Entries - Entry Type: Thing - Starting with G

Galloway Women’s College

aka: Galloway Female College
Galloway Women’s College in Searcy (White County) was one of the longest survivors from among the schools established in the 1800s by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Arkansas. Dedicated in honor of Bishop Charles Betts Galloway on April 18, 1889, the school endured until its final merger with Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) in 1933. Methodist Church leaders realized by the latter part of the nineteenth century that their resources could not support the numerous small schools they had established around the state and decided to concentrate efforts on fewer institutions to provide better facilities and sounder education. Under the leadership of Bishop Galloway, leaders decided to focus on one institution primarily for men and Galloway Female College, …

Gambling (Legal)

The 1874 Arkansas Constitution dealt with only one type of gambling: lotteries. Article 19, section 14, originally prohibited lotteries in all forms in the state. Thus, under the state constitution, gambling aside from lotteries was not originally prohibited and was a matter subject to various state laws. However, the state constitution did not define “lottery,” and this lack of definition allowed horse racing (and the gambling that accompanied it) to take place in the state. In the late 1890s, Sportsman Park was built on the southeastern side of Hot Springs (Garland County), sparking interest in bringing the increasingly popular sport of Thoroughbred racing to Arkansas. In 1902, William McGuigan, a member of the Arkansas General Assembly, bought land on Malvern …

Gann House

The Gann House is among the oldest buildings still standing in Saline County. The Gann House also reportedly had the first indoor bathrooms in the city of Benton (Saline County). It was built in 1895 in the Queen Anne style as the private residence of prominent doctor and freemason Dr. Dewell Gann Sr. and his family. Gann was born on March 31, 1863, in Atlanta, Georgia. In Arkansas, his family became well known for its contributions to history and to the field of medical science. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 2, 1976, a few months after what is now the Gann Museum, immediately neighboring it on South Market Street in Benton, was …

Garage Bands

With the arrival of the Beatles on American shores in 1964, the “British Invasion” became a national pop-culture phenomenon. Representing the second generation of rock and roll, wave after wave of English rock groups—such as the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Who—followed the Beatles during the next two years. Teenagers across the United States were inspired to form four- or five-member bands patterned after their British role models. Because they often practiced in garages, these amateur groups came to be known as “garage bands.” Like many mid-sized American cities, Little Rock (Pulaski County) witnessed a mid-1960s explosion in the number of neighborhood teenage groups, all competing for school, fraternity house, or country club engagements. Other cities and towns in …

Garland County Courthouse

The Garland County Courthouse is located at Ouachita Avenue and Hawthorne Street in Hot Springs (Garland County). The four-story brick building is recognized by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to be both architecturally and historically significant, with one source calling it perhaps the finest example of Renaissance Revival–style architecture in the state. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. After the Civil War, Hot Springs grew into one of the nation’s leading health resorts. At that time, the county seat of Hot Spring County was in Rockport (Hot Spring County) near Malvern (Hot Spring County), a day-long trip for the citizens of Hot Springs. They urged the Arkansas General Assembly to create a new county, …

Gars

aka: Garfish
aka: Garpikes
Gars are a primitive group of euryhaline fishes dating back to the late Jurassic to early Cretaceous Period, about 150 million years ago. Gars are one of the most recognizable fishes because of their slender torpedo-shaped bodies, ganoid scales, and long snouts with numerous teeth. Dorsal and anal fins are set far back on the body, and the caudal fin is rounded, with a condition known as abbreviate-heterocercal. Gars are unusual among fishes in that their vascularized swim bladders can function as lungs; they must surface periodically to take a gulp of air. Arkansas hosts four gar species: the alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula), spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), longnose gar (L. osseus), and shortnose gar (L. platostomous). Fossilized gar specimens have …

