Sunday, September 1, 2013

Olden Days in the South: Historic Washington State Park

I hope you are having a lovely weekend!!

This post is a little belated, one I have been wanting to write and share since July.  That was when we got back from our wonderful family vacation to Arkansas.  When I shared photos from that trip, I mentioned that there were more I wanted to share from a special place we had ventured to in the state.
Here they are!

This place is called Historic Washington State Park and it was absolutely beautiful and an amazing experience to visit.  It is in Southwest Arkansas.  I have never been any place quite like this.  It is a historic park where you can get an up close feel of the life, homes, land, and history of the 1800's (in my opinion, a truly neat era), and I had never been any place quite like this.  We were fascinated by it all.
It showed not only the history and life of the "olden days" here, but also the loveliness and beauty of this part of the South altogether.

This was the building where we went to pick up a map to start our tour.
We did the self-guided tour- I loved the excitement of exploring.

It was the old 1874 courthouse, and had so many historically beautiful features, just like the other buildings throughout Washington.

From the big, old, gorgeous trees to the fences and the architecture, it truly felt as
if we had stepped into the 1800's. (The other side of the courthouse/visitors center)

The first home we stopped at:  the beautiful 1853 Woodlawn Plantation House.
The truly picturesque image of an old, Civil War era Southern home.

At the house across the street, the Trimble House, we walked around to the back to find some old treasures that really made us feel like we were back in time.

 Next, we came to the old Washington Methodist church.  The congregation was established in 1818, meaning it is the oldest continuing Methodist congregation in all of Arkansas.  Amazing!

One of my parents took a photo of me in front of it and I was supposed to be
smiling, but I think they caught me laughing about something instead, haha.

The majority of the buildings in Historic Washington are original buildings from the 1800's.
This one here was one of the exceptions.  Built as a re-creation of the office of a lawyer who
once served the town, it now serves as the Restoration Foundation for Washington.
I thought it was just a simple and beautiful building with it's pioneer feel.

Standing in front of the place where the oldest post office in Arkansas stood...
and knowing that almost 200 years ago it existed.

One of the many lovely old roads in the town.
Walking along each of them made you feel as if you were in a forgotten
place, lost in a beautiful countryside.

One thing we enjoyed about our visit was definitely the trees... so many hundred plus
year old trees with knots and huge trunks that soared to amazing heights.

The 1836 Hempstead County Courthouse.
This was one of the most amazing buildings to stand in front of, to know that it
was the very first courthouse that the county ever had, the original.  It has so much
history and is just the epitome of old American style architecture.  It was hard to believe
the same building in front of us had been there since before the Civil War.
I thought it was also interesting that it served as the schoolhouse in the later 1800's, only
after it had become a place for Civil War troops to occupy in the 1860's.

All throughout the town, as was the case here, there were wooden sidewalks.
It was a sight to see, I guess just something I wasn't used to seeing, wooden sidewalks everywhere.
As we walked, I liked to imagine what it would have been like on a day there in the 1800's...
ladies and gentlemen walking along those wooden sidewalks, ladies with parasols and their
big beautiful dresses and hoop skirts, and children playing games in the street.

We came to a more secluded part on the edge of town, which was so beautiful to walk along.
This is the Royston Log House- built in 1835 and restored and brought here by the foundation.
I can imagine this home on cold winters days 150 years or so ago, smoke coming out of the chimney and a fire going inside warming everyone, snow on the rooftop, and icicles on the eaves.  A cozy cabin.

One of my favorite places we saw- the Block-Catts House.
It was built in 1832.  On the inside, it has a rustic and Victorian feel and on the
outside it was beautiful, not to mention on a gorgeous piece of land!

The day we were there, it was quite hot.  Spending a little time resting on the porch and cooling off
before we went on was really nice.  I admired the porch especially- so Southern, so 1800's, so lovely and simple.
If I had to choose a home in Washington I would like to have lived in, it would be here.  I
loved the old style, and most of all I loved the idea of how those who lived here must have felt being able to come out on their porches and relax and look out on the beautiful land and the magnolias.

