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Located on State Highway 328 on the outskirts of the small town of Maynard (Randolph County), the Maynard Pioneer Park and Museum was founded in 1980. The park and museum reflect life in the Ozarks around the end of the nineteenth century, and the museum also preserves pictures, documents, and artifacts of that time. Each September, the park hosts a craft fair and festival that is attended by thousands of people.
Built along the old Southwest Trail and near the historic Columbia community, the settlement of Maynard dates to the decade following the Civil War. The first businesses were a gristmill, sawmill, pharmacy, and post office. In 1894, the Abbott Institute (later the Maynard Baptist Academy) was established, drawing students from throughout the local area and county. Later adopted by Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) and renamed the Ouachita Baptist Academy, the school served seventh- through twelfth-grade students until 1927. The town of Maynard was incorporated on October 17, 1895. Many present-day residents descend from original founding members of this rural farming community.
The park is built around a nineteenth-century log cabin relocated from nearby and restored to represent an 1800s rural family home, complete with period furnishings, textiles, and household implements that would have been found in a typical Ozark foothills farmstead or home. The cabin was about to be demolished in 1979 when several Maynard citizens elected to move it. They disassembled it, labeling each piece, and reassembled it at its current location. In 1982, an annex was added to house other artifacts. A second cabin was moved to the park in 1999, illustrating pioneer-days worship and education as a combination church and one-room schoolhouse.
When the first cabin was moved in 1979, the community of Maynard embraced the project of building a park. Through the efforts of the local government and an established park committee, they added pavilions, walking paths, outdoor farm equipment displays, a gazebo, and a museum dedicated to the preservation of local history and heritage. Among the items in the museum are antique furniture, kitchen utensils, glassware, linens, photographs, and farm tools and machinery. The collection also includes two locally made coffins dating back to the early 1900s and paraphernalia from a local doctor. In 1999, the local herb society constructed an herb garden filled with colorful plants and flowers. A rose garden has also been added to the park. The park has become a showplace for reunions and a destination for tourists and other visitors.
The annual Maynard Pioneer Days event is held every September and includes gospel, country, and bluegrass music; Maynard School class reunions; a parade; and other events. In recent years, between 5,000 and 8,000 people have attended the Pioneer Days Craft Fair and Festival.
For additional information:Cook, Regina, et al. History of Randolph County, Arkansas. Dallas: Curtis Media Corp., 1992.
“Maynard Pioneer Museum and Park.” Randolph County Tourism Association. http://www.seerandolphcounty.com/attractions/historic-attractions/maynard-pioneer-museum-and-park/ (accessed July 21, 2014).
Cindy RobinettRandolph County Heritage Museum
Staff of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
Last Updated 10/22/2014
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