Gatewood House

The Gatewood House, designed in the Shingle architectural style, is gambrel-roofed home located in Malvern (Hot Spring County). Constructed in 1905, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 1992. The house was constructed by Matthew and Hannah Duffie for their daughter, Annie Sinney Duffie Gatewood. Amie married Edwin Lee Gatewood in Dallas County in 1893, and the couple had three children between 1894 and 1902. Edwin died in Beebe (White County) on April 14, 1905, and Annie lived in the home with her children, Anita, Edwin, and Estell. She died on March 2, 1947, and is buried with her husband in Malvern. The home is located at 235 Pine Bluff Street and faces north. …

General Improvement Fund

The General Improvement Fund was an account established by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1995 to allocate surplus state general revenues each year for capital improvement projects around the state. The fund, commonly called GIF, was a source of perpetual conflict for the governor, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, and it finally foundered after the Arkansas Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional three times and a number of legislators, lobbyists, and consultants were convicted on corruption charges over the spending. Historically, when tax collections for state general revenues—which fund the public schools and most state services—exceeded the state budgets, the leftover money each year was directed to capital projects such as buildings, renovations, and equipment at colleges, universities, and …

General Robert E. Lee Monument

The General Robert E. Lee Monument in Marianna (Lee County) is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1910 by the D. C. Govan Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to remember local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War and to honor the man for whom Lee County was named. The Arkansas General Assembly created Lee County in April 1873 from parts of Phillips, Monroe, St. Francis, and Crittenden counties at the behest of William Furbush, an African-American Republican legislator representing part of Phillips County. It is likely that he chose to name the county after the Confederate leader of the Army of Northern Virginia to gain favor with the politically powerful Democrats in …

Gent v. Arkansas

Gent v. Arkansas was a U.S. Supreme Court case in which an Arkansas law designed to eliminate the distribution of obscene material was challenged. Though it did not touch directly upon the limits of the state’s ability to control obscenity, it did reinforce legal opinion that standards for obscenity must be those applied by the U.S. Supreme Court rather than local standards. In 1961, the Arkansas legislature passed Act 261, which, among other things, purported to eliminate obscene material, which was defined by the current community standards applied by the average person. The legislature based the wording of Act 261 on a model act drafted by the Council for Periodical Distributors Associations (CPDA) designed to give public prosecutors the authority …

Geographical Center of Arkansas Marker

The Geographic Center of Arkansas Marker was dedicated on April 12, 1936, as part of the state’s first centennial celebration. The marker was placed at a spot designated by the Arkansas Department of Transportation as the physical center of the state on Highway 5, then called the “Hot Springs Highway.” The presiding officers who participated in the dedication ceremony were Mrs. Charles H. Miller and Jeanne Weinmann, both representing the Colonel Samuel Cherry chapter of the Arkansas Society of the Daughters of American Colonists in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The Little Rock branch had been formed just four years before on January 29, 1932. That chapter was also responsible for a number of other historical markers across the state between 1928 …

Geophagy

aka: Geophagia
aka: Pica
Geophagy, or geophagia, is the practice of consuming dirt or clay. In the United States, the practice is associated with the South, where clay is still sold for consumption in some rural areas. Humans regularly ingest dirt in trace amounts in everyday life, but most Western societies declare a threshold at which deliberate consumption is treated as a symptom of physiological or psychiatric disease (called pica). Although geophagy is often met with disgust or dismissed as prehistory or pathology, it exists in many cultures around the world as a healthful if not vital practice. There are a number of reasons why humans might deliberately consume dirt. Some practitioners believe that the soil or clay affords nutrients and minerals, such as …

George Berry Washington Memorial

The George Berry Washington Memorial, located near Earle (Crittenden County), is the burial place of a man born a slave who rose to become an African-American social leader and one of the largest landowners in the county in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. George Washington Jr. was born on December 25, 1864, the son of George Washington and Hanna Washington. His parents were both born in Kentucky and were possibly the slaves of James G. Berry, one of Crittenden County’s largest landowners, who moved to Arkansas from Kentucky as early as 1833. In May 1883, Washington—who now went by the name George Berry Washington—married eighteen-year-old Ella Rostelle. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1886 and a second daughter, …

