Pocahontas retains its historic downtown business square and beautifully restored 1872 Victorian Italianate courthouse. Most of the commercial outlets facing the square have been renovated to complement the stately courthouse.
Rich history echo’s across Randolph County with sites such As the Rice-Upshaw House and the William Looney Tavern located in Dalton for those interested in uncovering days gone by.
The Rice-Upshaw House was initially constructed in 1828 and used possibly as a one-story store/loom house by the builder Reuben Rice. Reuben established a rural trading center soon after the Rice family arrived in the Eleven Point River Valley in 1812. The structure features an original log partition wall, a rarity in vernacular architecture. A restored 1820s log granary survives from the well-documented trading center days adding to the site’s significance. The house is restored to the 1840s era when Reuben’s son expanded the main structure to serve as a family dwelling house. It was donated to BRTC by Rice descendants, Dorothy Jean Upshaw, and her children.
One of Arkansas’s and the regions’ most finely crafted log structures, the 1833 white oak log dogtrot constructed by William Looney is considered to have functioned as a rural tavern as well serving Looney’s distilling industry. He produced apple brandy in a day when distilling was a common practice for preserving fruits or grain. In the post-Civil War period the structure was converted to a dwelling by the Downey family. For more than a century it was known as the Downey Place. It was donated to BRTC by Jack and Christina French, descendants of the valley’s pioneering families.
Randolph County is the only county in Arkansas to claim five rivers and one lake and water sports factor heavily in the recreational opportunities available to residents and visitors. The Black River, the local river on which the town grew up, presents anglers with excellent big-bass fishing. The Current River’s strength is canoeing, although bass, bream and crappie fishing is consistently productive for fishermen. With 23 miles of navigable stream between Mammoth Spring and Hardy, the Spring River is the state’s most reliable paddling stream. Its waters run cold and swift the entire year. Excellent fishing is also available in the Fourche River which empties into the Black River about 500 yards east of the city. The Eleven Point River’s small-mouth bass fishing and good duck hunting extend along the river’s 40 miles of floatable waters.
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Jeff Drew is her husband of almost 29 years. They have a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.