Jacksonport was established in 1839 by steamboat pilot Thomas Tunstall. Jacksonport is located at the junction of the Black and White Rivers. The town flourished and grew into a busy port and became the county seat in the 1800s.
However, the town began to decline in the 1880s when it was bypassed by the railroad. The county seat was move to nearby Newport and businesses began to leave Jacksonport.
In 1962, the Jackson County Historical Society purchased and began to restore the 1872 courthouse that marked the once booming town of Jacksonport.
Jacksonport State Park was established in 1965 and the courthouse became a museum. Portable buildings were set up nearby and constructing a new visitor center became a long-term goal.
The new visitor center, completed in July 2018 stands parallel to the levee and allows a riverfront view from the second floor. The structure conceives a modern interpretation of a “dog-trot” cabin (a house with two or more rooms on either side of a breezeway). Vaulted ceilings and large windows provide adequate natural lighting while offering views of the courthouse and river.
Visitors entering the building on the ground floor can gather in the lobby, visit with park staff at guest services, purchase items from the park gift shop and more. The visitor center is adorned with many exhibits and displays containing countless information about the history of the town and life on the river. The exhibits are designed to communicate the overall message that “the rise and fall of the timeless Black and White Rives shape life and history here.”
Tourism is the second largest contributor to Arkansas’ economy. Visit an Arkansas State Park on your next outing and enjoy all our state has to offer right here at home.