Only in the Ozarks: these falls, this store


The "middle fingers" of Six Finger Falls on Falling Water Creek near Ben Hur, Arkansas

The “middle fingers” of Six Finger Falls on Falling Water Creek near Ben Hur, Arkansas

August 21, 2011 – We have updated this post with pictures shot on the same trip not previously posted.

Six finger falls

Click on the falls for another view at Corndancer dot-com

You’re looking at the middle fingers of “Six Finger Falls” on Falling Water Creek northeast of Ben Hur, Arkansas. The falls, probably over eons, have carved six sluices through solid rock, giving rise to the name. This story, along with another picture of the falls started on the Photo of the Week page on Corndancer Dot Com. Click here to go there and see for yourself.

Upstream from Six Finger Falls is “Falling Water” falls, on, you guessed it, Falling Water Creek. Coming north on county road 1205 from Arkansas Highway 16 (east of Ben Hur), you pass Falling Water Falls. On this trip you get two, count ‘em, two falls for the price of one. Many people who make the trip, always take a gander at both.

Hidden Hollow

Down stream from Six-Finger Falls about 100 yards on the left, you will find this hollow carved out over millions of years by the small falls at its head. The hollow is immense and gives you the feeling you are in a big cave with no roof. You almost would not be surprised to see a pterodactyl coming at you in this environment. When I first found it, I took the liberty of naming it “Hidden Hollow.” Much-more-famous-than-I photographer, writer, and over-all nice guy, Tim Ernst, calls it “Fuzzybutt.”

Old house on Falling Water Creek Road

On the way to the falls, if you come in from the Ben Hur side, you will see this old structure. I’m betting it is now a deer camp, formerly a residence. The outside decor includes everthing but a kitchen sink, and that may be on the other side.

low water bridge on falling water creek

Past the alleged deer camp a mile or so, you cross Falling Water Creek via this low-water bridge, mostly out of the picture. You are looking downstream.

Rotary Ann Overlook on Arkansas Highway 7, south of Pelsor. The view is to the west. The overlook is legendary for spectacular sunsets.

Rotary Ann Overlook on Arkansas Highway 7, south of Pelsor. The view is to the west. The overlook is legendary for spectacular sunsets.

On the way to Falling Water Creek, earlier today, I passed “Rotary Ann Overlook” on Arkansas Highway 7, south of Pelsor, Arkansas. The mountains from the overlook were still shrouded in morning mist, a breathtaking sight.

Oark store

Oark General Store, according to local sources has been in continuous business since 1890.

After the waterfall adventure, I proceeded to Oark, Arkansas and the Oark Café and General Store for lunch and a shoot, in that order. Breakfast seemed to have been a week ago. Crawling around waterfalls will do that to you.

The current store owners, James and Carla recently bought the store, taking their place in a parade of former proprietors. Like many country stores, a big part of their business is the café.

inside

The Oark General Store Cafe is not only a popular venue for local folks, visitors from outside the community also frequent the tables. The area to the right (shelves and drink boxes) was partitioned as a feed warehouse in the fifties. A concrete floor for the warehouse replaced the original wood floor in that area. Other than that, the ceiling and floors in the building are exactly as they were when the store was built. Eclectic decor with the checkered table cloths amplifies the  down-home feeling experienced in the store.

This was true for the previous owner as well. This is not my first time at the Oark establishment and it will not be the last. James and Carla are continuing a tradition of good vittles. I sinned with a chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, purple hull peas liberally seasoned with bacon, a salad and a huge roll. I could feel my arteries constricting, but nevertheless reveled in this revered culinary delight.

Angela

Angela, the Oark General Store and Cafe chef with “Hooter,” the official store dog.

mamma eats here sign

A good sense of humor underscores the inherent goodness of the cuisine.

As I was leaving, I visited with Chef Angela, the creator of my yummy artery clogger. She was relaxing on one of the store porch benches, required furniture if you are to be considered as an official southern country store. She was visiting with “Hooter, ” the official store dog, also a spiritual requirement of country storedom. Hooter, Angela says, “came with the store,” when James and Carla made the purchase. It appears that everyone has nicely adjusted to the transfer.

Angela and Carla both say that Hooter has a strong Catahoula genetic presence. I have to agree. But I can see some Blue Tick and mebbe a of smidgen of Rottweiler. I’m thinking it doesn’t make much difference to Hooter one way or the other, since he seems to like everyone he sees, regardless of his coding. Good attitude Hooter. Would that there were more like you, four and two-legged.

Gulf sign and old fire truck

On the way to the store from the Finger Falls, I saw this old fire truck with an ancient Gulf Oil Co. sign standing guard. It has some sort of extensions which remind you of a shrimp trawler. There’s probably a good explanation, but it escapes me.

Harmony Presbyterian Church

The last shot of the day as I descended to the flat lands was Harmony Presbyterian Church. As I recall, more than 100 years old and holding up well.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/index.html

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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9 Responses

  1. As you well know, nature sure has an ever-changing face, thus one aspect of the beauty it provides. Although most of us find a sense of peace in moving water, the same stream can also display it’s fierce and powerful side.

    Of course I wonder about your focus at the start of your day. One side of me thinks that you had you sites set on the Oark Cafe and the Falls happen to be along the way! ha ha!

    I must say, Oark’s inside seems totally unexpected from the outside cover. As you know, I enjoy following the culinary part of your journey. All of which I must remember if I’m ever in your part of Arkansas.

  2. Frank, actually, the target was the falls, due to the sun’s angle. In the afternoon, the light direction is not cooperative. When I was there in May, it was my last stop, this time my first. Oark was the reward.

    I agree on the two faces of nature. In the pre-blog days at Corndancer, I did a piece which echoes your sentiments, http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photo020039/photo022.html
    Thanks,
    Joe

  3. […] So we are linking you to one of the all-time favorite Weekly Grist for the Eyes and mind posts, “Only in the Ozarks … “ Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise we’ll be back with new […]

  4. Thanks, Joe, for contiuing to make Monday mornings something to anticipate in a positive rein.

    Jim Caldwell

    • As you have hopefully guessed, the last word in the sentence was intended to be “vein” not “rein”. After all, this is early Monday morning.

      Jim

  5. […] is not a new post this week, but we have updated a previous post, “Only in the Ozarks, these falls, this store.” In that post, we take a look at some cool water falls, an old store, and other scenes you find in […]

  6. Unlike Jim Caldwell, I stay up late most Sundays to read and view Mr. Dempsey’s weekly blog. Tis a feast for the eyes and mind most Sundays.
    Larry Fugate

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