Yes, it’s a Studebaker

antique Studebaker wagon

This Studebaker wagon is the current star of the show at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Museum in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Admission is free and you can see many more historic artifacts including a Civil War battle flag, Victorian furniture, a miniature cotton gin and a lot more

Yes it is a Studebaker. The Studebaker Brothers started making wagons in 1852. Ninety-eight years later, the company, still Studebaker after several permutations, thrust the bullet-nosed sedan for which they are most famous, on the American public. The car is an icon of the fifties, but the subject of our discourse is the Studebaker wagon.

Allegedly one Studebaker brother, a promoter, told his brother, a wagon wright, “I’ll sell all the wagons you can make.” Though the quip sounds good, I can find no historic basis that such an exchange ever occurred between Studebaker brothers.

Studebaker wagon wheel

Click the wheel to see more wagon pictures

This particular Studebaker was made around 1900 and is on display at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It is for the most part vintage and virtually the same product they produced that became the most widely used wagon used by gold-hungry settlers headed west during the California Gold Rush of the mid 19th century. See more pictures of the wagon and other museum exhibits on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here while you look.

front of Studebaker wagon

Here’s a second look at the wagon. The quilt on the wagon seat was made with dress scraps and hand-carded cotton. It has been gently used since around 1900. The girl on the swing in the background is “Little Miss Holsum,” a billboard icon in Pine Bluff.

early 20th century rural kitchen items

Just around the corner from the Studebaker wagon, you’ll find this turn-of-the-century rural kitchen exhibit which includes what appears to be an “apartment-size” wood cook stove. For the uninitiated, the upside-down thingy with a stick out the top, in front of the stove is a churn. For the further uninitiated, one made butter with the churn. There are more than a dozen or so other interesting artifacts from kitchens of the era there to see as well. I have absolutely no clue as to the long-handled broom. An airbus for witches maybe?

Antique hunting equipment display

This hunting and trapping display includes a long Kentucky-style muzzle-loading rifle and some accessories necessary to fire it and keep it maintained. There’s also a deer skin and a beaver pelt along with other trapping and hunting accoutrements including a bear trap from Hades. Notice the super-neat original hexagonal floor tiles.

One-man cotton gin

This is a “one-man” cotton gin. The object with the red flywheel beneath the gin is a one cylinder water-cooled gasoline engine of the type which might have been used to power the gin. This particular engine was used to pump water for a rural Jefferson County family back in the day. See another picture of the gin on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

antique wood working tools display

This two-sided display shows a nice assortment of wood working tools including a giant wood clamp which appears to be in the hernia-class just to pick it up.

The Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Museum

Here’s a glimpse of the former Missouri-Pacific Depot which houses the museum. You can see one of a two-track arrangement which are part of the main east-west system of Union Pacific. You can feel the rumble when the trains come through.

Thanks for visiting our pages and looking at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Museum. If you are close enough to visit, the museum is now open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. If you are not close enough to visit, we wish you were.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

A U T H O R ‘ S   N O T E :   Though I am a member of the board of directors of the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum, I personally am completely responsible for content of this article. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent policies or opinions of the institution, management, or the board of directors, Jefferson County, Arkansas and/or the City of Pine Bluff.
Joe Dempsey


A Cross tree

This is our annual Christmas post. It was our first, and we’ve never found one better. To get the whole story be sure and follow the link to the Corndancer dot-com story which is “the meat of the coconut.”

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

This lone tree stands as a memorial to Frank Cross who was murdered in the mid-eignties. This lone tree stands as a memorial to Frank Cross who was murdered in the mid-eighties.

This story started on the Photo of the Week Page at Click on the link to see the first part of the story, a very cool thing to do.

Frank Cross, an invalid confined to his bed,  was murdered in the mid-eighties at his home which formerly stood behind the tree. The family had the house demolished, but left the fine cedar tree standing as a memorial to Frank, who was an admired member of his community in southeast Arkansas.

Close inspection of the tree base reveals some artifacts which were probably part and parcel of the old home.

historical artifacts under old tree Apparently, some items and materials which were not removed during the house demolition were left under the tree.This also included a wire wreath holder.

old farm artifacts under tree Items left under the tree appear to include part…

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Looking for a “forever home”

Prancer at the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Prancer is a very friendly girl. She’s still a little confused about shelter life and would like nothing better than to be the loving companion she can be in a “forever home.” She is 8-10 months old so she still has a bit of “puppyhood” left.

The Pine Bluff Animal Friends group in my home town of Pine Bluff, Arkansas is a hyper-active support group for dogs and cats who wind up being residents of the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter. The animal shelter staff and the PBAF work hand in hand in a good relationship.

The PBAF walk the dogs, soothe and provide companionship to the cats and generally work to improve the lot of the critters while they are residents — while working their fingers to the bone to find “forever homes” for the lonesome shelter critters. There is a never-ending supply of new residents.

