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.

Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.



The Look-out tree

the look out tree

The state of Arkansas calls this tree a "Look See" tree. Olin Tucker, owner of the tree, and his neighbors around the Coleman, Arkansas community prefer to call it a "look-out" tree.

When I first made the acquaintance of Olin Tucker of the Coleman, Arkansas, community he had just completed pitching the virtues of a pair of used riding mowers he had for sale to a couple of “ol’ boys,” from nearby Dumas. They left without buying, which did not faze Olin one way or the other. I approached him to ask for some information about a bizarre site I had photographed in the woods not far from his home on Arkansas Highway 83.

Selma Methodist Church Selma Arkansas

Selma Methodist Church Selma, Arkansas

Before we go too much further here, I need to advise you that this story came about as a result of a trip to shoot the 1874 model Selma Methodist Church in Selma, Arkansas not far from Coleman. Having shot it in March of 2009, I was overdue to shoot it again. One cannot overshoot a 136-year-old rural church.

The church suffered some wind damage a year or so back and was in danger of falling. It has been saved and stabilized. The church is being restored to its former glory.

See pictures of the church and read the story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to go there, a good thing to do.

Back to the “look-out” tree

When I asked Olin about what I had seen in the woods not far from his house, he told me he had not ventured that far and was unaware of what I had seen and shot. However, he immediately said, ” … what you need to shoot is that tree,” as he pointed to a fine old white oak tree on his property.

Look out tree at Coleman Arkansas

Look out tree at Coleman Arkansas. The climbing pegs driven into the tree in the late thirties are still in the tree. There is a remnant of the platform left as well as an insulator for the telephone line used by forest rangers.

It turns out, in the late thirties, the tree was designated by the Arkansas Forestry Department to be a “look-out” tree. A look-out tree was a tall critter, normally strategically located on high ground. Forestry department crews would drive climbing pegs into the tree, similar to what you see in telephone poles.  They also installed a platform and lines for a “hand-crank” telephone. Then during threatening seasons, forest rangers could climb the tree to “look out” for forest fires.

At the time, Olin’s grandfather, owner of the property, farmed it extensively. The land then, unlike today, was cleared for row crops and not covered with trees. So, the location offered a long field of vision, a prime consideration for a look-out tree. Olins uncle was a forest ranger and favorably reported the effectiveness of the look-out tree, ” … my uncle said on a clear day, he could see all the way to Dumas,”

A looming threat

In 2000 after Olin moved to his present home from Pine Bluff,  as he admired his tree, it occurred to him that the tree sits precariously near a state highway and is, in fact, the the state highway right-of-way. That being so, he worried, that should the highway department decide to improve Arkansas Highway 83, the tree would probably be lost in the process.

With the fear of losing his tree as a driving force Olin waded hip-deep into the process of finding a way to save it. After no small amount of legwork, in 2006, Olin’s tree was properly admitted to and registered with the Arkansas Famous and Historic Tree Program. The tree will now be there until if falls of its on accord. Some things just work out well.

Things you don’t expect to see departmment

It never ceases to amaze me what I find with a trip down a country road. Usually the more primitive the better. In this case, Holy Toledo, it looks like a ritual slaughter and display of old truck cabs. Or is it a Southeast Arkansas attempt at Stonehenge? Or Easter Island? Perhaps a ferrous oxide memorial in the making. Or aliens staking out a vacation spot.

old truck cabs in woods

What mysterious force dropped these old truck cabs here. Where is Kirk when you need him?

One of the more nefarious habits we sometimes see are impromptu dumps. Further down the road I encountered one. People drive their junk out into the woods and eject it, knowing it will never be seen by many. It this case, I rounded a curve to see a jettisoned porcelain convenience plopped on the side of the road. In the background was a decimated deer stand, and a pile of detritus including old bed springs and other household goods. Well folks, it ain’t hid no more. The world can see it. So there!

old truck cabs in woods

What some litterbug had hoped would go unseen is now on the world-wide-web.

I suppose you can’t help but snicker a bit when you see a lonely pot in a pile of pine needles. I did. Hope you did too despite the inappropriateness of the whole thing. Laugh while you can.

BUT WAIT, there’s more

Click here to browse through a gallery of 13 high resolution versions of this weeks pictures, including a couple not published.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey

%d bloggers like this: