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Take a Delightful Tour!

Spend part of your day taking a relaxing tour of daffodil gardens and historic homes. All tours originate from the First United Methodist Church Welcome & Hospitality Center (121 Harrison St.).

JUMP TO:
Daffodil Garden Tours
• Daniel Gardens
• Grace Hill
• Beale Daffodil Farm
• Dawson Daffodil Farm
• Oakland Farm
• Adams Gardens
• Oakland Cemetery Walk
• Dining in the Daffodils
Historic Homes Tours
• The Ramsey-McClellan House
• The Graham-Gaughan-Betts House
• McCollum-Chidester House Museum
• Antique Car Show
• The Powell-Dietrich House
Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot
Driving Tour Information

Daffodil Garden Tours

Friday & Saturday, 9 am - 4:30pm

Daffodil PoemWalk among and view hundreds of thousands of daffodils in our three Showcase gardens; the Daniel's Japanese and Daffodil Gardens, Grace Hill, and the Beale Daffodil Farm, with self-guided visits to Oakland Farms, the Dawson Daffodil Farm and Thera Lou Adams' naturalized yard. The Garden Tours originate from the First United Methodist Church at 116 Jefferson St. in downtown Camden.

The Festival Committee strongly recommends Festival Guests take advantage of the Shuttle Service provided while visiting the Gardens and Homes. Very limited parking is available at these locations. Considerations will be given to handicapped patrons and other special needs.

Daffodil Garden Tours Bus Tour
3 privately owned daffodil gardens, $35.00
Individual Garden Tour, $7.00

Daniel Gardens

2220 Maul Road. Master Gardener or self guided tours. Eight acres in Japanese Garden, featuring millions of daffodils and several hundred varieties of trees. Gardens created by the late Roxane and Dennis Daniel. Original home of the Daffodil Festival.

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Grace Hill

Old Wire Road/3675 Ouachita 3

"Welcome to Grace Hill" reads the sign at the street, and 'welcome' it is to this country home and garden.

Grace Hill, located on Old Wire Road and Ouachita 3, is the home of Frank and Joy Wright Wietecha. The name "Grace Hill" comes from Joy's Aunt Grace, who gave Joy this family farm land, which has been in Joy's family since the 1830s.

The home - completed in 1992 - is a copy of the George Wythe house, (circa 1740) in Williamsburg, Virginia. Attention to detail has proven to present a simple home with a lot of 'presence.'

The landscaping was begun years before the house was built and continues to evolve.

The several-acre front area features three 19th-century sugar kettles brought up from the New Orleans area. These kettles have been turned into water features and are accents in drifts of naturalized daffodils. Magnificent old Magnolia trees, English oaks, boxwoods and drifts of daffodils - you just can't get any more traditional or southern than this.

The back of the home has a two-story porch overlooking the immediate back lawn. This back lawn is centered by a 30-foot Koi pond featuring fish from Ogata, Japan. Many are quite large, 24 inches or more, and striking. See if you can spot the solid black ones.

This immediate back area is accented with lavish plantings of pansies, kale, and violas - all for the pleasure of the Daffodil Festival.

Self-guided tours. One of the most prestigious gardens in Ouachita County. Owned and landscaped by Joy & Frank Wietecha and one of two gardens where fresh daffodils may be picked..

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Beale Daffodil Farm

290 Ouachita 42. Deep in the backwoods of south Ouachita County, among the towering pine trees, hidden treasures are multiplying every year, and they wave golden greetings to all who come to visit. The Camden Daffodil Festival is fortunate to offer the Beale Daffodil Farm for a third year on the Garden Tour. Visitors are warmly greeted by Anne Beale, who will personally introduce visitors to her extended family of daffodil bulbs, and encourage all to walk throughout the naturalized landscaping of “The Property”. The Beale’s pursue, with permission, the rescue of abandoned bulbs from old house places, and have designated acres to cultivating Heirlooms, as well as Hybrids, to be transplanted later around the place. Grady Beale is a retired teacher and coach, and approaches his hobby with enthusiasm. With a cordless drill and garden auger in his hand, he is a gardener on a mission – planting more bulbs! Enjoy this hidden jewel, and be sure to come back next year to visit again!

