Something new, something old


Old Stewart store at New Edinburg AR

The old Stewart store at New Edinburg AR. In the left background, you can see the recently restored Clement Hotel. The owners of the hotel recently purchased the store with intentions of restoring it, much like they restored the hotel.  That’s good news for New Edinburg.

Next door to this store, which has seen better days, sits the just-restored vintage 1879 frame-built Clement Hotel. The hotel owners, with a vested interest in how the neighborhood looks, recently bought the old store. We are told the new owners, Willie Carroll Livingston and his wife, intend to give it a good restoration working over just like they did the hotel.

restored frame hotel

Click to see the restored Clement Hotel

Before we go further, you can see pictures of the hotel and find out about the restoration by the owner and his wife on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

You can also see another picture of the  store on the Corndancer site.Click here to go there and get up to speed on the start of this story, a very cool thing to do. We’ll wait here for your return.

When we went to New Edinburg AR to shoot the old hotel, we were laboring under what turned out to be the delusion that we would be able to shoot the inside as well as the outside of the property. Unfortunately, the keys to the hotel were not available so there was an immediate change of plans.

Inside of old Stewart store, New Edinburg AR

Fortunately, in this life, when one door closes, another frequently opens, which was the case on that day. Turns out, relatives of the selling family were to open and empty the old store, which gave us the opportunity to shoot with impunity inside the old store which would never be the same again after today.

wood stove in Stewart Grocery

Old wood stoves similar to this one were the de rigueur heating system for most old country stores. On chilly days, customers who walked into the store would head straight to the stove for a quick warm up and summary of the latest goings on. Notice the old range in the background.

Clutter was the order of the day. We found an old kerosene storage tank and pump, a large wood stove and an old thirties era range. But the store was more than a store, the proprietor of the store, Leslie Stewart, was a Justice of the Peace with judicial authority.

coal-oil tank and pump

Near the wood stove was a kerosene tank. Almost every store at that time had one. The tank has a self-contained pump. Kerosene, known widely as coal-oil, served as fuel for lanterns and as a fire starter for wood stoves. Long before EPA, OSHA and dozens of other pervasive sets of initials,  a wood stove and a nearby kerosene tank were compatible. Now, NADA.

Justice Stewart regularly held court in the store. Some of the more racy cases would draw substantial crowds of onlookers thirsting for spicy details . One of my New Edinburg friends looked in a court docket book and found where his uncle was fined $10 for selling alcoholic beverages to minors. The dockets will make interesting reading.

old Finch McCullough store in New Edinburg AR

The old Finch McCullough store in New Edinburg AR was formerly a Methodist Church. After the store owners bought the building, they moved it to this location, about a block away from the old Stewart store on Arkansas Highway 8.

It was early in the afternoon and my breakfast had long since ceased to effectively fuel my activities. Feeling the need to replenish my system, I ambled down to the only store in town still in business, McClellan’s Country Store. This is not the first time I have visited the store to satisfy my hunger.

Longnecker Barq's Root Beer and huge sandwich

Longnecker Barq’s Root Beer and huge sandwich

At the time of my first visit, the store was known as Spears Country Store. Like before, I ordered a ham and turkey sandwich with all available add-ons. What I got was a huge gastronomical delight. The sandwich should have been measured in pounds or cubic feet, whichever was more appropriate. Huge and yummy good. Accompanied by a Barq’s Root Beer in a traditional longnecker bottle, the meal was perfect for a Saturday afternoon lunch for a good ol’ boy. McClellan’s has their act together.

It is refreshing to be around people who see something good to do and proceed to do it. That’s what I found in New Edinburg.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: Our Weekly Grist Gallery

Stewart store entrance

Every week we shoot more pictures than we have room to show on this page. So, to make sure you are not deprived of the complete story, we put all of our weekly pictures in a gallery of pictures only. This week there are 20 pictures, nine of which you have not seen. These pictures include more shots in the store, a shot of some shelf products left in the store and a bunch of other good stuff you will enjoy. Click here to see these pictures.

