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​Happy Birthday Washington County

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October 27, 2011 by wcobserver

A milestone marking the passing of years often invokes reflection in our lives. Similarly when the county we call home has a birthday the mind grapples with what it must have been like in our county 183 years ago.

The 950 square miles of “God’s Country” we call Washington County occupies the southern lip of the Ozark Mountains and Plateau; a topography ranging from the broad valleys and open prairie in the northern part of the county to the rugged forested terrain in the south.

The area has a rich history going back to the paleo-indian peoples, who left artifacts dating back to 8,500 BC. European settlers came and on Oct. 17, 1828, established a county government. The small settlements of farms, orchards and mills grew into a vibrant and prosperous county that serves as headquarters to several of the largest corporations in the country as well as home to the flagship of the Arkansas University system. The county hosts a diverse population including a large Hispanic community and many Marshall Islanders. The university draws people from all regions, faiths and races from over the world.

It’s easy sometimes to look past what is closest to us — our history. We often include museum visits in our vacation itinerary when visiting distant locations but neglect visit to the local ones.

The history of Washington County teems with excitement and fascination. Civil War buffs can ponder that conflict at the Prairie Grove Battlefield Park or the train enthusiast can explore the county’s rich railroad history. Outlaws, the frontier life and train tunnels, country doctors and much, much more can be found in one of the county’s abundant, well-maintained and fascinating museums.

Arkansas Air Museum and Military Museum at Drake Field, Fayetteville near Greenland. “Follow the colorful history of aviation in Arkansas through numerous displays of original artifacts and aviation memorabilia. From world-famous racing planes of the 1920s and 1930s to an early airliner, the historic aircraft in the Arkansas Air Museum are unusual among museum exhibits, because many of them still fly.”

The Arkansas Country Doctor Museum in Lincoln is dedicated to preserving and educating the public about the history and heroism of country doctors in Arkansas. Focus is on the unique history and culture of the Ozark area and the history of medical practice.

Ozark Folkways Heritage Center on Mt. Gaylor offers a look at the development of the Ozark crafts industry.

The Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park in Prairie Grove is recognized as one of America’s most intact Civil

War battlefields. It offers a variety of educational programs, exhibits, and tours designed to help visitors learn about the Battle of Prairie Grove, the life of a soldier, civilian life during the war,

​​and much more.

The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale offers some colorful history of the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks. There are more than six historical buildings in the park setting. They include the Cooper Barn, Steele General Store, Dr. Carter’s Office, Ritter-McDonald Cabin, Searcy House and others.

​The Tonitown History Museum examines the life of stalwart immigrants who came to the area and realized the American Dream through hard work and a vision of the future.

Washington County Historical Society – Historic sites in Fayetteville: Headquarters House Museum, Archibald Yell Law Office, The Ridge House.

Also, visit the National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery and the Washington-Willow Street Historical District.

Winslow City Museum in Historic Downtown Winslow gives visitors the look and feel of one of Washington County’s earliest tourist destinations.

You don’t think observing is important? Remember, the past is where now came from.

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