15th Annual Red River Heritage Symposium: Epidemics and Medicine along the Red River

For Release – July 6, 2021
Media contact: Josh Williams

Saturday, July 24, 2021

1 pm –8 pm

(WASHINGTON, Ark.) – The 15th Annual Red River Heritage Symposium will take place on Saturday, July 24, at Historic Washington State Park. The conference topics will focus on the impact of health epidemics and medicine in the Great Bend Region of the Red River. The event will take place at Historic Washington State Park.

Specific topics and speakers include: “Epidemics in the Washington Telegraph” by Josh Williams of Historic Washington State Park; “Shreveport and the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1873” by Dr. Cheryl White of Louisiana State University at Shreveport; “Treating Infectious Disease in Civil War Arkansas: Insights from a Confederate Surgeon” by Dr. Bill Gurley of University of Mississippi; “Better Health Through Illness: How Epidemics Improved Medicine and Healthcare in Arkansas” by Timothy G. Nutt of the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Archives; and “Studying the Yellow Fever Epidemic of the 1870s in Arkansas: Resources from the Arkansas State Archives” by Brian Irby of the Arkansas State Archives.

An all-day Friday and Saturday morning workshop for teachers on resources related to the theme in the Red River Region will take place on July 23-24. Lunch is included both days. A total of twelve credit hours will be available for teachers to earn by attending both days of the symposium. Cost for attending the workshop will be $40. Workshop presenters will include Historic Washington State Park staff, Arkansas State Archives, Arkansas Humanities Council, Rick Evans Grandview Prairie, and John J. Archibald who will do sessions on incorporating epidemic and medicinal topics into curriculum standards for the classroom.

Cost for attendance to the symposium is $30 with an evening meal included. The timeframe for the event is 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm. A discount price of $60 will be offered to teachers who wish to attend both the workshop and symposium. Teachers attending both the workshop and symposium will be eligible for twelve credit hours. Check in will begin in the morning at 8 a.m. at the 1874 Hempstead County Courthouse Visitor Center. Registration must be made by July 22. Contact 870-983-2684 to register.

About Historic Washington State Park

Historic Washington State Park, located in Washington, Ark., is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Mondays. The park is a restoration village interpreting the historic Arkansas town in the 19th century. Daily tours are provided to over 15 historic sites and museums, such as the B.W. Edwards Weapons Museum and Blacksmith Shop.

Relax and enjoy your stay at the Historic Washington Jailhouse Bed & Breakfast and enjoy a Southern cooked meal for lunch at Williams’ Tavern Restaurant. Also available on-site is the 1914 Schoolhouse bunkroom for group rentals, and the historic 1860 Brunson House and 1940 WPA Gymnasium for weddings and meeting space for groups of all sizes.

To learn more about upcoming historic tours, events, rent a facility, or book a room in the Jailhouse Bed & Breakfast, visit or call 870-983-2684.  The park is located on US 278 Highway, nine miles north of Hope and can be reached by taking Exit 30 off Interstate 30.

About Arkansas State Parks

Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.

The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities, and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.

Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation. Connect with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and visit and to learn more about everything we have to offer. 

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