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Arkansas State Parks

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Ouachitas Region
Old Washington Historic State Park
Old Washington Historic State Park © The original uploader was Billy Hathorn at English Wikipedia. / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Historic Washington State Park entrance sign.
Old Washington Historic State Park © The original uploader was Billy Hathorn at English Wikipedia. / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
I took photo on Aug. 7, 2008.Billy Hathorn talk 2333, 10 September 2008 UTC
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Historic Washington, Arkansas's premier 19th-century village, is conserved and interpreted by Arkansas State Parks in conjunction with the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation.From its establishment in 1824, Washington was an important stop on the rugged Southwest Trail for pioneers traveling to Texas. James Bowie, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett traveled through Washington. James Black, a local blacksmith, is credited with creating the legendary Bowie Knife here. Later, the town became a major service center for area planters, merchants and professionals. Washington was the Confederate Capital of Arkansas from 1863-1865.

Established in 1973, the state park interprets Washington from 1824-1889. The 1874 Courthouse serves as the park visitor center. Visitors can also see the 1836 Courthouse, Blacksmith Shop, Weapons Museum, several residences and other historic structures on self-guided tours. Buildings open for touring vary each day. Lunch featuring delicious, Southern country fare is served daily in the circa 1832 Williams' Tavern Restaurant.Group rental facilities at Old Washington include the 1914 Schoolhouse featuring meeting rooms, an auditorium, overnight accommodations (maximum capacity: 60 in bunk beds) and a catering kitchen, and the WPA Gymnasium with kitchen.

The park also houses the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives, a resource center for historical and genealogical research.
History of the Area
Washington, Arkansas was established in 1824 and became a significant stop on the Southwest Trail for pioneers. In 1836, it served as Arkansas's Confederate capital after Union forces captured Little Rock during the Civil War. The town is also known for its connection to James Black who crafted the original Bowie knife there.

In recognition of Washington's historical significance, efforts began in mid-20th century to preserve several structures from its heyday period (1824-1889). By 1973 these preservation initiatives culminated into what we now know as an official state park under management by Arkansas State Parks system.

Old Washington Historic State Park, Arkansas's 19th-century restoration village, offers group lodging in the town's restored 1914 Schoolhouse. Restored to serve groups visiting the park, the facility will accommodate up to 60 persons in bunks. A meeting room and auditorium are also available for rent.

Each bunk comes with linens and rents for $17.50/night. The meeting room can be rented for $100/day, the auditorium for $125/day, and the meeting room and auditorium together for $225/day. The entire building can be rented for $800/day. Pets are not permitted; however, service animals are welcome. Call the park at (870) 983-2684 to make reservations. Old Washington Historic State Park is located in southwest Arkansas near Hope. Take Exit #30 off I-30 at Hope and travel nine miles northwest on U.S. 278 to the park.

Old Washington Historic State Park is located near Hope, Nashville

1. Old Washington Historic State Park offers picnic tables for visitors to enjoy meals amidst its historic setting.
2. The park provides shaded areas perfect for picnicking and relaxing during the day.
3. Visitors can bring their own food or use available grills at designated picnic spots in the park.
4. Picnic facilities are conveniently located near restrooms, parking lots, and historical attractions within the state park.

1. The Blacksmith Shop Trail: A short, 0.25-mile trail that leads to a historic blacksmith shop and other historical structures.

2. Pioneer Cemetery Loop: This half-mile loop takes hikers through the park's pioneer cemetery where early settlers are buried.

3. Southwest Trail/Stagecoach Road Hike: At approximately one mile long, this hike follows part of an old stagecoach road used in the 19th century.

4. Townsite Tour Pathway: An easy walking path around the original town site with interpretive signs explaining various points of interest; length unknown but relatively short walk within city limits

5.The Bicentennial Tree Walk is less than a quarter mile long featuring trees planted during America's bicentennial year (1976).

6.Surrey Trace Nature Trial - It covers about three-quarters of a mile along Williams Creek showcasing native plants and wildlife habitats.

7.Williams Tavern Restaurant Walking Path - Short pathway leading from parking area directly to restaurant building surrounded by greenery for scenic views while dining or waiting for meals.

8.Hempstead Hall Ruins Footpath- Small footpath circling ruins left after fire destroyed Hempstead Hall in late nineteenth-century providing glimpse into past architecture styles prevalent at time period

9.Cornwallis Campground Trails - These trails wind throughout campground offering campers quick access to all amenities including bathhouse facilities as well as picnic areas scattered across grounds

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
March 18 A Childhood Memory by Rynda (Roberts) Clark
park review stars; one to five I grew up 4 miles from there b e Fire other a me a park and remember going to a small grocery store owned by Letha and Fred Norwood. Anyone r err member them ? I also r e member the Jonquil Festival held every March.
October 26 1914 Schoolhouse at Historic Washington by Gary Jones
park review stars; one to five Attended a meeting there this weekend. Excellent facility. Catered food from the Tavern Restaurant was good. Highly recommended for individuals and meeting planners.
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Area Campgrounds
Hope Village Inn & RV Park
2611 North Hazel Street
Hope, AR
Nearby Hotels

1. Start on US:278 W/US-371 S from Hope, Arkansas.
2. Continue for about 10 miles until you reach the town of Washington.
3. Turn right onto Columbus Street once in Washington.
4. Follow this road and look out for signs to Old Washington Historic State Park on your left:hand side.

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Arkansas State Parks