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Friday, September 19, 2008

Arkadelphia, AR

Arkadelphia Logo

Welcome to the City of Arkadelphia


A Great Place to Call Home!

The City of Arkadelphia is located at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in Clark County Arkansas and is a 1st Class city with a population of 10,912. It is located on Interstate 30 about halfway between Little Rock and Texarkana, and also on Highway 7 about 35 miles from Hot Springs. This location makes easy access to the amenities of larger cities while enjoying the safety of a town published as “50 Fabulous Places to Raise Your Family: The Best Places to Live, Work, and Play.”

Town Hall Flags

Arkadelphia’s recreation opportunities are plentiful with local facilities such as Feaster Park, a 78-acre park with picnic areas, playground, outdoor basketball courts, restrooms, softball fields, and pavilion. Feaster Park is also home to the Arkadelphia Aquatic Park, and Recreation Center. Feaster Trail is also a great asset of the city; it is a paved and lighted trail for use by joggers, walkers, bikers, and roller bladers that spans the length of the city. Area recreation also includes Lake DeGray only minutes from Arkadelphia, as well as both the Caddo and Ouachita Rivers.

Ouachita River Bridge

Arkadelphia is a city in Clark County, Arkansas, United States. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 10,548. The city is the county seat of Clark County. The city is situated at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. Two universities, Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University, are located there.

Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas

The Ouachita Mountains are a mountain range located in west central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. The range's subterranean roots may extend as far as central Texas, or beyond it to the current location of the Marathon Uplift. Along with the Ozark Mountains, the Ouachita (pronounced [wɑˈʃiɾə], pseudophonetically: "wah-shi-tah") Mountains form the U.S. Interior Highlands, the only major mountainous region between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains.

Henderson State University

Henderson State University, founded in 1890 as Arkadelphia Methodist College, is a four-year public liberal arts university located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. It is Arkansas's only member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Henderson's curricula based on the belief that a liberal arts education is essential for all undergraduates; Henderson utilizes a program based on a core of courses in the arts and sciences.

*** Featured in the March 2005 issue of Southern Living Magazine and the August 6, 2006 edition of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Henderson House Front Porch


Why, Captain Henderson House? Because we love pampering you.

Because you can savor the peace and quiet of this fine, historic home.

Because you will wake up to a hot, delicious breakfast.

We are located on scenic Arkansas Highway 7, a convenient stop on your journey.

The Captain (Charles Christopher) Henderson House is named for its former owner and namesake of Henderson State University (Henderson is Arkansas’s only public university named for an individual). This magnificent 9,000 square-foot mansion began as a small cottage built in 1876. In 1906, however, this small cottage was incorporated into what was then known as the “Big House.”

Before Colums

In the 1920s, the “Big House" was again expanded, creating the present structure. The Captain Henderson House contains what is arguably the best collection of interior wooden fretwork in the state of Arkansas.

Kids in Yard

The mansion remained in the Phillips family until 1979, when Mary Jo Mann and Ruth Stone, granddaughters of Claude Phillips and graduates of Henderson, sold the house and property to the university. Their mother, Eloise Phillips Stone, was the last owner and resident.

Inside Henderson Home

In 1998, the house was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Until its renovation in 1999, it served as the university’s museum, showcasing the school’s rich history. This most recent renovation has restored the mansion to its former majesty.

Henderson Home After Renovations

Ouachita Baptist University a is private, liberal arts, undergraduate institution located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

I-30 Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) is located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Arkadelphia, which is near scenic Lake DeGray and historic Hot Springs National Park, is approximately 65 miles southwest of Little Rock and approximately 73 miles northeast of Texarkana. Arkadelphia has a population of over 10,000. The university is named for the Ouachita (pronounced Wash'-uh-taw) River, which forms the eastern campus boundary. There is some disagreement about the meaning of the word "ouachita." Its Choctaw meaning is "big hunt," but it has also been translated as "shining water."

Ouachita Baptist University opened its doors as Ouachita College on September 6, 1886and has operated continually since that date. It was originally located on the campus of Ouachita Baptist High School. Its present location is on the former campus for the Arkansas School for the Blind, which relocated to Little Rock. Its first president, Professor J. W. Conger, was elected on June 22, 1886. The organization was originally founded as Ouachita Baptist College. In 1965, the status and name were changed to Ouachita Baptist University due to expansion of the curriculum.


The site was settled in about 1809 by John Hemphill, operator of a nearby salt works. It was known as Blakelytown until 1839, when the settlement adopted its present name of Arkadelphia. The city's name Arkadelphia was likely formed by combining Ark- from the state's name Arkansas and adelphia as in Philadelphia.

