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…

Arkansas Backstories • Austin

By Joe David Rice Stephen Fuller Austin is universally regarded and largely revered as the Father of Texas. After his success in establishing Texas as a state within the Republic of Mexico and bringing in hundreds of American colonists, he later played a pivotal role in the triumphant drive for Texas independence. Austin, the state’s…

Calico Rock

Perched on an eye-catching limestone bluff overlooking the White River in north central Arkansas, Calico Rock can claim one of the prettiest settings of any city in the state. Yet this quaint Izard County community isn’t often on the tip of the tongue when Arkansans are asked to name their favorite hill country towns, with…

Arkansas Backstories • Capital Hotel

I’m told there’s no corroborating photographic evidence, but legend has it that during his April 14-15, 1880, stay at Little Rock’s Capital Hotel, President Ulysses S. Grant used the hotel’s enormous elevator to transport a horse to his suite. However, I can confirm that the elevator – at 11.5-feet wide by 7.3-feet deep – could…

Arkansas Backstories • Fried Pies

When I hear the pop song with lyrics that go “If loving you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right,” my strange mind has been known to wander to fried pies. These Southern delicacies are so wonderfully delicious, yet their nutritional qualities are so… well, let’s just leave it at questionable. Not only are the…