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Published: August 26th 2013
Federal Courthouse Western District of Arkansas
This original structure has had many additions since it was built before the Civil War. It served as headquarters to both Union and Confederate troops during the war. It was last used by Judge Parker in the late 1800's.
Cynde took the challenge of planning our current trip - destination Dollywood! I just gave her some general outlines - where our overnight stops should be, how many nights in each location, etc. Her challenge was to locate approprite camping locations and scope our the local attractions.
So, early on Monday morning, we loaded up and hit the interstate heading east. Cynde stayed up long enough for us to get near Shawnee, then she moved to the back of the coach and crashed! She woke up just past Lake Eufaula in time for a mobile pit stop. Our first planned amusement pause was scheduled for Fort Smith.
We arrived in Fort Smith around 10 a.m. and quickly located the historical area. Located on the eastern shore of the Arkansas River was the historical area that held the Federal Courthouse occupied by the famous “Hanging Judge”, Judge I.A. Parker. The old courthouse contained the jail, the judges chambers, and the rest of the federal courthouse operations. Judge Parker was on the bench for for less than 20 years and prosecuted over 12,000 cases. His cased ranged from horse theft, to robbery and murder. Of all the
Flying on the original flag pole of the Federal Complex.
cases that he handled, only 129 or so were given the death sentence, and there were only 79 actually executed by his order. That is less than 1% of his cases resulting in an actual execution. In truth, Judge Parker was an advocate for women’s rights - fighting for seperate jail space for female prisoners, supporting the rights of women. Judge Parker was responsible for all the law enforcement in western Arkansas, as well as in the Indian lands comprising present day eastern Oklahoma.
From Fort Smith, we headed toward Little Rock. We had spend a very sort time in Little Rock several years ago and found it to be a very inviting city. Our first night on the road was to be spent at the North Little Rock KOA. This was a really great camp ground located on the northwest side of LIttle Rock and was very handy to all the areas we intended to visit. After setting up camp, we headed downtown to the riverfront area. President Clinton Avenue is a great little street that is home to the entertainment district and is serviced by LIttle Rock’s old streetcars. We walked around the area for
Standing on the Eastern Bank of the Arkansas River
The river merges with another river that flows from the east. Here the river is nearly a quarter of a mile wide and was moving very swiftly when we visited.
a while, then caught the streetcar to head across the river and around the downtown entertainment area. Dinner was at Cajun’s Warf where we sat overlooking the river and enjoyed crab au gratin and a broiled scallop platter. After eating, we headed outside on the upper deck to enjoy some live music. It was a beautiful night with a glorious full moon. Tomorrow we will head for Memphis for a full day of Elvis!
Life is Good!
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