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  • Writer's pictureStacy Tierney

Plantation Agriculture Museum- Park #3


Visited January 9, 2021

Our last visit of our first State Park day brought us to Scott, Arkansas and the Plantation Agriculture Museum. This is another one of those embarrassing moments when I tell you that I have been in the parking lot of this museum several times and have never set foot in the door. Several of the bicycle tours I have done have either started in this area or had a rest stop in this parking lot. Also, like most people in central Arkansas, I have been to the now non existent Cotham's directly next door and alas, no visiting the museum. So here we are as first timers!!


We were greeted at the door by this very lovely man whose name I wish I could remember, but for story purposes we will call him Bob. He actually came to the front door to welcome us, asked had we been to the museum before and then told us about the history of the place. I thought this was a nice touch and one we had not experienced at other stops. although I know it may not be feasible at highly trafficked places. Bob told us about the history of the Dortch family and how Mr.Dortch's gin was donated by the family to help tell the story of the area. The general store was built in 1912 by Conoway Scott. The smaller north wing was added in 1929 to serve as the Scott, Arkansas post office.



We did not get to experience all the buildings on the property. Due to COVID-19 and renovations, the outdoor exhibits, gin and seed building were closed to the public. So our tour consisted of the main building that focused on the changing of the farming way of life due to the mechanization of farming practices. The exhibits focus on tractors, cars and cotton making progression. As stated on the Arkansas State Park's website, "Exhibits tell about cotton "from the field to the gin" in the museum's Cotton Agriculture section. The exhibits cover what a cotton farmer would do in a year's time: plowing, planting, cultivating and picking cotton." Side note, if you have never watched cotton being harvested in the middle of the night, I highly suggest it for a cathartic experience. It is quite magical to watch the tractors shining in their headlight beams blowing the shiny, white cotton bolls into the collecting buckets. Growing up in farming country, I still wax nostalgic on the sights and smells of harvesting time.


The museum also houses the oldest bale of hay West of the Mississippi River. I say its holding its age rather well!



You know I always like to share the factoids that blow my mind a little and here is the one learned at the Plantation Agriculture Museum, John Deere used to have a factory in Arkansas! I honestly had no idea. I could not remember the exact history of John Deere, so I referred to the webpage, farmcollector.com, for the full report. " Acquisition of Fort Smith (Ark.) Wagon Co., Davenport (Iowa) Wagon Co. and the Moline (Ill.) Wagon Co. in 1910-11 created a new platform: the John Deere Wagon Works. Fort Smith Wagon Co., a subsidiary of South Bend (Ind.) Wagon Co., began building wagons in Arkansas in 1904 and almost immediately found a ready customer in Deere & Co. In 1910, Deere became sole owner of the company. Production continued in Arkansas until 1925, when Deere moved the operation to Moline, Ill."


Something else I learned and have actually used in conversation since our visit, the history of mules. Important? No. Useful? Not likely. Fun? Of course! Apparently mules were bred as important draft animals. They are bred properly by crossing a female horse and a male donkey. Add that to your vault of things to know for a random game of trivial pursuit. Some farmers claim that mules were as important as the rain.


We wrapped up the museum trip as we do with every visit, a trot around the gift shop. We of course purchased our site specific souvenir, our little tradition to help us chronicle this adventure. We find it intriguing how every state park gift shop is different from each other. The shop at the Planation Agriculture Museum has many handmade knick knacks, I would guess made by local artists. Although I do not know that for fact. We also picked up a special treat, TAFFY!! Like two little kids who got permission to get whatever they want, we filled a bag with every single flavor of available taffy and possibly did not even wait to get in the car before we stuffed some in our mouths. I did learn that the taffy stop is actually known to other area cyclists and a stop they make on rides out in Scott. I will definitely be adding this to my list!!


Join us next time for Park #4, Lake Chicot State Park where we may or may not have had a "Gilligan's Island" experience on a self guided levee tour.


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2 Comments


Erica Wheeler
Erica Wheeler
Jan 20, 2021

Fun times! An enjoyable read

Like

ltierney48
ltierney48
Jan 20, 2021

Good read !!

Like
137525755_10158112789769118_528128234909

Hi, thanks for dropping by!

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