Entry Type: Thing - Starting with O

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 …

Ostracods

aka: Seed Shrimps
aka: Mussel Shrimps
Ostracods belong to the Class Ostracoda within the Subphylum Crustacea and Phylum Arthropoda. Commonly called “seed or mussel shrimps,” the class encompasses over 33,000 described species and subspecies, and many more remain unknown to science and await formal description. There are two subclasses with living representatives: the Myodocopa and Podocopa. The former is exclusive to marine environments but occupies the benthos as well as the plankton, whereas podocopans occur in marine, brackish, and freshwater environments and occupy almost exclusively the benthos (but also the benthopelagic zone). The main orders are the Archaeocopida, Leperditicopida, Palaeocopida, Podocopida, and Myodocopida. As of 2019, there is no comprehensive list of extant ostracods in Arkansas. Ostracods are important fossil organisms, as they are the most …

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 …

Ouachita Baptist University (OBU)

Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) is an independent, residential institution in the liberal arts tradition associated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Founded on April 8, 1886, it capped longstanding Arkansas Baptist interest in making higher learning more readily available to more people, in providing an educated ministry and educated lay leadership, in strengthening denominational loyalty, and in extending denominational influence. It gained university status in 1965 and has been rated by US News and World Report as the “No. 1 Baccalaureate College in the South” and included in its list of “Great Schools, Great Prices.” In 2013, it offered sixty-one degree options in eight schools within the university, and its mission statement proclaimed it “a Christ-centered learning community. Embracing the …

Ouachita County Courthouse

The Ouachita County Courthouse, located on 145 Jefferson Avenue, was built in 1933 and is in the heart of downtown Camden (Ouachita County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant as the best example of Georgian-style architecture in Ouachita County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 13, 1989. As a result of a tornado that struck Camden on the night of December 13, 1931, the Victorian Gothic courthouse built in 1888 was flattened. The loss of that courthouse, renowned as one of the more impressive courthouses in Arkansas at the time, was a setback for the community. The county constructed makeshift wooden structures to house county affairs …

Ouachita River

The Ouachita River originates in the Ouachita Mountains of west-central Arkansas near the Arkansas and Oklahoma border and flows 600 river miles before joining the Black and Red rivers in north-central Louisiana. The Ouachita flows through eleven different counties in Arkansas and five parishes in Louisiana. The Ouachita is a river of diverse beauty. It begins as a small mountain stream at Eagleton (Polk County) and flows eastward approximately 120 miles. It winds through lush mountain valleys, steadily building as it flows between huge boulders beneath mountain bluffs. It flows onward on its 600-mile course amid banks of moss-covered oaks and cypress trees in the swampy bottoms of Louisiana. The Ouachita is noted for its great fishing, especially bass, bream, …

Our Lady of the Ozarks Shrine

Our Lady of the Ozarks is a shrine church located atop Mount Gaylor in Crawford County on Highway 71, just south of Winslow (Washington County) and the Crawford–Washington county line. It was organized due to the efforts of a group of women who desired to have a parish for families in the remote area. Established in 1942, it began serving as a chapel for Roman Catholics in the area as well as a popular retreat and annual pilgrimage location for all the state’s Catholics. The shrine was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 2019. Before 1942, the towns in the Boston Mountains did not have a chapel where local Catholics could attend mass—the closest churches being …

Our Town [X-Files Episode]

“Our Town” was a 1995 episode of the television program The X-Files that began with a mysterious disappearance in the fictional town and county of Dudley (Seth County) in Arkansas and centered on strange happenings associated with a poultry-processing operation. Airing on May 12, 1995, “Our Town” was the twenty-fourth episode in the second season of The X-Files, a popular science fiction/mystery program that originally ran on the Fox Network from 1993 to 2002. In the episode, FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) come to Arkansas to investigate the disappearance of a federal chicken plant inspector; the conspiracy-minded Mulder is also intrigued by the report of “foxfire” in the area, though the local sheriff (Gary …

