On October 15, 1966, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) into law, committing the United States to a reversal of the wholesale destruction of historic properties around the country that followed World War II. The act created state historic preservation offices – including the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Division of Arkansas Heritage part of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism – to coordinate preservation efforts and administer federal historic preservation programs.
Perhaps the best known of these is the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of properties worthy of preservation for future generations. While it has no inherent protections, listing on the National Register raises awareness of a properties’ importance in our history and makes them eligible for tax credits and grant programs that can aid in their preservation.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NHPA, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is sponsoring the Arkansas National Register Passport Program, which invites Arkansans and visitors to go to 26 stamping stations around the state, each housed in a National Register-listed site. Passports will be available at each of the stamping sites, at the 14 Arkansas Welcome Centers operated by the Division of Arkansas Tourism, or be requesting them through [email protected].
Once you have all 26 stamps, you can detach the card at the back (which should have a duplicate set of stamps) and mail it to Arkansas National Register Passport, 1100 North Street, Little Rock, AR 72201 in exchange for a commemorative coin or patch.