lake, an oxbow lake of the Arkansas River. It was occupied by its original inhabitants from 600 to 1050 CE.
12. Strengthen the Arm of Liberty: A replica of the Statue of Liberty, this historic monument is in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The replica was placed by the Boy Scouts of America as part of its 1950's era campaign, "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty." It is located in front of Washington Regional Medical Center on North Hills Boulevard.
11. The Rialto: The Rialto Theater is a historic performing venue at 117 East Cedar Street in downtown El Dorado, Arkansas. Built in 1929 during El Dorado's oil boom years, the theater is one of the best local examples of Classical Revival architecture, and is one of the largest and most elaborately decorated performing spaces in southern Arkansas.
The theater, which seats 1400, features a main entrance that has Egyptian Revival details and is flanked by storefronts. The brick of the front facade is laid in a basket-weave pattern, and is topped by a stone frieze, cornice, and parapet. The interior of the theater is elaborately decorated.
10. Mirror Lake: This three-acre rainbow trout haven is constantly fed by the 58-degree water flowing from Blanchard Springs Caverns, 14 miles north of Mountain View, Arkansas.
The Civilian Conservation Corps built the stone and concrete dam that created the lake during the 1930s. Blanchard Springs Caverns and recreational facilities are nearby.
9. Birney Safety Streetcar No. 224: Located in in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, this streetcar was built in 1926 by the American Car Company. It is a type of streetcar known as a Birney "Safety Car".
No. 224 was built and purchased in 1926. The Fort Smith streetcar system used several Birney-type cars during the last several years of streetcar service, until the abandonment of the system by the Fort Smith Light & Traction Company on November 15, 1933. Car 224 was later used as a diner in Ashdown, Arkansas.
8. Blytheville Greyhound Bus Station: Located at 109 North 5th Street in Blytheville, Arkansas, this location is a single-story island-type station with rounded corners, and projecting canopies on either side. The main entrance also has a rounded canopy over it, and a vertical sign rising above, advertising the Greyhound Bus Lines.
This historic station was built by the company circa 1937, when it was undergoing a major expansion campaign. The building is one of the finest examples of Art Moderne styling in the state.
7. Joseph Knoble Brewery: This historic beer brewery building can be found at North 3rd and "E" Streets in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Built in the early 1850s, it is a three story stone building, with an extension beside that originally housed a large beer vault. The main beer production facility was on the third floor, and the first floor originally housed a tavern.
The area beside the main building where the vault was located was eventually filled in, with a beer garden built on top of it. It is the only known surviving example of a mid-19th century brewery in the state.
6. Frisco 4003: This is a 2-8-2, Mikado type, standard gauge steam railway locomotive built by the American Locomotive Company in 1919 as a standard USRA light Mikado for the Pennsylvania Railroad. She is now on display at the Fort Smith Trolley Museum in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The Frisco was in service hauling freight between Fort Smith, Arkansas and Monett, Missouri, which included a stretch through the Boston Mountains that was relatively steep.
5: Boxley Valley/Villines Mill: This location, also known as Boxley Mill or Whiteley Mill, was originally built circa 1840 by Abner Casey in the Buffalo River valley, in what is now Buffalo National River. After becoming known as Whiteley Mill, the mill was at the center of a Civil War skirmish known as the "Battle of Whiteley's Mill".
The mill was rebuilt in 1870 and replaced with a larger mill, becoming known as Villines Mill after the new owner. After three generations of Villines, the mill closed in the 1960s. The mill is included in the Big Buffalo Valley Historic District.
4. Royal Theater: Located at 111 South Market Street in Benton, Arkansas, this structure was built in 1948-49 as an extensive renovation of a prior theater and is already deemed historic.
The oldest part of the theatre was part of the 1920 "Imp" (apparently for "Independent Motion Pictures") theater. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
3: Davidsonville: Found in Randolph County, Arkansas near Pocohontas and situated on a border between The Ozarks and the Arkansas Delta, Davidsonville Historic State Park preserves the remains of the abandoned frontier town of Davidsonville.
