On an unusually warm spring day, the senior adult ministry (SAMs) of First Baptist Church made a journey to Lake Village to have lunch and tour downtown Lake Village and Lakeport Plantation.

On an unusually warm spring day, the senior adult ministry (SAMs) of First Baptist Church made a journey to Lake Village to have lunch and tour downtown Lake Village and Lakeport Plantation.

Lake Village is located in the state’s delta region, approximately 85 miles from Pine Bluff. It is located along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway and lies on the curving shores of picturesque Lake Chicot, a 20-mile long abandoned channel of the Mississippi that is Arkansas largest natural lake.

Upon arriving in Lake Village, the group stopped for lunch at J.J.’s Lakeshore Cafe, that is next to the Lake Village Welcome Center and across from the Paul Michael Company. J.J.’s serves a tasty buffet — the day of the visit there was lots to choose from including the entrees fried chicken and roast beef with an assortment of vegetables and desserts. Several members opted to order from the menu — favorites were hamburgers and loaded baked potatoes as well as banana pudding.

No trip to Lake Village is complete without stopping at Paul Michael — the store that advertises itself as “The Treasure Waits…”

Leaving Paul Michael, the group loaded the church bus and headed for Lakeport Plantation. On the way, they were able to view the spectacular new bridge erected between Lake Village and Greenville, Miss.

The historic Lakeport plantation is the only remaining plantation on the Mississippi River that has not been significantly altered. The Greek revival plantation house was built by Lycurgus and Lydia Johnson, part of a political dynasty that spanned three states, Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas. The house remained in the Johnson family until 1927, when it was purchased by Sam Epstein. It was gifted to Arkansas State University (ASU) in 2001 by the Sam Epstein Angel family.

The plantation has been in continuous cotton production since the 1930s, when slaves carved it from heavily forested Arkansas frontier. Vacant since 1972, the Lakeport Plantation house has escaped being remodeled, redecorated or extensively modernized and remains largely unchanged since the day it was built.

State of the art techniques were used in the restoration of Lakeport plantation house — techniques such as archeological surveys using ground penetrating radar and tree-ring dating, and development of sophisticated hidden heating and mechanical systems. Original wood has been preserved using consolidants and wood putty to repair deterioration, and original work on painted surfaces has been revealed through cleaning or manual and chemical methods.

ASU operates the site as a museum and educational center, with the house as a primary artifact. Rather than create another “pretty house,” one in which representative furnishings substitute for the original, restoration and interpretation focuses on the lifestyles and relationships between slave and master, as tenant farmer and landowner.

After leaving the plantation, the group was given a tour of Lake Village before heading for home.

Those making the trip were organizer, Jeanette McGrew, driver and interim youth minister, Donnie Burrow, Audrey Borecky, Sara Cromer, Peggy Howard, Catherine Long and Wanda Scruggs. This being the last time that Burrow will be driving the seniors, the group wished him success and happiness in his new assignment, a church in Gilmer, Texas.