Historic Helena is home to some of the most beautiful churches and cemeteries in the South. This tour focuses on the historic churches, cemeteries and sacred sounds of the churches located within Helena-West Helena.
Your first stop will be the Greater First Baptist Church. Here you'll enjoy a rousing, toe-tapping performance of traditional gospel music. This will be one of the highlights of your trip! Enjoy gospel music as it can only be performed in the Arkansas Delta!
The next stop is St. John’s Episcopal Church, which is built on the original footprint of the church that burned down over a century ago. Luckily, one of the original stained glass Tiffany windows was saved.
You’ll literally cross the street to the former Temple Beth El, which is believed to have been the first synagogue built in Arkansas. The building retains its beautiful architecture and dome.
Next is St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Charles Eames, who would later become famous for his furniture design, designed the building which was completed in 1936. The stunning stained glass windows were designed and installed by Emil Frei, who would later become known as one of the world’s finest stained glass window designers. The mural in the sanctuary was designed and painted by Charles Quest, who decades later would have hundreds of museums throughout the world feature his work.
The next stop is the Confederate Cemetery, located on the ridge above Maple Hill Cemetery, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is the final resting place of Confederate Generals James Tappan, Thomas Hindman, and Patrick Cleburne. Here we’ll enjoy a lunch of barbecued bones (ribs) and blues music to honor the struggle of those who lay in rest.
After experiencing this tour, you’ll see the importance faith has played in the history of the Arkansas Delta.