GRAND PRAIRIE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

- Historical Photos - 

This undated photo, believed to have been taken before 1924 by longtime DeWitt photographer Dayton Bowers, shows the L. A. Black Store. The firm was apparently closing at the time the picture was made. The Black Store stood on the northeast section of the square, midway along the block that faces west. Courtesy of the Arkansas Post Museum State Park.
The first large scale agricultural product from the Stuttgart area was hay, with much of it being sent out by rail to Chicago markets. This early 1900s view features a large hay load pausing in front of the shop of early Stuttgart photographer E. K. Blush, who is advertising his “Cabinet Photos 3.00 per Dozen.” Courtesy of the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie.
Zion Lutheran Church, Ulm, shown in a 1903 photograph. The original 1883 building is seen at right. Courtesy of the Amici Club/Stuttgart Public Library.
The White River logging boat Mary Woods No. 2 heads downstream at Mount Adams in 1949. Capt. Fred Paul often sounded the whistle upon request. Many years later, the boat was displayed at Jacksonport State Park, where it sank due to frozen water lines in 1984. After restoration, the Mary Woods sustained tornado damage in 1997 and again was renovated. Bad luck hit yet again in 2010, when it sank due to vandalism. Courtesy Estelle Gunnell Seidenschwarz.
Gillett High School opened in this building in 1916, and served area students until 1943. The school burned during the Christmas break of that year. It was heated by a steam furnace in the basement. Sometime during the night the system malfunctioned and the school was a total loss. This was during the WWII years when materials and craftsmen were in short supply. It took a couple of years to replace it, and while this was being done, school was held all over town in churches, vacant homes, and even the parlor rooms of larger homes. Courtesy of John W. Cover.
Piper Cubs and Waco Hadrian gliders are prominent in this snowy 1942 scene of a review of enlisted men at Stuutgart Army Airfield. The United States Army Air Forces opened the facility as a pilot training base in late 1942, six miles north of the city on 2,682 acres. The airbase consisted of four 5,000-foot runways and facilities for 6,000 personnel. Officials decided on Stuttgart because the prairie environment was perfect for airfield operations, with little clearing necessary and firm hardpan soil for runways. After the deactivation of the base in 1945, the War Assets Administration took over the field in 1946. In 1949 the land was transferred to the city for use as a municipal airport. Courtesy of the Air Force Heritage Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL.
During its time as Stuttgart College and later Training School, the institution educated many of the town’s early citizens and leaders. Students and teachers at the school around 1909 were, from left to right, (first row) unidentified, Charles Chaney, next two unidentified, Arthur Pettit, next two unidentified, and Myron Williams; (second row) Gladys Hegner, Joanna Porter, Edna Holdridge, Harvey Pace, John Hegner, Walter Mobley, and teacher Miss Varney; (third row) principal C. O’Rear, Florence Sumner, unidentified, Evelyn Clark, Willie Brummitt, Mattie Simmermacher, Verna Huffman, John Holdridge, Wesley Clark, and teacher Miss Bodenhamer; (fourth row) Josie Satchfield, Belle McFall, next two unidentified, Bertha Griffin, Blanche Leighton, Alice Bradford, Myrtle Hostetter, Edith Leighton, Willie Lee Spiller, and Fred Wilcox; (fifth row) Jennie Hostetter, teacher John G. Rossman, teacher Ralph Standley, Earl Moorhead, Richard Miller, Roy Hawley, and Floyd Denman; (sixth row) Robert Moorhead, William Adams, Duncan Moore, Kenneth Yoder, Ben Ware, Arch Vickers, unidentified, and Lloyd Moorhead. Courtesy of the Amici Club/Stuttgart Public Library.
This group of Stuttgart’s ladies model the latest fashions offered by the Cotton Shop at Fourth and Maple Streets around 1955. They are, from left to right, (sitting) Mary Lou Harper, Genevieve Woerner, Linda Minton, Regina Jones, and Ruth Stroh; (standing) Emma Lee, Sally Jones, Shelley Simpson, Mary Linebarrier, and Ruth Cobb. Courtesy of the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie.
This Grand Prairie farm family and threshing crew pose proudly for the camera after finishing their work. Each of the burlap bags contained 180 pounds or four bushels of rice, which had been separated from the straw by the threshing machine. The bags would be sewn shut with twine and later loaded on wagons and transported to the rice mill at Stuttgart. Courtesy of the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie.
The National Duck Calling Contest was in its second year in this 1937 scene. Cofounder Verne Tindall addresses the crowd, and is being heard on radio stations KARK (Little Rock) and KSD (St. Louis). Looking south from Third and Main Streets, this view illustrates the popularity of the contest even in its infancy. It continues today as part of the Wings Over the Prairie Festival. Courtesy of the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie.
Postcard image of the Sparks Hotel, DeWitt, Arkansas. Located on Cross Street behind Leibrock’s, this building housed lodging accommodation for many years. As of 1913 it was the Arlington Hotel, and by 1919 was known as the Sparks Hotel. Later it was the Hampton Hotel, and afterward the Rice Hotel. The building’s large dining room was always a featured amenity. The car pictured on the postcard was used by the hotel to transfer guests to and from the Cotton Belt Railroad station, located a few blocks south.
1960s postcard image of the St. Charles Ferry, which transferred vehicles free of charge. According to the postcard’s caption, “Arkansas Highway One handles traffic from Helena, DeWitt and Stuttgart area and makes a crossing of White River at St. Charles, Ark. The tourist or casual traveler always has a thrill in this manner of crossing one of the most interesting streams of the area."
