A stop at Caddo Gap

statue of caddo indian

The statue of the Caddo Indian is not immediately visible in Caddo Gap unless you leave the main highway and drive through the east part of the town. It is more than “well-worth” the slight detour.

Look off the beaten path

During my recent meanderings about west central Arkansas in the foothills of the Ouachita (pronounced wash-eh-taw – emphasis on the first syllable) Mountains, I had occasion to pass through Caddo Gap, Arkansas. The first time I breezed through with peripheral glances only.

The second time, I drove through what one presumes was the former epicenter of the way-back-when formerly thriving community. I discovered that Caddo Gap is steeped in history all the way back to Hernando DeSoto. The third time was the charm as I stopped frequently to engage the Nikon.

Barn near Oden Arkansas

Click on the barn for more pictures from “The Road to Oden.”

Before we get knee-deep in the Caddo Gap story, I suggest that you take a glance at the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where we explore “the road to Oden.” Oden is in the same geographic neighborhood as Caddo Gap.

The drive to Oden from also-nearby Black Springs  was a great country road trip after we left Caddo Gap. The road did not have as many afternoon photo ops as I had hoped, but the ones it afforded were good discoveries which made the trip very much worthwhile.

Into Caddo Gap

native stone building in Caddo GAp Arkansas

I’m not certain that this old structure started out in life as the local hoosegow, but it sure looks like it was at some point before it fell to disuse. It looks to be in good condition.

side view of stone building in Caddo Gap Arkansas

Here’s a slightly different view of the building showing more local environment.

Old restoted store in Caddo Gap Arkansas

Up the the street from the stone structure is this nicely restored store building. I am derelict that I did not get closer to retrieve the message on the sign in the door. It even complies with ADA requirements (we think).

History to go

Caddo Gap is indeed steeped in recorded history notably with a 1541 visit from hisself Hernando DeSoto and his band of swarthy soldiers. They met more resistance than expected at Caddo Gap. The story, though in brevity, is revealed with markers and plaques around and on the Caddo Indian statue. See them in gory detail below:

Plaque on Caddo Indian stature pedestal

The short version of DeSoto’s visit is engraved on the pedestal of the statue.

Caddo people historical marker

This historical marker tells of the Caddo people who once inhabited this locale.

Desoto historical market

Here’s more on Bro. Desoto and his adventures in these parts.

Caddo River Narrows historical marker

The Caddo River narrows apparently gave rise to the monicker “Caddo Gap.”

Caddo Gap historical marker

Suspicions confirmed.

Bronze plaques on statue base

Here’s some info on how the markers and statue came to be and were later restored to the state you see in the pictures. Hope your screen permits reading.

For history nuts, these are tidbits to broaden your base of knowledge. For non-history nuts, we hope you found a bit of interesting information. In any case thanks for looking.

‘Preciate the glances,

Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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