The Beale Daffodil Farm Story

By Grady and Anne Beale

Sixteen years ago, we bought land at Buena Vista. We called this "The Property", and every weekend, my husband worked with a machete and chainsaw to make a path into the prop- erty and clear walking paths throughout.

Later, we had a road bulldozed in and two ponds added.

In about 2000, Clara Freeland was selling daffodil bulbs for the historical society and my husband bought 500. He planted each one with a dibble on the property in the woods.

That spring was a glorious sight!

The next year, he bought 1,000, and so on, over the years. It was amazing to drive in our gate and see these flowers out in the woods - in the middle of nowhere - blooming their hearts out.

We since have discovered the beauty of the species of daffodils that you see blooming in pastures, at old home sites, and in the woods.

We have many of these old historic bulbs in our yard and thanks to Thera Lou Adams and her friend and bulb expert, Celia Jones, I know their names:
• Butter and Eggs, • Texas Star,• Van Sion,• Lent Lily,
• Jonquilla - (aka 'Early Louisiana,')
• Campernelle, and more!
This is a very short history of our daffodils. It has been a happy journey, and we are still planting daffodils yearly.

In 2005, we moved into our home on "The Property," and that's how our daffodil story came to be.

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Dawson Daffodil Farm

2698 Ouachita 3 Carrying on the family tradition started by the late John Dawson, Jr., the Dawson children are opening the Dawson Daffodil Farm to the public during the Camden Daffodil Festival. John Jr. had the foresight to preserve this property after the original owner, Mrs. O.L. Fellers passed away some years ago. By doing so, he preserved thousands of daffodil bulbs to showcase to the public and pay tribute to the lady who spent her whole life developing new bulbs and sharing those with others. This place is truly a naturalized diamond in the rough and offers serene paths through the woods and daffodil drifts. Bring your camera – the photo opportunities are numerous and may include wildlife!

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Oakland Farm

2474 Oakland Six generations of the Tate Family have cultivated the land at Oakland Farm, starting in the late 1870s - the early generations with cotton; the fourth, fifth, and sixth generations with daffodils. A simple farm house for the early settlers has evolved into the location of one of the largest Fall arts and crafts festivals in the South – the B&PW Barn Sale.

Walter and Ruth Tate began developing the semiformal gardens in the early 1950s, and planted hundreds of azaleas, daffodils and daylilies among the pecan trees. To this day, many of the original plantings thrive and bloom every year. Ruth pursued transplanting daffodil bulbs from Mrs. O.L. Fellers' gardens (now the Dawson Daffodil Farm) upon her death. Massive naturalized offerings were added to the existing floral landscaping, and provide an extended blooming season in the spring. Visitors are welcomed to take a self-guided tour of Oakland Farm and enjoy the genteel surroundings under the shadow of the old Barn and around the ponds. Natures’ own resident deer and other animals may also join the tour.

Oakland Farm is now owned and protected by Bob and Amanda Tate Wunnenberg.

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Adams Gardens

The naturalized yard of well-known horticulturist Thera Lou Adams. She is noted
for her tireless commitment to preserving the future blooms of plantings,
and also maintains a Daffodil Farm in Louisiana, as well. She is a Master
Gardner and a prime example of how one person can make a difference – if you
come to Camden and miss Thera Lou, you have missed a real treat!
She lives out the "Daffodil Principle" every day by planting one bulb at a
time. (see The "Daffodil Principle" in More Links)

Oakland Cemetery Walk

107 Maul Rd - Available on Garden Tour Shuttle Route

107 Maul Rd Cemetery established in 1830. Enjoy the Cemetery Walk with live interpretations. Here lie the Pioneers of Camden - first doctor, first lawyer, first merchants - resting place for hundreds of Confederate soldiers. Tour historic Oakland Cemetery and hear the stories of early settlers as told by costumed re-enactors.

On March 6-7 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., the Oakland Cemetery will be taking a trip into the past.

