Congressman Steve Womack took a step back in time when he visited the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith’s Drennen-Scott Historic Site Aug. 26.
Womack toured the DSHS with site Director Tom Wing, where he caught a glimpse of local history and saw the educational facilities in the house used by university students.
Wing discussed the history of the Drennen-Scott House and the family that lived in it during the tour. The Drennen-Scott House, which is the oldest house in Van Buren, was built in 1838, with several additions made to the structure in the ensuing decades. John Drennen, a founder of Van Buren, first inhabited the house, and five generations of his family lived there before UAFS acquired the property and additional acreage in 2005.
The site, which opened in May 2011, serves as a museum and educational facility for UAFS. The site receives more than 5,000 visitors each year, according to Wing.
Womack also met Caroline Bercher and Scott Bulloch, two descendants of John Drennen, during the tour.
The congressman had high praise for the house and the role it plays in preserving local history.
“There’s so much history in my district, and to see a house like this that is preserved and is now in the capable hands of a university where it’s providing a platform for education and historical preservation, I think speaks volumes about the commitment made by both Mr. Drennen’s descendants and the university,” Womack said.
Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor, accompanied Womack on the tour and was “honored” by the congressman’s interest in the site.
“We were honored to have Congressman Womack tour the Drennen-Scott Historic Site and find out more about an exceptional historical and educational resource of our university,” Beran said. “The house and its residents made an enormous historical impact on western Arkansas and the state as a whole. UAFS is privileged to be tasked with the preservation of this location rich with history and making it available to the community and our students.”
Wing echoed their statements, emphasizing the need to remember the past.
“As a history professor, I think it’s essential we know where we’ve been to understand where we are today and where we’re going in the future,” Wing said. “So when we can preserve our historic sites and learn from the past, it helps make for a better today and tomorrow.”
Also attending the tour were Dr. Elizabeth Underwood, associate vice chancellor for government and university relations; Dr. Paul Hankins, dean of the College of Communication, Languages, Arts and Social Sciences; and Jackie Krutch, executive director of the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce.