Entry Type: Thing - Starting with B

B. M. Runyan [Steamboat]

The steamboat B. M. Runyan was carrying a regiment of Union soldiers when it struck a snag in the Mississippi River off Chicot County on July 21, 1864, and sank, killing as many as 150 people. The B. M. Runyan was a sidewheel paddleboat built in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1858 for Captain James Miller and his partners, who intended to use it for runs between Cincinnati and New Orleans, Louisiana. A Mr. Mitchell of Alton, Illinois, bought the Runyan in June 1862 for voyages between Alton and St. Louis, Missouri. The vessel sank in shallow waters below Alton that December and was raised and sent to St. Louis for repairs. Returned to service in 1864, the B. M. Runyan again …

Baby of Arts Degree

After World War II ended, large numbers of veterans were headed to college on the GI Bill, officially known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. The GI Bill provided economic assistance to veterans so they could receive a college education or vocational training. Enrollment at colleges and universities had dropped dramatically during the war, as high school graduates put college education on hold for four or five years so they could serve in World War II. Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC), now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), had an enrollment of 764 students for the 1940–41 school year. But by the 1943–44 school year, enrollment had dropped to 289 students. After the war was over, the student enrollment …

Bachman’s Warbler

aka: Vermivora bachmanii
Bachman’s warbler (Vermivora bachmanii) was a small, yellow-and-black bird of the American wood-warbler family (Parulidae) that formerly nested in the southeastern United States, including Arkansas. In winter, Bachman’s warblers migrated south to spend the winter on the island of Cuba. Preferring swampy bottomland habitat, the species suffered severe population decline in the early twentieth century when that habitat began disappearing and believed by most ornithologists since the 1960s to be extinct. It was officially declared so by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2021. Bachman’s warbler was discovered in 1832 near Charleston, South Carolina, by the Reverend John Bachman, a skilled amateur naturalist. Bachman (pronounced BACKman) was a close friend to John James Audubon, the famed naturalist and artist. …

Back Yonder, An Ozark Chronicle

Back Yonder, An Ozark Chronicle, published in 1932, is the autobiography of Charles Wayman Hogue (1870–1965), who grew up in Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains. Arkansas folklorist Vance Randolph wrote that Back Yonder was, “One of the finest nonfiction books ever written about the Ozark country. Hogue is a native of Van Buren County, Arkansas. He knows the truth about this region, and sets it down without any sentimental twaddle.” Hogue was the father of well-known Arkansas author Charlie May Simon. Her second husband, Howard Simon, illustrated Hogue’s book with exquisite woodcuts. As a young man in his early twenties, Hogue left the Ozarks to attend Little Rock University (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock). It was there that he …

Baitfish Industry

Arkansas leads the nation in the farming of bait and feeder fish, providing sixty-one percent of the value of all cultured baitfish in the country. Baitfish are small minnows used as fishing bait to catch predatory game fish such as crappie, catfish, walleye, and largemouth bass. Feeder fish are small fish sold as live food for fish and animals in aquariums and zoos. Six billion bait minnows—predominantly golden shiners, fathead minnows, and goldfish—are raised in Arkansas each year and shipped throughout the country. In 1998, the Census of Aquaculture recorded sixty-two baitfish farms in Arkansas. The annual farm-gate value of Arkansas baitfish production was $23 million; with an economic impact of six to seven times this amount, baitfish production contributes …

Baker House

Located at 109 5th Street in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Queen Anne–style Baker House was constructed in 1897 by A. E. Colburn. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the last surviving Victorian houses in North Little Rock. This Victorian home was constructed in 1897 (completed by 1898), according to Arkansas Gazette articles in late 1896 and early 1897, by A. E. Colburn and Henry Glenn. The home is approximately 4,156 square feet in the twenty-first century, having undergone renovations and had a cottage added. Henry Glenn was a native of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and a contractor. Colburn was a native of Little Rock as well. Some sources incorrectly claim …

Banded Pygmy Sunfish

The banded pygmy sunfish (Elassoma zonatum) belongs to its own family (Elassomatidae) and the Order Perciformes. It is a diminutive sunfish that is about 25 to 40 mm (1.0 to 1.5 in.) in total length. This fish is endemic to the United States, where it ranges in the Mississippi River drainage from Indiana and Illinois south to Texas and east along the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina south to Florida. There are six additional species of Elassoma, including spring pygmy sunfish (E. alabamae), Carolina pygmy sunfish (E. boehlkei), Everglades pygmy sunfish (E. evergladei), Gulf Coast pygmy sunfish (E. gilberti), bluebarred pygmy sunfish (E. okatie), and Okefenokee pygmy sunfish (E. okefenokee). Interestingly, E. zonatum was described by the “Father of American …

