Description - In 1686, Henri de Tonti established a trading post known as "Poste de Arkansea" at the Quapaw village of Osotouy. It was the first semi-permanent French settlement in the lower Mississippi River Valley. The establishment of the Post was the first step in a long struggle between France, Spain, and England over the interior of the North American continent.
Copyright: National Park Service
Arkansas Post National Memorial
Over the years, the Post relocated as necessary due to flooding from the Arkansas River, but its position always served of strategic importance for the French, Spanish, American, and Confederate military. The 1783 "Colbert Incident," the only Revolutionary War action in Arkansas, brought the first organized combat to the region.
Arkansas Post became part of the United States during the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. By 1819, the post was a thriving river port and the largest city in the region and selected the capital of the Arkansas Territory. During the Civil War, Confederate troops tried to maintain tactical control of the confluence of the two rivers, and in 1862 they constructed a massive earthen fortification known as Fort Hindman. In January 1863 Union troops destroyed the fort and adjacent river port town, ensuring control of the Arkansas River.
- Today, the memorial and museum commemorate the multi-layered and complex history of the site. The visitor center contains a large museum area that interprets the history of the Post of Arkansas and its archeological resources. Exhibits depicting the importance of hunting and agriculture to the region are also present. A 14-minute interpretive film introduces the visitor to the complex history of the Post and its impact on American history. In addition to the museum and theater areas, restrooms are available in the visitor center. A picnic area with restrooms is also available at Arkansas Post.
A paved two-mile scenic drive connects the picnic area, wayside exhibits, and the visitor center.
Two and a half miles of paved-accessible trail connect the town site, nature trail, and wayside exhibits. An additional unpaved trail follows the edge of the bayou along a bluff bank.
Recreation - Located on a peninsula bordered by the Arkansas River and two backwaters, the site offers excellent fishing and wildlife watching opportunities. In addition, this National Memorial offers biking, bird watching, boating, fishing, hiking, and nature walks.
Climate - Summers are generally hot and humid. Winters are generally moderate. Insects are common during much of the year, as they are in other areas of the South, and appropriate precautions should be observed.
Arkansas Post National Memorial is located 16 miles north of Dumas and 20 miles south of DeWitt, AR.