George W. Mallett House

The George W. Mallett House is the only antebellum structure still standing in Princeton (Dallas County). Constructed in 1853 as a dogtrot house, the building has been modified over the decades. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 28, 1983. George Mallett was born in Mecklenburg, Virginia, on April 13, 1826, and moved to Arkansas in 1847. He worked as a tailor in Princeton. Before moving to Arkansas, George married Mary Smith in Virginia, and the couple had three sons and two daughters. Evidence suggests that the couple had another daughter who died as an infant. He entered politics and served as the county treasurer from 1852 to 1856. During the Civil War, he operated …

German National Bank

From its opening in 1875 to its closing in 1930, the German National Bank (under a variety of names) was considered a financial pillar of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and central Arkansas. Saluted by the Arkansas Gazette as the “leading bank of the state” in 1876, it grew to become the largest bank in the state, largely through bank consolidations in the first quarter of the twentieth century. In early 1875, the German Savings Bank was organized by Charles Penzel. A prominent financier, Penzel came to the United States from Bohemia in 1857 and served as the bank’s first president. The business and fixtures of the bank were purchased from George Brodie and Sons, which had gone out of business …

Ghost Legends

Arkansas is rife with legends of ghosts and haunted places. Some of these legends, such as those surrounding the nationally famous Gurdon Light or the Crescent Hotel, are unique to the state, though Arkansas has also been one of the locations cited in well-known, widely reported legends, such as that of the “vanishing hitchhiker,” which has been ascribed to localities across the country. The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) is one of Arkansas’s most famous haunted locations. The ghost of former owner Dr. Norman Baker, who turned the hotel into a health resort in 1937, is said to wander around the old recreation room by the foot of the stairs leading to the first floor. In July 1987, …

Gibson Baskets

The history of the Gibson family of basket makers—which, as of 2009, has produced split white oak baskets for four generations—parallels the history of basket making in the United States. The split white oak basket is distinctive to the Ozarks and is woven from thin, flexible splints used as ribs and weavers. The Gibson family has continued the tradition of making baskets using handmade tools and natural materials. The characteristics of a Gibson basket are a heavy hand-carved handle, herringbone weave on the flat rectangular basket bottom, and construction without nails. Christopher Columbus “Lum” Gibson (1865–1947) reportedly began making baskets in the 1880s and is said to have had a blind man as a teacher. His workbaskets were sold door …

Gillham City Jail

The Gillham City jail is a small one-room jailhouse located in the town of Gillham (Sevier County). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 27, 2012. In the 1890s, a railroad was constructed through the remote farming community, leading to the relocation of most of the population of the neighboring town of Silver Hill (Sevier County) to Gillham (originally known as Silver City but renamed after a railroad engineer). This large relocation led to a boom in the town, bringing a train depot, an ore mill, and a post office to the community. Commissioned by town officials and constructed in about 1914, the Gillham City Jail was typically used as a temporary holding place for …

Girl Scouts

Headquartered in New York City, Girl Scouts is a nonprofit organization that seeks to make the world a better place by encouraging confidence, courage, and character in its members. Since its founding in 1912, Girl Scouts has empowered millions of girls and women to become leaders in all fifty U.S. states, including Arkansas, where it has been active since 1927. It is the largest educational organization for girls in the world, and more than 59 million women in the United States are Girl Scout alumnae. Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low founded what is now Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia. Low—a world traveler, athlete, and artist—spent several years searching for something useful to do with her life …

