is rural. Visitors can travel for miles through its pine forest., bayous and mountains
without encountering another living soul. This homey solitude has had a tremendous
influence on Arkansas' culture. In an isolation that continued into the 20th century, the
residentes os the Orzark "hollers" maintained and passed on old stories and folk
songs that are among America's greatest culture treasures. Even in present times, when
fork music and traditional crafts are appreciated more than ever before, visitors can find
pockets of authentically Orzark life in little towns such as Mountain View.
Arkansas became part of the United States in 1903
with the Lousiana Purchase. It was sparsely populated at first; settlers seemed to pass
through the territory on their way to somewhere farther west. But by the time Arkansas was
admitted to the Union in 1836, the state had 50.000 residents and was growing.
By 1861, Arkansas was torn by political tensions.
The first resolution to secede was voted down. But when Fort Sumter surrendered, Arkansas
voted to join the Confederacy. The satate sent 60.000 men to fight for the South, but 6000
while and 5000 black Arkansans fought with the Union. These tensions were still unresolved
almost 100 years later when President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops to Litthle
Rock to enforce the school board's desegregation policy.
One of Arkansas' most consistently popular
destinations is Hot Springs, where 850.000 gallons of water a day, naturally heated to 143
º Farenheit, bubble up from the deep subterranean caverns of the earth. By 1874, Hot
Springs was a world-class resort with beautifully appointed marble bathhouses and a
clientele that included Jay Glould, Andrew Carnegie, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D.
Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Babe Ruth.
Arkansas is the leading producer of rica in the U.S.
and has the only diamong mine in North America. It is the only state ever to pass a
resolution on how to pronounce its name (in 1881, the state legislature voted that the
final "s" is silent). And recently, Arkansas sent its first native son to the
White House. In 1992 and again in 1996, William Jefferson Clinton (Bill Clinton) from the
town of Hope was elected president of the United States.