The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s next "Walks through History" tour will visit Historic Downtown Leslie at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 20, 2013.

Leslie, originally called Wiley’s Cove, was a relatively isolated mountain community in north central Arkansas until the arrival of the Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad in 1903. In 1906 the H.D. Williams Cooperage Co. moved its facilities from Poplar Bluff, Mo., to Leslie and soon claimed to be the largest barrel producer in the world.

By the 1910s, Leslie boasted another stave mill as well as hub and handle factories.

However, Leslie’s boom years were short-lived as the M&NA relocated its shops to Harrison in 1912, and the Williams Cooperage Co. was badly damaged by fire later that year.

Today Leslie’s quaint downtown is visible from U.S. Highway 65, and the town often captures the attention of people traveling to the nearby Buffalo National River and points northward.

Co-sponsored by the Searcy County Historical Society, the free tour begins at the Ozark Heritage Arts Center & Museum at 410 Oak St. in Leslie. For more information, call Rachel Silva at (501) 324-9788.