PARKIN ARCHEOLOGICAL STATE PARK
Parkin Archeological State Park in eastern Arkansas at Parkin preserves and interprets the Parkin site on the St. Francis River where a 17-acre Mississippi Period, American Indian village was located from A.D. 1000 to 1550. 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.
Many scholars believe the Parkin site is the American Indian village of Casqui visited by the expedition of Hernando de Soto in 1541, and written about in his chronicles.
Arkansas State Parks and the Arkansas Archeological Survey manage this National Historic Landmark. In conjunction with the founding of the state park, a research station was established at Parkin by the Arkansas Archeological Survey. Station archeologists conduct research at the site that provides visitors with a unique opportunity to see how we learn about prehistory. Visitors can watch research in progress, and see firsthand the results of careful excavations and laboratory analysis.
Along with 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.
The park interpretive staff offers audiovisual programs, site tours, workshops, and other educational programs, and special events, and activities. When archeological excavations are underway, visitors on guided tours can observe them.
Visitors experiencing Parkin Archeological State Park can also tour the circa 1910 Northern Ohio Schoolhouse. By the beginning of World War II, there were 15 one-room and two-room schoolhouses providing education for children in Parkin, a town of less than 2,000 citizens. Today, the Northern Ohio School is the only one of these early Parkin structures still standing. The stories it tells of what took place here in the early 20th century in and around the Sawdust Hill community are compelling parts of the historic fabric of Parkin, just as is the park?s interpretation of the prehistoric village of Casqui is, too.
As the 20th century dawned and northern timberlands were depleted, timber buyers looked to the dense forests in the South. In March 1902, S.W. Sterling, a timber buyer for a firm in Grafton, Ohio, was buying timber in Missouri when he heard about the fine timber at Parkin, Arkansas. Sterling bought a mill located just south of the American Indian mound here. Between 1902 and 1904, Henry Coldren moved his Grafton, Ohio, lumber company to Parkin. In 1906, Sterling and Coldren merged their two companies and established the Northern Ohio Cooperage and Lumber Company. The mill provided work for many people during a time when there were few jobs other than agriculture. Sawmills depended on river and rails to ship finished lumber to growing markets in the North. At the turn of the 20th century, Parkin had river, rail, and vast uncut timberlands. Parkin was poised to take advantage of the timber boom. Around 1910, the Northern Ohio Cooperage and Lumber Company constructed a wood framed one-room schoolhouse for mill workers? children. Three-quarters of the sawmill workforce were black men. The school was built adjacent to the northern boundary of the prehistoric American Indian village site within easy walking distance of the mill community. The Northern Ohio School provided first through eighth grade educations for the children of the sawmill workers until all the Parkin area schools were consolidated into the Central Elementary School in 1948.