Glasgow Affair

Roger A. Glasgow, deputy attorney general and a young politician who had lost a race for prosecuting attorney in Pulaski and Perry counties, was arrested on August 25, 1972, at the United States border at Matamoros, Mexico, as he and his wife were returning from a vacation in Mexico. He was charged with smuggling marijuana into the United States, but the government’s case against Glasgow fell apart at the trial amid insinuations that he had been set up by political foes in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he was acquitted. The account of Glasgow’s arrest, trial, and aftermath became the dominant news story of the year. The notoriety ended his political aspirations at the age of thirty, although he had …

Glenwood Iron Mountain Railroad Depot

The Glenwood Iron Mountain Railroad Depot is a former depot located in Glenwood (Pike County). Constructed around 1910 by the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 28, 1996. Glenwood was platted in 1907 when the railroad reached the area. The area around the town soon began to support a number of lumber mills, and the settlement grew rapidly. In order to ship the large amounts of timber from the area quickly, another rail line was laid in 1910. Few details from the construction are available. Although the building is currently a single-story frame structure on a concrete-block foundation, the depot was originally constructed with a central second …

God’s Not Dead 2

God’s Not Dead 2 is a 2016 Christian-themed movie starring Melissa Joan Hart and directed by Harold Cronk. Filmed in central Arkansas, the movie is a sequel to the 2014 film God’s Not Dead and centers upon Grace Wesley (played by Hart), a high school history teacher who encounters legal trouble for incorporating words from Christian scripture in a classroom lesson. During a lesson about civil rights figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, student Brooke Thawley (played by Hayley Orrantia), in her history class at the fictional Martin Luther King Jr. High School, asks teacher Wesley about the religious origins of King’s commitment to non-violence. Wesley’s answer incorporates a few lines of Christian scripture, specifically Jesus’s …

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness (2018) marked the third installment in a popular franchise of Evangelical Christian–themed movies by production company Pure Flix. Like its predecessor, God’s Not Dead 2, it was filmed in central Arkansas and features several prominent landmarks. The movie was released nationally on March 30, 2018. Set in the fictional Hope Springs, Arkansas, God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness opens where the previous movie left off—with Pastor Dave Hill (played by David A. R. White, who also produces) in jail for refusing a subpoena for the text of his sermons. After he is bailed out by his co-pastor, Reverend Jude (Benjamin A. Onyango), he finds that his church, St. James, has become a …

Gold Mine Springs Mines

Abandoned mines play an important ecological role as temporary or permanent habitats for various biota. Many of these mines were merely short shafts dug out of the earth during a search for precious minerals or metals, whereas others became lengthy. Moreover, abandoned mines represent unique ecological resources for both invertebrates and vertebrates that utilize the mines on a permanent or temporary basis as sites for breeding, hibernating, feeding, or avoiding predators. In Arkansas, most of these abandoned mines are located within the uplands, especially the Ouachita Mountains, but some are within the Ozark Mountains. For instance, there were numerous abandoned lead and zinc mines scattered about much of the Arkansas Ozarks. Some communities were even named after the mines, such …

Goldeyes and Mooneyes

aka: Mooneyes and Goldeyes
aka: Hiodontid Fishes
North American freshwater fishes of the family Hiodontidae (order Hiodontiformes or Osteoglossiformes) include the goldeye (Hiodon alosoides) and mooneye (H. tergisus). The goldeye ranges from James Bay (bordering the provinces of Ontario and Quebec) in Canada and the Mississippi River basins from the Northwest Territory to western Pennsylvania and Ohio south to Louisiana. In Arkansas, H. alosoides is found sporadically in lakes and the larger turbid rivers of the state, including the Arkansas and Mississippi, and the smaller Black River. The mooneye (also called the “freshwater tarpon”) ranges from the St. Lawrence–Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and Hudson Bay basins from Quebec and Alberta, Canada, east to western North Carolina and south to Louisiana. In Arkansas, H. tergisus occurs in large …

