Entries - Entry Type: Thing - Starting with O

Oak Grove Rosenwald School

The Oak Grove Rosenwald School is located on Oak Grove Road in Oak Grove (Sevier County). The nearest landmark is New Zion Baptist Church, which is about 300 feet south of the Rosenwald School. The school was funded by the Rosenwald Fund in 1926. The school was primarily, if not exclusively, used for African-American students until its closure due to integration in the 1950s. This Rosenwald school has a floor plan created by Samuel Smith instead of a typical Rosenwald floor plan. The Oak Grove Rosenwald School was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 2004. The Julius Rosenwald Fund was created in 1917. Rosenwald earned his wealth from an investment in the Sears, Roebuck, and …

Obesity

Obesity is a complex issue impacting every segment of the population and having many roots. The drivers and health effects of obesity are not fully understood but may be contextualized within the United States’ transition from a farm-based to an industrialized economy. Arkansas consistently ranks as one of the most obese states in the United States. Historically, most efforts to combat obesity have focused on individual-level interventions. Arkansas Act 1220 of 2003, which created the Child Health Advisory Committee, was among the first and most comprehensive statewide legislative initiatives to combat childhood obesity by focusing on creating healthier public school environments. Similar initiatives have proliferated since obesity has become a global health issue. Although widely discussed as a major risk …

Official Days

aka: State Holidays and Commemorative Days
The Arkansas Code sets aside ten days as official holidays, days on which state offices are closed and for which state employees will receive compensation. These are: New Year’s Day (January 1), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday (third Monday in January), George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day (the third Monday in February), Memorial Day (last Monday in May), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (first Monday in September), Veterans Day (November 11), Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November), Christmas Eve (December 24), and Christmas Day (December 25). In addition, a state employee is granted one holiday to observe his or her birthday. The holidays are for the most part the same ones observed by the federal government …

Official State Beverage

aka: Milk
In 1985, the Arkansas General Assembly designated milk the state’s official beverage. Introduced by Representative Bobby Glover of the Seventy-second District (covering Prairie County and part of Lonoke County), Act 998 met with no opposition and became effective on June 28 of that year. Reasons offered for the designation included milk’s healthfulness, the desirability of encouraging milk consumption, and the importance of the dairy sector in Arkansas. The legislation did not specify a type or grade of milk, leaving it up to Arkansans to consume the variety of their choice. Dairy production was long a mainstay of Arkansas farming. In 1940, Arkansas’s milk cows numbered about 439,000, the gross farm income from dairy totaling $23 million. Over the next two …

Official State Bird

aka: Mockingbird
On March 5, 1929, Governor Harvey Parnell and the Forty-seventh General Assembly adopted House Concurrent Resolution Number 22 proclaiming: “The mockingbird is declared and everywhere recognized as the state bird of the State of Arkansas.” In Arkansas, the State Federation of Women’s Clubs, in a campaign directed by Mrs. W. A. Utley, was responsible for promoting the legislation naming the mockingbird as the official state bird. The proposed bill was first perceived as a joke but passed following speeches proclaiming the mockingbird’s value to farmers. Four other states—Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas—have also designated the mockingbird as their official state bird, making it the third most popular choice, eclipsed only by the first-place cardinal and second-place western meadowlark. The mockingbird, …

Official State Butterfly

aka: Diana Fritillary [Butterfly]
On February 28, 2007, Act 156 of the Arkansas General Assembly designated the Diana fritillary (Speyeria diana) as the official state butterfly. Introduced by Representative John Paul Wells of Logan County, the legislation for making the butterfly a state symbol took note of the butterfly’s beauty, educational importance, and impact on tourism in Arkansas. Arkansas is the only state to designate the Diana fritillary as its state butterfly, pairing it with its state insect, the honeybee. Arkansas is the twenty-sixth state to designate a butterfly as a state symbol. The Diana fritillary is among the most spectacular of the 134 resident species of butterflies found in Arkansas. Diana was the Roman goddess of light and life (Artemis in Greek mythology), …

Official State Cooking Vessel

aka: Dutch Oven
The Dutch oven was adopted as the state historic cooking vessel to indicate the significance of the vessel in the Arkansas’s history. Dutch ovens were brought into the state by the explorers and early settlers and were in wide use by the early 1800s. By the time of statehood, most homes probably had Dutch ovens in use on their fireplaces. The Dutch oven is neither a pot nor a kettle. It is a cast iron vessel that has three legs to provide stable support and to provide space under the oven for coals to heat the oven from the bottom. The oven has a flat bottom and a tight-fitting lid to contain the heated pressure in the oven; the lid …

Official State Dance

aka: Square Dance
In 1991, the Arkansas General Assembly designated the square dance the official American folk dance of Arkansas. A concurrent resolution authored by Senator Jack Gibson of District 35 introduced the measure; it won quick approval and was signed into law by Governor Bill Clinton on February 7, 1991, as Act 93. Act 93 resembled measures introduced across the nation by promoters of club square dancing after an attempt to have the dance awarded national symbol status failed in 1988. The bill posited a long history of called, or “cued,” dancing in North America and Arkansas and the association of square dancing with family recreation. It defined square dancing as incorporating virtually all called or cued dances—including clogging, contra, and line …

Official State Dinosaur

aka: Arkansas Dinosaur
aka: Arkansaurus fridayi
In August 1972, Joe B. Friday discovered the remains of the right hind foot of a dinosaur in a shallow pit on his land in Lockesburg (Sevier County). He found the bones in rocks belonging to the Lower Cretaceous Trinity Group, which consists of deposits of clay, sand, gravel, limestone, and the evaporite minerals gypsum and celestite. Friday donated the bones to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville, where they are kept in the University Museum Collections at the Arkansas Archeological Survey. UA professor James Harrison Quinn gave the bones the informal name “Arkansaurus fridayi” in 1973. He cleaned and assembled the bones and compared them to the feet of two similar-appearing dinosaurs previously described in the scientific literature. He …

Official State Flag

An official Arkansas state flag did not exist prior to 1913. During the Civil War, Arkansas soldiers fought under a variety of banners and flags, but none enjoyed the state’s official cachet. A military requirement, however, led to the creation of a civil flag for the state. In 1910, the keel was laid for the U.S. Navy’s newest battleship, the Wyoming-class USS Arkansas. Early in 1912, with the Arkansas’s scheduled commissioning just nine months away, the Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) resolved to present a “stand of colors” (a national flag, a naval battalion ensign, and a state flag) to the new ship. The chapter contacted Arkansas secretary of state Earle W. …

Official State Flower

aka: Apple Blossom
In 1901, the Arkansas General Assembly designated the apple blossom—Malus (Pyrus) coronaria—the official floral emblem of Arkansas, the second state to adopt the bloom (Michigan was the first). Governor Jeff Davis signed the resolution into law on February 1 that same year. In 1900, the Arkansas Floral Emblem Society canvassed women’s groups to gauge sentiment for a choice of state flower or floral emblem. The holly, honeysuckle, passionflower, cotton boll, and apple blossom were considered. Some opposition to the apple blossom was voiced on biblical grounds, citing the apple’s role in Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden and, conversely, the passionflower’s folkloric identification with Christ’s suffering. Although the Arkansas Federated Women’s Clubs (now the General Federation of …

Official State Fruit and Vegetable

aka: South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato
In 1987, the Arkansas General Assembly conferred official state symbol status on the pink tomato, long a staple of Arkansas gardens. Act 255, introduced as House Bill 1480, asserted the aesthetic and culinary excellence of the Arkansas-grown tomato and determined that, because it was technically a fruit but generally consumed as a vegetable, it should serve as both in the state’s collection of official symbols. The act’s wording describes a type rather than specifying a species because there exists no registered breed styled “South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato.” The measure was introduced by Representative John Lipton of District 90 whose constituency included Bradley County, long associated with Arkansas tomato production. The state symbol status recognizes the role of the …