Past the Block-Catts house, we walked to the end of the little road to find a cemetery.

I have to say, if you were going to choose where you would want to be buried, this is the most
beautiful, serene, peaceful cemetery I have ever been to. 
The arch reads "Pioneer Cemetery".

We didn't walk around in it, but just stayed at the entrance and looked all around us.

This line of graves, where the old town doctor and his family were laid to rest,
was just by the entrance and really struck us.
I stayed there for awhile taking it all in and reading the headstones.
It occurred to me that gravestones back then were so special and truly captured
the memory and legacy of those who had passed in a way that you don't see today, telling of their goodness and their lives.

It was emotional in a way, which I didn't expect when were heading down the road toward the cemetery.
One gravestone in particular really interested me and made me feel sadness... it was the grave of the Doctor's daughter.  She was close in age to me when she passed away, so I guess
it got to me more to stand in front of her grave than the others... she was
 18 when she married and died at 22.  Beside her grave was a smaller grave... I can't
remember what it said, but I thought it was her child.  This made us think she and her child might have died during child labor.

Her gravestone reads:
To The Memory Of
Wife Of
William W. Andrews
& Daughter Of
Doct. Isaac N. &
Elizabeth Wilson Jones.
Born Feb. 20. 1830.
Married Feb. 22. 1848.
Died Dec. 20. 1852.

She lived and died a devout Christian,
beloved by her parents, husband, brothers,
and sisters.  We thy husband and parents
inscribe this over thy Tomb, as an humble
witness that thou wert dear to us on
earth, Oh that our lives like thine may
be dedicated to God, the only true
hope of happiness.

Going to the cemetery was perhaps the most special part of our trip to Washington,
and definitely something I'll remember for the rest of my life.  It was something
so real and meaningful to be standing there in front of graves of people that lived almost or
more than 200 years ago.  Especially that of such a young woman, and children- it made me wonder things like how exactly she passed away and what she might have looked like and what she liked to do, even if she may have been anything like me.
At the end of the line of headstones was her father's headstone.  His name was
Isaac Newton Jones and he was born in the 1700's.

There is another cemetery in Washington.  It is called Old Washington Cemetery and,
showing the rich history of the Civil War era South found here, it is the burial place
of a number of Confederate soldiers.  The cemetery also has many pioneers buried within.

Going back up the hill road, we came to the Blacksmith shop.  This was one of the other 
re-creations, but a truly neat one to see.  This is notable because of the
fact that Washington was the very place that famous blacksmith James Black
made a knife for James Bowie, the Bowie knife.

The last building at the end of that road- the old schoolhouse!
Oh, how I wish schools were still small, sweet, and personal like this.
The schoolhouse served as the town school from it's establishment up to 1940.

The loveliness of this building was evident on the inside especially.
This is in the entrance to the schoolhouse- lovely from the wooden doors to
the staircase to the desk and old wood floors.  When I peeked through the front doors
and saw it, I thought it looked a little bit like the hallway in the Blind School in
Little House on the Prairie.
And as far as the neat, old-fashioned feel, we can just ignore the plastic trashcan, haha ;)

An awesome experience of our day there happened when we came upon this...
one of, or maybe THE, biggest trees I have ever seen in my life, and definitely the largest
Magnolia tree I have ever seen in my life.  It was amazing for all of us.
And it had a lot of time to get so tall and wide and absolutely beautiful- it was planted in 1839!

As individual states- Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, etc.- we may all have
different state flowers, but many people think of the flower of the entire South as the Magnolia.
So, to see such an impressive and amazing Magnolia tree was something we loved so much.
We just stood under it and looked up and looked at the trunk, awe-inspired.

The thing that I felt made the tree so incredible was not only the trunk or the height,
but all of the branches that dipped down from where they grew out of the trunk all the way to near
the ground, all around us.

