In 1923 Petit Jean became the first state park in Arkansas thanks to the efforts of Dr. T.W. Hardison. In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) laid the foundation for the park as we know it today. The public is invited to join the park staff on the Saturday, Sept. 3, of Labor Day Weekend for family friendly activities and programs that help celebrate the founding of Petit Jean State Park. Detailed program schedules for Petit Jean Founders Day will be available at the park visitor center.
The day’s events will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Pioneer Cabin with a talk about the history of one of the early families who lived on Petit Jean, plus a walk to the bottom of Cedar Creek to view some ancient geological sights. A “riddle hunt” activity is planned to begin at 10 a.m. at the park visitor center. 
At 1 p.m., the CCC Overlook on Red Bluff Drive will be the place to hear Dr. Hardison’s version of a local killing of a man, a fascinating Petit Jean area story from more than 100 years ago. This will be followed by a guided 2:30 p.m. walk through what was once a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp.
And at 4 p.m., visitors of all ages are invited to play a “Petit Jean style” version of softball at the ball field.
In the evening, the park’s Mather Lodge, currently closed and undergoing restoration and renovation, will be featured in a presentation at the amphitheater, beginning at 8 p.m. This will be followed by a chance for visitors to share their own special memories of the “old” Mather Lodge.
This event is family oriented, free of charge and open to the public. For more information, contact the park at 501-727-5441 or by email at or also visit the park’s website at