On Saturday, Black River Technical College held a Project REACH Homecoming event at the historic sites in Dalton. Despite the rain, more than 30 people attended the event and participated in the demonstrations.
Many of the attendees were descendants of Reuben Rice and/or William Looney. Descendants came from as far as Colorado, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Many are local residents.
Living historians Randall and Kristyn Watts displayed the Looney Tavern as the 1800’s era. Mick Haven demonstrated candle-making and historic cooking at the Rice-Upshaw House. Local author Pat Blake performed a reading from her novels in The Shiloh Series, a series based in historic Arkansas era. Finally, the Metro City Singers perform at the Rice Upshaw House after lunch.
Attendees participated in a tour of both sites and were treated to a free BBQ lunch from the Polar Freeze in Walnut Ridge. The children and adults enjoyed time-period games and we able to interact with goats and chickens, courtesy of Bret and Cindy Robinett at the Rice Upshaw House.
The Project REACH Homecoming event will be an annual event. For more information about Project REACH, contact its coordinator Holly Looney at (870) 248-4189 or via email at Holly.Looney@blackrivertech.edu.
Project REACH—Researching Early Arkansas Cultural Heritage—is a historic preservation project conducted by Black River Technical College. Through multi-year grant funding from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC), the restoration of two early log structures from Arkansas’ Territorial era have been restored and are available for tour. Sites are open to visitors from 9-12 the second Saturday the month, April – October, as well as every Tuesday from 9-3.