Sep 15, 2017

Ground Breaking for Expansion


Press Release Expansion Groundbreaking at GCHS

Author of six books about local history, Garland County Historical Society volunteer Orval Allbritton wielded the ceremonial shovel as the society broke ground on an expansion to its archives building at 328 Quapaw at 10am on September 15. “Orval personifies dedication to local history,” said GCHS President Gary Jackson. “We’re very proud to have published his six books about our community. He was the unanimous choice to first break ground.”

After 57 years of dedicated historical archiving, the Garland County Historical Society has run out of room at its building to house and preserve its collections. The society is therefore going to expand by 1500 square feet its current 3,400 square foot archives facility. The expansion project will include more archival storage space (with movable shelving), a larger reading/research room, and a clean gas fire-suppression system for
archival areas.  

GCHS board members and volunteers cheered Allbritton on, as did members of the board of the Oaklawn Foundation, which recently awarded the society a $200,000 construction grant.  “We’re very grateful for the Oaklawn Foundation grant, which will fund much of the construction cost. We’re reaching out to the community for tax-deductible donations to help raise the rest of the funds needed. With more room to store historic materials, with movable shelving (which greatly increases storage capacity), and with a state-of- the-art fire suppression system designed to safeguard irreplaceable historic materials, we’ll be better able to serve the local community and people across the State of Arkansas,” said Executive Director Liz Robbins

The society will acknowledge all donors in next year’s issue of its journal, The Record.  Those who give $250 or more, $1,000 or more, or $5,000 or more will have pavers and plaques installed at the archives. People can call 501-321- 2159, email, or visit the archives at 328 Quapaw for more information.  The mission of the Garland County Historical Society is to collect, preserve, and tell the story of Garland County’s history. Established in 1960, the society maintains an archive of over 55,000 photographs as well as paper ephemera, books, newspapers, microfilm, maps, and historical memorabilia.

In 2016, the society had 2,500+ visitors or contacts (many from across the state and country) and gave 44 educational programs to students, civic groups, and the public. It has published 19 books and produces a yearly journal, The Record.  GCHS has partnered with local and state organizations (including the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the Melting Pot Genealogical Society, Hot Springs National Park, the
Fine Arts Center of Hot Springs, the Hot Springs Music Festival, the Garland County Library) in several projects.  

A 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, GCHS is funded by members’ dues, publication sales, and donations. GHCS is the only group in Garland County that attempts to preserve the history of the whole county in all its aspects, and no other group provides services relating to local history on the scale that it does.

Aug 22, 2017

Oaklawn Foundation Grant

August 22, 2017

We are very grateful to the Oaklawn Foundation for a $200,000 grant to help fund our building expansion. For a long time, GCHS has needed to “Make Room for History,”  quite literally.  In our current building at 328 Quapw, we have run out of room to hold our current collections, much less preserve new holdings, and we don’t have adequate room for researchers and volunteer workers.  This expansion project will solve those problems.


The Oaklawn Foundation gift will fund about two-thirds of our expansion budget, and we’ll be working with the community to raise the remainder. With more room to store historic materials, with movable shelving, and with a fire suppression system designed to safeguard historic materials, we’ll be better able to serve the community now and in the future.

 We are dedicated to preserving our history, making it easily accessible to researchers, and educating the public about our local heritage.  To do these things, we need to grow. We deeply appreciate the Oaklawn Foundation’s recognition of the importance of our mission and their help in making sure we can continue to fulfill it.

Jun 14, 2016

Oaklawn Foundation Grant

On June 8, the Oaklawn Foundation presented GCHS with a grant for a microfilm reader.  Thanks to the Foundation’s generosity and commitment to education, the society has replaced its obsolete analog reader with a new digital reader.


Front Row: Oaklawn Foundation Board members Melinda Gassaway, Kermit Tucker, Carla Mouton, Dennis Smith. GHCS members Liz Robbins, Gary Jackson, Melanie Pearce, Lynda Hogaboom

Back Row: Oaklawn Foundation Board members John Hearnsberger, Les Warren. GCHS members Mike Blythe, Roger Carter, Clay Farrar, Tom French, Orval Allbritton

Jun 1, 2016

Things Done and Things to Come

We have a new, much improved website thanks to the efforts of our super web-guru Kelly Dodson.  Kelly has spent many hours bringing this updated site to fruition.  The one tremendous improvement is the search engine, allowing you do easily find information that we have!!!  Access that from the homepage!

This year has brought new projects and capabilities to the society, thanks to the generosity of local people and organizations.  We will be developing this long list in the near future!


May 16, 2012

A Real Find to Share

And a treasure for one of our sister history preservation groups.