The town was one of Arkansaw Territory's first settlements when founded in 1815, serving as an important river port town on the Black River. The former townsite was made into a state park in 1957 and a monument was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
2. The Little Rock: The actual "Little Rock" is the rock outcropping on the Arkansas River used as a navigation point during the early exploration of what would become the state of Arkansas. The town of Little Rock was established near this point, where this actual "little rock" serves as a marker.
The Arkansas Gazette newspaper first described the rock on August 20, 1822: “It projects several feet into the river, forming below it a fine basin for boats, and its top reaches perhaps about midway between low water mark and the summit of the bank of the river. The name Little Rock was given it by the aborigines, or the early settlers of the country to distinguish it from the Big Rock.”
1. USS Razorback: A Balao-class submarine, this vessel was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named after the finback or "razorback" whale, a species of whale found in the far southern reaches of the Pacific Ocean. It is arguably the longest-serving submarine still existing in the world, having been commissioned by two different countries for 53 years of active duty.
In 2004, the state of Arkansas adopted the submarine, although it was not named after the University of Arkansas mascot. In June 2004 she was taken under tow and arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana. From there she was towed up the Mississippi River and the Arkansas River to her permanent berth in North Little Rock, where she had been purchased by the city with private donations.
What are your favorite hidden gems in Arkansas? If you’re traveling through Arkansas or if you’re fortunate enough to live around here, get out and find some more gorgeous places across the Natural State! Also, feel free to tell us any other hidden gems that should be included in our list in the comment section below!
Address: Blackton, AR 72069, USA Address: Beech St, Texarkana, AR 71854, USA Address: Blytheville, AR 72315, USA Address: Sugar Creek, Bella Vista, AR, USA Address: Forest Service Road 38, Umpire, AR 71971, USA Address: 2092 AR-168 North, Paragould, AR 72450, USA Address: Toltec Mounds, Williams Township, AR 72142, USA Address: Fayetteville, AR, USA Address: 100 W Race Ave, Searcy, AR 72143, USA Address: Mirror Lake, Optimus Township, AR 72560, USA Address: Fort Smith, AR, USA Address: Blytheville, AR 72315, USA
hidden gems in Arkansas
June 21, 2020
What underrated places in Arkansas should I visit?
While there are plenty of popular attractions you should visit in Arkansas, sometimes the most interesting of places can be found off the beaten path. Located in Little Rock, Wildwood Park for the Arts is a beautiful botanical garden and center for the arts that’s free to the public and filled with 150 acres of natural and artistic wonder. If you’re in Eureka Springs, take a Downtown Underground Tour where you’ll see what’s left of the downtown tunnel system once used by prohibitionists and bank robbers.
What are the weirdest places in Arkansas?
From the historical to the haunted, Arkansas really does offer something for everyone. When you’re wanting to check out Arkansas’ wacky side, be sure to check out some of the weirdest places in Arkansas including Quigley’s Castle in Eureka Springs, the Popeye Statue in Alma, and the Billy Bass Adoption Center in the Flying Fish Restaurant in Little Rock’s River Market. Of course, you can’t talk about the wacky side of Arkansas without mentioning the Monster Mart, a funky little convenience store in Fouke centered around the legend of the Body Creek Monster.
What places in Arkansas should I see before I die?
While everyone’s list will vary, there are several places in Arkansas that everyone should see before they die. Some of the most popular attractions in Arkansas include Hot Springs National Park in the Ouachita Mountains, Mammoth Spring State Park in Mammoth Spring, and Crater of Diamonds State Park in southwestern Arkansas. History lovers will especially enjoy visiting the Arkansas Air Museum in Fayetteville, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. Address: Blackton, AR 72069, USA Address: Beech St, Texarkana, AR 71854, USA Address: Blytheville, AR 72315, USA Address: Sugar Creek, Bella Vista, AR, USA Address: Forest Service Road 38, Umpire, AR 71971, USA Address: 2092 AR-168 North, Paragould, AR 72450, USA Address: Toltec Mounds, Williams Township, AR 72142, USA Address: Fayetteville, AR, USA Address: 100 W Race Ave, Searcy, AR 72143, USA Address: Mirror Lake, Optimus Township, AR 72560, USA Address: Fort Smith, AR, USA Address: Blytheville, AR 72315, USA