Official State Gem

aka: Diamond
On February 22, 1967, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller signed Act 128, an omnibus measure designating the diamond as the state gem, quartz crystal as the state mineral, and bauxite as the state rock. The measure, introduced in the Senate by Robert Harvey, J. Hugh Lookadoo, and Olen Hendrix, called attention to Arkansas’s status as one of the few places in North America where diamonds are present in their host rock and the only such place where tourists may hunt for them. The diamonds are recovered from the Prairie Creek diamondiferous pipe, a roughly triangular surface outcrop exposed over thirty-seven acres situated two and a half miles southeast of Murfreesboro (Pike County). The site is a breccia-filled volcanic pipe formed during the …

Official State Grain

aka: Rice
Rice was designated the official grain of the State of Arkansas by Act 513 of the Eighty-sixth Arkansas General Assembly. Introduced by Representative Bruce Maloch of Magnolia (Columbia County), the act was approved on March 27, 2007. Rice, a staple of human consumption for thousands of years, entered North America when it was first planted in South Carolina in the early 1690s. While rice was cultivated in small amounts in Arkansas as early as 1840, it did not become a major crop in the state until the earliest years of the twentieth century. William Fuller of Carlisle (Lonoke County) is frequently credited with creating the interest in rice production through an experimental farm in 1902. Following his example, rice production …

Official State Grape

aka: Cynthiana Grape
Approximately 150 commercial vineyards and wineries have operated in Arkansas since 1870. In 2009, the Arkansas General Assembly took note of this agricultural mainstay when it designated the Cynthiana, a native grape, as Arkansas’s official state grape. Act 547 was introduced as House Bill 2193 by Representatives Beverly Pyle of Cedarville (Crawford County) and Kathy Webb of Little Rock (Pulaski County). The measure was introduced at the suggestion of Audrey House, proprietor of the Chateau Aux Arc vineyards in Franklin County, to draw attention to the survival and rising reputation of Arkansas vintages. Arkansas’s grape-growing industry is small, however, in comparison to that of such viticultural powerhouses as California. Between 2007 and 2009, acres of cultivated grapes ranged between 750 …

Official State Insect

aka: Honeybee
On February 1, 1973, Act 49 of the Arkansas General Assembly designated the honeybee as the state’s official insect. Introduced by Representative Albert “Tom” Collier of Jackson County, the legislation took note of the bee’s important role in crop pollination but primarily extolled the bee’s virtues of diligence, hard work, attention to home defense, and productivity. Act 49 said this “diligent and willing worker typifies the outstanding citizens of the state of Arkansas.” Arkansas’s designation of the honeybee (Apis mellifera) as a state emblem placed it in the company of fifteen states that have so honored the insect. Several states, such as Oklahoma and Tennessee, have designated multiple insects as state symbols, pairing the laboring honeybee with such graceful “ornamental” …

Official State Mammal

aka: White-tailed Deer
In March 1993, the Seventy-ninth General Assembly of Arkansas approved House Bill 2110, which designated the white-tailed deer as the official mammal of the State of Arkansas. The bill, introduced by Representative Arthur F. Carter, was signed into law by Governor Jim Guy Tucker as Act 892 on April 5, 1993. Arkansas is one of eleven states to have selected Odicoileus Virginianus as an official symbol. Before European entry into present-day Arkansas, deer abounded; the Hernando de Soto expedition discovered Native American populations dressed in deerskins. The later Caddo people depended heavily on the deer for sustenance. Early Euro-American populations hunted the white-tailed deer without restriction for decades. Roads, houses, farms, and towns soon encroached on its habitat, leading to …

Official State Mineral

aka: Quartz Crystal
On February 22, 1967, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller signed Act 128, an omnibus measure designating quartz crystal the state mineral, diamond the state gem, and bauxite the state rock. The measure was introduced in the Senate by Robert Harvey, J. Hugh Lookadoo, and Olen Hendrix, apparently as a favor to Arkansas rocks and minerals collectors and clubs; the text of the bill asserted that passage was essential in order that collectors and hobbyists might trade official state gems, rocks, and minerals with like-minded enthusiasts in other states. The measure was enacted with an emergency clause, allowing it to become effective upon the date of signing. Act 128 helped draw attention to the distinctive quartz crystals mined in the central Ouachita Mountains …