Outhouses

Arkansas, particularly in the mountainous regions, has often been criticized as being the home of the oft-caricatured hillbilly. The hillbilly of lore is lazy, shoeless, and likely has an outhouse rather than modern amenities such as indoor plumbing. Outhouses—otherwise known as the backhouse, privy, or necessary—once dotted the landscape. Originally a time-saving and sanitary invention, it remained a symbol of the poverty that plagued Arkansas citizens for generations. The Greeks and Romans had interior chambers for human waste. The medieval population had garderobes if they could afford them, or troughs and chests. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “outhouse,” used for a toilet, is a distinctly American term, the first recorded occurrence of which is as early as …

Oxford American (OA)

The Oxford American (OA) is a quarterly journal of Southern culture and literature. Affiliated with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County), it publishes short fiction, poetry, and articles in a glossy format in the vein of Harper’s or the Atlantic Monthly. The Oxford American is best known for its music issue, which focuses on often-overlooked Southern musicians and includes a CD of selected songs from these musicians. The Music Issue has been featured on National Public Radio many times and has won two National Magazine Awards for Best Single Topic Issue. OA has sporadic special issues with topics including Southern art, architecture, film, and food. Founded under editor Marc Smirnoff in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1992 as a …

Ozan Lumber Company

The Ozan Lumber Company operated a number of mills across southwestern Arkansas from the late nineteenth century to its sale to the Potlatch Corporation in 1964. Two distinct companies owned by members of the Bemis family operated under the Ozan name. James H. Bemis and Benjamin Whitaker opened a sawmill in Prescott (Nevada County) in April 1891. In July, the owners incorporated the business as the Ozan Lumber Company. The name was apparently taken from the nearby town of Ozan (Hempstead County). Whitaker remained a part of the business for only a short period before selling out and embarking on other ventures. The lumber business proved to be successful, shipping timber on the company-owned Prescott and Northwestern Railroad. The company …

Ozark Cavefish

aka: Amblyopsis rosae
The Ozark cavefish (Amblyopsis rosae) is found in the Springfield Plateau of the Ozark Mountains. Its geographic distribution covers approximately 8,200 square miles (21,000 square kilometers), comprising an area drained by the White River on the south and the east, the Neosho River (Arkansas River basin) on the west, and the Osage River (Missouri River basin) to the north. This species has been reported in at least fifty-two caves over three states: Missouri, Arkansas (originally in ten but now in seven sites in Benton County), and northeast Oklahoma. It has been proposed that there are two subspecies of this fish: Amblyopsis rosae whitae for the White River drainage region and Amblyopsis rosae arkansasus for the middle Arkansas River drainage region. …

Ozark English

A dialect called Ozark English is spoken in the Ozark Mountain region of northwestern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri. It is a close relative of the Scotch-Irish dialect spoken in the Appalachian Mountains, as many settlers migrated from Appalachia to Arkansas beginning in the late 1830s. Scholarship posits that the geographic location and subsequent isolation of the Ozark Mountains allowed for the preservation of select archaic properties of the dialect spoken by Appalachian settlers. This isolation fostered an independent development of the dialect that set Ozark English apart from what is widely considered standard American English. Like its Appalachian cousin, Ozark English is commonly linked to stereotypes that depict the mountain culture as backward and uneducated. Scholars began linking Ozark English …

Ozark Hellbender

aka: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi
The salamander called the Ozark hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi) is one of two subspecies of hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). Historically, the eastern hellbender (C.a. alleganiensis) is found throughout much of the upland areas of the United States east of the Mississippi River; it also inhabits northern portions of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. The Ozark hellbender occurs in several southern-flowing streams of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and has a very restricted range in Arkansas, occurring only in the upper reaches of the Spring River, in portions of the Eleven Point River in Randolph County, and in the White River at Batesville (Independence County) and near the town of Norfork (Baxter County). The hellbender, North America’s largest salamander, sometimes grows to …

Ozark Institute [Organization]

