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Landmarks, attractions that make Texarkana one of a kind

Landmarks, attractions that make Texarkana one of a kind

June 29th, 2014 by Jim Williamson in Features

Face north and look at the Texarkana Downtown Post Office.
Then place the right foot in Arkansas.
Now place the left foot in Texas.
If the preference is to face south.
Place the left foot in Arkansas.
Then place the right foot in Texas.
Each time you’ve stood in two states at once.
If you want to, do it again and again.
No one will complain about crossing the line in downtown Texarkana with any foot in either state.
The Arkansas Great Southwest promotion for Texarkana urges people to make your own personal history by crossing the line in both states.
Besides marking the border of Texas and Arkansas, the Photographer’s Island provides a prop for poses in two states. The island is located on the south side of the federal courthouse and the downtown post office is the only U.S. Post office sitting in two states in the United States.
At the Downtown Post Office, there is also a John Kennedy JFK memorial near the photo island. In 1960, when Kennedy was a candidate for president, he announced his plans for the space program in the twin cities.
The Post Office has two zip codes, 71854 for Texarkana, Ark., and 75501 for Texarkana, Texas.
The address for the post office is 50 State Line Avenue.
Built in 1932-33, the structure features a base of pink granite from Texas and walls of limestone from Arkansas.
Within a few blocks of the downtown post office the buildings, memorials and parks include:

• Ace of Clubs House—The Ace of Clubs House is a living museum, the 22-sided house was built with the winnings from a poker game. Legend has it James H. Draughon’s winning card was the ace of clubs. Architecturally unique, the Italiante Victorian home is notable for its three octagonal wings and one rectangular wing which join to form the shape of a “club.” The address is 420 Pine St.

• Bi-State Justice Building—The Bi-State Justice Center is home for more than 20 city, county and state judicial and law enforcement agencies for the states of Arkansas and Texas. This building is located in two states, requiring special legislation by both Arkansas and Texas created unique legal jurisdictions, applicable only inside the building. The address is 100 N. State Line Ave.

• Discovery Place Children’s Museum—The area’s best hands-on children’s museum has a one-of-a-kind 12 foot sound wall, giant prehistoric animal murals and a living science lab. A special dress-up theater and tot spot for the younger visitors make this attractive for the entire family. The address is 215 Pine St.

• Kidtopia—This community built multi-purpose playground was designed by kids for kids. The wooden playground features some of Texarkana’s most famous landmarks. The park is located at 201 Oak Street or the intersection of Oak and Broad streets.

• Museum of Regional History—Housed in the city’s oldest brick building, all new galleries with exhibits tell of the regional history including agriculture, early industry, civil rights and World War II. Exhibits are available regarding the Caddo Indians, the Spanish and French explorers. The address is 219 State Line Ave.

• Perot Theatre Regional Arts Center—A jewel of the region bringing the best of Broadway, classical music, ballet, jazz and modern dance to Texarkana. It was first opened in 1924 as the Saenger Theatre. The Emil Weil’s Italian Renaissance design is an architectural marvel. Through the generosity of Texarkana native H. Ross Perot, his sister Bette Perot and area residents, the beautiful old theater was saved and restored into one of the region’s major performing arts centers. The Perot Theatre brings national and international productions to the region and tours are available year-round. The address is 221 Main St.

• Scott Joplin attractions—Learn about the life and genius of native son Scott Joplin while visiting the interactive musical exhibit dedicated to Joplin located at the Museum of Regional History (MOHR). Visit the Orr School where Joplin attended at 831 Laurel St., which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Also view the Scott Joplin mural. A colorful display of the life and accomplishments of the Pulitzer Prize winning composer and area native is located at Third and Main streets. The Museum of Regional History is located at 219 N. State Line Ave.
Commissioned by the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council, the Debra Moseley mural depicts scenes from Joplin’s life. The “King of Ragtime Composers” born 1869 in Linden, Texas, was raised in Texarkana.

• Texarkana Regional Arts Center—A renovated regional arts center began life in 1909 as a United States District Courthouse. The old courtroom is now a grand hall with a 26-foot-high ceiling. National touring art exhibitions grace gallery walls 12 months a year, and the halls ring out when the rolls are playing on the reproducing player piano. The center also features “For Arts Sake” gift shop filled with unique gifts. The address is 421 W. Fourth St.

• The Tex-Ark Antique Auto Museum—Celebrating cars and technology of the past, the museum also features literature, tools, books, toy models, fillin’ station memorabilia and oil company signs. Visiting hours on weekends or call for scheduled tours. For additional information call 870-772-AUTO. The address is 217 Laurel St.

• Union Station—Union Station sits diagonally on the Arkansas-Texas state line at 101 Front St. During the day of rail travel, more than 20 passenger trains stopped here each day. The building is the current home to Amtrak.