Bank of Carthage

The Bank of Carthage is a historic building located in Carthage (Dallas County). Designed by Charles Thompson and constructed in 1907, the same year Carthage was incorporated, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1982. Carthage was founded as a stop on the Chicago, Rock Island and Southern Railroad. Early residents included members of nearby Lea Ridge (Dallas County), an African-American community founded by former slaves. Many nearby residents moved to Carthage after it was first platted in 1906, attracted by the community’s proximity to the railroad. Railroad-related businesses, timber production, and other agricultural endeavors drove the economy of Carthage in the early twentieth century. With the growing economy, the Bank of Carthage …

Bank of Eureka Springs Museum

The Bank of Eureka Springs Museum, located inside the downtown branch of Cornerstone Bank at 70 South Main Street in Eureka Springs (Carroll County), preserves the furnishings and interior of a historic bank building. Eureka Springs was founded in 1879, and two of its first banks were Bank of Eureka Springs (unrelated to the later institution by that same name), chartered about 1881, and the Citizens Bank, founded in 1887. The later Bank of Eureka Springs was founded in 1912. U.S. Congressman from Arkansas Claude Fuller bought the controlling interest in Bank of Eureka Springs in 1930 from the heirs of William Gilbert Kappen. He hired Dick Simpson, a young man from Huntsville (Madison County), to serve as its vice …

Bank of Malvern Building

The Bank of Malvern building is a historic structure located at 212 South Main Street in Malvern (Hot Spring County). Constructed in 1889, the building was renovated in 1896 after a fire. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 13, 1987. The Bank of Malvern was founded on June 4, 1889, and received a charter from the state on June 24. The bank prospered in the growing town and survived multiple so-called panics and economic downturns, leaving it the oldest chartered bank in the state by the mid-twentieth century. The bank was housed in a two-story building on the site of the present structure. The second floor of the building housed a medical practice, and …

Bank of Osceola

The Bank of Osceola is a two-story brick structure located in Osceola (Mississippi County) at 207–209 East Hale Avenue at its intersection with Pecan Street. Built in 1909 at the height of Osceola’s building boom, the property remains a unique focal point along the Hale Avenue Historic District. Originally constructed to house the bank and a grocery store on the first floor, the building has hosted numerous businesses throughout its history, including law offices, a cotton brokerage, and a doctor’s office. The structure, measuring 56′ by 100′, is on a continuous brick foundation. The façade (south elevation) has a centered entrance featuring double doors topped by double transoms and flanked by altered storefront openings. The second-story façade is distinguished by …

Bank OZK

Bank OZK grew from a small-town bank in Ozark (Franklin County) to have offices in ten states by 2019, also becoming a major lender for commercial construction projects in metropolitan centers throughout the country. The bank was recognized thirteen times from 2011 to 2019 as the top-performing bank in the nation by various trade publications. It has maintained significant profitability through all economic cycles and has rewarded its stockholders through stock price appreciation and increasing dividends. In 1979, George Gleason, a twenty-five-year-old attorney with the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock (Pulaski County), purchased the small Bank of Ozark. He left law practice and moved to Ozark and took over bank management as chairman and CEO. The bank, which had …

Banking

When Arkansas was admitted to statehood in June 1836, the first and second acts of the legislature that year authorized the chartering of two banks: the State Bank of Arkansas and the Real Estate Bank of Arkansas. Capital for the banks was obtained by substituting the credit of the state in the form of Arkansas bonds, to be sold presumably in the East or in the London market. Bond interest and principal were to be paid out of bank profits. The State Bank was government owned; shares of the Real Estate Bank were open to public subscription. Both banks suspended the redemption of their bank notes (currency) in gold and silver coin in 1839 but continued to issue new currency …

Baptist Health

Baptist Health, Arkansas’s largest healthcare system, has hospital campuses in communities around Arkansas, including Little Rock (Pulaski County), North Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkadelphia (Clark County), Stuttgart (Arkansas County), Conway (Faulkner County), Heber Springs (Cleburne County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and Van Buren (Crawford County). In addition to its medical centers, it also operates therapy centers, physician clinics, a retirement village, and a school of nursing and allied health. Baptist Health began in 1919 when the Arkansas Baptist State Convention voted to create a modern scientific hospital in Little Rock. The Baptist State Hospital opened with seventy-five beds in November 1920. In its first year of operation, the hospital treated 1,026 patients. Dr. J. S. Rogers was appointed superintendent of the …

Baptist Health College Little Rock

Baptist Health College Little Rock (BHCLR), a part of Baptist Health Medical Center–Little Rock, focuses on healthcare education as guided by the workforce needs in the central Arkansas region. BHCLR offers a Christian campus environment and a long history of medical training that goes back to the earliest days of the Baptist Health system. Established in 1920 in Little Rock (Pulaski County), what was then the Arkansas Baptist Hospital School of Nursing was based in the Baptist State Hospital, which itself was founded that year when the Arkansas Baptist State Convention purchased the old Battle Creek Sanatorium for $58,350. In 1921, the Arkansas Baptist Hospital School of Nursing graduated five students. There were no graduates in 1922, but in 1923 …

