Sunday, September 24, 2023


The small town of Perry sits in Perry County, not too far from the county seat of Perryville. And in Perry you will find an old train station that was built in 1918 for the Rock Island Railroad.


The Rock Island Railway ran from Memphis to Amarillo, but ceased operations in 1980. The rail lines in Perry are still used by a shortline railroad that runs between Little Rock and Danville (the Little Rock & Western Railway). The old station had been used for storage for decades, and was almost torn down a few years ago.


But preservationists were able to make a deal with the railroad, and the building was saved. It was actually moved about 150 feet down the tracks to a piece of land owned by the city of Perry. The hope is that maybe someday it could be turned into a museum.


Thursday, September 21, 2023

Harris Brake Lake

Harris Brake Lake is a 1,300 acre lake built in the 1950s by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, near Perryville. It is filed with all sorts of little fishies, like crappies, bass and catfish. And it also has a few interesting things to take pictures of, like these two cypress trees sitting out in the water. I stopped by the other day and got a quick picture with the infrared camera:


Monday, September 18, 2023


It's now been a few months since the tornado went through our neighborhood. Most of the damaged homes down the street have been torn down, or are in some sort of state of repair. But there are a few that, for whatever reason, have been left untouched. They remain standing just as they were after the storm passed through. Massive holes in the walls reveal glimpses into stranger's homes, like clothes still hanging in the closets. Sheets still on a bed that will never be slept on again. Who knows why some houses are still left untouched? Disputes with insurance companies, I guess.

Of course the tornado left a long path of destruction that day. It passed through Little Rock, then crossed the river and went into North Little Rock. It took down thousands of trees in Burns Park, then passed through the neighborhoods of Amboy and Indian Hills. From there it went through Sherwood and then Jacksonville.

I grew up in the neighborhood of Indian Hills, which saw many homes get destroyed by the storm. The tornado actually went just a block away from the house I used to live in for about 20 years. I hadn't had a chance to drive through the old neighborhood since the storm, but I was recently in that part of town and decided to pay it a visit. It was shocking, of course, to see so many houses destroyed. Just like our neighborhood, there were houses under repair, and one that had already been rebuilt. But also, sadly, a few houses that were also untouched. They had massive holes in the roof, with so many questions remaining about what happened to the people who once lived there.

As I was heading home, I passed by this church that had been hit by the tornado.


The damage was so great that most of the building was torn down. But it's so striking to see the small details of what still remains. The steeple, crooked and leaning. Ceiling tiles still hanging over what was once the sanctuary, along with a few light fixtures. It's now been a few months since the tornado, but who knows how long it will take to fully recover?


Thursday, September 14, 2023


The small community of Cato sits on the edge of Pulaski County, to the north of North Little Rock. It was a thriving little town, and there is still an old church there that was built in 1872. The church was originally named the Frenchman Mountain Methodist Episcopal Church.


There isn't much to Cato now. The population went into a steep decline in 1940 when Camp Robinson was built. The Army bought most of the land, cutting off access to the town. The church closed in the 1960s, but it is still well maintained and in great shape.


Monday, September 11, 2023


The old Hawthicket Church sits along a lonely and dusty dirt road in rural Faulkner County. Its rusty metal door is locked tight, because this church no longer has a congregation. The old church rarely gets visitors, other than the cows that walk along the barbed-wire fence in the pasture lands next to the church.


The church was probably built around 1950. It replaced an older wooden buidling that had also served as a school. That church had been described as a "little white wooden church with a tin roof and wooden pews" that had stood for about 100 years. A member of the church thought that the old building probably wouldn't last much longer, and set about raising funds to build a new church. The new church, built with bricks and a shingle roof, would be a structure that she thought would stand forever.


But by the time she had managed to raise funds to build the church, most of the congregation had already transitioned to the nearby Bethlehem Cemetery. There is no record of there ever being a church service held here.


What was built as the "little brown church in the vale" became an orphan church. It has no owners or official caretakers. The people who own the cemetery are kind enough to mow the grass in front of the church, but they aren't able to do any maintenance on the building.


Several holes have appeared in the roof, and they grow after each and every storm.


The bricks of this old church have been resilient so far, but with such a large hole in the roof you have to wonder how much longer this church (which was built in order to "stand forever") will continue to hold out.


Thursday, September 7, 2023

Kingfisher Trail

Last Saturday morning, it was cloudy and somewhat cool outside (which meant the heat index was not 110). So we decided to take the boys and the dogs out to do something outdoorsy. We headed to Pinnacle Mountain State Park, which surprisingly wasn't all that crowded. We did the Kingfisher Trail, which is short enough for a three year old. And, most importantly, it has a playground next to it.

It's a nice trail, as it runs through some forest and along the Little Maumelle River. I tried to do my best to take pictures, which wasn't easy since I was also holding a dog leash and making sure a toddler doesn't run off into the water.


Along the trail are two massive bald cypress trees, which are thought to be over 500 years old. It's amazing to think that these trees could have been growing around the time that the Mona Lisa and the Sistine Chapel were painted.