Santa and Afghan Hound

Click on Santa and the hound to see 38 Santa and dog pictures

On the other hand, we recently provided photography for the Jefferson County (Arkansas) Humane Society annual “Pet Pictures with Santa” event. We photographed a lot of critters and families.  Some the dogs we photographed were rescues from the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter and other caring shelters. We have posted 38 pictures of Santa, dogs, kids, and families on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. We invite you to check out these pictures. We will wait here while you look.

We are showing you a selection of “available” dogs and cats in this post. We have several pictures of each critter. Some individuals will have more pictures than others. That number has nothing to do with importance; it is a function of how still the critter would be for the few seconds it takes to grab a usable image. In some cases it was tantamount to nailing Jello to a tree.


Female, 1 – 1 1/2 years old. Black and Tan

Prancer at the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Prancer is a bit shy, but friendly. She loves to walk.


Female, 8-10 months old, Siamese/Tabby mix short hair with just a bit of Calico which you can see on her nose. Susan is well socialized. Had the Dempseys not already being family to three rescue cats, this girl would have likely left the shelter with yours truly. She is friendly and ready to curl up and exchange comforts with her new family, whomsoever those fortunate individuals might be.

Susan Siamese Mix

Susan says, “I’m ready!.”

Susan the cat

Susan peeks out of her cage.

Susan in the animal shelter

I promise I will purr.

Susan is a talker

Susan is a talker. Her conversation is directed to me. Holding her is Cathy Hastings Turner, the fearless leader of Pine Bluff Animal Friends.

Susan doing what she does best: being a friend.

Susan doing what she does best: being a friend.

Susan in cage

Susan hopes this is a temporary inconvenience.


Female, black and tan. Comet, to this untrained eye, looks like a little Dobie. She is good-natured with lots of energy and a very loving attitude. She likes to nuzzle up as you can see in the last picture.

Black and tan comet, a dog at the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Comet casts and inviting glance.

Comet a black and tan dog at the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Comet strikes a handsome profile.

Comet dog at PB animal shelter

At the end of her shoot, Comet has figured out it’s time to go back inside. She is negotiating a delay.


Female, six months old, gray short hair Tabby. Becky is a precocious kitty. She is curious, friendly and likes people. She is a talker and she purrs nicely.

Becky, a gray tabby cat

Becky and Cathy are friends.

Becky the tabby cat

“Take me to the house dude,” Becky seems to say. She is a “talker.”


Female black and white. Roxey is a high-voltage and near perpetual motion bundle of love and affection. She thinks every human being is a new two-legged toy to be loved and licked.


Roxey black and white dog

Roxey perks up at the sound of the shutter.

 Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Roxey has spotted a new toy.

Roxey with ears up

Roxey has spotted a couple of humans. Play time!

Roxey kissing Cathy

Rambunctious Roxey needed a bit of help leaving her new friends. She is showing her gratitude to Cathy for this manifestation of care.

Roxey and Cathy

Roxey is ready for someone who wants an energetic, loving companion.


Female, six to eight months old, Siamese and long-hair mix  Elizabeth is a friendly little kitty who has had a bad experience, but seems to have recovered nicely with a good attitude. Look at her whiskers and you will see that some scurvy miscreant has trimmed them — a big-time NO-NO. Despite this cavalier treatment, she is a friendly kitty who likes human attention.

Elizabeth, a Siamese, long hair mix

Elizabeth is good at being friends.

Elizabeth and Cathy

Elizabeth appears to be a camera hog, not a bad thing if you would like to get adopted. Notice the ill-whacked whiskers. Someone should be ashamed!

Elizabeth in cage

Come and get me! I’ll be nice. Promise!


Male blonde shepherd mix, four months old  Lucky is going to be a big boy when he grows up. Despite his spartan accommodations, he has a good attitude and is a big-time tail wagger.

Lucky the shepherd mix puppy

Lucky is curious and friendly.

Lucky on alert

Lucky has all the indications of being the friendly, local Dick Butkus of rescues. His attack will be licking you with a tongue the size of a bathmat.


Male, tri-colored beagle mix, five to six months old  Splinter has a curable malady known as “cherry-eye.” Pine Bluff Animal Friends are in the process of raising money for his treatment. He is a bit bashful now, but knowing the Snoopy tendencies of Beagles, in the right environment, the boy would likely blossom.

Splinter, a beagle mix

Splinter has a look that is hard to resist.

Splinter the beagle mix

Underneath the bashfulness is a Snoopy waiting to emerge.


(Not available for adoption) Boxer / Pit Bull mix, male, three years old.  Jock is a favorite around the shelter. Despite popular misgivings about his Pit Bull side, he is a big ol’ friendly dog that looks forward to visiting with his human friends. I found him to be outgoing and wanting a good ear scratching, which I administered.

