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Archive for the ‘Towns’ Category

Canoes line all streets, not the just Highway 7 in Jasper:

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We had a hard freeze this morning in Murray Valley. The temperature fell to 28F at 6 AM. We went into Jasper for breakfast to Sharon K’s on the south side of town on Arkansas Highway 7. Sharon K’s is an old place nicely fixed up, clean, with a great breakfast menu and country friendly service. It’s been in operation since the 1960’s and prior to that, the cafe was located in the old building just north (as seen in the pictures – left); and the current Sharon K’s was the Gas Service Station starting in the 1930’s. Both buildings have antique glass. Stop in next time you are in Jasper.

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Woke up cold this morning; it was 36 degrees. We did get 0.66 inches of rain in overnight in a nice thundershower. There is a freeze warning tonight for Newton County; so, drove up to Kingston for breakfast. Kingston is an older Arkansas town located just about 10 miles north of Boxley on the upper Buffalo River. Kingston is near the banks of the upper Kings River in Arkansas which flows northward to the Missouri border and becomes an arm of Table Rock Lake. I ate breakfast at the Valley Cafe looking through the antique glass windows; really nice !

 

 

 

 

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A week ago today, a warmer day than today, I took a drive down to Pelsor, Arkansas. Its a short drive from my home. I noticed that the Sand Gap Area (Pelsor, Arkansas) has a new General Store; the Hankins General Store. I believe it is the old Pelsor Post Office. and at one time was the home of Blue Mountain Bakery; now in Jasper on the town square. It is well stocked with goods and they make really nice sandwiches also. Going in was like stepping into the 1950’s for me. There was original hardwood flooring and a pot bellied store for warmth. Deer heads and bear skins hang on wall of the store.

After lunch, I drove over to Ft. Douglas on the Piney River and then took a Forest Service Road south along the river. I spotted a beautiful old home facing the river about a mile south of the Highway 123 river crossing. It must have been quite a mansion in its day; still is to me.

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Old mansion on the Piney River

Old mansion on the Piney River

 

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Just a then and now photo comparison (1955 and 2013):

 

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I visited Erbie and saw the historical farmstead for the second time. I went last October also; the trip was nice; only about 20 miles north and it was 60 degrees pleasant. The Buffalo was running high so there was not a way to cross the river; so the drive out was the same as the drive in.

The Parker-Hickman Farm includes the oldest standing log structure in Buffalo National River. The farm was homesteaded in the 1840’s by settlers from Tennessee. It embodies an agricultural landscape with farmstead, extant fields (bench and bottomland), fencerows, roads, cattle gates, garden and orchard plots, wooded slopes and springs. Unlike most farms in the Ozarks the landscape is remarkably intact and provides insights and evidence spanning portions of two centuries of Ozark history; not randomly chosen, it conveys a feeling of enclosure and exemplifies adaptive use of topography. Among farms of its kind in Missouri and Arkansas it was once typical but now survives as a rare baseline example for Ozark yeomanry farms of mixed economies.Parker-Hickman was an agricultural enterprise that continuously operated until 1982 from a farmstead which exemplifies the entire period, and a rare one for the Ozarks since it survives. Clustered around the farmstead are several structures: barns, sheds smokehouse, privy, fences, stock feeders and house that represent a cross-section of rural vernacular architecture still in their original location.

Although other farms in the Ozark-Ouachita region had similar origins, with settlement patterns that evolved from subsistence to commercial agriculture, the Parker-Hickman farm is important because it survived intact. Until purchased by the National Park Service the Parker-Hickman farm continued uninterrupted as an agricultural enterprise for more than one hundred forty-five years, a rare intact survival of a typical southern upland farm in the Ozark-Ouachita region.

Parker-Hickman Home

The Farmstead

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At 4 PM on Friday January 27, we made a dinner visit to the Low Gap Cafe in Low Gap, AR. located on Highway 74 between Ponca and Jasper. Low Gap is a low area between Kilgore Mountain and Shiloh Mountain, not far from the Buffalo River.

The cafe is in the Low Gap General Store and is next an old WPA project stone building built in the 1930’s, which I remember from a trip down to Ponca in 1963. The scenery is gorgeous surrounding the village of Low Gap. In those days the road all the way from Compton to Jasper was gravel with at least 50-100 switchbacks; now it’s paved and, for the most part improved and straightened.

We were greeted by the owners cordially at the door and went inside to a warm fire in a stove with a pot of the “soup of the day; home made tomato-basil” on top cooking. We took the table next to the fire on a chilly January evening. We had a chicken fried steak and a red wine seared pork tenderloin with homemade mashed potatoes and homemade gravy and very nicely sautéed green beans; this was preceeded by a nicely prepared spring greens salad with sweet tomatoes and a nice dressing. For desert we split a piece of triple chocolate cake.

Everything was prepared and served with care and the experience was fantastic, especially since we were on the edge of wilderness !

My feeling is that this place will be filled with starved floaters, hikers, backpackers, bikers, climbers, etc.; from March to October. They have a Facebook page worth following:

The Low Gap Cafe is most highly recommended ! and remember Newton is a dry county.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Low-Gap-Cafe/331015646912397

Everyone should give them a try; you won’t be disappointed !!!!

iPhone Photos follow:

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