Clark County Arkansas


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Wendy Richter



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The Clark County Historical Association


The Association

The organizational meeting of the Clark County Historical Association occurred at a local restaurant on October 30, 1972; 127 of 170 charter members attended.  A broad spectrum of county citizens displayed their interest in preserving the county’s present and past for its future.  They planned to videotape, audiotape, and microfilm valuable historical materials and interviews, then catalog and preserve those resources in the libraries of the two local colleges, Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State Universities.  They also evinced interest in historic preservation and a museum for educational and tourist interest.  Since that night, the organization has averaged about 250 members from the county and across the country.

The CCHA has followed their plan to discover, preserve, and disseminate the county’s history.  Preservation has often involved a concern for historic structures.  The Association houses the Clark County Museum in the former Arkadelphia train station, was integrally involved in efforts to preserve the 1899 Courthouse between 1974 and its eventual restoration after the 1997 tornado, and has a program to recognize private restoration projects like that at Magnolia Manor.  Preservation provided the impetus behind the Association’s discovery of the location of and erecting a marker for a mass grave of unknown Civil War soldiers in Rose Hill Cemetery.  Preservation has also led to an agreement with Ouachita Baptist University to house the Association’s archives—which contain oral history interviews, documents, and compiled research—in conditions that conform to standards for such collections with oversight by a professional archivist.

Dissemination has absorbed most of the Association’s energies since its inception.  Publications in print and electronic format have included a quarterly newsletter, annual award-winning journal, tour brochures, and periodic publications of short volumes of interest to particular portions of the county and to genealogists (currently totaling over forty titles).  The largest publication undertakings have been a mammoth county history and an every-grave inventory of the county.  Part of their dissemination comes at monthly Executive Board meetings, which are open to the public, with quarterly meetings to discuss topics of general historical interest.  The Association has traditionally had a booth at the county fair and been represented at county festivals as a way to broaden its outreach, and for several years sponsored a Halloween “Voices of Rose Hill” program at which participants heard brief biographies of important Clark Countians buried in the county’s largest cemetery.  The Association’s largest undertaking, the Clark County Museum, preserves artifacts from the county’s history and displays it in an educational manner for interested parties to enjoy.

Even Association fund-raising efforts are educational in nature and thus part of their efforts at dissemination.  In the recent past, the CCHA has conducted local tours (and produced a virtual tour of Arkadelphia, available on CD and VHS), sold Christmas ornaments depicting county landmarks, and secured grants for specific undertakings from local and state governments, entities like the Arkansas Endowment for the Humanities, and private philanthropic organizations like the Ross Foundation.

The Association is an organization of interested amateurs aided by a sprinkling of professionals from the local colleges.  Like any good citizen, the CCHA attempts to promote the general welfare through voluntary efforts.  While the organization’s history has been one of numerous projects, members are unwilling to rest on their accomplishments and continue to actively pursue their triple goal of discovering, preserving, and disseminating the county’s history.


President: Bob Thompson
Vice President:

David Sesser


Velma Seale

CCHA Treasurer:

Museum Treasurer:  

Shirley Graham
Laverne Todd

Executive Secretary: Ray Granade

Wendy Richter

Museum Chairman:

Charles Todd