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The Geographic Center of Arkansas Marker was dedicated on April 12, 1936, as part of the state’s first centennial celebration. The marker was placed at a spot designated by the Arkansas State Highway Department as the physical center of the state on Highway 5, then called the “Hot Springs Highway.” The presiding officers who participated in the dedication ceremony were Mrs. Charles H. Miller and Jeanne Weinmann, both representing the Colonel Samuel Cherry chapter of the Arkansas Society of the Daughters of American Colonists in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The Little Rock branch had been formed just four years before on January 29, 1932. That chapter was also responsible for a number of other historical markers across the state between 1928 and 1939, and was honored with one of its own at MacArthur Park. Weinmann gave a presentation following Miller’s dedication speech at the ceremony.
The mission of the Daughters of American Colonists is “to research the history and deeds of the American colonists, and to record and publish them; to commemorate deeds of colonial interest; to inculcate and foster love of the United States of America and its institutions by all its residents; and to obey its laws and venerate its flag, the emblem of its power and civic righteousness.” In Arkansas, there are four chapters: Fayetteville (Washington County), founded in 1927; Little Rock, founded in 1932; Blytheville (Mississippi County), founded in 1939; and Horseshoe Bend (Izard County), founded in 1996. The group, whose members are all women, works to preserve the legacy and contributions of American colonists.
The structure itself consists of a concrete base with a small slant-faced monument on top of the platform that bears a large embossed plate on its front. The inscription reads “The Geographical Center of Arkansas is a Few Steps North of this Highway Erected by the Arkansas Society Daughters of American Colonists Arkansas Centennial 1936.” This marker was the first to be placed by a local organization in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Arkansas’s statehood, which was achieved on June 15, 1836. The marker rests fifteen miles from Little Rock alongside Pinecrest Memorial Park Cemetery in the city limits of Bryant (Saline County) near the unincorporated community of Collegeville (Saline County).
For additional information:“Centennial Notes.” Camden News, February 6, 1936, p. 5.
“To Place Marker.” Fayetteville Daily Democrat, April 10, 1936, p. 4.
Cody Lynn Berry University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Last Updated 1/18/2017
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