A few weeks back, I met up with two talented photographers to take some pictures in downtown Pine Bluff. There is a lot of history in Pine Bluff, along with several really interesting old buildings.
Pine Bluff is an old city, having been incorporated way back in 1839. Pine Bluff lives up to its name, it was actually founded on a pine covered bluff along the Arkansas River. The connection to the river was crucial to the town's early development, making it an important steamboat stop. Soon railroads followed, and the town continued to grow. At one point, it was the third largest city in Arkansas (it's the tenth largest now).
But in recent times, Pine Bluff has been hit hard by a sharp economic decline. That decline is reflected in the buildings downtown, many of which are abandoned and crumbling. But while many have long since given up on Pine Bluff, there is some change coming. Millions and millions of dollars are being spent here with the hopes of bringing life back to downtown Pine Bluff. Hopefully before too long there won't be very many abandoned buildings left behind for people to walk around and take pictures of.
And one more shot, looking up Main Street towards the Jefferson County Courthouse. The courthouse is actually one of the oldest courthouse in the state, and was built in 1856. It was nearly entirely destroyed by a fire in 1976, but the facade and some of the original structure were saved and incorporated into the restored building.
After hearing about some of the plans in the works for downtown Pine Bluff, it was easy to feel optimistic about the city's future. Especially after finding out how much work and vision is being put into the renovation of the Hotel Pines. We were given permission to go inside the hotel, which was once one of the fanciest hotels in the state but which closed in the 1970s and had been abandoned since. Pictures from that visit will be here soon!