Wednesday, March 15, 2023


After taking pictures in Clarendon (as seen in the previous post in this little blog), I needed to head on towards home. I hurried along, which meant driving too slow while keeping an eye out for things to take picture of. Luckily there wasn't too much traffic when I pulled over to get this show of the low storm clouds streaming above the lonely Delta roads.


And then I drove by the old Idlewild School and slammed on the breaks. I wasn't expecting to stop here, since I had just taken a few pictures of this old building a few weeks ago. But the recent heavy rains had formed a giant puddle, which made a perfect reflection of the old school that was built in 1921.


Monday, March 13, 2023


The White River starts out in the Ozarks, near the same spot that the Buffalo River begins. The White flows through the mountains into Missouri, then curves and drops back down into Arkansas. From there it flow about 300 miles until it finally empties into the Mississippi River. Several prominent cities sit along the banks of the White, including the old town of Clarendon.

French settlers moved into the area that would become Clarendon in 1799, building cabins near the spot where the Cache River flows into the White. The town grew in the 1820s when the Military Road (which was built to connect Little Rock and Memphis) was built through Clarendon. In 1828 a ferry crossing was established, along with the first post office. The town was officially incorporated in 1859, just in time for it to be an important location during the Civil War. The White River was a significant transportation artery during the war, and there were several fights and skirmishes that took place around the town. The fighting ultimately resulted in most of the town being burned in 1864, destroying most the buildings in the city.

After the war, Clarendon became a stop on the St. Louis Southwestern Railway (a rail bridge built in 1931 still sees rail traffic over the White River). The town became prosperous, seeing construction of a baseball factory, a box factory, and a button factory that produced buttons made from mussel shells that were found in the river. But Clarendon's location along the White River was costly, as it was the victim of several large floods. The Great Flood of 1927 broke through the levee in Clarendon, inundating the town under several feet of water.

The modern Delta economy hasn't been too kind on the town as well. In recent years, Clarendon has lost many of its historical buildings and structures. It was sad to drive into Clarendon to see the changes. Gone was the old Hwy. 79, which was built in 1931. It was replaced by a new and boring span. The old bridge was blown up in a blast of dynamite, and there is no trace that it was once there.


Also gone is the old Bondi Brothers Building, which stood by the courthouse and was built in 1904.


But there are still lots of historic buildings that are still standing in Clarendon. Including the old Midland Station, a rail depot that was built in 1912 for the Arkansas Midland Railroad (which once ran between Little Rock and Helena). The station has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, although it looks like it's mostly abandoned now.


Next to the courthouse is the old Monroe County Jail, which was built in 1938. It also looks like its abandoned, or maybe just used for storage. I'd love to be able to get inside to take pictures.


One of the most prominent buildings in Clarendon is the Monroe County Courthouse. It was built in 1911 in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, and it easily ranks as one of the prettiest courthouses in Arkansas. During the Great Flood of 1927, the citizens of Clarendon took shelter in the upper floors of the courthouse. The flood waters were so deep that rescue workers floated boats through the hallways on the first floor.


The buildings across the street from the courthouse are all mostly abandoned, and unfortunately seem to be in rough shape.





Just a few blocks away is the old Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1869 and was one of the first churches to rebuild in Clarendon after the town was burned during the Civil War. The church was in use until the 1920s, when it was taken over by the Masonic Lodge. It was used for meetings and as a community meeting center and as a library. In the 1960s it was almost demolished, but ended up being donated to the Boy Scouts. Not sure if the Boy Scouts are taking care of it still, since it doesn't seem like it's been looked after in awhile. 



Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Back To The Delta

It was a cold and rainy Saturday when I drove off towards the Arkansas Delta. It probably wasn't the most ideal traveling conditions, but I hoped that it would make for some moody photographs. I first drove through the small town of Scott, and pulled over by this old barn. My shoes sank into the wet and muddy ground with an audible squelch as I walked over to take this picture:


It had been pouring rain all day, and there was water everywhere. The ditches and fields were flooded in places, including this pecan tree orchard near Keo.


And the fields on the right were flooded in this shot, the waters home to several ducks.


Heading up the road I tried to get a view of a bunch of different silos, reflected in the murky waters as the heavy and forlorn clouds drifted above.


I headed further east, and drove through the small town of Ulm. The town was first settled in the 1880s by German immigrants, who named it after their former home city of Ulm in Bavaria. The town became a stop along the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, which ran across the state from Texarkana to St. Francis. The town now has a population of about 200 people, and has some interesting old buildings. This is the old Ulm Methodist Church:



There were a few abandoned homes here as well.



And this one kinda breaks my heart. If you look at the Google Street View of Ulm, you'll find this house as it was in 2014. The house is well-maintained, with an American flag flying on the porch. The yard is filled with a happy and vibrant selection of plants, and decorated with various knickknacks and bird baths. But on this rainy day in 2023 the house was abandoned. The yard was overgrown with brown weeds, with a crooked "Price Reduced" sign nearly hidden by a bush. I don't know what happened here, but we can guess. I can easily imagine a scenario, where the original owners were elderly, but they loved and dedicated their lives to this house and its yard. But when they sadly passed on, and there was no one to take care of the house or the property. It was put up for sale, but there were no takers. And then time passed along, as it always does.


Just north of Ulm, along a bumpy gravel road, was this abandoned home. It was interesting find thanks to the combination of blue stone siding, and the selection of purple flowers growing in what used to be the front yard.


From there I got back on the main road and drove towards Clarendon. Pictures from there coming soon....

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Lonesome Hollow Falls

After the hike to Fern Falls, we decided to do one more quick hike. We ended up at Lonesome Hollow Falls, which is a short (but steep in parts) hike to a scenic canyon that doesn't quite match its forlorn-sounding name. The waterfall is 47 feet, and tumbles onto a series of rocks and cascades. It was bright and sunny out, but a few thin clouds helped to diffuse the light enough (along the help of a polarizer and ND filter) to get a decent enough picture.


It was time to head back since I had to pick up kids from school in Little Rock, so after the hike I headed off towards home. But along the way I did make one quick stop at this old abandoned place, which had a bright green curtain hanging from the door that seemed to liven up the place.