The March 2015 Oakland Cemetery Walk will tell the stories of Camden, Arkansas, soldiers who fought in the Civil War and the stories of the women, children and older men who remained in this city and were invaded by General Frederick Steele’s Army of 12,000+ Federal Soldiers.

You will hear about Colonel Benjamin W. Johnson of the Arkansas 15th and their stand at Port Hudson, Louisiana, and his Lt. Colonel, P. Lynch Lee, a brave Camden resident.

We will remember the bravery of Colonel Hiram Grinstead, a lawyer from Kentucky who commanded the Arkansas 33rd and who died at the Battle of Jenkins Ferry along and Hugh McCollum and many Camden soldiers buried in this cemetery.

Colonel Grinstead’s wife, Kate, who was from New Orleans will tell us about her six children (three who died young and are buried in Oakland Cemetery).

The bravery of the women of our fair city during the week of April 15, 1864, will be told by Virginia McCollum Stinson, Mary Ann McCollum Daly & Kate McCollum – the daughters of Peter McCollum and sisters of Hugh McCollum. These women will tell you about the terror they experienced when the Yankees threatened them, stole their food & provisions and the loss of their brothers and friends during the terrible war.

Henry Merrell, a business man from New York and former Confederate soldier, expected to be shot as a spy when General Steele came to town. He wrote about this time in his life as he remembered the day the Union Army moved into Camden.

The Reverend Doctor William McDonald served in the Home Guard in Dallas County, Arkansas, as did other men who were older and could not join the Confederate Army.

Mrs. Brunetta Thomas Lockhart was the mother-in-law of Major E.N. Woodland who would die during the Civil War, and she will remember moving to Camden, Arkansas, from Georgia and her heritage as American Indian.

Many brave Camden residents and soldiers who lived through the Civil War to be buried here include: John T. Chidester, Judge John Brown, Civil War Soldiers – S.B. Lide, J.A. Proctor, W.W. Pace, Samuel Southerland, E.N. Woodland, Joseph Graham, Colonel James Gee, J. A. Reeves, James Darby, J.T. Elliott, Dr. G.W. Hudson, Rowland B. Smith, and many others. As you walk through this cemetery you will notice how many Civil War soldiers are buried here and also in the Greenwood Cemetery.

This cemetery also has the graves of many of General Price’s soldiers who died from disease and battle; we only know the names of about 50 of them and the other hundreds are unknown and will never be known. George Elliott who died at Camp Douglas prison in Chicago is buried here because his family went to Chicago and retrieved his body.

Come walk with us as we remember the Civil War Sesquicentennial – 150 years ago.

Families $15.00
Adults $7.00
Children 6-12 $3.00
under 6 free

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Grace Hill Dining in the Daffodils

3675 Ouachita 3 If you would like to have lunch during your garden tour, you might want to plan on "Dining in the Daffodils" at Grace Hill on Old Wire Road and being serenaded with beautiful violin music while you enjoy the ambience of the garden and good food. Lunch will be served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day at a cost of $13.

Please note: private vehicles will be allowed in the gardens at Grace Hill for those eating lunch, at a cost of $7.00 per vehicle.

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Historic Homes Tours

Friday & Saturday, 9 am - 4pm

Step back into history on this tour. Includes our renown Historic Homes and one of South Arkansas' largest Antique car shows.

  1. The Ramsey-McClellan House, 210 N. Cleveland
  2. The Graham-Gaughan-Betts House, 710 W. Washington St.
  3. Ouachita County Historical Society Office: Towsend Mosley Civil War Collection Preview, 920 W. Washington St.
  4. McCollum-Chidester House Museum, 926 W. Washington St.
  5. Antique Car Show, 1108 W. Washington St.
  6. The Powell-Dietrich House, 305 California St.,

Ticket price is $25 for the five homes or $7 each at the door if you prefer to tour only one or two homes.

The Festival Committee strongly recommends Festival Guests take advantage of the Shuttle Service provided while visiting the Gardens and Homes. Very limited parking is available at these locations. Considerations will be given to handicapped patrons and other special needs.