Ouachita National Forest


Hiking through the Ouachita National Forest is a popular pastime around Arkadelphia.[citation needed] The DeGray Lake State Park has camping, water sports, golf, and hiking. Fishing is also popular.[citation needed] Arkadelphia Aquatic Park is a water park open during the summer months.

The Ouachita National Forest is a National Forest that lies in the western section of Arkansas and portions of eastern Oklahoma.

The Ouachita National Forest is the oldest National Forest in the southern United States. The forest encompasses 1,784,457 acres (7,221.44 km2) including most of the scenic Ouachita Mountains. Six locations in the forest, comprising 65,000 acres (263 km²), have been designated as wilderness areas. Ouachita is the French spelling of the Indian word Washita which means "good hunting grounds". The forest was known as Arkansas National Forest on its establishment on December 18, 1907: the name was changed to Ouachita National Forest on April 29, 1926.[1]

Ouachita National Forest

Rich in history, the rugged and scenic Ouachita Mountains were first explored in 1541by Hernando de Soto's party of Spaniards. French explorers followed, flavoring the region with names like Fourche La Fave River.

The area including the forest nearly became a 165,000 acres (670 km2) National Park during the 1930s but a last-minute veto by President Calvin Coolidge ended the effort.

Two wilderness areas are found in the forest, protecting the sections of the forest that have had the least amount of human intervention. The 13,139 acres (53.17 km2) Black Fork Mountain Wilderness is located in both Arkansas and Oklahoma while the 9,754 acres (39.47 km2) Upper Kiamichi River Wilderness is located solely in Oklahoma.

The forest contains a number of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails. The most extensive hiking trail is the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, which traverses 223 miles (358.9 km) across the region. This is a well-maintained backpacking, hiking trail with overnight shelters in several portions of the trail. Mountain biking is also allowed for some sections of the trail.

In the Oklahoma section of the forest the 26,445 acres (107.02 km2) Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area and six other designated areas offer visitors a full range of activities with more than 150 campsites, a 90 acres (360,000 m2) lake, and an equestrian camp.

The Talimena Scenic Drive, which is Highway 1 in Oklahoma and Highway 88 in Arkansas, is a National Scenic Byway which meanders through the forest providing amazing vistas and excellent photo opportunities.

Canoeing and fishing are popular activities on the Mountain Fork River, Caddo River, Little Missouri River, and Ouachita River within the bounds of the forest. The Cossatot River, said to be the most difficult whitewater river between the Smoky and Rocky Mountains, also passes through the forest.

Rockhounds frequent a belt several miles wide containing large amounts of quartz crystals. Visitors and rock collectors are free to pick up loose crystals within the belt for personal use and may dig for quartz with the permission of the district ranger.

Rockhounding is the recreational collecting of rocks and/or mineral specimens from their natural environment.

Early rockhounds were prospectors looking for valuable minerals and gemstones for commercial purposes. Eventually, however, more and more people have been drawn to rockhounding for recreational purposes, mainly for the beauty that rocks and minerals provide.

The rockhound's principal piece of equipment is the rock hammer. This small tool has a pick-like point on one end, and a flat hammer on the other. It should be noted, however, that the hammer end is for breaking rocks, and the pick end is mainly used for prying and digging into crevices. The pick end of most rock hammers can dull quickly if struck onto bare rock.

Getting started in rockhounding is easy; a collection can begin with a single "pretty" rock. However, there are many clubs and groups that rockhound together. Libraries, bookstores, and "gem and mineral shows" are very good sources of published information on where to find such groups. Also, tourist info centers and small-town chambers of commerce can also supply valuable local information. The Internet can also be a useful tool and can help find buddies in the hobby.

The avid collector will learn quite a bit of petrology, mineralogy and geology in search of collecting location information as well as in the identification and classifying of specimens, and preparation for display. The hobby can lead naturally into lapidary or mineral and gemstone cutting and mounting. The needed equipment then includes rock saws and polishers. Many beautiful crystal varieties are typically found in very small samples which requires a good microscope for working with and photographing the specimen. The hobby can be as simple as finding pretty rocks for a windowsill or develop into a detailed and comprehensive museum quality display.

Many states regulate the collection of some rocks and minerals, even on public lands, so it is advisable to read up on local laws before prospecting. Rock and mineral collecting is prohibited in most if not all national parks.