This 1963 photo taken at the old Arkansas Post State Park entrance shows the Refeld-Hinman log house, which housed the Arkansas Post County Museum. Ovie and Helen Bradford were the curators. The 1870s structure was removed to its present site in 1967, after the National Park Service began management of the Post site. The National Memorial's interpretation extends to the Civil War years, making the house more suitable for the post-war period represented by the present State Park location. Jim Bennett photo; Glenn Mosenthin collection.
Currier and Ives lithograph of the bombardment and capture of Ft. Hindman, Arkansas Post, January 11, 1863. “By the Gunboats, commanded by Rear Admiral D. D. Porter, and the Union troops under Maj. Gen. McClernand; the number of Prisoners taken was 7000 [sic], being more than all the Federal forces in action, also 20 Guns, 8000 Stand of small arms and 200 army wagons, with herds of horses and mules.” Courtesy of the Congressional Library.
World War I troop train departing Stuttgart on the Cotton Belt branch line to England, destined for Camp Pike in North Little Rock. Note the lean of the passenger cars due to the army recruits bidding farewell to the crowd. This view is northwest from the depot. Courtesy of Glenn Mosenthin.
Stuttgart sportsmen Kenneth “Slick” McCollum (left) and Louis “Red” Wilhelm pose for this quintessential duck hunting publicity photograph in flooded hardwoods typical of the region. McCollum, the 1939 duck calling contest winner, owned the highly successful Stuttgart Hunting Club along Bayou Meto. Wilhelm was the 1946 world champion duck caller. Courtesy of the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie.
The World Championship Duck Calling Contest has been held every November since 1936, and is the oldest festival in Arkansas. Looking north from Fourth and Main Streets in the 1950s, the contest and carnival is set up in the midst of Stuttgart’s business district. The stage can be seen in the center of Main Street near the Riceland Hotel. Stuttgart’s largest annual event remains a major source of tourism, contributing handsomely to the Grand Prairie’s economy. It is today part of the Wings over the Prairie Festival. Courtesy of the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie.
This rare image is of the Tindall-Prange & Sons Store in Crocketts Bluff. The Prange brothers referred to here are the four sons of Henry Prange: Theodore, August, Edmund, and George. The photo dates to around 1915, almost definitely between the years 1908–1923. The store is believed to have been located a half mile or so south of Chris Prange’s store, perhaps at or near the current location of Schwab’s. Courtesy of Kay Tindall Trice.
This undated image shows the old Stuttgart High School building at Ninth and Lowe Streets. The school opened in September 1912, and graduated 55 classes of area students. The building was replaced by the current SHS campus in 1967. Courtesy Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie.
These guys make a game of pool look like serious business! Mr. Tackett, Albert Kestner and Blaine "Hokie" Glidewell at Hokie's Pool Hall in Almyra. Photo courtesy of Kay Bennett Refeld, who remembers accompanying her grandfather to the pool hall many afternoons. She wasn't allowed to go inside but he'd buy her a Moon Pie and a Grapette to enjoy while she waited outside.
Almyra High School float, depicted around the World War I years. Courtesy of the Amici Club/Stuttgart Public Library.
DeWitt High School, erected 1909 at the corner of Cross and Monroe Sts., graduated its first senior class in 1910. After the red brick three-story structure was demolished in 1938, Westside Elementary was built on the site. Courtesy of Ellen West.
A leisurely Sunday afternoon outing in Bayou Meto near the mouth of Bell's Gulley. The two people in the boat with dark clothing on are Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. The remainder are unidentified, but the big man sitting on the right end of the boat could be Mr. W.C. Champion or Mr. A.L. Youngblood. This was before the flood gates were installed in 1927-29, probably much earlier near the turn of the 20th century. The structures on the water were known as the Fish Dock, and the building up on land was possibly Champion's store, or a saw mill that sat on the bayou. Courtesy of the Dean Bell family.
Opening up the field with a binder. It cut the stalks of grain off with a sickle bar, reeled them back on a canvas that was moving them toward the the bundling mechanism. Once inside the mechanism the stalks were shaken and tumbled in to bundles with the heads all pointed in one direction. A string (binder twine) was wrapped around the bundle and pulled tight, then tied with the famous knotting device that most people could not understand its workings. Once tied, the bundle was dumped down on a carrying frame that the operator could wait for several to collect, and then dump them on the ground. A crew followed the binder and set the shocks of rice, oats, or wheat up in bundles, where it dried the grain heads down over a couple weeks time. The next step was the separating the grain from the straw. Courtesy of John W. Cover.
This is a Dayton Bowers photo of threshing rice on the Grand Prairie near DeWitt, Arkansas. It looks like they had their threshing set up very near the well that was used to irrigate the rice all summer long. Most early farmers had a special place they threshed the grain off the straw. Straw stacks were a common site before the self propelled combines came on the scene post World War II. The stacks would furnish fodder for the farm animals during the winter months, and though of little food value, the straw provided the roughage necessary for livestock. Courtesy of John W. Cover.
Undated aerial image of Almyra, Arkansas, taken by Stuttgart photographer Harry Downing. Courtesy of Raeann Refeld Braithwaite.
Pendleton Ferry shown in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of John W. Cover.
Arkansas County Courthouse, DeWitt. This handsome building opened in 1893 and served the county until 1932, when it was replaced by the current court building. It was torn down due to structural deficiencies.
The interior of Rich's Grocery is pictured here in the 1950s. Operated by H. R. and Jimmy Rich, the store was on the southeast corner of Third and Maple Streets. Rich's delivered to Stuttgart residents, which was a common practice in that era. Courtesy Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie.