Tag Archives: Arkansas History

OWPC: Sun


This week’s ‘One Word Photo Challenge‘ is, Sun.

Yesterday, I attended an Archaeology lecture in Little Rock, held at the Whit Stephens Conservation building by the River Market. A large group of us, mainly college students and professors, meet up before the lecture at one of the restaurants located around the River Market, then walk over to where the lecture is being held. As usual, I arrived earlier than everyone else (an hour early) so, I decided to venture out towards the river. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was actually warm, considering the last few days we’ve had were rainy and cold.

The city had fixed up a couple of the train bridges, making them usable again, but for pedestrians; one of the train bridges was built in 1884, the other one was a few years later. There’s a jogging trail situated along the river, as well as a playground, splash pad, and pavilions. There’s also an amphitheater, which is used for outdoor concerts; I once attended a John Fogerty concert there.

Along the jogging trail you will notice many sculptures here and there. Most of them are donated pieces, but a couple of them are a representation of Arkansas’ history. One pavilion included Arkansas’ entire history, including the early settlers and those who came through Arkansas, such as De Soto and other notable Spaniards, as well as notable Frenchmen.

sun1sun3sun2sun4sun7sun5sun6sun8sun9

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall


For more of this week’s photo challenge, wall, check out The Daily Post.

Last month, I visited one of my favorite book stores, Gingles Books and Baubles. It had been awhile since I’ve been there and I had stopped to search for a few books for a couple of classes. When I arrived, I noticed a huge, beautiful wall mural, covering the entire wall of the building (old Bell building) across the street from the book store (South Street). I walked over towards it and noticed that it’s actually a painting of the history of Arkansas and quite possible, some of it depicted history in the town of Benton (Niloak pottery).

Mural2mural1

Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto traveled through Arkansas in 1541-42, when he had encountered the Quapaws, in the city known today as Parkin. For more information on de Soto’s travels through Arkansas, click here.

*Please note, the tribe depicted in the mural is Caddo. In Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca’s book Castaways, he was the first Spaniard to encounter the Caddos. Hernando de Soto died in May 1942, having never met with the Caddos. It was his successor, Luis Moscoso de Alvarado, who after de Soto’s death, followed along the Red River, into Southwest Arkansas, where the Caddo tribe flourished. For more info on the remainder of the de Soto expedition, click here.

Arkansas is also known for it’s timbers and timber mills, as well as it’s diamonds in Murfreesboro, and bauxite ore found in Bauxite. Arkansas had a hand in helping the US military during both WWI and WWII. Aluminum comes from bauxite ore and the town of Bauxite has an abundance of it.

Arkansas was also known for its pottery called Niloak, which is kaolin spelled backwards. Kaolin is the type of find grade clay found here in Benton, Arkansas. It was popular in 1909 to 1946. Niloak had a hard time making it through the depression, but it was successful during WWII when they produced over a million clay pigeons for the military. After the war, the company hit another downfall and it sadly went out of business.

The mural artwork was done by Dianne Roberts, who was hired by the Gann Museum to paint the mural. You can check out their FB pages by clicking on their names and see pictures she used to help her create her beautiful mural.

Sadly, Books and Baubles will be closing it’s doors for good in April, unless a new owner can step forward and keep it open. Click here, for more information.

Showing That Irish Pride Every March


stpats

March is a month that I’ve always looked forward to every year. Parades, eating pot roast and potatoes, and donning the color green. I can remember one year, when I was in first or second grade, that I had gotten pinched for wearing too much green. I was covered in green from my shoes, socks, pants, and my tee. I never understood why a person would pinch someone for not wearing green or for wearing too much of it, but it was something that I can remember doing every year, supporting my Irish heritage.

It’s something I still do today, attend the local St. Pat’s parade, eat beef and potatoes, and wear as much green as I want without worrying about getting pinched.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day originated in America by the Irish who immigrated to the States over two centuries ago. It became a tradition in celebrating their culture, heritage, music, and of course their patron saint, Patrick every March, that it took off with popularity, continuing on with their descendants and is now celebrated in every major city in the US and almost every city in Ireland, bringing in attendees from every cultural background, including Irish.

According to Ireland of the Welcomes magazine, “the first St. Patrick’s Day parade every record, was in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts, hosted by the Irish Society of Boston.”

“Almost 25 percent of the population in Massachusetts is Irish, making it the most Irish state in the US. Boston is often called the capital of Irish America because of the thriving Irish community that dates back to colonial times.”

