POCAHONTAS — The Randolph County Heritage Museum, located on the courthouse square in Pocahontas, tells the story of the Randolph County area from its earliest history to the present, and now, it has added a new attraction for visitors to see this winter, or any time of the year.

The museum offers permanent and temporary exhibits, lectures and special programs, all geared toward telling the rich and varied past of Randolph County, according to Pat Carroll with the museum.

“A few years ago, when the state finished restoring the old Pocahontas train depot, our Visitor Information Center occupied one-third of the building and the bulk of the building interior remained empty and unrestored,” Carroll said.

City officials recently completed the restoration, opening it last month as the Randolph County Historical Museum of Transportation and Commerce, Carroll said.

“This museum was a requirement of the man who donated the old depot to the city, whose family was big in business and the oil business (fuel sales) here. So, the museum features info on our historic businesses, roads, bridges, rivers and the railroad.”

Carroll said there is still room for expansion with space to add more exhibits in the future, but the area is currently open to visitors who can view many old photos and read about that history specific to Randolph County.

According to published accounts, Randolph County is home to a series of impressive “firsts” in Arkansas, including the first post office, the first mail route, the first telegraph line, the first courthouse and the first land office.

The museum is  a subsidiary of Five Rivers Historic Preservation, Inc. and offers free Fre admission Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and the second Saturday of each month 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Keep in mind that holidays may affect these hours.

Meanwhile, guests can also take in other sites before or after visiting the museum. According to the museum website, located just a few steps from the museum is the:

• Site of the 1863 capture of Civil War General Jeff Thompson

• The Downtown Playhouse, featuring live plays and other events in a rehabilitated movie theater

• 1872 Courthouse-Authentic Victorian Architecture

• Arkansas’ only Quilt Trail

• Black River Beads and Pottery Gallery

• Civil War Memorial Walking Trail

• Arkansas’ Oldest Barber Shop

• Arkansas’ Oldest Drug Store

• R.J. Reynolds Art Gallery

• A Real Meteorite (“at least, we think so,” museum officials said)

• Restored 1921 Train Depot