Historic Washington State Park, Arkansas recently received on loan a Gatling Gun on display in the B.W. Edwards Weapons Museum. Curator Josh Williams and Weapons Curator Ernie Cox will be available to visit with visitors on Saturday, July 31.

According to a press release, the “Gatling” gun was invented in 1861 by Richard Jordan Gatling. It is a rapid-firing multi-barrel firearm. A handwheel is cranked at the rear to rotate the barrels clockwise. Each barrel loads a single cartridge from a top-mounted magazine for firing. “Gatling” guns were used in the Anglo-Zulu War,  Spanish-American War, and the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This particular gun was made around c. 1877 by Colt Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut.

The gun was located on the grounds of the Old State House Museum in Little Rock from 1921-1947 when the building became the Arkansas State War Memorial Building.  In 1980, it was restored and placed on exhibit inside the building. The majority of the wood was all replaced with new wood during the restoration of the piece in 1980. As of right now, the origins of the gun before 1921 are unclear and why it was placed on the grounds of the Old State House Museum after World War I. It was possibly used in the Spanish-American War. This is based on a newspaper article from the Arkansas Democrat newspaper. The gun will be on exhibit in the B.W. Edwards Weapons Museum for at least two years.

The cost to tour the B. W. Edwards Weapons Museum is $3 per person.  The museum is open from 8 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at the 1874 Hempstead County Courthouse Visitor Center.

For more information visit their website or please call, 870-983-2684.

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