Official State Motto

aka: Regnat Populus
Arkansas’s state motto is Regnat Populus, which is Latin for “the people rule.” No other state employs this motto, in either Latin or English, although South Dakota’s comes close: “Under God, the people rule.” The motto’s use is mostly limited to the Seal of State and its derivatives used by various state officers. The constitution under the terms of which Arkansas entered statehood in 1836 stipulated that the governor must “keep” the Great Seal of the State. Its design, mentioned in Article 5, Section 12, should be “the present seal of the territory, until otherwise directed by the general assembly.” That seal bore, among other elements, the Latin motto Regnant Populi, which could be translated as “the people rule.” The …

Official State Musical Instrument

aka: Fiddle
On February 28, 1985, the Arkansas legislature approved Act 277, designating the fiddle as the official musical instrument of the State of Arkansas. The designation, which originated as House Bill 749 sponsored by Representative Bob Watts of Harrison (Boone County), asserted that the instrument was “most commonly associated with the musical education and entertainment of the pioneer families of Arkansas and…continues as a dominant musical instrument in the culture…of the people of Arkansas.” Watts’s measure was supported in the chamber by Representative Napoleon Bonaparte “Nap” Murphy of Hamburg (Ashley County), who delivered a brief oration on the floor of the House on the history of the fiddle from medieval times to its modern form. This official designation is a tangible …

Official State Nicknames

aka: State Nickname
Since the earliest days of statehood, Arkansas has been popularly known or designated by a succession of cognomens, or nicknames. The earliest were unofficial and reflected popular perceptions of a largely rural state, lightly tinged with humor. Later adoptions, spaced at intervals throughout the twentieth century, embodied less folk consciousness and more promotional intent, as Arkansas’s boosters sought to fine-tune the state’s image for outsiders’ consumption. Arkansas’s earliest recorded nicknames, the “Bear State” and the “Toothpick State,” made reference to characteristic features of the region. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Arkansas was noted for its population of Louisiana black bears (Ursus americanus luteolus), one of sixteen black bear species found in the United States. Human activities reduced …

Official State Nut

aka: Pecan
The Eighty-seventh Arkansas General Assembly designated the pecan as the official nut of Arkansas. Act 638, introduced as HB 1906 by Representative Larry Cowling (District 2, Little River County), had twenty-two co-sponsors and was approved on March 27, 2009. The act specifically noted, however, that it did not grant protected status to the pecan, thus ensuring that the fruit of the Carya illinoinensis may be harvested and consumed. Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas have similarly honored the pecan; in Texas, it is both the official state health nut and the official state tree, while Oklahoma celebrates it in the form of pecan pie in its official state meal. The pecan is a species of hickory native to much of the South. …

Official State Rock

aka: Bauxite
Bauxite, the most common ore of aluminum, was designated the official state rock in 1967. It is a sedimentary material composed primarily of one or more aluminum hydroxide minerals, plus mixtures of silica, iron oxide, titania, aluminum silicates, and other impurities in minor or trace amounts. Bauxite takes its name from the village Les Baux de Provence in southern France, where geologist Pierre Berthier first identified it in 1821. Bauxite was an economic mainstay for Arkansas through much of the twentieth century. Although aluminum is the second-most-abundant metal element in the world, it has been commercially produced for little more than a century. In 1891, state geologist John Branner identified a sample that had been found in southern Pulaski County …

Official State Seal

The term “state seal” refers to both a design incorporating specified symbolic or artistic elements created for use by the state government and a device that embosses, prints, or otherwise affixes replicas of the design onto official documents. Affixing the official seal to a document is meant to signify its authenticity as a document of state, in lieu of or in addition to the signature of the issuing official or officials. Seals were once commonly embossed into “sealing wax” (a heat-softened compound of shellac, other resins, chalk or plaster, and pigment) but today are more usually embossed into the document’s surface or affixed as a gold-foil sticker. The present official state seal of Arkansas derives from the territorial seal designed …

