Walnut Ridge Hosting “Walks Through History”


LITTLE ROCK–The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s next “Walks Through History” tour will visit the Walnut Ridge Commercial Historic District beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 13, AHPP Director Frances McSwain announced today.

Walnut Ridge developed in the early 1870s after the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad announced its plans to construct a line through the eastern part of Lawrence County. Because of its location between Crowley’s Ridge and the Ozark Mountains, a wide variety of crops were grown in Lawrence County, including cotton, corn, wheat, vegetables, and fruits. Vast forests of oak, hickory, cypress, and walnut were also harvested. Walnut Ridge became a regional shipping center for these agricultural and timber products. The town’s population declined during the Great Depression, but Walnut Ridge experienced a second boom in the early 1940s after the U.S. Army built an air field nearby. The Walnut Ridge Army Air Field employed civilians in every job except military training until the end of World War II and serves as a municipal airport today. The tour group will meet at the Missouri-Pacific Depot at 109 SW Front Street. Downtown Walnut Ridge is the tour’s co-sponsor.

In the “Walks Through History” program, AHPP historians each month provide free guided walking tours of historic structures and districts across Arkansas. The tours all begin at 11 a.m. on Saturdays.

Other 2011 “Walks Through History” tours will be held September 17, West Memphis Commercial Historic District, co-sponsored by Main Street West Memphis; October 15, Historic Arkansas City, co-sponsored by the Desha County Historical Society; November 12, Couchwood Historic District, co-sponsored by the Garland County Historical Society, and December 10, Van Buren Historic District, co-sponsored by the Van Buren Historic District Commission, the Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission and Fairview Cemetery.

All tours are free and open to the public. For information, call the AHPP at (501) 324-9880, write the agency at 1500 Tower Building, 323 Center St., Little Rock, AR 72201, send an e-mail message to info@arkansaspreservation.org, or visit the agency web site at www.arkansaspreservation.org.

The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Historic Arkansas Museum.