Arkansas Backstories: Razorbacks

By Joe David Rice No way could I write this book without a mention of razorbacks. First, the fiercely beloved wild hog is the mascot of my alma mater, the University of Arkansas. But more importantly, the background story on this unique symbol presents a fascinating tale. Following its establishment in 1871, the University of…

Arkansas Backstories: Elvis

By Joe David Rice Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and later claimed Memphis, Tennessee, as home. But in the early days of his career, when he was still a mere prince rather than the King, Presley spent a surprising amount of time on Arkansas stages — usually in the eastern and southern…

Siloam Springs

By Joe David Rice  |  Photography by Meredith Mashburn Students of the Bible may recall a reference to the Pool of Siloam, an ancient water source near Old Jerusalem. Some 2,700 years after its construction and about 6,725 miles to the west, American pioneers establishing a townsite along an attractive, spring-fed creek in northwestern Arkansas…

Arkansas Backstories: Turkey Scratch

By Joe David Rice Over in East Arkansas, about halfway between Helena and Stuttgart, is a community known as Turkey Scratch. Straddling the Phillips-Lee county line, the unincorporated settlement is what my father would charitably call “a wide spot in the road.” Turkey Scratch has no post office, but visitors will spot a church, a…

Arkansas Backstories: Mosquitoes

“Ideal conditions are found in Arkansas for the development of some of the worst pest mosquitoes found in this country.” So wrote Stanley J. Carpenter, the Arkansas State Entomologist, in a 1941 book, The Mosquitoes of Arkansas, published by the Arkansas State Board of Health. Three-quarters of a century later, Mr. Carpenter’s assessment still rings…

Cossatot River

By Joe David Rice | Photography by Jamison Mosley Mention the word “Cossatot” to a hundred people in the state and ninety-nine are likely to shrug and share a blank look. But the eyes of that one hundredth person will immediately brighten, and you’ll hear a series of excited comments extolling the delights of a…