May 2, 2007 Edition

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Grand opening of renovated
Powhatan Courthouse slated

Powhatan Historic State Park will celebrate the grand opening of the state-of-the-art courthouse interior Saturday.

Festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. The event will feature a small fur trader camp, live musical entertainment, an open house at the park's five historic buildings featuring docents sharing interpretive information at each stop and Dutch oven cooking demonstrations.

A full-scale replica keelboat will arrive on the river in the morning. Lunch, including hot Dutch oven cobbler for dessert, will be provided.

A grand opening ceremony is slated for 1 p.m. State Rep. J.R. Rogers of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas State Parks Director Greg Butts and Park Superintendent Corinne Fletcher will be joined by other area officials at the ceremony.

The day's events are open to the public, and all activities are free. Parking for the event will be located below the courthouse near the Black River. Shuttle vans will be available.

The striking, 1888 Italianate-style courthouse is the dominant feature of Powhatan Historic State Park.

The interior renovation was based on research, paint analysis and historical documentation, according to Park Superintendent Corinne Fletcher.

One of the historic/cultural sites within Arkansas's state parks system of 52 parks and museums, Powhatan Historic State Park conserves and interprets the historic Powhatan site, the former county seat of Lawrence County, the mother of north Arkansas counties, that flourished after 1869 as an important river port on the Black River. The historic river ferry and steamboat landing was established as an Arkansas state park in 1974.

Along with the courthouse, the park features the historic 1873 Powhatan Jail, the circa 1840 Ficklin-Imboden House, circa 1887 Telephone Exchange Building and circa 1889 Powhatan Male and Female Academy, a unique two-room schoolhouse. Collectively, these structures tell the story of this important 1800s river port that was the chief shipping point for a large territory. Each structure tells the story of life in town, and all are on their original foundations.

Powhatan Courthouse State Park is on Highway 25 in Powhatan.

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