Official State Soil

aka: Stuttgart Soil Series
Act 890 of the Arkansas General Assembly of 1997 designated the Stuttgart soil series the official state soil. The bill was introduced by Representative Wanda Northcutt of District 81, which encompassed parts of five counties (Arkansas, Desha, Jefferson, Lonoke, and Prairie) noted for their agricultural production founded literally on the presence of the Stuttgart soils. The soils, named for Stuttgart (Arkansas County), are distributed over roughly 200,000 acres of east and southeast Arkansas. These acres are used primarily for cropland; the dominant crops are rice, small grains, soybeans, and corn. Stuttgart soil is, in fact, made up of several soils, layered in a predictable order, although the thickness varies. Stuttgart series soils typically exhibit three layers: the upper layers are …

Official State Songs

Forty-eight of the fifty states have designated one or more songs as official “state songs.” Arkansas has so designated no less than four compositions. (Only three states—Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Tennessee—have adopted more.) Their styles include devotional anthem, sprightly folk melody, and 1980s vintage country-pop. The earliest was adopted contemporaneously with the flowering of progressivism in Arkansas and marked a popular appreciation of the state’s natural beauty and agricultural bounties, turning away from the “hillbilly” Arkansas of early twentieth-century popular humor. Subsequent state song adoptions largely followed in this vein. Arkansas’s first unofficial song was likely the fiddle tune known popularly as “The Arkansas Traveler.” It appeared under this title by the mid-nineteenth century and became associated with a popular …

Official State Tree

aka: Pine Tree
House Concurrent Resolution No. 2 of 1939 designated the pine tree as Arkansas’s official state tree. The resolution, introduced by State Representative Boyd Tackett of Pike County, cited the state’s timber resources as one of its greatest sources of wealth and, notably, “one of the few renewable resources of the state.” The measure was introduced on January 11 and met no opposition, winning final approval on January 20. The resolution did not specify a particular native pine species, but reference is often made to either the southern shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) or the loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Before European-American in-migration and settlement, almost all of Arkansas was forested with notable diversity. Until the maturation of Arkansas’s rail network in the …

Ohio Club

The Ohio Club at 336 Central Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County) is considered Arkansas’s oldest continually operating bar. It was founded by John “Coffee” Williams and his nephew, Sam Watt, in 1905. It became a popular watering hole and meeting place for notorious figures such as Al Capone, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, as well as local legends like Owen “Owney” Madden and Arkansas gambling czar William Stokley Jacobs. The Ohio Club has never closed its doors despite bans on both gambling and alcohol. The Ohio Club was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Hot Springs Central Avenue Historic District on June 25, 1985. In 1905, Coffee Williams and Sam Watt …

Oil Industry

The oil industry in Arkansas, which includes exploration and the production, refinement, and distribution of petroleum-based products, exploded onto the state’s economic scene in the early 1920s, and once-local production expanded into an international business. From 1920 to 2003, more than 1.8 billion barrels of oil have been produced in Arkansas. Ten counties in Arkansas produce oil, all in the southern region of the state: Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Columbia, Hempstead, Lafayette, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, and Union. Historically, most of this production has been in Union, Lafayette, Columbia, and Ouachita counties. These four counties have been responsible for more than eighty-five percent of the oil produced in the state. Evidence of oil in the state existed well before the oil boom …

Okolona Colored High School Gymnasium

The Okolona Colored High School Gymnasium served the African-American community in western Clark County for almost two decades. The last remaining structure on the former Simmons High School campus, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 23, 2011. Okolona (Clark County) was first settled in the early nineteenth century. The town attracted residents as it grew into a regional agricultural and transportation hub. Education played an important role in the development of the town, with the first school opening in 1833, followed by a second in 1857. The Okolona Male and Female Institute opened in the town in 1871, and Okolona High School began operations in 1890. Schools for African Americans in the community …