Notable former or present citizens

Trent Bryant - cornerback for the NFL's Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, and the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Trent Baron Bryant (born August 14, 1959 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas) is a former American football cornerback in the National Football League (NFL) and the United States Football League (USFL). He played for the Washington Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL and the Chicago Blitz, the Arizona Outlaws, and the Los Angeles Express in the USFL. He played college football at the University of Arkansas.

Cliff Harris - safety for the Dallas Cowboys.

Clifford Allen Harris (born November 12, 1948 in Fayetteville, Arkansas) is a former professional American football safety who played for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League for ten seasons.

Arthur Hodges (deceased) - first person in the county executed by electric chair.

Arthur Hodges (c. 1893 – December 18, 1914) was an African American man who became the first person in Clark County, Arkansas to be executed by means of the electric chair. Prior to that all executions were carried out by way of hanging or firing squad. He was the fourth person so executed in Arkansas and one of eight men executed by the state in a 16-day period. The eight executions in a sixteen day period were the subject of an article, "Eight to Die in Arkansas", published in The Kansas City Star.

W. Francis McBeth - first Composer Laureate of Arkansas.

William Francis McBeth was born March 9, 1933 in Ropesville, Texas (near Lubbock). He attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. McBeth is a prolific composer, whose musical repertoire has become a universal standard in wind band literature. He is also one of the most respected conductors of the present day.

McBeth has received the ASCAP Special Award every year since 1965. In 1988, he was awarded Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia's Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award for his achievement and continued contribution to American music.

From 1957 until his retirement in 1996, McBeth taught at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. In 1975, he was named Composer Laureate of Arkansas, the first Composer Laureate named in the United States.

Beth Moore - Biblical scholar; founder of Living Proof Ministries.

Terry Nelson - tight end for the Los Angeles Rams.

Terry Nelson (born May 20, 1951 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas), is a former American professional football player.

A 6'2", 233 lbs. tight end from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Nelson played 8 seasons from 1973-1980 for the Los Angeles Rams wearing #83. He started in Super Bowl XIV.

Bob C. Riley (deceased) -- former lieutenant governor of Arkansas.

Bob Cowley Riley (September 18, 1924–February 16, 1994) was an American educator and politician who served as the Democratic Acting Governor of Arkansas for eleven days in 1975. He had previously been a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1946 to 1950, the mayor of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 1966 and 1967, and the Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas from 1971 to 1975. Riley wore a black eyepatch because of an injury sustained in World War II.

Jerry Thomasson (deceased) -- former Democratic member of the Arkansas House of Representatives and two-time Republican candidate for Arkansas attorney general.

Jerry Kreth Thomasson (October 17, 1931 - April 29, 2007), was a Democratic member of the Arkansas House of Representatives who led the move to establish university status to the former Henderson State Teacher's College at Arkadelphia. In 1966, Thomasson switched parties to seek the position of attorney general on the Republican ticket headed by reformer Winthrop Rockefeller. Thomasson was defeated in the general election, however, by the Democrat Joe Purcell of Benton, the seat of Saline County, even as Rockefeller was elected to the first of two two-year terms as governor.

Kevin Williams - defensive tackle for the NFL team the Minnesota Vikings.

The Arkadelphia (Amtrak station) is located at 798 S. Fifth Street in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in the restored Missouri Pacific Railroad station. The station also serves as the headquarters for the regional transit agency.

Arkadelphia has a diverse base of businesses
to meet the needs of you and the entire family.

We encourage you to “Shop Arkadelphia” and
learn the many unique benefits of shopping at home.

The Artist Spirit Gallery

Mr. Suds

McNutt House Bed & Breakfast

Knit Unto Others

KelZek Fine Jewelry & Gifts

Huber Rental Properties, LLC

Group Living, Inc.

Covenant Books and Gifts

Coldwell Banker Tatman Realtors

Captain Henderson House Bed & Breakfast

Arkadelphia Aquatic Park

Serving as Clark County’s seat of government since 1842, Arkadelphia has served as a farm market and trading center thanks to reliable water-, then rail-, then automotive-borne transportation from its perch adjacent to the Ouachita River at the edge of the Ouachita Mountains. It has a history of light industry, covering the gamut from salt extraction to lumber and aluminum, as well as recreational opportunities afforded by the nearby Ouachita and Caddo rivers and the Caddo’s impoundment, DeGray Lake. Arkadelphia’s greatest asset has been an enduring commitment to education that began with general private and denominational efforts, as well as the Arkansas School for the Blind prior to the Civil War, and blossomed with public education, a business college, and denominational colleges for black and white Arkansans in the 1880s and 1890s. Of the five colleges founded in Arkadelphia in the decade between 1885 and 1895, two (Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University) continue to operate in town, while two more (Shorter College and Draughon’s Business College), like the Arkansas Institute for the Blind, moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County).

