Thursday, February 25, 2021

Downtown Snow

After a few days of below-freezing temperatures, it finally warmed up enough for all of the massive amounts of snow to start melting. When enough of it had melted to allow my little car to traverse our hilly street, I headed out to take a few pictures downtown. The first stop that night was at MacArthur Park and the old Little Rock Arsenal Building.

MacArthur Park

The Arsenal Building was built in 1840 and is one of the oldest buildings in the city.



The old Arsenal Building is now home to the Arkansas Museum of Military History. It shares MacArthur Park with the newly rebranded Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, which is currently undergoing a massive restoration. The construction site looked like it had been busy, even with all of the recent snows.


I headed back to the car and then drove around downtown, eventually parking along Second Street by the US Bankruptcy Courthouse. The courthouse was built in 1881 and originally served as Little Rock's courthouse and post office.


I walked over to the Old State House, which is also one of the oldest buildings in the city (it dates back to the 1830s). Although a lot of the snow had already melted, there was still a nice carpet of snow coating the grounds of the museum.



I slid a little in the snow and ice that remained on the sidewalk in front of the Old State House, which made it interesting to set up a tripod.


Around this time it began raining. Since I forgot an umbrella and it was also starting to get late, I decided to head home. As I got closer to home, the falling rain mixed with the snow on the ground and created a neat but eerie fog that hung low to the ground.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Well what a difference a week makes. Today it was sunny with a high near 70 degrees. But last week the temperatures dropped down to Zero, and two back-to-back storms dumped about 15 inches of snow on Little Rock. In my lifetime of growing up in central Arkansas, we've had quite a few memorable winter storms (among the best was the one in the late 80s that caused school to be out for like two weeks), but this was by far the most snow that has fallen here in many decades.

You've Got The White Stuff Baby

Snow Way

My car is not great at handling icy conditions, and we also live in a hilly area, so I didn't really try to get out and drive. But one night I did take a little walk out into the snow to take a few pictures around the neighborhood.


I went by the small neighborhood park, where the snow fell steadily on the playground.


Just a little snow

And for some reason no one seemed too interested in eating at the picnic tables...

Snow Day

Thick snow had already piled up around the neighborhood pool, and I pointed the camera through the fence for a few pictures. About a foot of snow had fallen on the diving board.

Dive On In

And snow covered the pool chairs where during the summer people sat and worked on their tans.


As I walked along the fence I stopped to get a few pictures of the shadows spreading across the snow...

Shadows and Snow

And then a few other pictures from the park...



Jonah, who just turned five, did enjoy building a snowman and doing some sledding. But I think he got tired of the snow after a few days (and having to dress in about 10 layers of clothes to go outside). Elliott, who just turned six months old, had been very fussy with what turned out to be an ear infection. Of course, due to the weather, the pediatrician's office was closed (and we couldn't have driven out anyways). Luckily the doctor did a virtual appointment, and we were able to get some medicine for him. But having to work from home, with one sick baby and one energetic five year old, defintely made this a memorable winter storm. Here is a shot of me and Jonah, before we made an attempt at sledding. Hopefully Jonah got some happy memories from this week of snow and ice.


Eventually the snow started melting, which made some interesting patterns under the tree in our front yard.


Saturday, February 13, 2021


Mount Magazine is quite the international destination. Just to the north is the town of Paris, and just south of the mountain is the town of Havana. About 370 people live in Havana now, and the community dates back to the late 1800s. Around 1900, the name of the town was changed to Havana, but according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History there is no known reason for the name change. So I'm just going to assume it was named by people who are fans of the Camila Cabello song.

But in Havana there is an abandoned building that is covered with old ghost signs and rusty advertisements. The building used to house McBrides Grocery, which closed around the year 2000. The large ghost sign on the side of the building is faded, but it looks like it was for Big Smith Work Clothes. Next to it is a rusty sign for Peters Diamond Brand shoes.


On the door is a very rusted sign that looks like it was for Colonial Bread. Above the door is another rusty sign for Borden's Ice Cream, which features their mascot Elsie The Cow.



And someone put up an American flag by another sign for Coke. It's very faded but you can just make out the words for "McBrides Grocery" over the Coke logo.


Saturday, February 6, 2021

Mount Magazine

Last month we decided to take a little break and book one of the cabins at Mount Magazine. It is a good place to escape, especially during these Covid times. The cabins are amazing (as is the lodge there), and there are some great overlooks and hiking trails there.

The cabins and lodge sit on the edge of the mountain, looking south towards Blue Mountain Lake. This is from our cabin right after sunset, with the moon hanging in the sky above the lake.


At 2,753 feet, Mount Magazine ranks as the tallest point in the state of Arkansas. While that might not seem that tall compared to the peaks of Alaska or Colorado, the mountain does tower above the Arkansas River Valley. One way to see how the elevation has affected the landscape here is from the plantlife. Many trees growing on top of the mountain look stunted and grarled due to their exposure to constant wind pressure and winter icing.


One of the prettiest spots in the park is Cameron Bluff, which has several overlooks of the Arkansas River Valley.


And the sunset view from the Cameron Bluff Overloook. The bit of white on the mountain is snow, which clung to the shaded portions of the mountain and hadn't melted.


That night at the cabin, I set up the camera to do some star trails. Which was the nicest way I've ever taken star trail pictures. While the camera sat for four hours taking pictures, we sat inside the cabin and ate dinner, watched a movie and then soaked in the hot tub. Which is really a good way to be spoiled while taking pictures. But here is the final result, which is four hours worth of star trails (and one bright trail from the moon) over Blue Mountain Lake.


And one last shot, taken as we headed back home towards Little Rock. We drove by this old barn, which sat right at the base of Mount Magazine.


Monday, February 1, 2021


In western Johnson County sits the small town of Hartman, which dates back to the late 1800s. The town was named after a railroad conducter who promised to build a rail depot there in exchange for the town being named after him (and not, as I had hoped, named after Phil Hartman from Saturday Night Live or former FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman). And just north of town is the old Sacred Heart Catholic Church.


Unfortunately I wasn't able to find much information about the church. There was a church here built in 1880, but I'm not sure if this is a newer replacement. It does look fairly old, and doesn't seem to be used all that much anymore.