Arkansas State University
fax (870) 972-3069
Links to News Releases
Public activities at ASU
Faculty and Staff
Lakeport Grand Opening celebration
activities scheduled for late September
complete information packet in PDF format. Contents include:
Page 1-2: General news release (same document as below)
Page 3: Schedule of Events
Page 4: Significance of Lakeport Plantation
Page 5: Professional Development Day for Teachers
Page 6: Reunion Schedule
Page 7-10: Timeline at Lakeport
Page 11: Fact Sheet)
(download contact information
for Restoration Team)
(driving directions in last paragraph below)
Lake Village, Ark., Sept. 11, 2007 -
The Lakeport Plantation, one of Arkansas's premier historic structures,
as a museum and educational center during ceremonies and activities open
to the public on Friday, Sept. 28.
The plantation was donated to Arkansas State University in 2001
by the Sam Epstein Angel family, and the university has received nearly
$6 million in grants for its restoration as a national model for
Though work on the house is not yet complete, Project Director
Ruth Hawkins noted that the restoration has reached a stage whereby the
house can be shared with the public as remaining work proceeds.
"In time the house will include exhibits in each room," Hawkins
said. "These will focus on the lives of those who lived and worked at
the Lakeport Plantation over the years, as well as the craftsmanship
that went into the house, and the preservation techniques utilized in
There is no intent to ever furnish the house, according to
Hawkins, although pieces of family furniture and other artifacts
original to the house will be featured as part of the exhibit plan.
Highlight of the Sept. 28 Grand Opening event will be a public
ceremony and presentations at 3:15 p.m. on the Lakeport Plantation lawn,
followed by a reception also open to the public. Other public events
during the day include a Grand Opening Symposium, featuring members of
the restoration team discussing various aspects of the restoration.
The symposium will begin with a welcome at 9:30 a.m, followed
immediately by a panel featuring Skip Stewart-Abernathy, Russellville
station archeologist for the Arkansas Archeological Survey, and Dr.
Thomas DeBlack, associate professor of history at Arkansas Tech
University in Russellville. Stewart-Abernathy was involved with
archeological investigations at the site, while DeBlack's dissertation
on the history of Lakeport and the Johnson family is being updated and
will soon be published in book format.
Presentations at 10:45 a.m. will feature Claudia Cathcart Shannon
of Shannon Design Enterprises in Jonesboro, restoration team director,
and Charles Witsell of Witsell Evans Rasco in Little Rock, project
Afternoon programs will begin with a 12:30 p.m. demonstration of
restoration techniques by Ronnie Walker, Lakeport facilities manager and
graduate of the Arkansas Institute for Historic Building Trades in
Helena, and Becky Witsell of Studio Werk in Little Rock, a nationally
recognized expert on historic decorative finishes.
Three students in the Arkansas State University Heritage Studies
Ph.D. program will present results of their research related to the
African American history of Lakeport at 1:30 p.m. Students include
Nicole Smith-Neal, Aketa Guillory and Rose Ong'oa-Morara.
A Plantation Luncheon will be served from 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
and is open to all attendees at the symposium at no charge, but
reservations must be made in advance.
Other events associated with the Grand Opening include a Lakeport
Professional Development Day for teachers on Thursday, Sept. 27, and a
Greater Johnson Family Reunion on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29-30.
Pre-registration for the Thursday and weekend events is required.
To reserve a space for lunch on Friday, or to pre-register for the
Teacher Workshop on Thursday or the Family Reunion on Saturday-Sunday,
contact Paula Miles at 870-972-2803 no later than
Friday, Sept. 21.
(Driving directions: From Lake Village, proceed south on U.S. 65 about
five miles to the junction with U.S. 82. Proceed on U.S. 82 about five
miles east to the community of Shives. Turn south on Arkansas 142,
proceed about five miles to Lakeport.)
(Click on thumbnail photo to access higher resolution version)
Lakeport in the 1920s
Lakeport in 2001
Interior restoration underway
Restoration in progress.
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