On March 13, Jack and Christina French donated a parcel of property in Dalton to the Black River Technical College Foundation. This property is located next to the college’s Looney Tavern, also donated by the Frenches in 2007, was restored to its original 1833 glory over the past 7 years.
The new parcel of land includes a cemetery where many Looney descendants rest. It will also be the site for a new pavilion and public restrooms which will be used by Looney Tavern visitors. Construction of the pavilion is planned for this spring.
After hundreds of visitors and many special events at the Looney Tavern site, the need for a pavilion and restrooms on site was obvious. “When giving a tour, if someone needed a restroom, we would have to drive 15 minutes back to the Rice-Upshaw site. It wasn’t a good situation for any visitor,” said Jessica Bailey, Project Specialist.
With agreement from the Frenches, BRTC applied for and was awarded two grants from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council in Little Rock. With these funds, BRTC will be able to build a pavilion as well as make a few enhancements to both the Looney Tavern site as well as Rice-Upshaw House. Karen Liebhaber, Vice President for Institutional Advancement stated, “This project would not be possible without the immense generosity of the Frenches. We can’t thank them enough for their gift.”
The REACH sites include both the Rice-Upshaw House and Looney Tavern. The sites are open every Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. April through October. For tours of the site, a donation of $3 per person is requested. For more information or to request a tour contact Jessica Bailey at (870) 248-4189.