Arkansas’s custom state park signs
David Thompson carries on the tradition of signs that attracts visitors
Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2016
Dave Thompson is originally from Michigan. In 1978, his in-laws moved to Arkansas, so he and his wife paid them a visit. His in-laws took them to Petit Jean Mountain State Park for the day.
“I walked up to the beautiful carved sign at the entrance and just couldn’t believe it,” Dave says. “It was such a unique sign. ‘I would love to do this,’ I told my wife as I ran my hand over the chip-carved graphics. She told me I should see about getting a job wherever they made them. I checked, but they weren’t hiring.”
That got him into 3-D sign making, but he never forgot those beautiful state park signs. Those original signs were done by Hal Lane and Albert Smith, whose work is in the Smithsonian Institute’s national registry of outdoor sculptures. They did the creative, hand-carved signs which are another unique part of the Arkansas state park system.