Baptist Health-Fort Smith

Baptist Health-Fort Smith, located in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), was founded in 1887, making it Arkansas’s first hospital. It serves the population of the surrounding eleven-county area and offers a full range of medical specialties and advanced diagnostic facilities, together with the newest technology, expert medical care, and clinical research. The hospital got its start following an accident at the railroad yard in Fort Smith, in which a stranger named Gerhardt was injured. He was taken to a boarding house and left. The rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Reverend George Degen, found him in a worsened condition with no one to care for him. He subsequently collected $500 from merchants along Garrison Avenue, rented a building, and established …

Barbecue

Barbecue (both the cooking technique and the social institution) was introduced into the Arkansas Territory and most parts of the South by Anglo settlers traveling west from the eastern seaboard and Appalachian Mountains. By the time barbecue had crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas Territory, it was already a 150-year-old American institution and the standard form of celebration of American independence on the Fourth of July. On July 4, 1821, two of the first recorded barbecues took place in what would become the state of Arkansas. One event was held in Phillips County. W. B. R. Horner served as the presiding officer of the celebration and made the address of the day. From the account of Josiah Shinn, who detailed …

Baring Cross Bridge

The Baring Cross Bridge is located in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) over the Arkansas River at river mile 166.2. It is the western-most bridge of the six bridges spanning the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock. The first Baring Cross Bridge, the first bridge built across the Arkansas River, opened in 1873. In the 1850s and 1860s, the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company (C&F) developed two divisions north and south of the Arkansas River. Before the bridge was constructed, the railroad company used ferries to transport equipment, people, animals and commercial freight across the river. Ferries, however, were slow and had a limited amount of cargo space, which caused frequent backups in service. Also, cargo was lost in ferry …

Barlow Hotel

The Barlow Hotel at 102 South Elm Street in Hope (Hempstead County) was, for more than seventy-five years, the city’s most popular lodging and dining venue, as well as its most sought-after meeting and banquet facility. The Barlow was built as the Lamar Hotel by local merchant J. C. McKee and opened in 1886, ten years after the town’s founding. It initially sought to attract a clientele dominated by railroad passengers, as Hope was built around what would become two major railroad junctions: the north-south Louisiana and Arkansas line (now Kansas City Southern) and the east-west Cairo and Fulton (now Union Pacific). In 1886, M. H. Barlow, a hardware merchant who hailed from Cory, Pennsylvania, was persuaded that the hotel, …

Barron-Craig House

The Barron-Craig House, the oldest structure still standing in northern Saline County, is located at Paron near the intersection of Arkansas Highway 9 and Kanis Road (12th Street). It is one of only a few antebellum homes still found in Saline County. A single-pen log structure, it survived the destruction of the Civil War and the ravages of time. James Barron moved to Saline County from South Carolina circa 1835 and settled in Union Township, later designated Holland Township, near what became Paron. His son, John T. Barron, born in 1828, married Sarah Pelton in 1856 and began a farmstead nearby. In 1857, John Barron built a single-pen log structure with a gabled roof on a foundation of stone piers …

Bart Tully [Steamboat]

The Bart Tully was a steam towboat that abruptly sank on the Mississippi River near Osceola (Mississippi County) on September 3, 1922; a crew member drowned in the disaster. The Bart Tully, hailed as “one of the best towboats of her size on the Mississippi,” was built at Dubuque, Iowa, in 1891. Originally called the Joy Patton, the Tully was owned by the Patton-Tully Transportation Company in 1922 and was engaged in hauling loads of logs on the Mississippi River. At around 6:30 a.m. on September 3, 1922, the vessel, which had a crew of fourteen men and two women who cooked for them, was near Craighead Point about eleven miles south of Osceola when it “suddenly turned over and …

Bartell, Fred Wallace

Frederick Wallace Bartell was a Siloam Springs (Benton County) merchant, church leader, and Circuit Chautauqua manager. He organized Associated Chautauquas, which was among the first “tent” or “traveling” Chautauqua circuits. Fred W. Bartell was born in Milford, Kansas, on October 12, 1872, to immigrant parents. His father, Edward Charles Bartell, was from Germany; his mother, Louesa (or Louise), Edward’s second wife, was from France. He was the fourth of their five children. There also were six children from Edward’s first marriage to Catharine Branscom, who died in 1860. Louesa died in 1878. Edward Bartell and other family members migrated to Siloam Springs sometime before May 1892, when Fred Bartell arrived. Bartell said of his arrival, “I came with the flood,” …