Ogle this store, and more


Ogles store front

Ogles Store at Collins, Arkansas sold its first piece of merchandise in 1874. Doy Ogle, grandson of the original proprietor, John Ogle, owns and operates the store today. The store's inventory includes more than the average person can imagine. Here we see shovels, a wheelbarrow wheel, a cricket box, fishing poles, extension cord, vacuum cleaner, wheel ring, a chain hoist, and other whatchamacallits and doo-dads which defy description.

 Ogles Store in Collins, Arkansas is the only game in town. The closest other stores are 15 miles west and eight miles east. It wasn’t always that way. Not long after Ogles opened its doors in 1874, there were seven other stores in Collins all vying for the same customers. Now 137 years later, Ogles is still at it which tells us that they’ve been doing something right since the git-go. Collins is south of Seven Devils Swamp, west of Dermott, Arkansas, and east of Monticello, Arkansas, just in case you were curious.

Doy Ogle

Click on Doy Ogle for more Ogle Store pictures

Ogle more at Ogles

This story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Go there to get in on the start of this story and see pictures of the inside of the store. Also get  a bit more store information. We’ll wait here while you visit.

To get into the store, you must stroll through merchandise displayed at the approach to the front door. As you look at what’s offered, you know you are not shopping at the average store. Let’s face it. Where else could you find fuel cans, circular saw blades, antique signs, a trailer hitch, a kitchen canister, a couple of old bug sprayers, an extension cord, a child’s stool, and a sledge hammer all conveniently arranged for immediate inspection? Precious few I suspect.

table of merchandise at country store

The east outdoor shopping display at the entrance to Ogles Store. If you are of a curious nature, Ogles is like a candy store for persons of your ilk.

When you reach the front door, the selections continue. Clothing, fireplace tools, extension cords, a drill press next to a floor lamp and more. You also see a plethora of signs and notifications on the front doors. Do not despair, you will not be tested on the content of these.

See more pictures of Ogles store plus more from this trip on our Weekly Grist Gallery

Front door at Ogles

A whole world lies waiting behind door number one.

Cruising through south Arkansas, my main image hunting grounds, I find subjects to which I will return when the light is better or when I have time to make the shot. The old store at Coleman, Arkansas was high on that list and has now been checked off. The old gas pump, home-made window grids, “coal-oil” pump were too much to resist.

Old store front at Coleman Arkansas

The "coal-oil" pump and the gas pump at Coleman Store at Coleman, Arkansas are easy to explain. The potty, I'm not so sure. At least it is a good place to take a seat out of the 100° sun.

 At the junction of Arkansas Highways 277 and 54, you will find Coleman Store, at Coleman Arkansas. Congratulations. You and I can find it, but Google can’t. They don’t know what they are missing, which is a fine old store.

Home made campaign sign

Several miles further south, less than a quarter of a mile from one of our favorite places, Selma Methodist Church, at Selma Arkansas, the 2012 campaign has kicked off — with Krylon and the side of a barn.

Critters do what they can to beat the heat. This nice looking buckskin is standing in the pond, probably pondering the idea of venturing deeper. His cow friends will have no such trepidations. They will go leg-deep into a pond in a heart beat.

buckskin in a pond

Come on in, the water's fine. Honest. Notice the bare ground at the edge of the pond. Where the grass starts is the normal water line. It's been a while since south Arkansas has had a significant rain. My buddies down in Cleveland County tell me it's so dry they're catching catfish out of the Saline River with ticks on 'em.

See more pictures  from this trip on our Weekly Grist Gallery

Tall cotton

Almost everyone has heard the term "standin' in tall cotton." Well friends, this is real-live tall cotton. The outside rows nearly hit me in the chin and I am 6-3" tall. (Formerly 6-6" tall until the onset of multiple birthdays).

On the way home, sunset started happening at McGehee, Arkansas. The sun had dipped behind the fine cypress trees in Wiley McGehee Memorial park on the west side of U.S. Highway 65.

Sun behind cypress at Wiley McGehee Memorial Park

Sunset behind the cypress at Wiley McGehee Memorial Park, McGehee, Arkansas. Nice.

I arrived just in time to catch the sun behind the trees and sun colors across the deer grass and water in which the cypress stand. The timing was dumb luck and perfect. The Lord continues to take care of fools and drunks.

Selma Methodist Church

Click on the church for more pictures

SEE MORE on our Weekly Grist Gallery.

More store. More of this trip including Selma Methodist Church – 29 pictures in all in a larger format.