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

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Church in Houston


Old Methodist Church in Houston Arkansas

This place of worship, formerly Houston Methodist Church, as of February, 2010,  Jesus Name Community Church of Faith, Hope & Love, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Akansas, that is

(Author note: This is an edited and updated version of our February 28, 2010 post. All photos were shot that week).

From the looks of things, when Houston Methodist Church of Houston, Arkansas, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places it was not a minute too soon. The national register listing says the “period of historic significance” was 1900-1924 and the architectural style is listed as “Colonial Revival.” A plaque (the dark square right of the door) says Houston Methodist Church was established in 1890, but does not reveal a construction date for this building.

St. Boniface Catholic Church, New Dixie community Arkansas

St. Boniface Catholic Church

The building date for St. Boniface Catholic Church, just a few miles to the east is not a mystery. This story started with St. Boniface on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to go there and see pictures of St. Boniface and get in on the start of the story.

While we have better information on St. Boniface than we do on Houston Methodist, what we do know is that both congregations had their beginnings within just a few years of each other. Undoubtedly, members and parishioners knew each other, did business with each other, and their sons and daughters probably had eyes for each other. The latter with callous disregard of parental leanings.

This peaceful coexistence was then and is now an on-the-ground manifestation of the religious freedom which is at the core of our American culture. I believe I can say this with reasonable authority since I find no historical records of the Methodists and Catholics of Perry County attempting to obliterate each other. Would that we could say the same thing for other cultures not so inclined that are now impacting ours.

Houston Methodist Church Houston Arkansas

The church bell seems suspended in time. Corrosion and a few too many coats of paint are the probable culprits for this tonal paralysis. But I suppose, it’s the thought that counts.

Houston Methodist Church Houston Arkansas 2010

There’s not much else to say about this fine old structure except “good luck.” It is a fine example of community churches of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in these parts — which has obviously seen better times. The condition of the building, however, does not diminish the spiritual importance of its message to believers who frequent its halls. Pray for paint and labor.

Down the road and into the sun

You can see golden evidence of a setting sun in the last picture of the old church.  This condition prompted me to observe to my friend Joh Phillipi who joined the fray on this trip, ” … we’re burnin’ daylight,” the favorite quote of “The Duke,” hisself, John Wayne in The Cowboys. That being said, we lit a shuck and headed toward Bigelow. Shortly after our arrival, we noticed the crooked house below. We had to stop and shoot.

Crooked house in Bigelow

Should it be: ” … there was a crooked house … ,” or “The leaning store of Bigelow?”

The Bigelow visit was indeed a fortuitous stop. We got a great shot of an old building with the visual panache available only with low- in-the-horizon, late-winter-setting-sun-illumination. Stopping for this target of opportunity caused a delay which enhanced the next shot, albeit unbeknown to us at the time.

Crooked House at Bigelow 2

A few frames later, here’s a glance at the swayback roof line.

Heading south to Arkansas Highway 10, our route would take us past Lake Maumelle, a large impoundment which is the potable water supply for Little Rock. That is not its only claim to fame. Lake Maumelle is also home to the Grande Maumelle Sailing Club, an organization, the members of which for the most part are rabidly dedicated to the sport of racing sailboats. In a former life, I helmed many a race on the face of that lake.

Moonrise on Lake Maumelle

The moon is rising in the east as the sun sets in the west at Lake Maumelle, Arkansas. Shot from the centerboard launch ramp on the Grande Maumelle Sailing Club premises, a racing organization. I launched my former Thistle a bunch of times from this dock.

Knowing the layout, as I noticed the moon rising in the east, I knew where the would lunar lake look would be just too cool. That place is the centerboard launch ramp on the sailing club premises. We made a beeline to the lake and arrived in the nick of time.

A great ending to a great day.

But wait, there’s more

See more pictures from this trip plus larger versions of the ones we have posted on Corndancer Photo of the Week and Weekly Grist. It’s our Weekly Grist Gallery. Low-carb, low fat, low-sodium, but slightly addictive. Some things we just can’t help.

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