Arkansas PBS > Engage > Pressroom > New AETN documentary explores historic county courthouses in Arkansas

New AETN documentary explores historic county courthouses in Arkansas

Posted 18 Mar 2019

Historic county courthouses stand as iconic symbols of Arkansas's development as a state, elegant testaments to justice and important sentries to the history of the state. These relics are explored in "History on the Line: Preserving County Courthouses," premiering on the Arkansas Educational Television Network Thursday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m.

"History on the Line: Preserving County Courthouses" introduces unsung preservationists and architects who travel the state finding ways to rehabilitate a building or, at the very least, fix a leaky roof to save the precious records inside. Also featured are county judges who deal with the financial burden of the historic buildings' maintenance needs.

"The state is fortunate that the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program has helped to restore 79 historic county courthouses since a grant system was put in place to support restoration needs," AETN Executive Director Courtney Pledger said. "The community pride and local history these structures represent cannot be lost to disrepair."

The film visits the pristine, stately and recently restored Desha County courthouse in Arkansas City, shares stories from the record room in Madison County, and follows Mississippi County's political and legal struggle over the viability of maintaining their split judicial district and their two historic county courthouses in Blytheville and Osceola. The documentary follows their struggles while telling stories of preservation and the importance of the historic county courthouses of Arkansas.

Counties featured in the film include Desha County, Madison County, Calhoun County and Mississippi County.

A free public screening of "History on the Line: Preserving County Courthouses" will be held Sunday, March 17, at 3 p.m. at Ron Robinson Theater, Library Square, 100 River Market Ave., Little Rock, Arkansas.

Funding for "History on the Line: Preserving County Courthouses" was provided in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council, the Moving Image Trust and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Additional information is available at

The Arkansas Educational Television Network is Arkansas's only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life.

AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through the distinct channels AETN PBS, AETN Create, AETN PBS KIDS, AETN World and AETN AIRS on SAP. Audiences can also watch on several digital platforms, and members with AETN Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).