Okolona Male and Female Institute

aka: Okolona Academy
The Okolona Male and Female Institute was a school that operated for over seven decades in Okolona (Clark County) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Originally known as the Okolona Academy, it was the first formal school to operate in the town. The first families to settle in the Okolona area arrived in the early 1830s. A post office was established in 1858, and the population slowly grew over the next several decades. The first permanent school to open in the community began operations in 1857. Constructed on the site of an early school housed in a log cabin, this school was the first in the area to meet regularly. It was housed in a two-story wood building and was …

Old Arkansas 51, Curtis to Gum Springs

Old Arkansas 51 is an abandoned highway located in Clark County between the towns of Curtis and Gum Springs. Constructed in 1931, it was replaced by U.S. Highway 67 in 1965. This stretch of highway was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2004. The communities of Curtis and Gum Springs were settled in the late nineteenth century, and each served as stops on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The two settlements were connected by roads, which were improved over the decades. The roads evolved from the Southwest Trail, one of the earliest roads in the state. Named Arkansas Highway 51, the road linking the communities became part of the Arkansas Highway System when it was created …

Old Bank of Amity

The Old Bank of Amity is a two-story brick structure located on the northwest corner of the square in Amity (Clark County). Constructed between 1906 and 1907, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 5, 1991. Amity was first settled in 1847 and grew over the next several decades due to the rich reserves of timber in the area. By the early 1900s, the Gurdon and Fort Smith Railroad reached the community, opening up new shipping options for the lumber mills that operated in the area. The Bank of Amity was founded in 1905 by William Curtis Hays. The first mention of the bank building appeared in 1906 when a Gurdon craftsman visited the …

Old Randolph County Courthouse

The Old Randolph County Courthouse sits in the middle of historic downtown Pocahontas (Randolph County). The second courthouse to serve Randolph County, the Old Courthouse is made of bricks and wood and decorated with wood trimming. A cupola adorns the roof. The building once had a vault, but it was removed sometime in the 1930s. Although the Old Courthouse is no longer home to the court system, it is still an important landmark for the city of Pocahontas. The Randolph County courts moved their offices diagonally across the street from the Old Courthouse to the new courthouse in 1940, after more than sixty years of service for the Old Courthouse. Since that time, the Old Courthouse has had several uses, …

Old River Bridge

The Old River Bridge spans a section of the Saline River at the end of River Street in Benton (Saline County). It is one of the oldest remaining bridges of its kind in the state. The Old River Bridge spans 260 feet and is composed of iron beams, two large trusses, and a wooden platform supported by iron columns. The bridge itself dates back to an act of the Saline County Court, which appropriated $5,000 “for the construction of an iron bridge over the Saline River at the Military Road Crossing” in 1889. Construction was completed in 1891 by Youngstown Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio. The land around it is also important, having been the site of William Lockhart’s settlement …

Old Rondo Cemetery—Confederate Section

Old Rondo Cemetery—Confederate Section, located at 1612 Smith Road in Rondo (Miller County), commemorates Confederate soldiers from Texas who died of disease in Rondo in 1862. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 2004. On June 12, 1862, Brigadier General Henry Eustace McCulloch ordered all Confederate troops located east of Tyler, Texas, to march to Little Rock (Pulaski County), which was threatened by Samuel Curtis’s Union army. These troops included the Nineteenth Texas Infantry Regiment under Colonel Richard Waterhouse. At least seven companies of the Nineteenth were stationed at Rondo, just past the Arkansas-Texas state line, from July through early September. While the men were camped at Rondo, measles struck, killing dozens of Waterhouse’s …

Old Scott County Courthouse

The Old Scott County Courthouse is located on courthouse square in the historic commercial district of Waldron (Scott County). It was built in 1934 and housed the county government until 1996, when the county completed the current courthouse: a plain, contemporary structure that is located on 1st Street in Waldron. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) recognizes the 1934 building, a three-level courthouse with a full basement, as architecturally and historically significant due to its Art Deco style and as an example of a New Deal–era project. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 13, 1989. Since Waldron became the county seat in 1845, seven courthouses have served as the seat of justice, including the …

