Sunday, May 26, 2024

Parkin Archeological State Park

Located on the confluence of the St Frances and Tyronza Rivers, this Late Mississippian Native American village site, circa 1350-1650, was the largest and most important village of  twenty two  located along the rivers. Hernando De Soto and his company of explorers visited the village in the 1540s and wrote detailed accounts of the village and the people known as Casqui.

By the 1670s when Europeans began moving into the area all the Casqui were gone, most likely killed by diseases. In 1902 a lumber mill was built on the Parkin site and in 1920 1378 people, the majority of them black, lived in the town that had developed near the mill. When the mill closed in the 1940s people stayed in the town which protected the site from plows and development although it was common to find broken pottery and even bones when tilling gardens. The state began acquiring land around the town in 1965 and by 1975 all of the town site was state property. Development of the park began in 1991.
The visitor center is small but the exhibits are excellent. Examples of pottery from the village site and also found at the rival village of Pacaha are on display.  There are a few photos of the mill town but not much history. A 3/4 mile paved trail with interpretive signs makes a loop through the site. A short side trail leads to the 1910 one room schoolhouse built for the children of the black mill workers. There are several interpretive signs at the site. The school not opened to tour. 

Everything is accessible but there is a short steep hill on the trail. This is a remnant of the moat built by the Casqui to protect their village. 

RVs will fit in the lot if backed over the grass or parked lengthwise across the spaces. Park  35.27706, -90.55469

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