The past year marked the 200th anniversary of the establishment of Arkansas as a United States territory.

Before it could become a territory, there was a need for an actual land survey.

The United States had bought the Louisiana Purchase from the French in 1803 for $15 million. The first official land surveys of the Louisiana Purchase began in Arkansas in 1815 near the mouth of the St. Francis and Arkansas rivers.

Thus, the connection with the UAM College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources began. The year 2020 marks the return of nine panels outlining the historical significance of the Louisiana Purchase. The panels arrived at the start of the school year.

The panels are being welcomed back after first being on display in the fall of 2015. UAM Associate Professor John Dennis said the panels are relevant to the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources because of their tie-in to the college’s academic programs, and in particular the land surveying major.

There are nine 5-foot by 4-foot panels hanging in the foyer of the first floor the George Clippert Forest Resource Annex. The panels belong to the Arkansas Department of Heritage in Little Rock and are now on loan to the College of Forestry Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Dennis said he’s glad to have them back to help illustrate the significance of the history and the natural resources of the Louisiana Purchase to Arkansas.

The display is open to the public during business hours.

UAM is home to the state’s only four-year baccalaureate program in land surveying. The panels are a short history lesson detailing the Louisiana Purchase survey, which had its beginnings in the delta of eastern Arkansas.

Initial measurements took place near the mouth of the St. Francis River and the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers.

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