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Madison County was formed 30 September 1836. It was named for James Madison, 4th U.S. President. Huntsville was named for John Hunt, city founder. The courthouse was designed in 1939 by architects T. Ewing Shelton and E. Chester Nelson.
Written May 4, 2012
Address: 201 West Main Street, Huntsville, Arkansas 72740.
Phone: (479) 738-6721
Traditional American food. Good salad bar. Best chicken on Earth!
Favorite Dish: Chicken dinner. (Pecan pie's great, too, if you have room!)
Written May 3, 2012
Address: 537 N. Parrott Drive, Huntsville, Arkansas 72740
Phone: (479) 738-2422
After the Battle of Pea Ridge but before the Battle of Prairie Grove 25 Union soldiers escorted Isaac Murphy's daughters back to Huntsville from Pea Ridge. This is the place they were engaged by local partisans. Like the British after Lexington and Concord, they suffered heavy losses. Only 7 of the Union soldiers survived the skirmish. It's been speculated this was the reason for the later "Huntsville Massacre," where 9 unarmed prisoners without specific charges were marched out to a creekbank on 10 January 1863 and executed by Yankee soldiers.
Written May 5, 2012
This limestone bluff, where all these images were photographed, formed the back boundary of our property, a 142-acre farm on Bohannon Mountain, where I grew up. The bluff overlooks the site of a Civil War skirmish at Holman Creek, when local Southern sympathizers engaged an escort of Union forces. Only a handful of the Union troops survived. Due to dense foliage that site is not visible from the bluff except when the trees are bare.
Written May 5, 2012
The Huntsville Square has evolved frequently over the years, but the vestiges remain. For most of OUR time there was a rectangular "island" with trees on both ends, shrubbery between, and a phone booth in the middle. There were parking spots along the length of both sides of the rectangle. Smaller concrete curb islands with parking meters parallelled the length of the central rectangle on both sides and both ends of the square, directing traffic flow and allowing for additional parking along their inner sides. There were also parking spots along the sidewalks on the outer perimeter of the square. When I was a kid, a child's ticket to see the "picture show" was 10 cents; adults were a quarter. I would get a "Sugar Daddy" for a nickel, I think. That would last me the whole movie. I snuck up behind Lana Harris one time, called her name, and stole a kiss when she turned around. She sure was beautiful! The First National Bank building DID contain the bank originally. My mom had her first H&R Block office on the 2nd floor. The building on the outside corner was a tire shop. Coger's Rexall occupied the middle half of what's noe The Emporium. There was a lunch counter, and we used the get slushes there and cherry- and lime-phosphates. There was a Bargain Basement below. To the right was Coger's Furniture, where I bought a black-and-white TV for Darla and me; to the left was a gift and flower shop. Down the steps on the side of the building in the 4th photo was the Domino/Pool Hall. This is where I payed my money to learn how to shoot pool on their two wonderful old regulation pocket pool tables. We played a variation of 8-ball called "sideball," where the person who had "solids" had to put the 1-ball in the right side-pocket and the person with "stripes" had to put the 15 in the left side before you could sink the 8. You could make them in other pockets but would have to "spot" them back out and get them in the right pocket finally. Loser usually paid for the game, I forget, a quarter or 50 cents. You could also gamble with your challenger or play "9-ball" for money. They also gambled on the domino games and punch-cards. In the final photo the building on the outside corner with the yellow stripe was the Huntsville Hardware. A jeweler, law offices, and for awhile a barber shop were in the street level offices of the other building. The drama teacher Judy, who later married and divorced Tom Tice, had an apartment on the second floor to the left of the balcony, where we hung out awhile when we were Juniors.
Updated May 4, 2012
On Saturday, April 21, 2012 the Huntsville High School Class of 1972 held our 40th Reunion. We also invited the classes of 1971, 1974, and 1975 to join us. It was very well-attended with around 120+ people present. The actual reunion was held in the great hall of the Carroll Electric Building on 412N. For part of our activity we traveled up to High School Hill. It is now the site of the Middle School. A new high school was constructed on Hwy 23S on the road to "Sidewalk." On the Hill "Old Main" was recently demolished and a new building erected in its stead. They did, however, preserve the original facade and incorporate it into the new building. As part of the construction they apparently built over the Class of '72 Senior Walk. That was sad, but most of us are still alive and well. Here are some images from that reunion on "The Hill."
Written May 4, 2012
This was the popular community swimming hole before the advent of the public swimming pool at Withrow Springs State Park in 1965. It is located 8-9 miles south of Huntsville off the west side of Highway 23, about 50 yards before the Highway 74 junction to Kingston. There is a fairly flat area of protruding stone alongside the road. This extends towards the War Eagle River and ends abruptly in a lengthy limestone cliff shelf which follows the river's course. Young daredevils used to run across this rock surface and launch themselves over the ledge below and into the water. A long, rounded stone ledge follows the river below the sharper cliff around 10 feet above. Improvements were made to the site, probably by local civic leaders, during the heyday of its popularity. These included concrete steps down to the swimming ledge from the clifftop, complete with iron handrailing, an iron ladder to climb back to the ledge from the water, and, most impressive of all, a thick plank diving board, in my recollection about 2x12, secured with iron bolts and strapping. Remnants remain. A beautiful spot with a nice gravel beach on the opposite side. (*This could be a dangerous place in spring floods. My little brother and I both nearly drowned here one day when the river was running wild. He jumped in and started to flounder. I jumped in to help and got in trouble myself. My brother, Clayton, was able to save John, and I was able to swim with the current to the other side.)
Updated May 1, 2012