Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Fall In The Delta - Part 1

The other weekend I drove to Stuttgart to deliver some pictures, because the Arts Center of the Grand Prairie there is kind enough to host my photography exhibition for the next month (until December 16!). It was pouring rain that day, but the rain luckily held off when it was time to walk 33 framed photos in the Arts Center. But I am very happy and humbled that they chose my photos to display.

Stuttgart is a neat city. It is one of the two county seats of Arkansas County (the other is DeWitt), and it is widely known for rice and ducks. As I drove through town, I spotted this neat old home. Someone has mowed the grass, but the house does look abandoned.




I drove down Main Street and made a little visit to the old Riceland Hotel. The hotel was built in 1923, and was once the center of social life in town. When it was open, the hotel boasted visits from celebrities like Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Pulitzer and Clark Gable. Unfortunately the hotel closed in 1973, and has been left all but abandoned ever since (for some pictures from inside the hotel, click HERE). On the side of the building is a bright red door, which stands out in stark contrast to the building around it.


Stuttgart was settled in 1878 by German immigrants, and now has a population of about 10,000 people. It is home to Riceland Foods, which has grown to become the world's largest miller and marketer of rice.

During a break in the rain, I stopped by an old rice silo that sits just a few blocks from Main Street. It doesn't seem like it's in use anymore. Overgrown grass, that had turned a deep orange, was growing up in the disused railroad tracks that run by.






Nearby was this old home, which may also be abandoned? It had a Mickey Mouse looking out from the door, so maybe it's the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse?


From there I stopped by the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie. The museum contains over 20,000 square feet and details the history of the Stuttgart. Among the exhibits is this recreation of a church that is similar to ones built by the town's original German settlers.


On the southern edge of the city is the Rice Capitol Inc. mill, which is the oldest in Stuttgart. It looks like it's still a busy place, but this tall structure along the road looks empty and abandoned, with broken windows along the rusted sides of the building.







I needed to start head home, but I had to make one last stop at this old abandoned gas station.








And after that I headed towards home. But instead of driving up to the freeway, I headed east on the backroads so I could find a few more things to get pictures of. Will post those pictures soon....

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Fall In The Ozarks - Part 3

It was time to head home, but we decided to detour around and take a more scenic route on the wayback. We drove away from the Buffalo River and headed west, passing through the small community of Boston (it is much much smaller than that other Boston in Massachusetts). There are a few neat old buildings here, including this old home:



From there we headed over and drove down a bumpy and dusty dirt road for awhile in order to reach the old and abandoned Mountain Crest Academy.


According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, the school building was constructed in 1917 by the Presbyterian Church in order to "serve the 'backward classes' of the rural mountain South." Eventually the campus contained a few buildings. The largest building was constructed of stone and had classrooms on the first floor, and then a library and a boy's dormitory on the second floor. There was a girl's dormitory across the road, but it no longer stands.



The church ran about 42 schools, most of which were in the Appalachian Mountains. During the time it was open, the Mountain Crest Academy was the only school in the area that went all the way to the 12th grade. Tuition to attend was about $1.00 a month.


The school closed in 1931. After that the building was used for a summer camp for awhile, and then it was used as a farm building.



To get home, we eventually started driving down the Pig Trail. The curvy stretch of Hwy. 23 is maybe one the prettiest roads in the state.


And one last shot, taken with the infrared camera in a quiet time when there wasn't much traffic on the road.


Monday, November 14, 2022

Fall In The Ozarks - Part 2

We woke up around sunrise the next morning and then headed right back to the beautiful Buffalo River at Steele Creek. We headed to the base of the 200 foot-tall Roark Bluff, and got a few pictures. It was surprisingly quiet out there (since the campground was full, I expected to see more people out).

Roark Bluff

Roark Bluff

Roark Bluff

Roark Bluff


The water was low on the river, since there had hardly been any rain in the weeks before. But there was enough water to create this nice little pool, which had some nice reflections in it.



And one last shot of Roark Bluff, before we headed into Jasper to get breakfast at the Ozark Cafe.


After filling up on pancakes and caffeine, we headed back to the car and drove towards Boxley Valley. Boxley is one of the prettiest places in Arkansas, filled with all sorts of old barns and other buildings.


This great old barn dates back to 1915.




Further down the road was this old barn, partially hidden behind overgrown grasses.





The barn was near the old Boxley Mill. The first mill in Boxley Valley was built in 1840 and was actually the site of a small Civil War fight. The current mill was built in 1870 and operated until the 1960s.



We took a slight detour and headed up Cave Mountain road to visit the overlook at Hedge's Pouroff, where an old cedar tree sits perched right on the edge of the 110-foot tall bluff line.


That tree has a commanding view, looking far into the upper waters of the Buffalo River.


We headed back down hill (which is incredibly easy since it Cave Mountain Road is so steep), and made one last stop in Boxley. This old barn is one of my favorite barns in Boxley, and sits at the edge of the valley.


The barn was built in the 1920s, and sits by a spring that the locals still use for drinking water.