Monday, February 20, 2012
Helena progressing toward Civil War tourist destination by Jack Myers, Education Coordinator at the Delta Cultural Center, Helena. (Part 2)
From The Arkansas Toothpick:
Where U.S. 49-B joins the Old Little Rock Road about a mile north of the Welcome Center, visitors will be on the most likely route traveled by Union General Curtis as he and his “Grand Army of the Southwest” entered Helena on July 12, 1862. Here, the groundwork has started on construct of Freedom Park, a four-acre, interpretive space commemorating the arrival of Union Forces and the hundreds of “Contraband” refugees who fled to the protection of the army for safety and their first taste of freedom. This event is deemed so significant to African-American history that the National Park Service has designated the spot as a key Underground Railroad site. Ground will be broken in March, 2012, with a scheduled completion in 2013 when the Delta Cultural Center will assume management responsibilities. This is also the area where modern Civil War tourists will be directed to other areas of interest by means of new attractive signage and over one hundred wayside interpretive panels, twenty-five of which are now in place.