Old Scott County Jail

The Old Scott County Jail is located on West 2nd Street in Waldron (Scott County), adjacent to the Waldron Commercial Historic District. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 16, 2002. In 1907, plans were made to build a new jail to replace the old wooden jail that was in derelict condition, according to Judge W. A. Bates. J. L. McCartney was chosen to build the new jail after recently constructing a new courthouse downtown. The stone jail was completed in 1908. On March 22, 1933, a fire destroyed the courthouse that McCartney had built. A new courthouse opened on February 21, 1935, with the third floor designed to serve as the county jail. Upon …

Old Springdale High School

In the first decade of the twentieth century, Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) was enjoying great prosperity as a shipping and processing hub for the northwestern Arkansas fruit and vegetable industry. With the economic good times came population growth and the need for a new school building. School officials opted to demolish the town’s 1871 school and construct a new one on the same site (present-day corner of Highway 71B and Johnson Avenue). The land had been donated to Springdale School District 50 in 1901 by community leaders Millard and Ida Berry with the stipulation that the property always be used for school purposes. In the fall of 1909, Rogers (Benton County) architect Albert Oscar (A. O.) Clarke was hired …

Old U.S. Highway 67

Highway 67 was one of the original highways included when the Arkansas State Highway System was formed in 1923; it was also one of the first Arkansas highways to be integrated as part of the U.S. highway system in 1925. By the late 1920s, Highway 67 was in need of serious improvement. The Arkansas State Highway commission began a major effort to upgrade and improve Arkansas’s major highways, including Highway 67, through the 1930s. Five sections of the highway and one rest area from this period, as well as a bridge and a rest area, have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The route of the highway followed that of the Southwest Trail of the early 1800s, …

Old Union School

Early residents of Randolph County settled in the Ozark Plateau area of the county. While many of these communities are gone, remnants of their existence can be seen. For the Birdell (Randolph County) community, the Old Union School survives as an example of the early history of this once thriving community. Located approximately two miles northwest of the community, the school is a prime example of what early education looked like in rural Arkansas. The early community of Birdell constructed a hewn-log school out of material readily available, which was a common building technique in early Arkansas. It is believed that the original school was built sometime prior to the Civil War. This school burned in 1910, and classes were …

On a Slow Train Through Arkansaw

A ninety-six-page joke book, On a Slow Train Through Arkansaw gained wide popularity upon its publication in 1903 and eventually became the bestselling joke book in American history. Subtitled “funny railroad stories—stories of the Southern darkies—all the best minstrel jokes of the day,” the book includes puns, some tall tales, and the prevalent racial and gender stereotypes of its day. The author, Thomas W. Jackson (1867–1934), was a train brakeman for the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company who collected stories and jokes he heard on his travels; as he had injured his hand in an accident and was not able to write, his wife wrote his stories down for the book. Published in Chicago, the book was sold by “train butchers,” …

One Drop Rule

aka: Act 320 of 1911
aka: House Bill 79 of 1911
In 1911, Arkansas passed Act 320 (House Bill 79), also known as the “one-drop rule.” This law had two goals: it made interracial “cohabitation” a felony, and it defined as “Negro” anyone “who has…any negro blood whatever,” thus relegating to second-class citizenship anyone accused of having any African ancestry. Although the law had features unique to Arkansas, it largely reflected nationwide trends. Laws against interracial sex were not new. Virginia declared extramarital sex a crime during Oliver Cromwell’s era and increased the penalty for sex across the color line in 1662. In 1691, Virginia criminalized matrimony when celebrated by an interracial couple. Maryland did so the following year, and others followed. By 1776, twelve of the thirteen colonies that declared …

One False Move

One False Move is a 1992 thriller co-written by Arkansan Billy Bob Thornton, who was born in Hot Springs (Garland County). Running for one hour and forty-five minutes, the R-rated film stars Thornton, his future wife Cynda Williams, and Bill Paxton, known for roles in the hit films Apollo 13, Twister, and Titanic. The director of One False Move was Carl Franklin, who went on to direct Denzel Washington in 1995’s Devil in a Blue Dress. The screenplay was written by Thornton and Tom Epperson, a native of Malvern (Hot Spring County). One False Move was a low-budget independent film that became popular through word of mouth as well as critical raves from film critic Roger Ebert and his reviewing …