Golf

Golf’s popularity in the state of Arkansas can be measured by the sport’s rich history in the state, the state’s numerous golf courses, and a number of regular collegiate, amateur, and professional tournaments. Along with several famous men and women golfers from Arkansas, the state also boasts the Natural State Golf Trail and numerous clubs and organizations devoted to the sport. Today, golf is an individual sport played with a variety of metal or graphite clubs and a single ball composed usually of urethane. The goal is to hit the ball with a club into a hole in the fewest number of strokes. Golf holes and courses stipulate “par,” or the number of strokes a first-class player should normally require. …

Goodlett Gin

The Goodlett Gin is located at 799 Franklin Street in Historic Washington State Park in Washington (Hempstead County), once the county seat for Hempstead County and the last Confederate capital of the state of Arkansas. Constructed in 1883 in nearby Ozan (Hempstead County), the gin was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and moved to the park between 1978 and 1980 after it was purchased by the state. Reassembled in the park, it opened as a non-operating exhibit to the public in 1984. David Goodlett was born on April 3, 1840, in Tippah County, Mississippi. After the death of his mother in 1844, Goodlett moved with his family to Camden (Ouachita County). In 1859, he moved …

Goodspeed Histories

The Goodspeed histories of Arkansas are a collection of six volumes originally published individually between 1889 and 1891 (as well as a seventh volume published in 1894) by the Goodspeed Publishing Company of Chicago, Illinois; Nashville, Tennessee; and St. Louis, Missouri. In an effort to “gather and preserve…the enormous fund of perishing occurrence,” each volume contains an extensive description of the existing historical record of the era, often supplemented with information obtained from local citizens and public officials. Although their style, content, and the method in which they were sold suggests that they were written to appeal to the general public, the Goodspeed histories are now recognized as a valuable tool for local historical and genealogical research. The content within …

Gospel Music

Musicologists and journalists have often provided conflicting definitions of the term “gospel music.” Early African-American gospel was a blend of nineteenth-century hymns, spirituals, field songs, ragtime, and blues, while the religious music performed by white artists—an obvious antecedent to what would be labeled Southern gospel—incorporated folk, traditional hymns, and singing convention standards. Today’s Christian music is often categorized by genre, reflecting the social, racial, ideological, and generational diversity of the Christian community. This diversity is shown in a contrast of pervading traditions, varied approaches to lyric writing, and stylistic exchanges between the sacred and secular. Throughout the evolution of gospel music, Arkansas has remained at the forefront, producing noteworthy pioneers of yesterday and molding trendsetters of today. Several key figures …

Governor, Office of the

Between being made a territory of the United States in 1819 and becoming a state in 1836, Arkansas was overseen by four territorial governors. Appointed by the president to a three-year term (with the possibility of reappointment), territorial governors simultaneously served as commander of the militia and superintendent of Indian Affairs, though Arkansas’s first territorial governor, James Miller, was little more than an absentee landlord. Miller was appointed on March 3, 1819, but did not arrive in Arkansas until December 26; he was later absent from April 1821 to November 1822 and left again in June 1823 never to return. He never moved his family to Arkansas. In his absence, Robert Crittenden was the de facto governor of the territory. …

Gowrow

The gowrow, one of several fabulous monsters reported in Arkansas popular lore, may owe its origins more to journalism than to traditional narrative and folk belief. The principal documentation of the creature’s existence is a story that appeared in the Arkansas Gazette on January 31, 1897, apparently written by Elbert Smithee. Elmer Burrus provided an illustration, allegedly based on a photograph, to accompany the piece. Fred W. Allsopp, who edited the Gazette at the time, recounted the circumstances that led to Smithee’s story. William Miller, a Little Rock businessman who had been traveling in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas, told Smithee of a “horrible monster” known as the gowrow. Its name came from the noise it made during its nocturnal …

Grand Army of the Republic Monument (Gentry)

