Washington, Arkansas

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Washington is a city in Hempstead County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 148 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Hope Micropolitan Statistical Area.

The city is also home to Old Washington Historic State Park.

Augustus H. Garland, the Attorney General of the United States under U.S. President Grover Cleveland lived there in his early years.

Contents

Geography

Washington is located at 33°46′29″N 93°40′53″W / 33.77472°N 93.68139°W / 33.77472; -93.68139 (33.774670, -93.681451)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.0 square miles (2.6 km²), all of it land.

History

From its establishment in 1824, Washington was an important stop on the rugged Southwest Trail for pioneers traveling to Texas. That same year it was established as the "seat of justice" for that area, and in 1825 the "Hempstead County Court of Common Pleas" was established, located in a building constructed next door to a tavern owned by early resident Elijah Stuart. Between 1832 and 1839 thousands of Choctaw American Indians passed through Washington on their way to Indian Territory. Frontiersmen and national heroes James Bowie, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett all traveled through Washington en route to the Alamo. Houston is believed to have planned parts of the revolt strategy in a tavern in Washington during 1834. [1] James Black, a local blacksmith, is credited with creating the legendary Bowie knife carried by Jim Bowie at his blacksmith shop in Washington.[2]

During the War with Mexico, beginning in 1846, Washington became a rally point for volunteer troops on their way to serve with the US Army. Later, the town became a major service center for area planters, merchants and professionals. Following the capture of Little Rock by the Union Army in 1863, the Confederate government moved the state government offices to Hot Springs for short time, then ultimately based the state government out of Washington, making it the Capital of Arkansas from 1863-1865. [2] [3] Albert G. Simms (1882–1964), a United States Representative from New Mexico, was born here. Following the construction of the Cairo and Fulton railroad eight miles to the south of Washington, which connected much of the state with Little Rock, the town began a slow decline. No longer on a main travel route, Hope, Arkansas took on Washington's formerly important role. [4]

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