Sunday, August 24, 2014

Powhatan Courthouse, Lawrence County, Arkansas

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite historical places in Arkansas. It is a small community called Powhatan, but it once was the county seat of Lawrence County, Arkansas, and elegantly situated on the Black River.  If anyone is looking for a nice day trip in the Ozarks, this is true destination place. Tours are given, and it's also a great place for historical & genealogical research for the Ozarks due to the fact that the The Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives (NEARA), a branch of the Arkansas History Commission, is also located here. NEARA houses many historical documents including sources from the old courthouse.

This park also has a special place in my heart due to the fact I had family living in the small community of Strawberry, Arkansas, only 17 miles away. By historical records, they would often frequent these grounds. After visiting here, it takes very little imagination to see a once thriving region with this locality as its hub of interest.

The courthouse construction was completed in 1888. Over time, the county seat was moved to Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, and the building slowly began to fall into disarray. The Lawrence County Historical Society, working with the Lawrence County Development Council, saved the courthouse, as well as important territorial and early statehood records, and began a partial restoration process that was completed in 1970. Ownership was transferred to Arkansas State Parks in 1979, and additional renovations have restored the building to its early appearance.

Approaching the Powhatan State Park.

1840s Ficklin-Imboden Log House
The Commercial Building circa 1887–88.

The 1890 Male and Female Academy.

  Remnants of an old Suspension Bridge & location of the Ferry Landing across the Black River.
Lawrence County Courthouse, 1888.

Lawrence County Courthouse, 1888.
The County Safe inside the Courthouse
The 1st flight of stairs leading to the second floor.
The 2nd  flight of stairs leading to the second floor.  Notice the use of ambient sunlight used to illuminate the passage.
Lawrence County Jail.

The spacious courtroom fully restored to its former glory. Notice the dumb-waiter in the corner to bring up whatever is needed for the 1st floor.
View of the Judge's desk and the chairs for the jury.



 Lawrence County Jail.

Lawrence County Jail.

Entrance to the jail.

Double-Chamber Locking Door for 6 Men. 
Straw Bedding &Hammocks Not Included.

6 Man Jail Cell.   Hammocks were provided to help stack them like a cord of wood.
2 Man Cell.  No bunk bed...only straw was provided to sit & sleep on.   A bucket was provided to do your business in.   It was needful to have a good family because they were the ones to provide you food.

I decided to go in and have a look.
 Enjoy your Ozarks' History

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