Marion Travel Guide
Marion Local History
During the Age of Exploration, explorers from European nations made their way to Arkansas, and both the flags of Spain and France flew over the area that later would become Crittenden County. Most of Marion occupies portions of Spanish land grants, issued almost 300 years ago when Spain still held the territory west of the Mississippi River. Early settlers found a good income source in harvesting timber to sell to steamboats for fuel. By the late 1700's, steamboats and flatboats were moving up and down the rivers. Until the construction of the Mississippi River Levee in 1899, boats could travel during high-water times from the river to Marion Lake.
As the timber was harvested and the heyday of the steamboats ended, the lumber firms were replaced by agricultural developments producing wheat, soybeans, cotton and rice, and agriculture continues to dominate the landscape today. In 1803, the land that would be later identified as Crittenden County was included in the Louisiana Purchase, and it became part of the United States known as the Territory of Arkansas. In 1826, commissioners selected Greenock, a small town located east of today's Clarkedale as the county seat.
Marion's development began in 1836, when it was chosen to replace Greenock as the county seat of Crittenden County. Its growth was linked to the existence of Military Road, the first Arkansas federal highway. Many soldiers traveled the highway, and decided to settle in Marion after the War.
Shopping in Marion can turn out to be quite a memorable experience. There is a number of unforgettable shops in the area, and visitors can explore these shops easily by foot. Duckwall's (321 E. Main. Tel: 870/382-2380) is a variety store, offering almost anything you can think of..
The Flint Hills Clay Works (126 E. Main. Tel: 870/382-3620.) sells a large variety of hand-turned pottery. This is a fabulous spot to find that special and unusual piece of ceramic art that you have always wanted. Visitors will find the prices even more attractive and you can be assured of an unique piece of art. It is a shop not to be missed. .
Just a little bit further is Flint Hills Gold (210 E. Main. Tel: 870/382-2544). Here visitors can feast their eyes on custom handmade jewelry. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time and money here. Not everything is cheap, but quality and craftsmanship is very high, and you will have a hard time deciding which piece to buy. They also cater for individuals with their own designs and ideas. Truly a gem of a shop.
Marion Parks & Gardens
Parkin Archeological State Park - The Park preserves and interprets the Parkin site, on the St. Francis River where a 17-acre Mississippi Period Native America village was located from 1000 to 1550A.D. A large platform mound on the river bank remains. The site is important for understanding the history and prehistory of northeast Arkansas.
There were once many archeological sites similar to Parkin throughout this region, but they did not survive as eastern Arkansas was settled. Besides including an archeological research laboratory, the park visitor center includes an interpretive exhibit area, auditorium and gift shop. A picnic area, playground and standard pavilion (enclosed) are located nearby. Admission to the Park is $2.75 adults, $1.75 children 6 - 12, and $9 family admission. Tel: 870/755-2500.
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