Arkansas Post National Memorial | Reader's Digest

Arkansas Post National Memorial

from Off the Beaten Path | 318
Arkansas Post, Arkansas© 2009 Courtesy of Arkansas Tourism BureauExhibitions in the visitors center trace the history of the state's first settlement.

1741 Old Post Rd., Gillett, Arkansas

Called the birthplace of Arkansas, the small settlement of Arkansas Post was established in 1686 by Henri de Tonti on a grant given to him four years earlier by his chief, the great French explorer La Salle. The trading post was probably abandoned a few years later, but in the early 1700s profitable trade with the Native Americans revived interest in the region, and Arkansas Post was rebuilt.

After becoming an American village in 1803, Arkansas Post grew into a bustling frontier town, and in 1819 it was made the first territorial capital of Arkansas. But it faded away when the government moved to Little Rock in 1821.

During the 1700s and 1800s Arkansas Post was relocated many times because of the river’s instability. Several of these sites are within today’s 747-acre memorial park. Spring and fall are the best seasons for viewing alligators. Self-guiding trails through this setting of quiet beauty help re-create the past.

The park is also a wildlife preserve and a magnificent spot for bird-watching. Park Lake yields large bass and catfish. A launching ramp for small boats just beyond the park gives access to the Arkansas River, Moore, and Post bayous, and Post Bend Lake. The visitors center has first-rate archaeological, historical, and wildlife exhibits.

–Park open year-round.

www.nps.gov/arpo
(870) 548-2207