Welcome to Davidsonville State Park!
Between the Ozarks and the Arkansas Delta just north of Black Rock, you'll find remnants of one of theArkansas Territory's first frontier towns at Davidsonville Historic State Park.Davidsonville was home to the first postal stop, the first courthouse building and county seat of Lawrence County, and the first federal land office in what is now the state of Arkansas.
Once an important stop on the Southwest Trail and a river port on the bank of the Black River, Davidsonville was founded in 1815 and rapidly became the most important town in northeast Arkansas.Shortly after the town's founding, the Southwest Trail was rerouted onto higher ground, bypassing Davidsonville. As new towns began to appear along the trails new route, it diminished Davidsonville's importance and the town was abandoned by the 1830's.
While little of Davidsonville’s early existence, remains above ground, archaeological excavations are still uncovering remarkable finds of a grid of streets with a central square where the courthouse stood, foundations, and artifacts that tell a story of life on the Arkansas frontier. Archaeologists consider Davidsonville special because the town, established around the same time as Memphis and the St. Louis Railroad, did not evolve and undergo extensive and continual rebuilding. The artifacts have been relatively undisturbed, which is rare for this time frame.
The former townsite was designated as a state park in 1957 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Two steel-framed ghost structures have been built to reveal the size and location of a two-story dogtrot-style dwelling and the two-story courthouse and they have plans to add more in the future.
The park offers 20 hookup campsites and 10 primitive tent sites along with a modern bathhouse. Fishing is a major activity here. The park borders the Black River and also has a 12-acre fishing lake offering a barrier-free fishing pier, pedal boats and canoe rental.There are plenty of places to picnic along the water, as well as two playgrounds and two enclosed pavilions for groups. Make sure you bring your bugspray!!
Now, let's talk about trails!
The Historic Townsite Trail is an easy half mile, barrier free loop that takes you through the townsites interpretive panels and ghost structures.
The Scott Cemetery Trail is a half mile walk to a post-Civil War cemetery named for the Scott family who is buried there and ran the Black River ferry
The Trapper Lake trail is one mile and takes you around the lake
And the Black River Trail is 1.5 miles and takes you along the banks of the black river, passing the historic Philips-Reeves Cemetery.
Finish your stay with a stop by the Visitors Center for snacks and cold drinks at the gift shop. While you're there, check out the replica 1820s hunter-trapper flatboat, 3-D townsite tour, and a display of historic finds from archeological digs. The park hosts programs and events throughout the year and one of the favorites is Ghosts of Old Davidsonville. This yearly one-night event is held for Halloween and includes live music, concessions, a bonfire, and hayrides through the historic townsite, where reenactors portray ghosts of people who might have lived and died during the time of Davidsonville.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look into Davidsonville Historic State Park and we encourage you to get out and experience The Natural State! For more information on the park, visit ArkansasStateParks.com
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