See a curious cow, the highway patrol and wreckers at the site of an 18 wheeler breakdown and more in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Thanks,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

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

Carroway’s General Store


Phyllis Crady at Carroway's General Store, Ida, Louisiana

Phyllis Crady, co-proprietor of Carroway’s General Store in Ida, Louisiana carries the torch for a tradition that began in 1926. The store started then as Perry Mercantile. The store and restaurant are managed and operated by a complete staff of women.


Update − January 25, 2014:

I am advised by good authority that Carroway’s General Store and Restaurant and store will reopen in February, 2014. Ain’t that grand!

Update − August 6, 2010:

Unfortunately, Carroway’s General Store has fallen victim to the economic pressure of the times and is now closed. The windows are not boarded and the external appearance remains essentially the same as what you see in this post and on Corndancer.com.

This story had its beginnings on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. To see other pictures of Carroway’s and get in on the start of the story, click here, a very cool thing to do.

A succession of owners since 1926 have kept structural and equipment changes to a minimum at Carroway’s General Store in Ida, Louisiana. The store started business as Perry Mercantile. Two years after they started the business, the Perrys sold the store to the Carroway’s who operated it for forty years. Since the store left the hands of the Carroways, it has gone through several ownership changes. Most of the time, when a business changes hands a lot, it tends to lose its original identity, pandering to the current ego-in-charge. Carroway’s has not suffered that fate.

The current owners, Phyllis and Grady Crady are continuing that honored and proven tradition of keeping things the same as much as possible. Phyllis is quick to point out that the retail fixtures, shelving and some of the old business machines and hardware are vintage. Being a modern business, the store uses modern business equipment, but the vintage equipment is kept in plain sight. Customer service is definitely and delightfully “out of the past.”

The expansive front porch at Carroway's General store in Ida, Louisiana

Carroway’s front porch is an inviting and relaxing place. It provides a place for “visiting,” and work breaks. It is also a popular venue for politicians making election year “stump” speeches. Former governors Huey P. Long, Earl Long, and musician-turned-governor Jimmie Davis are among the notables who have availed themselves of Carroway’s front porch.

Carroway’s shelves are stocked with a big variety of merchandise ranging from groceries and household supplies to hardware and antiques, the latter of which sometimes bears some explanation. Phyllis Crady says store visitors sometimes have misconceptions about what they  find in the store. “I hear the question, ‘ … is this a museum? … ‘, I quickly tell them that this is a store and what you see is for sale. For that matter, so is the store.”

Carroway's General store original shelving and cabinets

Carroway’s General Store shelves stocked with lots of merchandise, old and new. And it’s all for sale. The shelves and glass cases are have been in the store since day one in 1926.

Carroway’s is more than a store. It is also a first class restaurant with a loyal following originating locally and from a fifty-mile radius of Ida. Customers from Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana; Atlanta, Texas, and Texarkana USA show up on a regular basis for breakfast, lunch, and supper, (OK dinner if you insist).

Carroway's General Store Restaurant

Carroway’s General Store Restaurant keeps the down-home tradition in its decor. The glass cabinet to the right contains an eclectic collection of memorabilia. To the curious and to antique aficionados, the cabinet collection is a meal for the eyes, as the menu is for the tummy.

As if a fine general store and a first class restaurant were not enough, the Cradys reestablished the Ida Barbershop, yes a real live barbershop in the store. The barber, JoJo Norton is in the shop every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and during the week by appointment before 9:00 a.m.

JoJo Norton's Ida Barbershop in Carroway's General Store

JoJo Norton’s Ida Barbershop in Carroway’s General Store. A shave and a haircut in today’s economy are somewhat more than six bits, but well worth the trip.

It is probably not a “discovery” to the Cradys that keeping valued traditions alive and well is good for business. In fact, from all outward appearances, it just comes naturally to them. It is said that marketing is “finding out what people want and giving them more of it … and finding out what they don’t like and giving them less of it.” It appears that a succession of Carroway’s proprietors were and are in tune with that concept. Works for me.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Traveler’s rest


The Traveler, opulence on wheels

Now 104 years old, the Traveler, once the personal rail car of the president of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad permanently resides on Pumpkin Hill Road south of Rison, Arkansas,

Now 104 years old, the Traveler, once the personal rail car of the president of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad, now permanently resides on Bob Abbott's place down Pumpkin Hill Road south of Rison, Arkansas,

Though her paint is a bit faded, for her age, the Traveler, formerly the private rail car of the president of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad is holding up well. She left active service in 1960 and has been here on Pumpkin Hill Road, south of Rison, Arkansas since. This story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. To see more pictures of the Traveler, click here, visit the Photo of the Week page and get in on the start of the story.