Jock in a trot

“C’mon Jock,” and here he came, full-speed, ready for attention.

Jock in a classic pose

Jock is a handsome dog.

Jock lookin' for lovin.'

After Cathy left the pen to prepare Jock’s “room,” he and I struck up a friendship after he gave me a few good nosings. He is a good boy!

Think rescue!

The chez Dempsey animal population now is four rescues and one Rottweiler. The count is Ruby, a lab mix; Katie, a mostly Russian Blue mix; Sooner a tiny tiger-tabby and Nikon, the monster long-hair, our most recent addition. These critters add a measure of companionship, love, and loyalty not available from any other source. If you are ready for the responsibilities and rewards of a pet, please check your local rescue venue first. If you happen to find a support group like Pine Bluff Animal Friends, throw a little support their way. In the words of Henny Youngman, “It can’t hoit.”

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Egrets, grebes, and pelicans in Pine Bluff

Egret at Saracen Lake

This egret, as far as I can tell, does not stray more than 25 yards or so from his favorite clump of tall grass near the launch ramp on the south shores of Saracen Lake in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Said egret has become a dependable target.

In the last few weeks while making more than a few trips to Saracen Lake here in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to photograph our nice flock of wintering pelicans, I kept noticing an egret who likes to hang around a clump of tall grass near the launch ramp. Despite the fact the pelicans were the target of record, I have never been one to refuse a target of opportunity. The egret was just that. So during pelican lapses, the egret provided relief.

Pelicans on Saracen Lake

Click the pic for more pelicans

Though we are showing you a few pelicans in this post, you can get the full pelican treatment on the Corndancer Dot-com Photo of the Week page where this story started. You will see 20 pelican pictures. While you are there perusing pelicans, we will bide our time here awaiting your return.

The egret was nearly a mind reader. He stays in the general area where he was easy to spot but presents a different look with each visit. Sometimes a slightly different look and sometimes a dramatic difference. Can this bird read an art director’s mind? It appears to be so.

White egret in front of dark waters on Saracen Lake

The white egret makes a dramatic entrance against waters turned dark by angry skies.

Egret in tall grass near the shore line of Saracen Lake

Now the egret returns to his favorite tall grass clump from a different angle.

Egret on lauch ramp at Saracen Lake

This time the egret wades up the lake boat launch ramp just as the sun begins to set.

Peruse the pelicans

For several years now a flock of American White Pelicans have seen fit to winter on Saracen Lake. There are a few of us who are fans of those big birds and many other folks have more than a small interest in them. They are fun to watch and there are no commercial interruptions or requests to take the garbage out. According to informed sources, these are the nation’s largest flying birds. Find out more about these pelicans on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com.

Pair of pelicans landing on Saracen Lake in late aternoon

This pair, fresh from exploring other parts of the lake, make a landing and are about to bog up for the night.

Two pelicans and a sea gull swimming together on Saracen Lake

This pair of pelicans is swimming home. They have been joined by a gull who probably thinks the big birds are headed toward food.

Pelican flying low over Saracen Lake

I have observed many pelicans flying “limbo style,” across Saracen Lake: They seem to be trying to find out how low can they go.” This bad boy has a wing tip barely touching the water. He could be the prize winner.

Pelican flying from Saracen Lake  colony

Here’s a pelican “leaving for work.” The one in the lower right seems to be saying, “Bubba, bring home some extra fish.”

Gobs of grebes

If you watch the goings-on of lake critters at all, it won’t be long before you notice some small brownish birds, probably in the neighborhood of really small chickens size-wise. They are excellent swimmers and world class divers. You watch one or more happily swimming along, then as fast as you can blink your eye, the little dudes dive. Now you see ’em, now you don’t. There’s no telling where they will surface. There may be something of interest to odds makers here.

A few of the grebes came into effective long lens range and I was fortunate to make a few captures. The birds are “Pie-billed Grebes.” There are also “Horned Grebes” on the lake, but those have successfully evaded my surveillance thus far.

Pie-billed Grebe on swimming Saracen Lake

Here’s a Pie-billed Grebe with a few drops of water on its back left over from the last dive.

Pie-Billed Grege

This Pie-Billed Grebe, also replete with water droplets is about to take a dive.

Pie-billed grebe diving

There he goes! Take quick look at this grebe’s tiny butt. A fraction of a second later, only ripples remained. Where the bird would surface is anybody’s guess.

Two grebes swimming on Saracen Lake

Just another day in paradise for Mr. and Mrs. Grebe. They are taking turns on the diving duties.

Well there you have it. Another adventure from LA (lower Arkansas). This is good entertainment. For the price of a little gas and a few minutes of your time, you can watch time-honored, honed-to-perfection performances from world class feathery, floating athletes. If you are not near a lake,  stay tuned. This is not our last visit.

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind







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