Near Lesmeister Guesthouse, and just outside Pocahontas, Arkansas, lies the site of the town of Davidsonville, established in 1815, long before Arkansas became a state. Now know as Davidsonville Historic State Park, it’s the location of the first courthouse, first post office, first land office, first planned town in what’s now Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Davidsonville was the thriving seat of government for a huge area, as settlers moved into the new Louisiana Purchase land. Davy Crockett, as a former US Congressman, even presided over a few court cases there, as he made his way from Tennessee to the Alamo in 1835.
A few years ago, underground study by archaeologists let us locate these first public buildings in the state. They know where the buildings sat, where the fireplaces were, where the doors were. Study in the legal archives of the times yields physical descriptions of the buildings.
Armed with all this information, the State of Arkansas has erected steel beam “ghost structures” at Davidsonville, outlining the buildings so visitors can envision how the town was laid out and the sizes of the principal buildings. Also, the park has just opened it’s brand new visitor center, which houses a newly built “flat boat” of the type the original settlers used to bring goods into this area before the steamboat era.
See an Arkansas State Parks video of the ghost structures HERE.