HOPE – – The Hempstead County Bicentennial Committee held a press conference Tuesday January 30th at the Hempstead County Courthouse to officially kick off the 200th anniversary celebration of Hempstead County. Hempstead County was one of the first 5 counties in Arkansas and was established December 15th 1818. Hempstead County even predates statehood by over 15 years. The original county encompassed part or all of 11 modern day counties and extended into Texas to Red River County. The county is now 750 square miles.
Several things were introduced to the county at the press conference. Josh Williams showed a proposed “passport” that will allow bearers to visit sites around the county and win a commemorative Bicentennial coin. Williams also debuted a Bicentennial website which will feature news of the effort as well as hsitorical pictures. The website is Hempstead200.com. George Smith, Executive Director of the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council announced that the arts council will have a photo exhibit for the Bicentennial beginning in February.
Various commemorative Bicentennial items were on display. They have been produced by SWS Etching of Hope and will be for sale at LaGrone Williams and the Chamber office. McCaskill Mayor Marion Hoosier also talked about the Bicentennial Calender which is also for sale. Ken McLemore of the Hope Public Schools also talked about the Hempstead County Educators Hall of Fame.
Those speaking included Richard Read, Judge Haskell Morse, Beckie Moore, Ken McLemore, McCaskill Mayor Marion Hoosier, Mark Ross, and Josh Williams.
The next meeting of the Bicentennial Committee will be February 5th at 6pm at the Tailgaters meeting room on Main Street. All interested persons are invited to attend.
Article by Mark Keith