In 1831, Joel Johnson moved from Kentucky to the Arkansas Delta with 23 slaves and purchased the initial land of what later became known as the Lakeport Plantation. He originally lived to the south of the current plantation house. The House was built in ca. 1859 where Joel‟s son, Lycurgus Johnson later lived with his wife, Lydia (Taylor) as owners of the plantation.
It is the last antebellum Greek revival style plantation House in Arkansas along the Mississippi River and is surrounded by working cotton fields since the 1830s. By Joel‟s death in 1846, the combined total of the plantation was 4,400 acres of land and 155 slaves. The Johnson family lived on the plantation from 1831 -1917. In 1930, the Johnson family sold the plantation to the Sam Epstein family of Lake Village. In 1931, the current levee was built between the river and the House site (earlier remnant levees date back to 1840s). Through the years, the House was occupied by farm managers until the 1970s.
In 2001, the House was donated to Arkansas State University by the Sam Epstein Angel (Sam Epstein‟s grandson) family and it was historically renovated from 2003 – 2007 and reopened in 2007 as a museum. The House was listed on the National Historic Register in 1974, designated as an official project of the “Save American‟s Treasures” program of the National Parks Service & National Trust for Historic Preservation and the plantation is listed as an Arkansas Delta Heritage Site.
The historic trees dating back to the time of the plantation include: Pecans (3), Black walnut (1), Eastern Redcedars (2-4), Southern magnolias (4), Sweet bay magnolia (1), and Live oaks (2) and help tell a story of plantation life of the Mississippi River Delta, pre-Civil War and postwar era.
Location: Lakeport Plantation, near Lake Village
Registration: October 1, 2009
Species: live oaks, southern & sweetbay magnolia, pecans, black walnut, eastern redcedar