Tag Archives: Faulkner County Historical Society

Spring 2018 Facts and Fiddlings Published

Facts and Fiddlings journal, Faulkner County Historical Society

The 2018 spring edition of Faulkner Facts and Fiddlings, the Faulkner County Historical Society’s journal, is now available. This special commemorative issue highlights the recent restoration of the Springfield-Des Arc Bridge at its new home on Beaverfork Lake.

Previous Faulkner Facts and Fiddling articles by Guy Murphy and Fred Petrucelli about the bridge’s restoration in 1992 are reprinted. They recount the bridge’s history as well as past attempts to preserve this oldest bridge in Arkansas.

Also included are also reprints of articles that appeared in the Log Cabin Democrat and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette during the bridge restoration. Carol Rolf’s article, “History Society Seeks to Preserve 1870s Structure,” first appeared in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette River Valley Edition August 16, 2015.

When the newly-restored Springfield Bridge was dedicated in September 2017, a special guest, Hattie Lee Hankins, 99, attended the ceremony. She has lived by the bridge her entire life and recently recounted her memories for a special article, “Life by the Springfield-Des Arc Bridge,” included in this publication. There are also anecdotes from others who have fond memories of the old bridge.

Pictures of the dedication ceremony, a list of contributors who sponsored the safety railings, and recent honors that have been bestowed on the city of Conway, Faulkner County, Workin’ Bridges and the Faulkner County Historical Society for the historic restoration of this bridge are included. There is also information about the Ultimate Restorations documentary about the bridge that is scheduled to air in the fall.

The issue is available for $4 at the Faulkner County Museum and the Faulkner County Library. Members of the historical society will receive a copy as part of their membership benefits.
The Faulkner County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring together those people interested in history, especially the history of Faulkner County. It regularly sponsors programs and publishes articles that focus on the rich history of the county.

Information about how to join the society can be found in the journal, at the Faulkner County Historical Society website, www.faulknerhistory.org, or the society’s Facebook page. See the website for more articles about Faulkner County history as well as upcoming history society activities.

Cindy Burnett Beckman is local freelance history writer. Her “A Look Back” column of Faulkner County history appears every Tuesday in the Log Cabin and appears monthly in Winc. Magazine.

Historical Society Annual Meeting Set for March 15

The Faulkner County Historical Society’s annual meeting and public program will be held Thursday, March 15, at 6:30 in Courtroom A, Courthouse Square in Conway on Locust Street. The program will include various society news items on events and announcements.

The program will be presented by citizens of the Pine Street Community of Conway who will report on the planning for their Pine Street Museum. Refreshments will be served.

Society Plans Springfield-Des Arc Bridge Signage

Once the Springfield-Des Arc bridge is restored at Lake Beaverfork in Conway, the Society is ensuring that visitors understand the historical significance of one of the oldest bowstring iron truss bridges in the U.S.

FCHS has obtained a $1,958 grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and a $407 grant from the Conway Community Foundation to construct signs with more information about the bridge. The signs will be a photographic print on aluminum, which allows for full-color images and text.

One sign will contain the history of the bridge, while the other sign will describe the process of preservation and relocation. A QR code will send visitors to the Springfield-Des Arc Bridge page on our FCHS website for more information.

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Conway Resolves Springfield-Des Arc Bridge Funding Problems

At the urging of the Faulkner County Historical Society, the City of Conway made plans to purchase the 142-year-old Springfield-Des Arc bridge from Faulkner County back in 2015, then move and restore the bridge over water at Beaverfork Park for pedestrian use.

Initially approved with a $300,000 Metroplan 80/20 grant, the project would cost Conway $60,000 for its portion of the project. However, the City was unaware of federal restrictions on that grant money requiring Conway to bid out the project, and the City had already signed a contract with Workin’ Bridges of Grinnell, Iowa to begin disassembling and moving the bridge.

Conway Mayor Tab Townsell proposed a funding switch and, once Metroplan accepted the offer Conway was able to move forward with the project. Townsell leaves office in December, 2016 to become the Director of Metroplan, which will allow Conway to switch the initial Metroplan grant funds of $240,000 (the 80% portion of the grant) to another project.

In October, the City Council approved $350,000 from Conway’s Advertising & Promotion fund to pay for the bridge restoration project; the bridge restoration work began almost immediately.