 

Tickets can be purchased at:
First United Methodist Church Atrium
(121 Harrison Ave SW, Camden, AR 71701)
or Downtown at the Information booth (at the corner of Washington and Adams)

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The Ramsey-McClellan House

210 N. Cleveland Ave. Presented by Angel Pryor 9-4 pm

Demonstrating neoclassical motif, eclectically combined with Queen Anne elements, the Ramsey-McClellan house was built for prominent businessman and banker W.K. Ramsey- and was subsequently occupied by the family of John L. McClellan at the time Mr. McClellan was first elected to the United States Senate. Designed by Arkansas’ premier turn of the century architect, Charles Thompson of Little Rock, the house exhibits full height fluted columns capped with composite ionic capitals. Both the first and second stories have curved porches that extend in a semicircular sweep around the front of the house, and a roof balustrade encloses a “widow’s walk.”

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The Graham-Gaughan-Betts House

710 Washington St. Presented by Drs. George & Diane Betts. 9-4 pm

Built for Major Joseph M. Graham and his wife Mary Washington (first cousin of George Washington) in 1856, this home served as headquarters of Union General Frederick Steele during the Union occupation of Camden in 1864. Furnished in period furniture; and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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McCollum-Chidester House Museum

926 Washington St. 9-4 pm

The McCollum-Chidester House Museum was built by Peter McCollum, a local merchant, in 1847 on land received by a grant from the United States Government. It was the first house in Camden built of planed lumber, had the first wallpaper, and the first kitchen in Camden to have an iron cook stove. The furnishings were brought up the Ouachita River from New Orleans, Louisiana, by steamboat. It has five fireplaces. The house was sold to John T. Chidester in 1858 and was his headquarters for the famous Chidester Stage Line that ran for a time from Alabama to Yuma, Arizona. The furnishings in the house are the original furnishings of the Chidester family. The home was purchased by the Ouachita County Historical Society in 1963 and opened as a museum. This house was the setting of the TV miniseries, "North & South" and entertained movie stars, Patrick Swayze and Kirstie Alley.

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Antique Car Show

1108 W. Washington 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Free (Saturday Only)

Come and see one of South Arkansas' largest Antique Car Shows.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

The Powell-Dietrich House

305 California St. Presented by Dr. Fred Dietrich. 9-4 pm.

The Powell-Godwin-May House was built about 1859 by Benjamin T. Powell.

Architecturally, it displays the characteristics of the design and construction in vogue in Arkansas among the prosperous plantation owners. Perhaps even more significant is the fact that it is a representative type of the town houses which were being built by those persons whose wealth was derived from the growing and selling of cotton.

The town of Camden was virtually created by cotton. It was the head of navigation on the Ouachita River and was in the heart of an area ideally suited for growing cotton. Its growth coincided with the cotton boom. In 1843-1844 Camden was still a small river village, but by the 1850's elaborate homes like the Powell-Dietrich House were being built, and during the shipping time, cotton bales lined all the streets leading to the wharf. By 1860, Camden was the greatest cotton mart in southern Arkansas. The Powell-Dietrich House survives as one example of the architecture developed in Arkansas during this period.

The Powell-Dietrich House was intended to be innovative, but the only noteworthy innovation which now survives is the fact that it was apparently one of the first houses to be painted with the, then new, "steamboat paint".

When the Civil War started the house was occupied but still incomplete. In the spring of 1861 Benjamin Powell's eldest son, John Powell, joined the Confederate Army and went to war. While serving in the East he sent home some young cedar trees from Acquia Creek, where his unit was encamped, but John Powell was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga and never returned home to see them.

In April of 1864, when Federal troops occupied Camden, General Rice established headquarters in the Powell-Dietrich house and remained until Camden was evacuated.

The Powell-Dietrich House was built by Benjamin T. Powell and passed on to his youngest son after Mr. Powell's death. Powell's son subsequently sold the property to Mr. Solomon Block, who, in 1888, sold the property to Mr. W. E. McRae. In the mid-nineteen twenties the house was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Ramsey. It was then sold to Mr. Elbert Godwin and occupied by the Godwin family until 1962 when it was sold to Mr. R. Paul May.

Fred Dietrich DDS, purchased this property from the May estate in 2002.

