Pine Ridge (Montgomery County)
Pine Ridge of Montgomery County was originally the community of Waters. The name was changed in 1936 in honor of Lum and Abner, a popular radio show set in a fictional town of Pine Ridge, which was largely based on the people and characteristics of Waters.
Henry M. Waters, a local businessman who also operated a sawmill and a gin, established a post office in his small store in 1886 and named the farming and logging community Waters.
From the 1880s to the early 1900s, the town’s school and church operated in the same building. In 1904, A. A. McKinzie built a general store. In 1909, James Richard (Dick) Huddleston built the Huddleston General Store, which housed the post office in the early 1920s and again became the town’s post office in 1983. In 1915, a new church was built, and in 1917, a new two-room school was constructed nearby. The Pine Ridge school closed in 1948.
In the 1930s, Chester Lauck and Norris Goff from Mena (Polk County) created the hillbilly characters, Lum and Abner, for a variety show. The pair developed the characters into a radio show that first broadcast from Hot Springs (Garland County) and eventually was broadcast nationally. Lum and Abner were the storekeepers at the Jot’Em Down Store in Pine Ridge. They based the show on the town of Waters and its residents, and the Jot’Em Down Store was a re-creation of the McKinzie store.
During the Arkansas Centennial celebration, the post office was renamed “Pine Ridge” during a ceremony at the State Capitol in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The McKinzie store became the Lum and Abner Museum in 1971 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 1984. The Huddleston Store, which was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places on the same day, is still as it always was and includes a gift shop and the post office.
Historic Pine Ridge cemeteries include the Pine Ridge Community Cemetery and the Wilhite Cemetery, also known as the Sims Cemetery. Both were established in the late 1800s and are kept in good condition in the 2010s.
For additional information:
Montgomery County Historical Society. Montgomery County, Our Heritage. 2 vols. Mount Ida, AR: Montgomery County Historical Society, 1987, 1990.
Stucker, Kathryn Moore. Hello, This Is Lum and Abner. Pine Ridge: Lum and Abner Museum, 1992.
Kathryn Moore Stucker
Lum and Abner Museum
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