What you saw as the Traveler pulled away from you. The door is open to the observation parlor. You see reflections in a large oval mirror over the rear facing parlor settee.

What you saw as the Traveler pulled away from you. The door is open to the observation parlor. You see reflections in a large oval mirror over the rear facing parlor settee.

At the back of the car, there is an observation parlor with the door opening to the rear platform. See a picture of the parlor here. If you think you see water in the background of the picture above, you are correct. It’s a toss up  as to whether is a big pond or a small lake, but it is a beautiful impoundment, brimming with large catfish, bass and hand-size bream. Those who wet a hook there are normally not disappointed according to Bob Abbott, the owner.

The mahogany main parlor at the front of the car has a writing desk, a large table with six chairs and very comfortable aisle seating. The windows are large. The carpet, though aged, is lush.

The spacious main parlor served as a dining room, a place for business meetings, and for friendly card games as is evidenced by cards and other necessities in the open drawer,

The spacious main parlor served as a dining room, a place for business meetings, and for friendly card games as is evidenced by cards and other necessities in the open drawer.

Detai of the writing desk. Note the fine joinings and finish of the cabinetry, all in original condition.

Detail of the writing desk. Note the fine joinings and finish of the cabinetry, all in original condition. Notice the charcoal in the pan under the desk. It absorbs moisture and untoward odors.

The hallway would not be a comfortable fit for the average NCAA Division I or NFL defensive tackle. I wear a 46 long suit and when I stood squarely in it, my shoulders scraped the sides of the door.

The parlor pictures above were shot with flash. The picture below was shot from further toward the front of the car and shows more of the mahogany cabinetry in the upper foreground. The color has a different cast brought about by using only available light.

The main parlor from closer to the front of the car. Note the overhead storage and richly upholstered seats.

The main parlor from closer to the front of the car. Note the overhead storage and richly upholstered seats. Also notice my pickup in the left window, a no-no, but I did it anyway.

Though the Traveler is the star of the show on Bob Abbott’s Pumpkin Hill Road place, it is not the only attraction. In 2007, Bob had a small chapel built on the banks of the lake/pond(?). (your guess is as good as mine). Since then it has become popular for weddings and other church related events. Bob, being who he is, does not charge for its use.

The Traveler's new neighbor, the chapel, has proven to be nearly as popular as the Traveler. It could be Divine intervention.

The Traveler's new neighbor, the chapel, has proven to be nearly as popular as the Traveler. It could be Divine intervention. The chapel is particularly impressive in the early spring as Dogwood trees generously bloom.

Signs, signs, Joe Webb’s signs …

A Buick sign from "back in the day."

A Buick sign from "back in the day."

As promised on the Corndancer Photo of the Week page and in last week’s Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind, I am showing another of Joe’s signs. On this one, the Buick folks tout their valve-in-head engine configuration. In the mid fifties, Buick added a variable pitch impeller in their automatic transmissions which supposedly gave you neck snapping power on the low end and more economy on the high end. Such cerebral appeals have long since given away to more visceral appeals in this day and time. The facts are now, proper cup holder configuration is higher on the pecking order of consumer concern and awareness than valve configuration. And so it goes.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Alas poor compress, I knew you well


What you are seeing above is what's left of a cotton compress and the boiler which provided the steam that operated the compress.

What you are seeing above is what's left of a long since abandoned cotton compress and the boiler which provided the steam that operated the press.

This story had its beginnings on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. To get in on the start of the tale and another picture, click here, a very cool and safe thing to do. There, we talked about seeing things in the winter, here we talk about the things we see.

Time was in the South, where cotton was king, almost every town of any size had a cotton compress with an attendant warehouse. The output of a cotton gin is a bale of cotton. A normal cotton bales weighs in at about 500 to 600 pounds of ginned cotton. It measures roughly, about 4 feet by 3 feet by 5 feet. The gin compressed the bale somewhat, but to get the bale down to easy handling and shipping size, more muscle was required.  Hence the compress. Compresses reduced the bale to 60-66% of its original size. Virtually all of the old compresses were on a main rail line, or had rail access via a spur.

Since all compresses were steam operated, having a dependable supply of water was of prime concern. So they all had water towers on the site. This one is typical of the era. Now folks might think it looks like an oversized wren house. Tree limbs between the camera and subject are compressed by the telephoto effect.

Since all compresses were steam operated, having a dependable supply of water was of prime concern. So they all had water towers on the site. This one is typical of the era. Now folks might think it looks like an over-sized wren house. Tree limbs between the camera and subject are compressed by the telephoto effect.

