ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Arkansas
Site of the Castle in the Sky
The Queen Wilhelmina State
Park Lodge stands on the site
of the original "Castle in the
Queen Wilhelmina State Park - Mena, Arkansas
Queen Wilhelmina State Park
This spectacular view can be seen from the platform
in front of the lodge at the state park.
The Arkansas Castle in the Sky
Located 3,000 feet high in the Ouachita
Mountains, Queen Wilhelmina State Park is
one of the crown jewels of the Arkansas
State Park system.

The park is located on the Talimena Drive
just west of Mena, Arkansas, and preserves
a mountaintop setting that is among the
finest in the South.

The original Queen Wilhelmina Lodge was
built in 1898 by the Kansas City, Pittsburg &
Gulf Railroad. Executives of the company
hoped to develop a mountaintop resort that
would become a popular overnight
destination for passengers on its line.

Since the railroad was largely financed by
Dutch investors, the lodge was named
Queen Wilhelmina for the Queen of Holland.

Since the railroad itself did not go to the top
of the mountain, passengers came off the
train at a lower elevation and then rode in
horse-drawn vehicles the rest of the way up.

Despite its initial promise, however, the
venture was not a success. The original
"Castle in the Sky" was sold only three years
after it opened and finally closed for good in
1910. It fell into ruins and for many years the
mountaintop was abandoned and lonely.

Then in 1957, the site was acquired by the
State of Arkansas. The original lodge was
restored, but unfortunately was destroyed by
fire in 1973. The present lodge is a modern
structure built on the same site. Inside,
however, visitors will find historic
photographs of the beautiful original building.

The park today offers spectacular views,
lodging, a restaurant, campgrounds, picnic
areas, hiking trails and more. The view from
the platform just in front of the lodge is one of
the finest in Arkansas. The trail from the
lodge to "Lover's Leap" also leads to a
fantastic view.
Other historic sites on the property include
Crystal Spring, once a popular gathering spot
for families that lived on the mountain, a
historic steam locomotive and historic home
built by early lovers of the mountain.

Talimena Drive National Scenic Byway
passes through the park and offers visitors
access to spectacular scenery and an array
of other historic sites and recreational

To reach Queen WIlhelmina State Park from
Mena, travel west on the Talimena Scenic
Drive (Arkansas Highway 88) for 13 miles.
Please click here to visit the park website for
more information, trail maps and  online
Miniature Railroad
Visitors to the park celebrate
its unique railroad history
aboard the popular miniature
Historic Locomotive
A massive steam locomotive
is among the historic sites to
be found at Queen
Wilhelmina State Park.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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