The Clark County Public Library in Arkadelphia, designed by Charles L. Thompson of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and completed in 1903.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

Where Arkadelphia now stands was land which Archaic hunter-gatherers and Woodland and Mississippian cultivators traversed. The last local exemplars of Mississippian culture, the Caddo (who gave their name to the river that flows about five miles to the town’s north and to the valley through which it travels on its way to join the Ouachita), left the region about 1700. Locals have long held that Hernando de Soto brought his men along the Ouachita and camped just north of the present town site on the high bluff to which long custom has attached his name. But by the time the first American settlers adopted the spot, the only evidence of earlier occupation, save for the large mound that still stands in Caddo Valley, was the occasional visit by Quapaw from farther east—and even that ceased with the Quapaw Treaty of 1818.

Blacksmith shop in Arkadelphia (Clark County); circa 1900.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

On a bluff overlooking the Ouachita River from the west, William Blakeley built a blacksmith shop and home in 1808. A few years later, a salt works (which some call Arkansas Territory’s first industry) was operating across the river, and a trading post stood near the boat landing. A decade later, Blakeleytown was thriving. At the end of the 1830s, the first lots were plotted, and Blakeleytown became Arkadelphia. The name’s originator and precise date of origin are lost; later accounts agree that early settler James Trigg reported, without attribution, that when Arkadelphia became the county seat and thus needed a more dignified name, locals combined two Greek words for "arc of brotherhood" and changed the third letter.

Jacob Barkman, owner of a large brick house near the Southwest Trail in Arkadelphia (Clark County), where travelers on the trail often spent the night.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

In 1842, Arkadelphia became the Clark County seat, and a brick courthouse and jail were completed in 1844. Incorporation was initiated in 1846, though it languished for a decade. In 1850, the first official census counted 162 whites and eighty-six slaves. By that point, the town included a saloon, the Arkadelphia Male and Female Institute, Methodist and Baptist churches, and a newspaper, The Sentinel. A decade later, this town, which served as the market for the surrounding river floodplain farms as well as those smaller upland ones, had the state’s seventh largest population.

Saturday afternoon at the wagon lot in Arkadelphia (Clark County); circa 1930s.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

During the Civil War, Arkadelphia supplied at least two companies of troops (the militia became Company E, and the newly formed Clark County Volunteers became Company B, First Arkansas Infantry) and served as a medicinal and munitions depot, source of salt, and ordnance works. Arkadelphian Harris Flanagin became the state’s wartime governor and briefly operated from the town, but local educational and religious institutions suspended operation during the war. Engagements to its west and south briefly threatened the town when Union general Frederick Steele marched on Camden (Ouachita County), and locals sometimes faced off with deserters and draft evaders.

Grocery store in Arkadelphia (Clark County); circa 1870.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

After the war, the railroad and education changed Arkadelphia. The Cairo and Fulton railroad line, following the Military Road (Southwest Trail), joined Arkadelphia and Little Rock for the first time in 1873. Once the railroad appeared, short-line spurs spread out into the surrounding pine forests and promoted the growth of sawmilling just across the river in what was briefly called Daleville (Clark County), as well as in “sawmill towns” like Graysonia (Clark County) at a greater remove from Arkadelphia. Since the railroad touched the river at Arkadelphia, the town became even more of a transportation nexus and, therefore, a farm market and trading center.

Livery stable in Arkadelphia (Clark County); circa 1890s.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

Good transportation and education-minded community leadership encouraged another kind of growth in Arkadelphia. Pre–Civil War education was private and limited to white people. In 1859, the Arkansas General Assembly incorporated the Arkansas Institute for the Blind, which remained in Arkadelphia until 1868. After the legislature created the first state-wide common school system in 1866, Arkadelphians designed a city-wide segregated system, which became operational in 1871 and coexisted with private schools. Arkadelphia became an educational center with the opening of two colleges for white people (Ouachita Baptist College in 1886 and Arkadelphia Methodist College in 1890), two schools for African Americans (Bethel College, AME, in 1891 and the Colored Presbyterian Industrial School in 1896), and the first of a series of business colleges (Draughon’s in 1891). This activity by education-minded citizens led one local newspaper consistently to refer to the community as “The City of Colleges” and other local to call it “The Athens of Arkansas.”

