Searcy County historical signage to be placed in BNR park

Photo: Neil Compton on a Buffalo River cleanup near Gilbert and the piers of the old Missouri and North Arkansas railroad bridge in 1967. Photo provided by NPS.

The Searcy County Historical Society (SCHS), a non-profit organization, has entered an agreement with Buffalo National River to place signage at Searcy County historical sites within the park.

Buffalo National River and SCHS have mutual goals to promote historical knowledge and understanding of the Buffalo River and surrounding areas. This partnership will provide public education about the region’s cultural resources through the placement of signs identifying early homesteads, farms, post offices and other residential or commercial structures or locations.

One possible location is the Gilbert Railroad Grade Trail, where modern-day visitors can hike or horseback ride along the traces of the Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad to historic bridge piers where the train once crossed the Buffalo River. The community of Gilbert was established in 1902 as a result of the railroad’s arrival on the north side of the river.

The partnership between SCHS and Buffalo National River will help preserve this and other stories of Searcy County through educational signage and visitor understanding of area history. Signage will be limited to historic land owners and/or users.

The number of signs that can be placed will be limited to 20 per year.

Individuals/families may submit requests to SCHS to have signs placed at historic sites. The SCHS will review all requests. Once SCHS has approved, the National Park Service (NPS) will review the application, to include pre-approval of signage placement time and location. The SCHS and the NPS will meet annually to discuss the mutual benefits of the agreement.

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