From Pine Bluff, I drove north across the Arkansas River. The drive quickly went from the city to the country, with miles of flat farmland and ramshackle houses. I drove through the small community of Coy (population 116, one of the smallest incorporated cities in the state). Located right in the middle of Coy is an old cotton gin, which is being overrun by the weeds surrounding it.
I was in this area because there was an old church I wanted to check out. St. Mary's Church, in Plum Bayou, is the oldest Catholic church in the state. It sits on an unassuming road, far from the beaten path.
In 1789, the church was founded on a barge in Arkansas Post. Since Arkansas Post wasn't the most desirable place to live (with the territorial capitol moving from there to Little Rock in 1821), the barge moved upriver in 1832 to Jefferson County.
In 1869 the church moved to it's current home in Plum Bayou. In 1927 the brick exterior was added. The cross on the church is thought to be original, and was covered in copper to protect it from woodpeckers.
It's a neat old church, and in great condition considering its age. I don't think it sees a regular service, but it is open for special occasions (if I'm reading the website right). The church and surrounding farmlands were empty when I was out there, no other cars drove by. I wasn't entirely alone, a congregation of mosquitoes swarmed in and tried to have me for communion.
And one last shot, of the sun setting over the lonesome country road by the church.