From 1976 until its end in 1983, the Ozark Institute (OI) created job programs, provided advocacy for a dwindling population of small farmers, and worked to create community organizations and institutions to help alleviate some of the hardships of rural life. Toward these aims, the OI partnered with the Office of Human Concern in Benton County, led by Bill Brown, a longtime resident of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). The OI created a host of entities and programs to aid the Ozarks region in its short life, including community canneries, the publication Uncertain Harvest, seed banks, job training programs, and the Eureka Springs radio station KESP. The roots of the OI can be traced to the Conference on Ozark In-Migration in …

Ozark Institute [School]

The Ozark Institute was built in 1845 upon the ashes of the Far West Seminary in Mount Comfort (Washington County) and provided education to students for the next quarter century. Cephas Washburn organized the Far West Seminary, and the state chartered it in late 1844. William D. Cunningham contracted to build a brick school building on land donated from the farm of Solomon Tuttle; however, the building was gutted by fire in February 1845, just before the seminary was to open for classes. The Reverend Robert Mecklin, who served on the seminary’s board of visitors, bought out Washburn’s interest after the fire. Rather than pursue a college-level school, he founded the Ozark Institute as a school for boys, a counterpart …

Ozark Pocket Gopher

aka: Geomys bursarius ozarkensis
The Ozark pocket gopher is a small mammal that belongs to the family Geomyidae (pocket gophers) and the order Rodentia (rodents). It is endemic to Arkansas, occurring in Izard County. The common name “pocket gopher” comes from the fur-lined cheek pouches that these animals use to carry food. Two species of pocket gophers live in Arkansas. Geomys bursarius can be found from southern Manitoba southward through the central plains of the United States toward Arkansas and Texas, with the subspecies G. b. ozarkensis found in the southwestern one-third of Izard County in Arkansas. Although a few individuals have been captured on the southern side of the White River in adjacent Stone County, no current population resides in any other county …

Ozark Sharks

aka: Summer Shark Attack
Ozark Sharks (2016) is one of two SyFy Channel TV films about sharks set in Arkansas, both part of a series of low-budget, over-the-top shark movies. Directed by Missy Talley, Ozark Sharks (alternatively titled Ozark Shark or Summer Shark Attack) followed the previous Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2015). Talley’s film has attractive scenery (filmed in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area) and mild humor about predictable characters, including brainless, selfie-obsessed teenagers; a weapons-crazed survivalist Ozarker who dislikes tourists (Thomas Francis Murphy, seemingly having the most fun of anyone in the cast); an irresponsible hippie; and a nerdy bookworm who becomes a fanatical shark killer. The plot of Ozark Sharks is relatively thin. Sharks have swum up from the sea to Arkansas …

Ozark Trilogy, The

The Ozark Trilogy (1981) is a science fiction trilogy by Suzette Haden Elgin set on the fictional planet Ozark. In Elgin’s story, Ozark has been colonized by twelve families from the Ozark region of Earth who name the continents Arkansaw, Mizzurah, Marktwain, Oklahomah, Tinaseeh, and Kintucky. The families fled Earth in 2012 to escape the poverty, disease, and violence of a failing civilization and its corrupt central government. The Trilogy begins 1,000 years later, as the old questions of power and the role of government resurface, and the Ozarkers must decide what kind of civilization they will be. Elgin, who grew up in the Missouri Ozarks and retired to the Arkansas Ozarks in the 1980s, draws heavily upon Ozark culture …

Ozark Vernacular Architecture

Vernacular architecture is usually defined as structures that groups of people make for daily use—that is, buildings not designed by professional architects but representative of folk culture, produced by members of the community to meet certain needs or desires and guided by the conventions of locality. Ozark vernacular architecture is, therefore, that which was employed in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas from the early nineteenth-century era of settlement until around 1930, when the internationally popular bungalow home began to be introduced into the region. Geographer Fred Kniffen, folklorist Henry Glassie, and several others have identified the Ozarks as belonging to the Upland South “stream” of vernacular architecture, sharing several characteristics with buildings in the Appalachian region, though there were also …