MONTICELLO, AR — In 1815, a land surveyor named Prospect Robbins began walking north from the mouth of the Arkansas River. At the same time, a second surveyor, Joseph C. Robbins, began a trek west from the mouth of the St. Francis River.
The two met at what is now the corner of Lee, Phillips and Monroe Counties in the delta of eastern Arkansas. That meeting point became known as the point of beginning for the land survey of the Louisiana Purchase.
To commemorate the bicentennial of this historic event, the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Arkansas at Monticello is displaying an exhibit on loan from the Department of Arkansas Heritage which tells the history of the Louisiana Purchase and the survey that had its beginnings in the Arkansas delta.
The display is free and open to the public and may be viewed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. now through mid-December in the Clippert Forestry Annex.
The point of beginning, or initial point, is marked by a stone monument and located in the middle of a swamp in the Louisiana Purchase State Park south of Brinkley on U.S. Highway 49. The initial point is accessible by boardwalk.
“This display is about more than just a land survey,” explained Dr. John Dennis, assistant professor of surveying and spatial information systems. “It’s a history of the Louisiana Purchase, the ecology and natural resources of the area.”
For more information, contact the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at (870) 460-1052.
(From left) Dr. John Dennis, assistant professor of surveying and spatial information systems, and Tom Jacobs, surveying instructor, with part of the Louisiana Purchase display.
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