The last place one would expect to see a connection to Queen Wilhelmina would be the southern US state of Arkansas. However, surprisingly, the state has a national park named in her honour.
Arkansas has a state park called Queen Wilhelmina State Park, which was named after the Wilhelmenia Inn at the top of Rich Mountain. The inn was financed by business people from Amsterdam in 1898; the Queen reportedly put in a good word in Spain that helped the inn get financed. Her help with financing and the fact that the inn opened in the year that she no longer needed a regent meant that it was named after the Dutch monarch. A set of rooms were even reserved for the Queen in the hopes that she would one day visit, but unfortunately, a visit never came.
An article was also written in the Arkansas Gazette about how the Queen was under threat of being overthrown by the Bolsheviks in 1918. It featured a large photo of Queen Wilhemenia holding a toddler future Queen Juliana under the title “Dutch Queen May Lose Her Throne: Bolshevism Has Become Exceedingly Formidable Menace in Holland” on the front page.
Other articles followed on the story to keep Arkansanians updated on the issue. A later article focused on the piece in the Gazette and the fascination with Wilhemina and how the park and lodge came to be named after the Queen.
It is not just news articles in Arkansas, the website for Queen Wilhelmenia State Park also provides a detailed explanation of how the park and inn got their name and its connection to the Netherlands.
A full history of the park can be read here.
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