Walks Through History

The “Walks through History” tour series features historic sites or districts around Arkansas each month. The tours are organized by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. All tours are held on Saturdays and begin at 11:00 a.m., unless otherwise indicated, and last between one and two hours. An AHPP historian delivers a lecture about the properties while leading guests on a walking tour. All tours are free and open to the public. The Walks Through History tours are co-sponsored by the Arkansas Humanities Council.

Walks Through History Schedule 

  • November 11: Dumas Downtown Historic District
  • December 9: El Dorado Historic Downtown

View Archived Walks Through History Tour Scripts

El Dorado Historic Downtown/December 09, 2017


Please join us for this walking tour that begins at the Union County Courthouse beginning at 11 AM. El Dorado Historic Downtown takes in the historic commercial heart of downtown El Dorado. The business district that grew during the oil boom of the 1920s is anchored by the Union County Courthouse, at the corner of Main and Washington Streets, where the Confederate memorial is also located. The historic district includes the city blocks surrounding the courthouse, as well as several blocks extending east along Main Street and south along Washington Street. Other notable structures include the Exchange Bank building, which was, at nine stories, the county's first skyscraper, and the eight-story Murphy Oil building.
From a thriving oil boom town in the 1920s to a fading ghost town in the Great Depression, El Dorado endured the boom-to-bust story of many other communities during the early to mid-20th century. In 2002, El Dorado capitalized on its oil boom heritage by gathering 40 local artists to paint and sculpt 55 oil drums donated by local Murphy Oil Company. The project raised funds for both the artists and the sponsoring arts organizations, while the colorful, often humorous "art drums" gave visitors something fun to look for around town. El Dorado's festivals and special gatherings have earned it a reputation as the entertainment capital of South Arkansas. "Showdown at Sunset" draws thousands downtown to celebrate El Dorado's raucous oil-boom history. An award-winning event, Showdown is a historical reenactment of a 1902 duel between two brothers, who fought it out on the county courthouse steps. Other events include the Mayhew Festival; the Bugs, Bands, and Bikes Crawfish Boil; and the Holiday Trail of Lights have branded the downtown as the center of entertainment and the heart of the community.
The tour is being co-sponsored by Main Street El Dorado.