Public invited to county celebration beginning April 12

By Morgan Zimmerman

The citizens of Faulkner County will mark 150 years since the county was formed with a week of celebrations beginning April 12 and culminating with an open house at the Faulkner County Museum on April 15.

“We are excited to invite our fellow Faulkner County residents to join us in celebrating ‘FaulknerCounty150,’ our beloved County’s 150th anniversary,” said County Judge Allen Dodson. “From humble beginnings in 1873, Faulkner County has risen to truly become one of the best places in America to live. Join us for the anniversary events during the week of April 12, as we reflect, celebrate and resolve to continue Faulkner County’s remarkable progress!”

Faulkner County was formed from portions of Conway and Pulaski counties on April 12, 1873. Named after Colonel Sandy Faulkner, the composer of the famous fiddle tune, “The Arkansas Traveler,” Faulkner was the 69th county established in Arkansas. Shortly after it was formed, Conway Station, which would eventually become the City of Conway, was designated as the county seat. The property for the courthouse was donated by Colonel Asa P. Robison.

The celebratory occasion has been titled “FaulknerCounty150” and is being coordinated by Museum Executive Director Lynita Langley Ware. The museum, which is located in what was originally the Faulkner County Jailhouse and later the Faulkner County Library, was founded in 1992 and opened to the public in 1997. “When the building [currently the museum] was originally opened as the jailhouse, the jailor and his family lived on the ground floor and the prisoners were upstairs on the second floor,” said Ware. The museum has been in operation in the building as a non-profit organization for more than 30 years and houses educational exhibits and artifacts detailing the history of the county. 

City and county officials recently made a site visit to Toad Suck Ferry to discuss rebuilding the pilot house on the ferry and other refurbishment needs. Mark Ledbetter, Conway city councilman (from left); Allen Dodson, Faulkner County judge; Lynita Langley-Ware, executive director of the Faulkner County Museum; Ree Walker, Chair of the Historical Society; and, Charles Loveless. Not pictured: Keller Johnson, Steve Wilson and Randy Higgins. Photo by Randy Higgins

On April 12, Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry and Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson will read proclamations on the courthouse lawn commemorating the county’s formation. During the celebration, a time capsule will be buried on the grounds to be opened in the year 2173, 150 years later to the day. This event is open to the public, and Centennial bank will provide burgers.

On April 13, the Faulkner County Historical Society will host their annual meeting at the Public Library. The theme is the history of Toad Suck Ferry and will feature a panel discussion around the significance of the ferry. “It’s for people to share memories and stories about the ferry from when it was in operation back in the 1970s,” said Ware. The Historical Society will also award the Founders Scholarship at the event.

On April 14, the County Judge’s office will host a dedication ceremony for the ferry, which has been on display in Old Ferry Landing Park since 2020. “Prior to 1974 you could only cross the river near Toad Suck Park by ferry. Toad Suck would dry up seasonally, and it became difficult to navigate by boat,” Ware said. 

Finally, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 15, the public and county organizations will gather for a birthday celebration on the grounds of the Faulkner County Museum. “There will be live music, crafts, games for the kids, and of course, the museum will be open and the scale model railroad exhibit on the second floor will be running,” said Ware.

The event is free and open to the public. The Historical Society will host a “bean feed fundraiser” to benefit the Founders Scholarship. “They will have beans, cornbread and fixins available to purchase,” said Ware. The Greenbrier Arts Council and the Faulkner County Master Gardeners will be on hand with information and activities. Also, a new barn quilt will be added to the Faulkner County Quilt Trail.

The celebration will also include a time capsule that will be housed at the museum to be opened in 100 years. “We are collecting anything small that people think might interest the future citizens of Faulkner County. People are welcome to bring documents, memorabilia and other items of interest to the museum for consideration,” Ware said. 

For more information about FaulknerCounty150, contact the Faulkner County Museum at 501.329.5918, by email at [email protected], or visit 801 Locust Ave., Conway.