We love exploring America’s back roads and small towns and finding overlooked gems that the tourist brochures never cover. In a series of weekly blog posts we will be sharing some of America’s lesser-known small town museums, historic sites, and oddball attractions, on a state-by-state basis.
Altus: The Altus Heritage House Museum at 106 North Franklin has an interesting display of early coal mining equipment.
Bauxite: The Bauxite Museum, 6707 Benton Road, has displays from an early mining town that was once the center of American aluminum production.
Blytheville: The Delta Gateway Museum at 210 W. Main Street tells the story of the region’s cotton and logging industry.
Eureka Springs: At Abundant Memories Heritage Village you can tour 26 historic buildings and watch costumed guides conduct living history programs. Located at 2434 Arkansas Route 23.
Eureka Springs: Quigley’s Castle at 274 Quigley Castle Road is the Ozarks’ strangest dwelling. Visitors can see how Elise Quigley found a way to sleep surrounded by treetops full of blooms, see two-story tall tropical plants and butterflies, rocks and arrowhead collections beyond the imagination.
Fort Smith: At the Fort Smith Trolley Museum, you can ride on a 1926 Birney electric streetcar and see displays of railroad and transportation memorabilia. Located at 100 South 4th Street.
Fort Smith: The Darby House, at 311 General Darby Street, is the boyhood home of General William O. Darby, leader of Darby’s Rangers in World War I. The home is open to tours and displays tributes to Darby, as well as artifacts from Cisterna, Italy, Fort Smith’s sister city.
Fort Smith: Fort Smith National Historic Site, 301 Parker Avenue, features the remains of two frontier garrisons: the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas, "Hanging Judge" Isaac C. Parker’s courtroom, a reproduction of the 1886 gallows, the "Hell on the Border" jail, the 1846 Commissary Storehouse and a re-creation of the old fort’s flagpole.
Fort Smith: Stop at the town’s Visitor Center at 2 North “B” Street, which is housed in a former brothel called Miss Laura’s Social Club. The bedrooms upstairs have been preserved to look like they are still ready for business.
Greenbrier: Elephants in Arkansas? No, you’re not seeing things. Riddle’s Elephant Sanctuary takes in unwanted and abused pachyderms and provides them with a safe and comfortable place to live.
Harrison: The Marine Corps Legacy Museum covers the history of the United States Marines from 1775 to the present day.
Hot Springs: The world’s largest animated miniature city, Tiny Town Trains, boasts hundreds of miniature buildings and figures, including Mr. T and Danny Thomas. Located at 374 Whittington Avenue.
Lincoln: The Arkansas Country Doctor Museum at 107 N Starr Avenue has exhibits on country doctors from all over the state. Over the years three different doctors had offices in the building that houses the museum. Exhibits include a clinic and an iron lung.
Murfreesboro: At the Crater of Diamonds State Park near here, you can search for real diamonds in the only diamond mine in North America. Visitors find almost 1,000 diamonds here annually.
Newport: Every little girl’s favorite doll is on display at Arnett’s Doll Museum, featuring over 5,000 dolls of all shapes and sizes.
Pine Bluff: The Band Museum is the only museum dedicated entirely to the history of band music and instruments, displaying rare, old and unusual instruments and memorabilia from one of the most extensive collections anywhere in the nation.
Pine Bluff: At the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame, you can see displays on celebrities Glen Campbell, Alan Ladd, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Tracy Lawrence, Al Green, and K.T. Oslin, to name just a few.
Scott: Toltec Mounds Archeological Park preserves one of the largest Native American mound sites in the Lower Mississippi River Valley.
Tyozna: The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum tells the story of the farm labor movement in the South and the tenant farming system of agriculture.
Wilson: At Hampson Archeological Museum State Park, Native American artifacts dating from 1350 to 1650 are displayed.
It’s time for a new Free Drawing, and this week’s prize is a signed paperback copy of Explanations and Advice for the Tech Illiterate by Randall Morris. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Be careful when you follow the masses. Sometimes the "M" is silent.