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Camden, Arkansas, has a population in excess of 13,000 and is considered the “Queen City” of the Ouachita River. More than 65 churches’ doors stand ajar daily, and the city’s education system is second to none.
Many famous people have graced the town of Camden, whether performing, visiting or living here. Among them are poet Edgar Allen Poe, who was employed by the Camden Herald Newspaper for three months in 1847; Elvis Presley, who played at the auditorium three times in 1957; Sam Walton, who lived here before he founded Wal-Mart; prohibitionist Carrie Nation, who held a rally here in 1906; and Will Rogers, who performed here in 1928.
Camden is also home to many auxiliaries and activities, but its reputation lies in the three historical buildings in town.
The McCollum-Chidester House was constructed in 1847 by Peter McCollum and features furnishings from the Civil War. There are even some bullet holes in a wall on the second story of the house. Gen. Sterling Price of the Confederate Army and Gen. Frederick Steel of the Union Army headquartered at the house at different times during the Civil War. After 12 years of living in the house, McCollum sold the house to John and Leah Chidester. A portrait of Leah Chidester hangs over the fireplace in the living room.
The Leake-Ingham Library was built in 1850 as a law office for attorney Col. William W. Leake. The building was originally located downtown, but has been moved several times and is presently located on the lawn of the McCollum-Chidester House. The building was occupied by various businesses over the years, until 1906, when it became Camden’s first library.
The third of Camden’s historical buildings is the Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot, which houses the offices of the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Camden, as well as a small museum of railroad and Civil War memorabilia.
All three buildings are listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Another piece of Camden’s history is our annual Daffodil Festival, which brings thousands of visitors to the town.
Mildred - Camden, Arkansas
Edison’s Birthplace in Milan, Ohio, is Historical Landmark
Driving by Thomas Edison’s small birthplace home recently, the lights were on, and we thought about how when he was born, candles would have been flickering because he hadn’t yet invented the light bulb.
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