Why is Historic Washington State Park Not in Washington State?
Historic Washington State Park is Not in Washington State
Did you know there is a 101-acre park called Historic Washington State Park, but it is not actually located in Washington State?
Where is Historic Washington State Park?
Online, I keep seeing mentions of Historic Washington State Park but I have lived in Washington State my entire life and had never heard of it. Turns out that Historic Washington State Park is not in Washington, but in a different US state altogether. So why does a different state have a park seemingly named after Washington State?
The History of Historic Washington State Park
Historic Washington State Park sits on the original site in the town of Washington, Arkansas. The town used to be one of the main entryways for traveling into Texas or Mexico in the 1800s with the Southwest Trail. The area eventually known as the town of Washington got its first US Post Office in 1820 but did not officially become a town until 1824.
Washington, Arkansas Was the Confederate Capital
The town of Washington, Arkansas actually became the capital of the Confederate Army temporarily from 1863 to 1865. The Confederate States moved the capital from Little Rock after it was in danger of attacks and eventually fell to the North during the Civil War. During that time the Confederate Army operated out of the small town of Washington, Arkansas. You can still visit the Confederate Capital building which still stands in the town today.
The 1950s Brought the Old Washington Restoration Foundation
In the 1950s, a restoration foundation was created to try and save the American history left by preserving the buildings in Old Washington. The Pioneer Washington Preservation Foundation was created in 1958 and started preserving the old historic buildings located in the 101-acre park then called Old Washington Historic State Park. Years later, the park's original name was changed in 2006 to a more confusing name, Historic Washington State Park.
Historic Washington State Park, Not Named After Washington State
Say the name "Historic Washington" then say "State Park", not Historic "Washington State" Park. Even though the words Washington and State are together in the name, they are not meant to be together in meaning as a park in Washington State. Yes, the park is named after the town of Washington and is a state park, but how the new name is constructed makes it sound very confusing. I think the original name of Old Washington Historic State Park was far less confusing with the word historic separating the words Washington and State, but that is obviously just me.
I am surprised the group renaming the park did not think the new name would create confusion for people that do not live in Arkansas but near Washington. Just know that if you see "Historic Washington State Park" and want to go for a drive to visit, it will take you over 30 hours longer than you think from anywhere in Washington State. It might be worth the drive though if you are into old buildings or history.