Delta Cultural Center - Learn the history of the Delta and its Blues as you visit two tour locations: the Depot and the Visitors Center. Experience the history of Helena through two interactive museums – The Depot and the Visitor’s Center. The Depot features the exhibit “A Heritage of Determination” which depicts the history of the Delta from its earliest inhabitants through the settlement and Mississippi River Floods. Upstairs there is an exhibit called “Civil War in the Delta” which explains the Battle of Helena.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church - This church located in West Helena was designed by Charles Earnes and built in 1935. It features extravagant brick work, interior design, and a breathtaking steeple that stay true to Middle European traditions. Built in 1934 and designed by architect Charles Eames. This was his first large commission – Eames was better known instead for his modern furniture designs. In that time, people were used to Renaissance-style churches. This church is medieval-esque, designed to resemble the world—half in light and half in dark.
Freedom Park - This Park was designated as an important part of the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Here you can admire monuments of the African-American Experience in the Civil War era. This Civil War Interpretive site includes 5 major exhibits that explore the African American experience in Helena. The exhibits follow the journey of the African Americans from fugitive slave to freedom, and even enlistment in the Union Army for others. The park is the first site in Arkansas to be designated for inclusion on the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.
Fort Curtis & Moore Hornor House – A replacement to the original Fort Curtis built in 1862, the New Fort Curtis gives visitors the chance to hear the history of the original and its reconstruction as they see an earthen fort firsthand. Then, visit the Moore-Hornor House to admire the architectural beauty built by Arthur Thompson in 1859. Fort Curtis’ reproduction of the Union’s Civil War Fort was named after the Union General in command – Samuel R. Curtis. The fort was one of 5 positions which allowed for Union soldiers to form a Confederate attack on July 4th, 1863 to recapture the city and relieve the siege at Vicksburg. Then, head over to the Moore Hornor House, which offers an impressive example of both Greek revival and Italianate architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Pillow-Thompson House - Jerome B. Pillow built this amazing house in 1896. Today it is fully restored back to its original beauty so that guests have the chance to visit a fine example of Queen Anne Architecture. Built in 1896 by Jerome B. Pillow and designed by architect George Barber. It is a prime example of Queen Anne architecture in the south and is the only home Victorian home in Arkansas with full-wood construction. Many of the original furnishings remain on display.
Helena Museum of Phillips County - Guests will be amazed to hear the history of Helena and its ancestors as they tour this museum. Explore artifacts of Native American Indians, the Civil War, Thomas Edison, and Mark Twain, among many more incredible pieces. This museum started out as the Hook and Ladder in 1874, which was a volunteer fire company that started lending out books and newspapers. The department slowly began acquiring donations of historic artifacts eventually leading to an expansion in the 1920’s to accommodate the new additions. These artifacts are now on display for visitors to view at their leisure.
Helena Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
In the Valley of Crowley’s Ridge, sits the small town of Helena, Arkansas. Helena dates back to 1833, and was once a bustling, thriving southern city. Today, Helena would seem to some as a town that time forgot. While the rest of the country was building shopping centers and interstate systems, Helena struggled to stay afloat amidst all of the progress. Big changes drew small businesses away from Main Street U.S.A. and into strip malls. Convenience took over, where simplicity once stood. Today, Helena is in the throes of a revival. With quirky boutiques, unique stores and a historic musical past, Helena remains proud of the life they continue to successfully sprout from the ruins of the past. For in through the dust and rubble, new life for this determined Southern town is emerging. Helena welcomes American Duchess guests to play a large part in their re-birth.
PREMIUM EXPERIENCE EXCURSION
Mississippi Delta Gospel and the Birthplace of the Blues
Experience the Blues, un-filtered and un-refined, as we set off on the Blues Trail to the place where it all began. Today’s tour will begin at the Greater first Baptist Church, where a rousing Gospel Choir performance will having you clapping and singing along before making our way to Clarksdale, Mississippi, known as the “Birthplace of the Blues.” A full sensory experience in the Delta Blues region includes Delta Blues Museum, live music performances, and some quintessential Southern Snacks at iconic Ground Zero Blues Club!
APPROXIMATE DURATION 4.75 hours
CAPACITY 100 Guests
8:00 AM – 12:45 PM
SIGHTS YOU WILL SEE
Clarksdale, Mississippi - “The Birthplace of Blues”, Delta Region, Blues Alley in historic downtown Clarksdale
THINGS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE
Gospel Choir performance at the Greater First Baptist Church, The Delta Blues Museum, Ground Zero Blues Club, Southern Snacks, Live Blues Performance