Here in Little Rock the Irish Cultural Society of Arkansas hosts a parade every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a mile long and seems to grow in attendance every year. This year marks their 16th annual parade and will be this Saturday, March 14th at 1PM. The parade will start in front of Dugan’s Pub at Third and Rock, then will travel east on Third, the North on Sherman, towards President Clinton Ave, running in front of the river market, making a right turn on Main St, crossing over the river bridge, ending at Sixth and Main.

I find that the best areas for viewing is right in front of the river market on President Clinton Ave. Though if you have kiddos with sensitive hearing like my daughter, bring ear protection as the several motorcycles, handful of fire engines, and that one guy with the train, can create such a loud echoing noise in between those big city buildings, startling those wee ones.

Please click here for more information on the parade, as the Irish Cultural Society usually host an organization benefit. Last year, they collected canned food for the Rice Depot…There was a sponsored truck in the parade procession collecting canned food from the attendees, I proudly donated a few cans to them as they passed us.

Oh, if you decide to attend, and I hope you do, don’t forget to bring a bag so that the kiddos can collect candy and beads thrown to them from the parade procession.

Digging for Diamonds


There is a small town in the Southwestern corner of Arkansas, called Murfreesboro where you can dig for diamonds, for a small price, and keep what you find. It’s the 8th largest diamond mine in the world, but it’s the only diamond mine open to the public. Crater of Diamonds became a State Park in the mid 1970’s. Since then people have been finding diamonds of many sizes; at least two diamonds a day can be found.

ImageImage

This Spring Break, I took a few friends to hunt for diamonds. It was their first time and my second time. Though we found many color rocks, such as Jasper, quartz, and calcite, but no diamonds. The park has a desk, made specific to help you go through your finds and tell you what each rock is and if you have found a diamond or not. They also have a museum to help you distinguish what the diamonds look like there at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Image

The digging areas are marked where all of the diamonds have been found, and a bulletin board showing how many diamonds were found on what day and how big the were; this bulletin board is updated daily. You can rent sifting screens, shovels, and buckets or you can bring your own. They have water tubs,that make sifting through some of the tougher clay, much easier. It also helps the shiny rocks become more noticeable.

Even though the only shiny rocks I found were quartz crystal and calcite, I still enjoyed myself and didn’t mind get dirty. I’m hoping to make another trip in May with my youngest sister when she comes up from Georgia to visit.

Note: Even though they say they plow the 37 1/2 acres weekly or daily, the best time to go digging for diamonds is right after it rains. This allows some of the sediments to wash away and help the diamonds become more noticeable. The best clothes to wear for digging diamonds are, a pair of boots (trust me on this one) and a pair of jeans and a tee that you don’t mind getting dirty. You can bring a sack lunch, umbrella, and a lawn chair out on the field with you and they are pet friendly (I’ve seen many dogs out there having a great time).

For more information about the park, prices, location, etc. visit their website.

A Historical Weekend


This weekend my parents, nephew, daughter, and I visited The Shoppach House here in Benton, Arkansas. It is a Historical Landmark and is also a rare opportunity to be able to visit the place, as it’s never open. I had the pleasure of talking to a nice elderly woman who gave me quite a story of the house and the Union Army that occupied it. A few men and women from the ‘Sons of Confederate Veterans David O’Dodd Camp 619’ were there, dressed in period clothing, as well as in Civil War uniforms. They had a cannon that they were firing off every hour and were also showing guns, bullets, and other pieces from the Civil War Era.

Image

Cornhusk Dolls

Cornhusk Dolls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shoppach House is the oldest structure in central Arkansas and was once owned by a German immigrant farmer, John F. Shoppach. He and his wife, Siddy, had 11 children, 6 of them survived passed infancy.

The house was built in 1852; the local Native Americans made the bricks that were used to build the house. John F. Shoppach died at the age of 52 in 1861.

In 1863, Union Army Soldiers occupied most of Benton. Some of them camped across the street from the Shoppach House; Fort Bussy was just down the street where the water towers now stand today. In September 1863, Union Soldiers commandeered the Shoppach House.

ImageImageJohn F. Shoppach House

‘Built in 1852 of bricks made on the site, this is the oldest house standing in Benton. In April, 1861, Saline County’s Company E, First Arkansas Infantry, Confederate States of America, was presented with a battle flag made by the ladies of Benton. The ceremony was held in the Shoppach house yard, following which the company left for Virginia, where it took part in the Battle of Bull Run, and subsequently, other major battles. When Benton was occupied by the Union Army in 1863, Union Army officers took quarters in the Shoppach house.’

Also, behind the Shoppach House is the Pilgrims Rest Church built in the 1860’s and

the DeToni Post Office built in the 1940’s.

Image

Image

Image