One With Others

One With Others is C. D. Wright’s 2010 book of investigative, documentary poetry chronicling the life of her mentor, Margaret Kaelin McHugh, otherwise known as “V.” The “nom de guerre” of V. was given to McHugh by a “gaggle of unsolicited student acolytes,” among them Wright, who took McHugh into their student housing in Memphis, Tennessee, after she was exiled from her hometown in eastern Arkansas for her role in the 1969 March Against Fear from West Memphis (Crittenden County) to Little Rock (Pulaski County). Taking as its subject the “stuck clock of history,” the book switches between 1969 Big Tree, the fictive name Wright gives V’s hometown, and 2004 Hell’s Kitchen, a Manhattan neighborhood, as V. is dying. While …

Opal’s Steak House

Opal’s Steak House is a single-story building designed in the Art Moderne style. Constructed as a restaurant circa 1948 on Park Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County), it has held various businesses over the decades. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004. The brick and stucco building faces Park Avenue to the south and is turned at an angle to the street. The building is fronted with a door to the left and a window that covers the center and right side of the front wall. Constructed from brick, the front of the building includes two projecting brick bands above the door and window. Both corners of the front façade are curved. Another …

Opalinids

Opalinids are a small group of peculiar cosmopolitan organisms that belong to the kingdom Protista. Recent classification places the opalinids as heterotrophic stramenopiles (heterokonts) within the phylum Placidozoa, class Opalinea, and order Slopalinida. There are over 200 species, and, although opalinids are typically endocommensals (that is, living within the host without affecting it) in the large intestine and cloaca of anurans (frogs and toads), they have also been reported from fish, salamanders, reptiles, and some invertebrates (mollusks and insects). They are of no medical or economic importance, but they are interesting because their reproductive cycles are apparently controlled by the host’s hormones. In addition, opalinids are routinely encountered in dissections of frogs in college biology laboratories, and most students are …

Opossums

aka: Possums
aka: Didelphis virginiana
Arkansas opossums (commonly referred to as “possums”) are of the Virginia opossum species Didelphis virginiana and can be found in both rural and urban habitats. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission tracks opossum populations and oversees an opossum hunting season during the winter months. As the only marsupials found in North America, opossums have existed for 70–80 million years. They are highly adaptable omnivores who eat a variety of foods including insects, rodents, berries, grasses, leaves, and carrion. The females can have twenty to twenty-five babies in one litter and carry their young in their pouches for up to three months. Opossums have opposable thumbs on their rear feet and can also grasp with their tails. Contrary to popular belief, …

Orphanages

Churches and various fraternal and charitable organizations were the first to take on the burden of providing orphans with care and a home in Arkansas. Many large and small orphanages operated around the state in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, providing homes for hundreds of children without families, as well as other services. Shifting practices in the latter half of the twentieth century resulted in the creation of a foster care system. This system was seen as preferable to long-term institutional housing, although several such institutions still exist in twenty-first-century Arkansas. Many orphanages have operated throughout Arkansas since its establishment as a state, and most began with funding from religious groups. One of the first well-known examples was the Arkansas …

Ostrich Farm in Hot Springs

In the early twentieth century, a number of distinctive tourist attractions enjoyed tremendous popularity in the resort city of Hot Springs (Garland County). These attractions drew visitors to the town, as did the Spa City’s hot springs. Beginning in 1900, one of the city’s most remarkable places to visit was the Ostrich Farm on Whittington Avenue. After the Civil War, visitors from all parts of the country began to pour into Hot Springs. With the increasing patronage and resulting improvements in facilities and services, the sleepy little village rapidly acquired the characteristics of a wide-open boom town. By the end of the 1870s, Hot Springs enjoyed widespread acclaim across the nation as a health resort. Naturally, the health seekers needed …