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Other Tours & Locations

Step back into history on this tour. Includes our renown Historic Homes and one of South Arkansas' largest Antique car shows.

Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot

314 S Adams No admission charge. Open Friday 9-4 pm.

Built in 1913 and lovingly restored in 1995, the Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot now houses the Main Street & Camden Area Chamber of Commerce.

The depot served first as a passenger station, then primarily as a Freight station until it closed in December of 1983.

The allure of trains is inherent in many of us. Many of us remember those gargantuan engines puffing and steaming into town, then roaring away from depots on silver ribbons. We have heard their mysterious wailing late at night. Depots, the work stations of the railroad, also hold memories. They were much more than just a place to buy a ticket.

In 1913, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway Company built Camden's depot down on Adams Street, just a stone's throw from the Ouachita River. Construction cost was $7,600. The Missouri-Pacific Lines absorbed the Iron Mountain System in 1917. This depot served first as a passenger station, and then primarily as a freight station until it closed in December of 1983.

The Mo-Pac, as it is familiarly known, was the largest and most important railroad in Arkansas. Its roots go back to July, 1851. Mo-Pac grew through mergers with dozens of smaller railroads operating within the same regions. At that time, the main line entered the state at Memphis, continuing to Little Rock, then taking a northwesterly route to Booneville. Numerous branch lines provided service to Fordyce, El Dorado, Malvern, Camden, Hot Springs and Dardanelle.

By 1927, the Missouri-Pacific Railroad Company operated a total of 705.22 miles of track in Arkansas. By the 1930's, the line had extended into Oklahoma, with two branches running south through the timber and oil country of south and southwest Arkansas.

What did railroad development mean to our area? Let's take a brief look:

"The town that is now named Chidester was laid out in 1881 by the old Iron Mountain Railroad. That was the end of the line at that time. Coming to Camden meant a stagecoach ride from that point. Chidester literally owes its existense to the railroad. At the turn of the century, Lester, another Ouachita County community, had coal and clay mines known as the Maximo mines. The rail lines allowed these products to be moved out of the area into the market. Without the rail system, the communities of Louann and Reader would have had great difficulty getting their products out and into the world of commerce. It is overwhelming to think of the amount of timber taken out by rails, or the numbers of barrels of oil borne by the railcars. Without the railroad none of this could have happened.

Timber, one of the main sources of income for our area was, and still is, moved primarily by rail. Grapette, a soft-drink invented in Camden and shipped all over the nation, and some foreign countries, left Camden, by railcar.

With the onset of World War II, rail traffic increased to the point that at times there were 30 trains daily through Camden. Many freight trains bore army tanks and artillery used to help the United States win the war on two fronts. The passenger trains carried soldiers who would ultimately find their way to the Pacific or European front. Connections were made here in Camden on the Missouri-Pacific to go to the training camps in Louisiana, California, or wherever their particular destination was. The mail was moved on the railroad, and the mail moved the nation. In wartime and in peacetime, communication has always been crucial. The depot was the spot where the mail was sent out and brought in. Western Union was very often found in the depots around the country. Urgent messages to loved ones have gone out from our depot via the telegraph machine.

The Mo-Pac depot was the scene of many dramatic moments for people arriving and departing Camden. Newlyweds, embarking on thier honeymoons, have fond memories of making their departure from this depot. Our only remaining depot, the Mo-Pac Depot, must be saved. It is an integral part of our history, both economical and cultural, and perhaps something less definable, our heritage of memories. It will become, when the dream of revitalizing this structure comes true, something practical, something needed here in Camden: a Chamber of Commerce office and a museum. Other communities in Arkansas have saved their depots. They have turned them into attractive and functional sites. So can we!"

Jo Anne Holyfield, Camden's Back on Track Cookbook1995

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A drive by tour of the Historic Clifton Greening District, www.cliftongreening.com and the Washington Street Historic District, www.washingtonstreethistoricdistrict.com is also available.

The Festival Committee strongly recommends Festival Guests take advantage of the Shuttle Service provided while visiting the Gardens and Homes. Very limited parking is available at these locations. Considerations will be given to handicapped patrons and other special needs.

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