The Gentry Grand Army of the Republic Memorial is located in the northeast section of Gentry Cemetery in Gentry (Benton County) and was erected in 1918 by the Charles Harker Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Along with monuments in Judsonia (White County) and Siloam Springs (Benton County), it is one of only three known GAR memorials in Arkansas. The Grand Army of the Republic was a national organization of Union Civil War veterans initially formed to help the widows and orphans of fallen Union servicemen and to support the Republican Party. It later focused on promoting patriotic activities and decorating the graves of the war dead. The first GAR camp was established in Decatur, Illinois, in …

Grand Army of the Republic Monument (Judsonia)

The Grand Army of the Republic Monument located in the north-central section of Evergreen Cemetery in Judsonia (White County) was erected in 1894 by the W. T. Sherman Post No. 84 of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). It is one of three such monuments known to have been erected in Arkansas, the others being in Siloam Springs (Benton County) and Gentry (Benton County). The Grand Army of the Republic was a national organization of Union Civil War veterans initially formed to help the widows and orphans of fallen Union servicemen and to support the Republican Party; it later focused upon promoting patriotic activities and decorating the graves of the war dead. The first GAR camp was established in …

Grand Army of the Republic Monument (Siloam Springs)

The Grand Army of the Republic Monument located in Twin Springs Park in Siloam Springs (Benton County) was erected in 1928 by the S. R. Curtis Post No. 9 of the Grand Army of the Republic’s Arkansas Department. It is one of three such monuments known to have been erected in Arkansas, the others being in Gentry (Benton County) and Judsonia (White County). The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a national organization of Union Civil War veterans initially formed to help the widows and orphans of fallen Union servicemen and to support the Republican Party; it later focused on promoting patriotic activities and decorating the graves of the war dead. The first GAR camp was established in Decatur, …

Grapette International, Inc.

Grapette soda was developed by Benjamin Tyndle Fooks in Camden (Ouachita County) in 1939. Once one of the bestselling non-cola soft drinks in the United States, Grapette virtually disappeared from the marketplace for most of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s after being bought by a leading competitor. As the twenty-first century began, Grapette International in Malvern (Hot Spring County), the last remaining subsidiary of Fooks’s Grapette Company, re-acquired the Grapette and Orangette trademarks, reuniting the original flavors with the brand names. Currently Grapette, Orangette, and two other flavors made by Grapette International are distributed nationwide exclusively in Walmart Inc. stores as part of their store brand line of soft drinks. Fooks bought a soft-drink bottling plant in Camden in 1926 …

Grapevine

The Grapevine, published from 1970 to 1993, was a weekly newspaper based in Fayetteville (Washington County). It began as an off-campus University of Arkansas (UA) student publication and evolved into an alternative news source for the broader northwestern Arkansas community, with a focus on Fayetteville arts and culture, student life, and progressive politics. The paper officially began as a weekly published off campus by the Arkansas Student Free Press Association, beginning on March 18, 1970, although longtime Grapevine editor Peter Tooker suggested that it may have had its origins the previous year as an underground campus paper focused on Greek life and concerns at UA. The paper’s founder and editor in 1970 was Richard (Cid) Sutoris Jr.; while a student …

Gravette Historical Museum

aka: Kindley House
The Gravette Historical Museum is housed in the historic two-story Kindley House located at 503 Charlotte Street in Gravette (Benton County). Founded in 1995, the museum houses a collection of artifacts documenting the history of the area, as well as detailing the life of one-time town resident and World War I air ace Field Kindley. The Kindley House—L-shaped and of Italianate design—was constructed sometime in the 1870s of brick manufactured on site. After having several occupants, it was purchased by Amos Eraster Kindley, who moved to the town in 1898 and assisted in establishing the Bank of Gravette. In about 1908, he and his wife, Mary, obtained custody of their nephew Field Eugene Kindley, whose mother had recently died. The …

Great American Conference

The Great American Conference (GAC), created in 2010, is an athletic conference comprising institutions located in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The conference is associated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II, and the conference headquarters are in Russellville (Pope County). The Arkansas institutions that created the conference previously participated in the Gulf South Conference (GSC). These universities include Arkansas Tech University, Harding University, Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University, Southern Arkansas University, and the University of Arkansas at Monticello. These institutions also previously participated in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference. The GSC includes member institutions from Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, but due to the large travel costs associated with conference play, the member universities in Arkansas began exploring the …

Great Balls of Fire!

