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The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial In Arkansas
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Louisiana Purchase  - Bicentennial Commemoration  - Arkansas  Secretary of State's Office - Room 22, State Capitol   - Little Rock, AR 72201 - (501) 682-3472 -
The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial In Arkansas
   Arkansas Post National Memorial
Arkansas and the Louisiana Purchase

Imagine a journey to a land that was more wilderness than western civilization; a land where major settlements were Poke Bayou, Davidsonville, and Arkansas Post; a land where rivers were the roads; a land where bear, deer, raccoon, beaver, alligators, and otters outnumbered the humans; a land where the greeting was just as likely to be "Bonjour" as "Good Day." Surveyors called it a land of "briers and swamps and briers aplenty!"

Louisiana Purchase Initial Point Marker
Welcome to Arkansas - where the journey to the West began. The initial point for all official surveys of the vast Louisiana Territory is located in a headwater swamp at the corners of what became Lee, Monroe, and Phillips counties in Arkansas. From this initial point, surveyors began their work of chains and compasses. Every legal description of the lands contained in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 depended on measurements
taken from this point. This was the first major survey west of the Mississippi River to employ the rectangular survey or grid system set out in the Land Ordinance of 1785.

President Thomas Jefferson commissioned two explorers, William Dunbar and George Hunter, to explore and document the southern portion of the Purchase lands. Much of their journey through Arkansas was along the Ouachita River. Their northern counterparts were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Without the survey of the Louisiana Territory, lands west of the Mississippi could not have been given to veterans of the War of 1812. Without the survey, there could have been no land sales to pioneer farmers and town-builders. Without the survey, Native American history would be far different. The Louisiana Purchase, surveyed from a swamp near modern Brinkley, Arkansas, helped shape the United States.
Map of Louisana Purchase

Today, the survey's starting place is a National Historic Landmark, an Arkansas Natural Area and an Arkansas State Park. During the Arkansas Bicentennial Commemoration of the Louisiana Purchase in 2003, civic groups across the state will remember - through community events, museum exhibits, school programs, and many other activities - that Arkansas is where the journey began.

Visit this site often to learn more about our state's plans and how everyone can be a part of the Commemoration.

  © Arkansas Secretary of State 2002. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "The Journey Began in Arkansas," the logo of the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial of Arkansas, and "The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Committee of Arkansas" are marks of the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office.