Arkansas Red River Campaign Scenic Highway and Scenic Byway Steering Committee "Scenic Highway" designated by Arkansas Legislative Act 292 of 2019. "Scenic Byway" designation pending approval by the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith
Saline River and Rural Saline County
On March 25, 1864, Steele's army crossed the Saline River with some skirmishing
▷ We previously began at Benton Road, ending on West South Street just west of I-30, which is our starting point. If necessary, this point can be reached by taking I-30 Exit 116 Sevier Street South Street from Little Rock.
Crossing the Saline River on Highway 229 near Benton brings a sudden change from the busy traffic rushing along Interstate 30 and the many incorporated towns between Little Rock and Benton. The lush lowlands that border the Saline River as Highway 229 loops through the countryside are quiet pastures with grazing cattle. The line of trees conceals the rush of cars and trucks on a busy, modern Interstate almost until Highway 229 approaches and passes under I-30 and merges with US Highway 67.Photo by Peggy Lloyd
The Arkansas Health Center
The many buildings and well-maintained grounds of the Arkansas Health Center on the south side of US Highway 67 about five miles outside Benton in Saline County catch the eye of the passer-by. The State of Arkansas acquired the land in 1929 to start the Benton Farm Colony, an expanded unit of the overcrowded Arkansas State Hospital in Little Rock. Built to hold 2,000 inmates, the first buildings were completed in 1931 followed by additional buildings in 1935 and the admission of the first patient in 1936. Patients received care and aided the institution by participating in farming. The State Legislature ceased the farming operations in 1957, viewing them as inappropriate for persons with mental issues. Other changes came in the 1960s including the admission of African American patients. Eventually, psychiatric services were discontinued in 1977 and patients moved to Little Rock. Though many buildings appear empty and not in use, this state facility now known as The Arkansas Health Center has a large state-owned long-term care nursing home for patients with particularly difficult problems, provides clinical experience for nursing students from several colleges, has a work release program for inmates from the Arkansas Department of Corrections who are seeking education and rehabilitation, and has facilities for non-profits treating people with severe mental problems and disabilities.Photo by Peggy Lloyd