Arkansas Post
National Memorial

This replica cross commemorates
the founding of Arkansas Post by Henri de Tonti.

In 1686, Henri de Tonti established a trading post known as Poste de Arkansea at the Quapaw village of Osotuoy. It was the first semi-permanent French settlement in the lower Mississippi River Valley. The establishment of the post was the first step in a long struggle between France, Spain, and England over the interior of the North American continent.

The site of that trading post moved seven times during its history due to flooding from the Arkansas River. Because of its strategic location near the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, Arkansas Post was the location of French, and later Spanish forts. In 1783, the Colbert Incident, the only Revolutionary War skirmish in Arkansas, occurred at Arkansas Post.

In 1800 control transfered again to France and in 1803, Arkansas Post became part of the United States during the Louisiana Purchase. By 1819, the post was a thriving river port and the largest city in the region important enough to be selected the capital of the Arkansas Territory. During the Civil War, Confederate troops tried to maintain tactical control of the confluence of the two rivers, and in 1862 they constructed an earthen fortification known as Fort Hindman. In January, 1863, Union troops destroyed the fort and adjacent river port town, ensuring control of the Arkansas River. Today, the park and museum commemorate the complex history of the site. Located on a peninsula bordered by the Arkansas River and two backwaters, the site offers excellent fishing and wildlife watching opportunities.

Peak visitation occurs in April and May.

Gillett, AR

Arkansas Post National Memorial
1741 Old Post Road
Gillett, AR 72055

(870) 548-2207

Daily: 8:00 a.m. to dark. The visitor center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Summers are generally hot and humid. Winters are generally moderate. Insects are common during much of the year, as they are in other areas of the south, and appropriate precautions should be observed.

Arkansas Post National Memorial, located in east-central Arkansas, is considered part of the Arkansas Delta region. The entrance to the park is on Arkansas state road 169, nine miles south of Gillett, via U.S. 165 (The Great River Road), and about 17 miles northeast of Dumas, via U.S. 165.

Little Rock, 100 miles northwest, is serviced by an international airport.

There is no admission fee. A donation box is available at the visitor center.

Visitor Center/Exhibits:
The visitor center and museum include exhibits on the history of Arkansas Post, the fur trade, the river road, and Arkansas today. A 14-minute movie on the park's history is available in the auditorium on request. Eastern National operates a book sales outlet in the visitor center lobby. Sale items include books on Arkansas history, archeology in Arkansas, the Civil War, area Native American tribes, and natural history.

Trails, Roads:
A paved two mile scenic drive connects the picnic area, wayside exhibits, and visitor center. Two and a half miles of paved-accessible trail connect the town site, nature trail, and wayside exhibits. An additional unpaved trail follows the edge of the bayou along a bluff bank.

Guided tours are available for groups upon request. Reservations are recommended. Bus parking is available at the visitor center. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the town site and nature trails. A Junior Ranger program is available for children ages 7 - 12. On-site and off-site school programs are available upon request.

Lodging and camping facilities:
Arkansas Post is a day-use area. Camping and boat ramps are available in nearby Corps of Engineers recreation areas. Overnight accomodations are available in Dumas, Gillett and DeWitt.

Restaurants and grocery stores can be found in Dumas, 17 miles south; Gillett, nine miles north; and DeWitt, 20 miles north.

Most trails are paved and accessible. Two wheelchairs are available upon request.

Walking, wildlife viewing, and fishing are the three most popular activities. Since the park lies in the delta region, the Arkansas River influences the natural resources. The vegetative communities consist of terrace and bottomland hardwoods, open prairie areas, former agricultural areas, and aquatic vegetation. The animal life is typical of that found in most Southeastern forest areas. The park supports a large population of white-tailed deer, raccoon, opossum, rabbit, squirrel, and armadillo. Arkansas Post National Memorial lies in the Mississippi Flyway. Because of the geographical situation, visitors can view a great variety of migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds, as well as resident bald eagles. Because of the abundance of water in and around the park, a very large population of reptiles and amphibians exists at Arkansas Post. Mostly, the reptiles consist of nonpoisonous terrestrial and water snakes; however, three species of poisonous snakes can be found. A small population of American alligators are found in waters of the park.

Arkansas Post National Memorial is a peninsula, bounded by the Arkansas River to the south and backwaters to the east and west. In addition, there is a seven-acre lake in the central portion of the peninsula. These areas provide excellent fishing opportunities for bass, catfish, and crappie.

Arkansas Post National Memorial is a large archeological site. Visitors can view remnants of the historic town site including a well, cistern and approximately 50 yards of Civil War earthworks from the Confederate defense lines.

The average visitor should plan to spend two hours at Arkansas Post. Visitors wishing to picnic, watch wildlife, or fish may want to budget additional time.

Last Updated:Thursday, March 4, 1999 14:21:51
Author: Shane Lind