GREENWOOD — Eagle Scout candidate Charles Bailey recently finished a yearlong project to preserve his town’s history, including the birthplace of early 1900s Arkansas Gov. John Sebastian Little.
Four historical markers have been added to the growing Greenwood Walking Trail to point out the former locations of a pre-Depression era mill behind the Old Jail Museum, a railroad line where tons of peaches and coal were moved out of the area, a train trestle and the location of Little’s birthplace near Crooked Creek.
"I’m impressed with the quality he’s done," Doug Kinslow, Greenwood Parks and Recreation director and newly elected city mayor, said of the plaques. "It’s a huge asset to the trail and hopefully this will continue on."
Sturdy 4-by-4 inch steel powder-coated posts anchor the black-and-gold metal plaques with short descriptions of the historical areas. Research was done in cooperation with the South Sebastian County Historical Society.
Donna Goldstein, vice president of the historical society, said information was obtained from city records as well as the society’s annual historical publication, "The Key."
Just a few months from turning 17, Bailey finishes his Eagle Scout project well in advance of the 18th-birthday deadline. He requires one more merit badge to complete the requirements. The application will then go to the Boy Scouts of America WestArk Area Council for approval. In 2013 the council approved 106 applications for Eagle Scout.
"He’s a good top-notch kid," Troop 54 Scout Master Rod Powell said. "He’s an active member and one the other scouts look up to for leadership."
Troop 54’s history dates to 1928 and includes membership of Charles Bailey’s father, John Bailey, and late grandfather Dr. Charles W. Bailey. The troop has 45 members with scouts ranging in age from 11 to 18. The historical society has worked with the troop before in helping coordinate Eagle Scout projects, and Powell recommended Charles Bailey’s project.
Kinslow said the scouts also have adopted sections of the trail to maintain, and the local Girl Scout troop has installed bird houses. The 1.8 mile trail is in Phase 3 of construction to Bell Park and will be 3.2 miles when complete thanks in part to an Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department grant.
Funding for the plaques came through the Greenwood Advertising & Promotion Commission and John Bailey, the scout’s father. Bailey Powder Coating of Lavaca, no relation to the family, also donated the powder coating job for the posts. Cost for materials amounted to about $1,000.
As part of the project, Bailey also installed two weather-proof plastic-coated steel benches on the trail; J.L. Clements provided the benches in honor of his late wife Marilyn.
Reflecting on what he learned from the yearlong process, Bailey said the historical research, planning, fundraising and physical labor that went into the project required persistence and dedication to complete. He is considering pursuit of a degree in engineering.