Great Balls of Fire! is a 1989 motion picture loosely based on pioneering rock and roll star Jerry Lee Lewis. Several scenes of Great Balls of Fire! were filmed on location in the Arkansas towns of Marion (Crittenden County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County), with other filming taking place in nearby Memphis, Tennessee. It starred Dennis Quaid as Lewis, Winona Ryder as the thirteen-year-old cousin whom he married, and Alec Baldwin as another cousin, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. The 108-minute film was based on a book by Myra Brown Lewis and was directed by Jim McBride. It follows Jerry Lee Lewis’s early career in 1956 through 1959 as he rose to stardom. A pivotal plot point is his controversial marriage to …

Great Lester Boggs, The

aka: Hootch Country Boys [Movie]
aka: The Hard Heads [Movie]
aka: Redneck Country [Movie]
The Great Lester Boggs is a ninety-four-minute feature film directed by Arkansas filmmaker Harry Thomason and shot on location around central Arkansas, particularly Beebe (White County). It was released in late 1974 by Thomason’s company, Centronics International, and carried a rating of PG. The film was later re-released to various areas of the United States under different titles, including The Hard Heads, Hootch Country Boys, and Redneck County. One of its promotional taglines was “Learn about life the hard way.” The plot, by writers Don McLemore and Harry Thomason, concerns a young man named Malcolm Vandiver who embarks on a cross-country motorcycle journey. When, as almost all reviews note, his trip “boggs” down in the fictional Mountain Glen (in the …

Great Passion Play

aka: Passion Play
The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) is an outdoor drama depicting the last week in the life of Jesus Christ. There was a “soft” media opening on July 14, 1968, followed the next night with the first public performance. More than 7.5 million people from all over the world—an average of 100,000 a year—have attended this tourist attraction, the outdoor play with the largest attendance in the United States. The production includes animals, period costumes, a life-sized city street scene, numerous special effects, original music, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and more than 200 cast members. The Great Passion Play is one of the Five Sacred Projects of the Elna M. Smith Foundation, created by Gerald L. K. Smith and …

Great Southern Hotel

The Great Southern Hotel, also known as the Rusher Hotel or Hotel Rusher, is a historic hotel building at 127 West Cedar Street near the town square in Brinkley (Monroe County), about seventy miles west of Memphis, Tennessee. Brinkley was an important railroad town in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The three-story brick building was constructed in 1915 to serve as Brinkley’s Union Station. Its main entrance originally faced the railway tracks but was reoriented to a street façade after the decline of the railroad. The Great Southern Hotel building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 18, 1986. The building is part of Brinkley’s Lick Skillet Railroad Work Station Historic District, which itself …

Green Forest Water Tower

The Green Forest Water Tower is located on Springfield Street in Green Forest (Carroll County). The metal water tower was built by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Works for the Public Works Administration (PWA) in 1937. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 22, 2007. The first settlers of European descent to move into what later became Green Forest arrived around 1836, and scattered development continued up to the advent of the Civil War. All of the buildings in the area were destroyed during the war, but by 1870 it was a bustling community featuring six stores, and by 1889 it had eleven stores and a combination flour/saw mill and cotton gin, and a Masonic …

Green Party (GPA)

The Green Party of Arkansas (GPA) began in 1996 when a group of Arkansans gathered for the purpose of adding Ralph Nader’s name to the ballot in Arkansas as the Green Party candidate for president. That goal was accomplished, and the group continued to have meetings and to expand its membership in various counties. By 2000, the Green Party had grown to have members in several counties, including Scott, Washington, Carroll, Pulaski, Boone, and Van Buren. The platform of the GPA was adopted from the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) and is quite lengthy. The platform embraces what are generally considered “progressive” values, including non-violence, social and economic justice, feminism, and respect for and care of the environment. …

