Historic Arkansas · Travel

In Search of: A Farming Colony in Scott, Arkansas

 

If you heard of Johnny Cash in Arkansas than you know he lived in the Dyess Colony Resettlement Area but did you know there are more resettlement area’s in Arkansas?

Resettlement areas were setup under Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and was administrated by the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.

They were designed to help those whose lives were devastated by the natural and economic disasters of the Great Depression. In Arkansas, the flood of 1927 was followed by a severe drought and many families were left with nearly nothing. Resettlement areas were established to promote a self-sustaining community consisting of independent farms that provided educational, agricultural and commercial support facilities.

My father-in-law, Hubert Skillern, lived in one such colony near Scott, Arkansas in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. He was in his mid-teens at the time and helped his parents farm the land as well as attended school. He loved the time they spent in Scott and loved talking about it.

I’ve been trying to do research into the Jones Colony Resettlement Area in Lonoke County but so far I haven’t found out very much information. Buddy Raines, a longtime friend of Hubert, lived down Jones Colony Road (now Johnson Road) from the Skillern’s and his parents were also farmers in the colony. When I talked to Mr. Raines the other day he referred to the resettlement as the “Toltec Community.” An internet search calls it the Lonoke Colony. No matter what it is called I’m not finding any information at all.

If you have any information, stories or historical photos from the Jones Colony/Toltec Community/Lonoke Colony between Scott and Keo, Arkansas please feel free to email me!

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I believed the Skillern’s lived in this typical-styled “colony” house. When driving down Johnson Road (historic Jones Colony Road) you’ll see many homes that look like this one.
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What may have been the Jones Colony store. It’s near the corner of Hwy 165 and Johnson Road. It used to have a sign in front that read,”Hamiter Hicks Estate Est. 1869,” but the sign has been gone since the front overhang fell.
maps 1942 2017
Maps do not encompass the whole of Jones Colony. Including it as a reference point to the general area.
Historic Arkansas · Recipes

Lillian’s Orange Pecans

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This week I headed to Scott once again to take pictures of the few historic plantation homes that are remaining and other old buildings in the area but instead of just staying in the car I went in to the Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park to see if they just happened to have a book on Scott history. No luck finding a book but I had a great talk with Linda Goza, the Superintendent of the museum.

One story she told me about was Lillian Walker Scott (yes, THAT Scott family that the town is named for) and her orange pecan candy that she made and sold to help save the Elmhurst Plantation after the severe flooding of 1927. She even sold them as far away as New York. Well of course my foodie heart wondered how yummy those pecans must have been. I mean orange and pecans …. how could it go wrong? The Californian in me still craves fresh oranges and the Arkansan in me LOVES pecans. I’ve never even heard of orange pecans but make the spicy cinnamon ones all the time so I set out to find the recipe. It didn’t take very long, back in December 2016, the Arkansas Times ran a bunch of old recipes and Lillian’s Orange Pecans was one of the recipes featured.

I made them this afternoon and they are wonderful! So much better than the cinnamon ones. Even Mr. Picky (my son Sean) liked them and he rarely eats nuts! I tell you though, if you’re diabetic, watch out!

Lillian’s Orange Pecans

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 cups pecans

Bring the sugar and juice up to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium and heat until 238°F (soft ball stage). Stir in nuts and the zest from one orange. Pour onto a cookie sheet covered in wax paper and spread nuts to cool. Once they’re cold off a bit you can break them apart. Or if you want to get real fancy and waste a bunch of time – take them out of the pan and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet one at a time. They will look better but the taste is the same either way!

Nature · Photography

The Math of Sunflowers and Crop Overlays in Lightroom

sunflower field near Conway, AR

I would try to explain the math of sunflowers but let’s face it, it’s math, and we all know how good I am at math. NOT! It blows my mind if I can’t count or figure it up on my fingers and toes. A great explanation of the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio found in middle of a sunflower is located at Nature Blows My Mind! The Hypnotic Patterns of Sunflowers.

For all my photographer friends out there using Lightroom. Did you know you can use the Golden Ratio overlay when cropping photos? While using the crop tool if you press the O key you can cycle through the many crop overlays available. When you find an overlay you like, if you press Shift O you can rotate the orientation of that overlay to fit your image if need be. More information on crop overlays in Lightroom can be found on Have Camera Will Travel.

 

 

Travel

Finton Shaw Sculpture Garden

 

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There’s not much left of Finton Shaw’s Sculpture Garden near Conway, Arkansas. If you did not know it was there, you would pass on by thinking it was just another junk yard alongside the road. Among the tall grass and weeds are the remains of Mr. Shaw’s sculptures including one he was working on at the time of his death, in 2012, featuring Bill Clinton.

I took these pictures from across the highway and from the old driveway of Shaw’s property. I didn’t have any snake boots and I was not sure the current owners of the property really want anyone exploring. I left wishing I would have met the artist and seen the sculptures before his death.

For more information on Finton Shaw and his sculptures:

Location:

  • 5080 Hwy 64, Conway, AR
Travel

When the Golden Hour Meets the Blue Hour

As I was leaving Conway yesterday I knew I had to find a place to pull over to stop and photograph the rising full moon. The wispy clouds were trailing across the face of the moon making the scene beautiful but yet a little creepy looking. The clouds and atmosphere made it hard to get a tack sharp image so I didn’t bother pulling out the tripod.

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As I turned the car around to head back out on the highway, I saw that everything in the West was bathed in a very intense orange.

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Historic Arkansas

Dr. E. F. Utley House, Cabot, Arkansas

 

Utley House, Cabot, Arkansas

Wow, there’s only two places in Cabot that are on the National Register of Historic Places. Only one house and the Confederate Cemetery. I photographed 10 more houses the other day and I know there’s still more in town that could be eligible.
 
The 2 1/2 story Dr. E. F. Utley House, at 401 W. Pine Street in Cabot, was built sometime between 1914 and 1922 and is an example of an “American Foursquare” with Colonial Revival-style detailing.
 
During the time it was constructed, Cabot had a population around 447 people and had a bank, a weekly newspaper, two nurseries and a telephone exchange.
 
The property is known as the Utley House for Dr. E. F. Utley, a local “horse and buggy” doctor who owned, lived and saw patients in the house from about 1935 to 1955.
 
The house has been reported to be haunted by the current owner. Sounds of people walking across the upper floors and down the stairs are often heard. The front entrance door has also been seen to open by itself even when fully latched.
 
The property was listed in National Register of Historic Places on June 3, 1998. (By a strange coincidence, this image was taken June 3, 2017, 19 years later)