Clark County Courthouse in Arkadelphia.
Photo by John Gill, courtesy of the photographer

Between the mid-1880s and the early 1900s, Arkadelphia acquired public utilities and facilities. In 1891, a public telephone line system, a standpipe, and water mains were introduced. Wilson (soon named Arkadelphia) Water and Light Company provided electricity. Baseball games, first played in Arkadelphia in 1874, took place after 1887 in a grand, 500-seat ballpark. The Arkadelphia Bottling Company provided portable versions of fountain drinks. A cotton mill and Elk Horn Bank opened in 1884, and Citizens National Bank opened in 1888. By the era’s end, the community was a farm market and trading center for the surrounding area, an educational center, and even more of a center for light industry, both extractive and manufacturing, as lumber, textile, and flour milling replaced salt production, while gunsmithing remained. At the turn of the century, Arkadelphia was home to one of the state’s largest lumber mills (Arkadelphia Lumber Company at Daleville), as well as one of its first successful large industries, the Arkadelphia Milling Company, which produced flour, meal, stock feed, and staves on an around-the-clock schedule.

Science buildings at Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) in Arkadelphia (Clark County); circa 1920.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

The town grew little between 1900 and 1930, but a natural gas pipeline was completed in 1911, and the fledgling Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L), which initially connected Arkadelphia and Malvern (Hot Spring County), took over the local system in 1914. Except for Ouachita Baptist College and Arkadelphia Methodist College, Arkadelphia’s colleges moved to Little Rock or closed because of debt. The state of Arkansas took over what had been Arkadelphia Methodist College (then named Henderson-Brown College) in 1929, changing the name to Henderson State Teachers College. U.S. Highway 67 brought with it service stations and motels (including a municipal camping facility for a brief time in the 1920s), and Arkadelphia had a pasture acting as its airport by 1918. Between the public schools and the colleges, education rivaled wood products as the area’s largest employer, while agriculture lagged behind.

First Presbyterian Church in Arkadelphia (Clark County); 1950.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

After the Depression, apparel manufacturers brought Hollywood Maxwell to town in 1941and Oberman Manufacturing Company in 1945. In 1953, Reynolds Metals Company opened its Patterson aluminum reduction plant just south of Arkadelphia. In 1955, thanks to the newly formed Arkadelphia Industrial Development Commission, Tectum Corporation sited a composite-board facility on the floodplain south of town. The town’s growth after 1950 was largely because local developers opened the first significant planned housing development farther west of what had traditionally been known as West End, as well as interest in industry evidenced by the Chamber of Commerce and the Clark County Industrial Commission (now Council). Except for the drain of people into the military services and their replacement by Training Detachments at Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State colleges, the effect of World War II on the community came mainly after the war’s end. Although government war contracts touched few Arkadelphians directly, available money after the Depression whetted appetites for a lifestyle previously unknown, and experiences in the larger world encouraged locals to forsake rural living, enlarging the town at the expense of county farms in the post-war years.

Branch of the Freedmen's Bureau in Arkadelphia (Clark County).
Photo by Ernie Deane, courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

Interstate 30, parallel to U.S. Highway 67, was completed in the late 1960s, dooming the small independent overnight cottages that had thrived along the highway and drawing Arkadelphia westward toward it. Six years of work on DeGray Dam ended in 1968, though its power-generation facility was not dedicated until 1972. Ouachita Baptist College became a university in 1965 and enjoyed a record enrollment the next year. The state opened the Arkadelphia unit of its Arkansas Children’s Colony for developmentally disabled children in 1968. Easier transportation and growth of Arkansas’s recreation industry attracted Alumacraft and encouraged the founding of Ouachita Marine in the mid-1960s, both to manufacture boats. One of the biggest factors in Arkadelphia’s growth, planning, and quality of life, the local philanthropic Ross Foundation, began in 1966.

Arkadelphia Methodist College (later Henderson-Brown College) in Clark County; circa 1900s.
Courtesy of Henderson State University Special Collections

Aerial view of Henderson State University (HSU) campus; circa 1972.
Courtesy of Henderson State University Special Collections

Henderson State Teachers College (now Henderson State University) sports facility, Haygood Stadium (since replaced by Carpenter-Haygood Stadium); circa late 1940s.
Courtesy of Henderson State University Special Collections

Chapel at Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) in Arkadelphia (Clark County); 1964.
Photo by Ernie Deane, courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

This salt kettle capable of holding 200 gallons was donated to Henderson State Teachers College (now Henderson State University) in Arkadelphia (Clark County) by the descendants of Captain R. W. Hule, an early settler, banker, merchant, and real estate holder. The legend behind the kettle is that it was used by John Hemphill in Arkansas's first salt operation, founded between 1812 and 1814.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission