Though Greers Ferry may be a long drive for some Cabot residents, people who live in the city can catch a glimpse of what it was like when John F. Kennedy dedicated the Greers Ferry Dam 50 years ago.
The staff of the Cabot High School Museum of American History at Cabot opened an exhibit on Oct. 4 to commemorate the historic event.
The Greers Ferry Dam was built between 1959 and 1962 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to control flooding and serve as a hydroelectric power plant, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas website.
President John F. Kennedy dedicated the dam on Oct. 3, 1963, and that appearance was one of his last before he was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.
“We’ve got an invitation from the original dedication [on display],” said Mike Polston, museum director.
In addition to the original 1963 invitation for the dedication, the exhibit contains a program from the 25th anniversary celebration in 1988.
The items displayed, such as photographs from both events, are some that were donated to the museum specifically for this exhibit, and some were taken out of storage to display.
The most interesting part of the new exhibit is a device worn by a Secret Service agent at the ’63 dedication, Polston said.
Polston said the museum bought the device about 20 years ago but hadn’t displayed it until now.
“It bent over his lapel to tell who was a Secret Service agent,” Polston said of the tiny orange device.
Also in the exhibit is a Sept. 19, 1963, edition of the Cleburne County Times announcing Kennedy’s acceptance of the invitation to come to Greers Ferry to dedicate the dam.
“The exhibit will be here until the end of the year,” Polston said.
Polston was able to attend the 50th anniversary celebration on Oct. 3, and said it was something he’ll always remember.
“I like going to historic events. [This anniversary celebration] commemorated something that is very important to Arkansas,” Polston said.
“It’s hard to believe it was 50 years ago.”
The Museum of American History at Cabot is at 114 South St.
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.