With few exceptions the old compresses were steam operated. The process was simple. Put the bale in the compress, pour the steam to it, mash the fool out of it and re-band it in the smaller size. When the operator released the steam, a resounding “whoosh” could be heard for miles. Close to the puffing whooshes one hears from a steam locomotive, just not as frequent.

One local resident recalls the predictable steam whistle at the compress. The compress whistle sounded daily at 6:00 a.m., noon, and 6:00 p.m. In that day and time, the compress whistle was as inevitable as death and taxes. Now just a pleasant memory – the whistle, not the taxes.

Starting in the fifties, gins and gin technologies began a change that eliminated the need for free-standing compresses. Smaller gins were falling by the wayside in favor of larger gins which had huge hydraulic presses capable of doing what steam had formerly done. Trucks were becoming the more common means of shipping cotton. The party was nearly over for free standing compresses.

This particular compress goes back to at least the early 1920s. The door on the boiler reveals that The Casey-Hedges Company of Chattanooga TN built the boiler for the compress in 1923. Casey-Hedges, from what I can find out, was a major supplier of steam operated equipment.

This particular compress goes back to at least the early 1920s. The door on the boiler reveals that The Casey-Hedges Company of Chattanooga TN built the boiler for the compress in 1923. Casey-Hedges, from what I can find out, was a major supplier of steam operated equipment.

The death stars finally converged and administered the coup de’ grace, not just to this compress, but the compress business as viable entity. The south is dotted with once vibrant and viable, now empty, shells of compresses.

We ask, why just abandon the buildings? There is a modern counterpart to this mode of behavior, to wit: It’s economic. The reason – the same reason you don’t get the digital watch fixed when it stops, the same reason you don’t fix a lamp or a myriad of other items that pose a greater expenditure of “trouble” and money to repair than to replace. The business was dead and it cost money to demolish the former premises. Some things never change.

UPDATE, MARCH 31, 2011

It saddens me to report that the owners of the property have leveled the old compress site. The water tower is still standing, but the old compress building, boiler, and with it, the boiler door have fallen to an  ignominious end. JPD.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe

Speling and signs


If you’ve arrived here from the Corndancer dot com Photo of the Week, this continues the saga. If you’ve arrived here independently of the original story, and your curiosity is piqued, you can check it out here.

With tabuls and chers one would presume

With tabuls and chers one would presume

It seems like, in this day and age, we are swimming in a sea of “mispelt wirds.” This is personified by marker wielding sign makers who dot the landscape with pop art populated by misspelled words. The sign to the left decorates the exit of a Wal-Mart store.

The aspiring merchant posted two of these masterpieces, The other one, probably the second, touts the sale as “whole house.” You can see it here. There seems to be consistency in design and syntax.

What, no Mazola?

What, no Mazola?

Marker signs show up almost everywhere. If not free standing, they are attached to an existing structure. The two-way highway sign near an overpass touts a “Foam Party.” That’s a new one on me. I recall hearing about the legendary “Mazola” parties of the sixties, but a “foam party” leaves me mystified.

Apparently, the party organizers wanted to make certain invitees and the curious could find the festivities. There were five or six other signs staked out along the right-of-way with arrows pointing in the right direction. These signs had fallen victim to the morning dew and were sadly folded and nearly unreadable. But nothing can deter a determined marker sign person from plying his craft. Probably they were OK before the party and served their purpose.

Don't you dare ship or receive on the wrong side!

Don't even think about shipping or receiving on the wrong side. We are watching you.

Signs can give us a grin. We see see a sign and ask ourselves, what were they thinking? In the case of the overhead door sign, perhaps it was a company edict to encourage multi-tasking.

The building is currently not occupied, but placement of the “receiving” and “shipping” signs makes one wonder if there was a supervisor whose job it was to make certain that shipping and recieving were confined to the proper side of the open door. If this policy were violated, was a note of reprimand placed in a personnel file? Inquiring minds want to know.

It had to be on purpose. But what purpose?

It had to be on purpose. But what purpose?

Still in the “what were they thinking” mode, take a look at the Polaris sign. Is this a special accommodation to those few motorists who drive while standing on their heads? Or was it inspired one of the philatelist’s fondest hopes and desires, the inverted airmail stamp?

I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. But it does stimulate conversation on something besides the weather. Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey

Verbiage and all photographs © 2008 Joe Dempsey. Violators of this copyright will be relentlessly tracked down, Immediately upon capture, said miscreants will be summarily tossed to the lions.

Visit our site http://www.joedempseyphoto.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.