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the main park museum
Arkansas Post National Memorial
Closest available address
1741 Old Post Road, Gillett, AR 72055
Visitor center is open 8-5. Park is open 8-dusk.
Best time to visit
spring, summer, fall
Arkansas Post National Memorial is a 758 acre park located in southeast Arkansas. The memorial was established in 1960 and preserves a series of historic settlements beginning with French explorers and continuing up to the US Civil War.
In the late 1600s French explorers built a trading post along the Arkansas River near the present day memorial to claim the area for France. Over the next 120 years, the French, Spanish, British and then the Americans competed for control of the area. Forts and settlements were built, attacked, abandoned and reclaimed. Flooding and conflicts with Indians also caused changes. By the early 1800s the US took control. In 1819 Arkansas Post reached its heyday when it briefly became the capital of Arkansas Territory. However, when the US Civil War started, the town was already in decline. The Confederacy built a fort here to protect Little Rock. In 1863 Union forces bombarded the fort and the town before capturing both. The town never fully recovered from the war and eventually was abandoned.
Given the history of the area, a visit to the park will mostly be of interest to history buffs. However, even for this group the park will have limited appeal as there are no historic buildings other than some foundation stones. A museum and film along with various interpretive signs and displays are the primary attractions. The Civil War fort no longer exists, but there is a model of it in the museum. The museum itself is fairly small and basic, but provides enough information to get a sense of the past. For those into nature, the park has several easy and relaxing walking trails, including one with views of the Arkansas River.
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