My turn to take a photo by the massive trunk of the Magnolia tree.
As I stood by it, the nostalgia/historical heart in me came out again and I thought
about how incredible it was to think of how many generations have walked by, played under,
or seen this very tree- from the time it was just a few feet tall all the way to now.

Most beautiful of all... it's lovely hundreds of Magnolia blossoms.
Perfectly made, pure and lovely and white.

 The picturesque Crouch House.
Built in 1857.

The Sanders House and Farmstead.
This is where the county clerk for Washington from 1839-1869 lived
with his family during and after he was clerk.  

Purdom House.  Built in 1850.
According to the guide, "Dr. James A.L. Purdom practiced medicine in Washington 
from 1845 until his death in 1866.  His home was restored by the
State Park in 1978 and now has exhibits on the practice of medicine in 19th
century Southwest Arkansas."

I remember this just being an old town building made into an office, but I thought it was such a nice, quaint little building.

Some of the last things we saw...

The old home site of the Doctor and his family during the 1800's.

 The horses and carriage used for tours.  The carriage was so elaborate and beautiful.
And you can see here one of the period actors... it was a slower day when we went, but we
got to see a few of them throughout the town.  It was so neat to see how they were dressed.
They were also so kind and friendly, especially a man and woman we met near the Candle Shop.
Which was another fun thing they have there- you get to dip dye an old-fashioned candle for free and take it home with you as a souvenir.

This was an amazing place and I am so happy we go to go!  I would love to go back someday.
I am fascinated by the life and history of people like the pioneers, in that sense of history, and was overwhelmed in the best way by being there. 

This was such an amazing thing to take in the town and the 1800's and pioneer and Civil War eras as a family... we made lots of memories in this beautiful place.
I loved every moment as we explored, and this was definitely one of my favorite things
we did in Arkansas.

God Bless!
I hope you're having a blessed Sunday!


  1. A lovely post, Jazzmin! I so enjoyed all of the pictures and history that you shared. I especially enjoyed reading about how you felt emotionally in some spots and why it was that you felt the way you did at that particular time. You have such a lovely style of writing.

    1. Thank you for your comment Diana! I love reading each one you leave. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos!! It was truly an amazing place and an adventure to be there.

      Thank you for your kind words. I hope you have a blessed day and rest of your week!!

  2. Thanks for sharing.
    Beautiful house.
    I hope I can own one.

    1. Thank you for your comment :) I know what you mean- I would love to have a house like one of these someday, too! Just beautiful, simple, lovely architecture.

      Have a wonderful day and thank you for stoppin' by!!

  3. I love touring places like this. I enjoy the scenery, quietness and imagining what life was like then. Thanks for the trip through your photos. Have a good week.

    1. Hi Mildred,
      Thank you for your lovely comment... I love the way you worded that- "enjoy the scenery, quietness, and imagining what life was like then". I love that, too. It is such a magical and beautiful thing in life to get to do that.

      I hope you have a wonderful day and week :)

  4. Dear Miss Jazzmin,

    I came across your blog while visiting Stephanie's "The Enchanting Rose" blog (I noticed a comment that you had made). I'm so thankful that I took a moment to "stop by and visit". This is such a lovely post...I do so enjoy historical sites. When I was a little girl we visited Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland several times...I have such wonderful memories of the places we explored. How wonderful that you and your family had this opportunity...such a blessing.

    You have a lovely blog...I will stop by to visit again!
    Sweet blessings,

  5. I love visiting historical sites. Your pictures are so lovely. It makes me want to go visit this place now. :)

  6. I had the best time on your tour! Thank you for sharing your trip with us! It makes me want to go! I can easily obsess over such; I am always so interested in the 1800's! I am with you about the headstone. Makes me wonder, and doesn't it sound like she was a very precious young lady! After your post, I am going to put this on my list of places that I want to visit!


Thank you for stopping by my blog. It is a blessing to read your kind comments. I would love if you would leave me one!

God Bless You,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...