Rivers: Unlocking the Arkansas

Rising in the Rockies and meandering listlessly through four states, the silt-strangled Arkansas River has brought devastating floods and fascinating legends to the hapless people along its banks, but not much else. Boatmen in the 1840s stopped near Conway to soak up liquor and lie in the sun until they swelled like toads, giving Toadsuck Ferry its name. At Dwight Mission, the Cherokee sage, Sequoyah, developed his syllabary in 1828, providing a written Indian language. Now Toadsuck Ferry is gone, replaced by a bridge, and Dwight Mission lies under the waters of a reservoir. Both are victims of one of...

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