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Arkansas has long had a reputation for bad roads. As American settlers moved toward the West in the early 1800s, transportation routes were not only rough and filled with curves, but also dusty in dry weather, and muddy on rainy days. Traveling across Arkansas Territory was difficult, and many travelers lamented the condition of the trails and roads of the day. One man who described his travels through Arkansas was George William Featherstonhaugh (pronounced fan-shaw), who visited Arkansas and Clark County in the early 1830s. His book about the journey, “Excursion Through the Slave States,” was published in 1844. Featherstonhaugh held generally negative views of Arkansas and offered not only a description of some of the road conditions he found as he traveled southwest toward Clark County from Little Rock, but also an explanation of how the poor roads evolved here in the first place.



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