Another chapter in the upcoming AROUND The COUNTY – “The County’s Four Riverside Parks”
One of the greatest attractions of Washington County is water, fresh flowing creeks and streams with fishing, swimming, and poking around in the shallows for fossils and arrowheads. Since the late 19th century, ‘Riverside Park’ has attracted all sorts of people to the banks of the West Fork of White River in Washington County, Arkansas. Picnics, restful scenic outings, and swimming were (and are) in the offing at Riverside Park, and even in winter visitors may be found there.
But which Riverside Park?
The first Riverside Park was established by 1882 with the construction of the Pacific & Great Eastern Railroad from Fayetteville east. Fun-seeking citizens rode the train to the park where they could enjoy picnics and events as well as the simple pleasures of the river. “Excursions were run every day out to Wyman during the hot seasons, where there was provision for boating and swimming. … a July 4th program in 1882 featured an all-day picnic. Trains were to run every two hours to accommodate the public, and a printed program announced the speakers of the day would be the Honorable William Walker Bishop on “The Tariff and Financial Questions of the Day” and “Arkansas As It Was and Is” by Uncle Ann Fitzgerald. An onion-eating contest offered prizes while order would be enforced by Sheriff Ike Combs.”