Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association
The name of the keelboat "Aux Arc" was derived from the early French references to Arkansas. The 1758 warehouse manager at the French Post at Arkansas, located in what is now northern Desha county, several times ended his letter postings with, for example, "Aux Arkansas le 22 Septembre 1758." Aux Arc translated into English tends to mean; From or at the Arkansas Tribe, indicating that the Post was located near the Tribal villages of the Quapaw Tribe. With the intention of replicating the Dunbar-Hunter expedition, the Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association constructed a keelboat typical of the boat used in the expedition. The week between Christmas and New Years, the "Aux Arc" and crew has completed five floats down the Ouachita River (i.e., 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009).
There also are DVD movies of the 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008 trips. These DVD movies sell for $9.00 each, which includes postage and the packaging. DVD's without postage are $5 each. To order call Chuck Martin at 501-772-2008.
A keelboat is one of several types of boats typically used for exploration and trade during the time of these expeditions.
The design for EARA's 38-foot keelboat is by Phil Bolger, a renowned boat designer from Gloucester, Massachusetts. Andy Zawacki, wood conservationist at Historic Arkansas Museum, was the technical building expert. Throughout the construction process, we tested various construction approaches on a 12-to-1 scale model built by Tim Richardson.
The process began in January 2003 with several meetings at The Community Bakery, a local coffee shop and bakery in downtown Little Rock. The result of these meetings was the development of a core group of EARA experts, a timeline, and list of materials needed to construct the keelboat.
This is (by far) the largest undertaking EARA has ever attempted. It is also the best-documented project EARA has ever done. The following links provide details of the building process, in the order they were performed, including more than 80 photographs.
Steps 1 and 2 were completed at the Fellowship Hall, Grace Presbyterian Church, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Steps 3, 4, 6 and 7 were completed at the Plantation Agricultural Museum in Scott, Arkansas.
Step 5 was completed by students at Metropolitan Career Technical School in Little Rock.
For the final step, we launched the keelboat at Willow Beach Park on June 13th, 2004.
Please enjoy this slideshow of the making of the Keelboat.
People who helped out:
Ed Williams, Larry Layne, Glenn Cook, Tim Richardson, Harlan Brown, Robert Carroll, Chuck Martin, Mark Thurman, Andrew English, Robert Carroll, Michael Bethea, Dave Leffler, Howard Bethea, Ragun Moody, and Jimmy Staton.
Thank you to all who helped make this happen and If I have left someone out please let me know.