Uncovering the History in Old Davidsonville State Park

November 7, 2005 -- Posted at 5:13 p.m.


JONESBORO, AR -- Old Davidsonville State Park is the home of Arkansas’ first courthouse. The remains of the city have been discovered inside the park and archeologistsis the home of Arkansas’ first courthouse.  The remains of the city have been discovered inside the park and archeologists are working to determine what kind of lives the previous residents lived.  “It's just incredible having a goldmine like this being discovered here in the park.  It's just incredible.  I mean, you don't have anything else of the time period in Arkansas.  It's the first courthouse established in June of 1817,” said Justin Dorsey, Superintendent of the Old Davidsonville State Park.


The town of Davidsonville was established in 1815 and survived until 1830 when the town was moved to another location.  But in that 15 years, settlers did live here and raise their families.  “As we develop these things with the archeologists that are here, as they keep coming back and we have these new finds that tell us part of our history, we're going to be able to pull all that together across the state of not only Arkansas but also across the United States,” said Linda Collins-Smith who is president of tourism in Randolph County.


It was here that archeologists first uncovered the city of Davidsonville -- now they're finding the remains of the buildings people once lived in.  “We found the first courthouse and the remains of the first post office and we found a huge trash deposit behind what we believe is a town tavern or bed and breakfast type structure,” said Dorsey.


Kathy Cande, and archeologist with the University of Arkansas, said that they have discovered tens of thousands of artifacts from the locations that have been excavated so far.  “The items we have found here have been large fragments in very good condition so that allows us to determine where they were manufactured and their manufactured dates,” said Cande.


“We found a lot of items that logically you would expect to find at a residence or a tavern:  table wares, dishes, silverware, parts of wine glasses…” said Cande.  The project is funded through state grants.