Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Derby Day Coming to Museum

A crowd of sixty-six enjoyed last night's presentation by Judge David Hudson on the colorful history of our county's two courthouses. We welcomed eight new members. An ambitious slate of spring activities was presented. Curator Sue Lewis announced a Spring museum opening date of May 2 and shared plans for this year's displays.

Next month's Society meeting will feature guest speaker Joseph Chasteen, historian for the Chaffee Development Authority who will present on Center City and other communities that were located in the area of the current Fort Chaffee. Members were invited to bring family photos of families and homes in these communities for a "show and tell" at next month's meeting.

Donna Goldstein announced plans for a May 4 celebration in conjunction with a display of vintage hats at the Old Jail Museum. All are welcome. Please bring the family out and enjoy a fun day on the Museum grounds.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Parallel Lives

Harlan Shankle arose every morning during the '30s at 4 AM and caught a bus from Hartford to R. A. Young's Mine 18 near Jenny Lind. Leo Cretnik from Greenwood/Jenny Lind made it to that mine by the 7:00 o'clock starting time. The men were lowered with their dinner buckets down deep into the mine shaft. They walked the quarter mile from the "drop" to their worksite and labored in low-ceilinged "rooms" to mine the high quality coal that was transported to blast furnaces at steel mills back east. At 4 PM each day the men slowly made their way home. Leo recall that he and his father earned a combined $30-35 dollars for two weeks arduous work.

The day came when Harlan decided to pursue other work; Leo did the same. Harlan became a postman in Tulsa. Leo became a postman in Fort Smith.

Despite their parallel lives, Harlan and Leo did not know each other until very recently when these neighbors discovered their commonalities.

Fast forward to March 11, 2013. Harlan and Leo, along with friends including Ravenelle Arnold, Melba Martin, Gordon Jorden and family members are celebrating Harlan's 99th birthday. At 99, Harlan is one of the young crowd. Others in the group are centenarians. It was a treat to meet Harlan and his friends. Long time Historical Society member Leo tipped us off to this very special occasion. Many thanks to Leo for this opportunity to meet some wonderful folks and document this event. Happy Birthday, Harlan!
 Harlan Shankle, left, Leo Cretnik, right.
 Birthday cake with the image of the Coal Miner's Memorial. 
The late George "Bud" Lewis was the model for the coal miner.
Harlan says he remembered him as "a kid."

May all your wishes come true, Harlan.
Many happy returns of the day.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pull Up a Chair and Sit a Spell

Artifacts are scarce in these parts. Sure, we have a good supply of farm implements and household and personal goods, tools and documents. But, thanks to a number of fires, marauding bushwhackers during the Civil War, and one heck of a tornado in 1968, items from our city's past are few and far between. 

We count ourselves very lucky indeed to have a handmade juror's chair with woven deerhide seat from the original courthouse. That's o-r-i-g-i-n-a-l, as in 1851. To our knowledge, it is one of a kind. As we began preparing our 2013 season exhibits, it was wonderful to have a close-up look at this piece of history. It remains sturdy, aside from the worn webbing. Hair remains on the deerhide, leaving no room for conjecture about just what kind of hide was used. 

You can see this wonderful piece of our history at the March 18 meeting of the South Sebastian County Historical Society, 7 PM, in the Community Room of Farmer's Bank, 71 West Main Street, in Greenwood. County Judge David Hudson will regale us with the history of our six courthouses and the amazing story of Greenwood as a county seat. As always, all are welcome and the refreshments are legendary. :)