Today I am joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday and Melissa at Huckleberry Prairie for the Great American Town Tour.
We'll begin our tour at a couple of public parks in my little town.
The founder of our little town is buried on this site, so the name of this park is Founder's Park (Somebody thought long and hard before coming up with that name!)
Everyone in our town has some reason to visit Walker Park. There is a large fishing pond (supposedly for children only); a large tennis court, a walking and biking trail, a LOT of ducks to feed (which is becoming a problem-see all of the duck poop on the sidewalk?-No, this is not the walking trail! It's the: throw stale bread to the ducks sidewalk!), and a gazebo, which often hosts local bands.
Let's head on over to Main Street now.
This charming bookstore has made our little town famous (at least with authors, book publishers, book distributors, etc.) Some day, I am going to find the time to take you inside this wonderful store and tell you all about it.
When I was growing up, this was the only movie theater in town. It has been renovated and is now a civic center that hosts live productions.
Greyhound no longer uses this bus station, but a group of our citizens applied for and received a grant to renovate this retro bus station and had it placed on the National Historic Register. It will soon be offices for some of our non-profit organizations. When it is open to the public, I hope to take you on a tour of the inside.
This mural is painted on the side of an old building on Main Street. In the center photograph, you can see cotton being picked next to the train track. This town and the surrounding areas have always been a major cotton producing area, although in recent years, the cotton production has dropped somewhat. When I was growing up in this town, we had THE National Cotton Pickin' Contest, and it was kind of a big deal in these parts! See that pile of cut trees? Lumber yards were a big business here in the 30's, and that is what brought the railroad tracks to our town.
The above mosaic shows the Federal Building (formerly the U.S. Post Office building), the County Courthouse, the old First National Bank (which now contains apartments), and a lovely antique shop and tea room.
Our local Police Station. Something about these lights have always reminded me of the Keystone Cops! (No! I'm not old enough to remember seeing them in movie theaters, but I have seen clips of those silent movies).
There are several arches we drive under when we are going down Main Street. Each depicts something that is special about our city. The only ones pictured are the ones I drove up to when there wasn't a car behind me! The airplane on the arch on the top in my little mosaic is in reference to our former Air Force Base, which was the home of the B52. It was closed a number of years ago when a lot of military installations were closed. It was a huge part of our economy, and we were all very concerned about the future of our little town.
The arch shown on the bottom of my mosaic references our local Community College.
For years after it was built, people from all over the world visited our community college, because it was one of the first solar powered buildings. The rounded top houses solar panels, and the picture on the bottom left shows solar panels on a different building on campus.
This is what has helped this little community to survive the closing of our Air Force Base. Nucor Steel and Nucor Yamato Steel built plants here shortly after the closing of the Base. Since that time, we have become the largest steel-producing county in the country! Of course, the steel industry has suffered as much, if not more, than a lot of businesses in these hard economic times. Steel is being imported from foreign countries at a lower cost, and our steel-related industries have had lay offs and shut downs, just as other industries have had. I included the photo on the lower right of the mosaic, because I love seeing that farmers are still farming their land next to one of the steel plants.
And this is what attracted the steel industry to our town. We are on the Mississippi River, and barges carry huge loads of steel I-beams and rolled steel up and down the river. It always amazes me that those little tug boats can pull so much weight!
The steel is moved among the various steel mills via their own train tracks.
We have been able to make great use of the former Air Force Base. We are really proud of our multi field ballpark that is built on the former base. I spend a lot of summer evenings in this ballpark, because it is also home to our soccer fields, and my granddaughters play baseball and soccer. Houses which were formerly homes for Air Force Base personnel, are now being utilized as a retirement village.
The former air base facilities have attracted some business to our area. This airplane repair and paint business (bottom picture) was a perfect match for the property, because we already had runways. Those funny looking structures at the top of this mosaic are home to Christmas lights from Thanksgiving until the first of the year. A very generous couple who live in the area had an amazing Disney-like Christmas light display for several years. They donated it to the City, and now we have an amazing "drive-through" light display located at the former base facility.
I can't take you on a tour of our town without showing you George's childhood home.
EDITED TO ADD: For those who are not regular visitors to my blog, you might want to see my post about George's most recent visit to his hometown. If so, click here.
(I use Photoscape for my mosaics)
Since the sun is setting, I have run out of picture-taking time, so we're back home at last!
Be sure to go to A Southern Daydreamer and Huckleberry Prairie for links to see a lot of outdoor beauty and a lot of lovely towns. Thanks Susan and Melissa for hosting these great events! I loved this idea of giving a tour of my town. I grew up here and have lived here most of my life, so I tend to not notice anything around town anymore. This post made me really look around as I drove around town, and looking at our town through the photo lens gave me an interesting perspective on it. I hope you enjoyed coming to visit Arkansas. Ya'll come back now, ya hear! laurie