Greene County Courthouse (1888)

The 1888 Greene County Courthouse, located at 306 W. Court Street in Paragould (Greene County), is a three-story rectangular structure. The building exhibits the Italianate style in the low-pitched, hipped roofline; the square cupola supporting a clock tower; widely overhanging eaves with decorative brackets; and tall, narrow windows. The exterior also features Georgian Revival accents shown in the pediments on each side. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 11, 1976. The restored building is no longer used as a courthouse, but it houses the Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce and is open to visitors. Greene County has changed county seats three times. The first county seat was located at a town called Paris …

Greene County Museum

The Greene County Museum in Paragould (Greene County) opened in 2008. The museum consists of fourteen themed rooms that are filled with artifacts from the county’s past, including items relating to school history, military, sports, Native Americans, and railroads. One of the rooms is dedicated to Governor Junius Marion Futrell, in whose former home the museum is based. Establishing a museum to house Greene County’s historical artifacts was a longtime goal of the Greene County Historical and Genealogical Society. In 2004, the group decided to hold a public meeting to discuss the possibility of opening a museum. To raise awareness of the need for a county museum, society members made presentations to local clubs and organizations. Other methods used to …

Greers Ferry Dam and Lake

Greers Ferry Dam on the Little Red River, approximately three miles north of Heber Springs (Cleburne County), is a concrete dam built between 1959 and 1962. The dam’s primary function is flood control, but it also serves as a hydroelectric power plant. Greers Ferry Lake, created as a result of the dam, is a popular recreational destination. The flow of the Little Red River was uncontrolled during the first half of the twentieth century, resulting in almost yearly flooding downstream; high water levels in the Little Red River could compound flooding problems further downstream along the White River. In 1938, Congress passed the Flood Control Act, which authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build dams on most of …

Griffin Auto Company Building

The Griffin Auto Company building was considered the finest car dealership building in the city of El Dorado (Union County) when it opened in 1928. The building exemplifies the architectural transition from the traditional storefront showrooms to super service stations. The Murphy Arts District (MAD) purchased the Griffin building in 2012, restoring and converting it into a farm-to-table restaurant and music venue. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 25, 2001, and included in the El Dorado Commercial Historic District on August 21, 2003, the Griffin Auto Company Building is located at 117 E. Locust, two blocks from El Dorado’s courthouse square. Its boxy, symmetrical massing was originally divided into three sections: a filling station, a showroom, …

Gurdon Jail

The Gurdon Jail is a small structure located in the former timber boom town of Gurdon (Clark County). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 24, 1989. It stands derelict in the twenty-first century. Gurdon was incorporated in 1880. The timber town was founded on the Cairo and Fulton Railroad, and the addition of another line to Camden (Ouachita County) and a third to Montgomery County in 1906 brought hundreds to the community. The growing population attracted numerous businesses to the town, as well as crime. While major criminals were transported to Arkadelphia (Clark County), locals arrested for petty offenses often remained in their community, creating the need for a jail in Gurdon. The Gurdon …

Gurdon Light

The Gurdon Light is a mysterious floating light above the railroad tracks near Gurdon (Clark County), which was first sighted during the 1930s. Many theories and stories exist to explain the light, including one which connects it the 1931 murder of William McClain, a railroad worker. The popular local legend drew national attention in December 1994, when NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries television show documented the phenomenon. Gurdon is located approximately eighty-five miles south of Little Rock (Pulaski County) on Interstate 30, just east of the Interstate on Highway 67. The light appears along a stretch of railroad tracks outside of the town. Some people believe the light originates from the reflection of headlights of cars off of Interstate 30. However, the …