by Alan Du Bois
Scattered across the Ozarks in Missouri and Arkansas are some wonderful little pottery studios where cratsmen turn out amazing designs for locals and tourists.
The history of pottery isn’t germane to the Ozarks, but it did and continues to, flourish here.
Tourists planning a trip to the region should make a concerted effort to visit a few of these studios. The master potters are always happy to talk about their craft.
Pottery has been produced in Arkansas from prehistoric times up to the present day. Of note are prehistoric Native American wares from the Woodland Period beginning 2,500 years ago and the prehistoric and historic Caddo pottery tradition that flourished from AD 800 to 1660.
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Across The Ozarks
Have you ever wondered what it was like to explore the Ozarks before the influx of people took over? Perhaps you’ve laid down on the grass, gazing at the blue sky over the region and let your mind drift back to a time when cars, trains, planes, and even wagons, weren’t encountered in these hills.
One man who actually did explore the region long ago, wrote an exceptional book on the topic.
Scenes and Adventures in the Semi-Alpine Region of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, 1853, provides numerous examples of life n The Ozarks prior to the Civil War.
What follows is an excerpt concerning his arrival at the White River.
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Ku Klux Klan rally at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock (Pulaski County); January 1994.
The Harrison Railroad Riot was an outbreak of anti-union violence in the town of Harrison (Boone County), supported in part by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), as well as the city government and local business interests. The riot was in response to a two-year strike along the Missouri and North Arkansas (M&NA) railroad and ended in the lynching of a man accused of harboring militant strikers, along with the forced exodus of most strikers north into Missouri.
A resurgence in Klan activity occurred starting in 1915, and states such as Arkansas were home to newly forming Klan groups during the 1920s. By 1955, the threat of school integration ushered in a new Klan era even though independent Klan groups were a fixture on the American landscape in some way or another from the 1920s on.
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The 1895 Hawkins House
By Across The Ozarks
(Story includes two videos – 1900s and 1950s)
For many, a big part of any trip in the Ozarks, even for locals, involves discovering parts of the region’s history.
Not far from Branson or Eureka Springs lies a museum that only a few actually know about. The Rogers Historical Museum. Better still, it is one of the few remaining places that won’t cost you a fortune, in fact, it is free!
The Rogers Historical Museum serves not only Rogers but all of Northwest Arkansas, a rapidly growing region with a rich heritage and a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. The RHM preserves that heritage and shares that spirit. The recipient of many state and national awards, the Rogers Historical Museum is among the fewer than five percent of museums in the nation accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
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Page from M. E. Oliver’s silk-screened book, Strange Scenes in the Ozarks.
Courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System.
Marvin Elmer Oliver was an artist, farmer, and civil service employee in the Arkansas Ozarks. In 1955, he produced a book, Strange Scenes in the Ozarks, which attracted notice because of its unique artistic qualities. Text and illustrations were printed using the silk-screen (or serigraph) process, assembled by hand, and enclosed in a handmade cover. Oliver published 400 copies. The text describes the backwoods life Oliver remembered, which was almost completely gone by the time he produced his book. His distinctive illustrations make Strange Scenes in the Ozarks an item of interest to collectors of Arkansiana and of regional art. Oliver later published Old Mills of the Ozarks (1969) with black-and-white sketches, descriptions, and locations of twenty water-powered mills.
M. E. Oliver was born on August 13, 1888, on Drakes Creek, a few miles southeast of Huntsville (Madison County). He was one of eight children of Pleasant C. and Mary Ann Cook Oliver, who were farmers. When he was thirteen years old, his mother died, and he went to Viola (Fulton County) to live with relatives. His first employment was as a farm worker, and later he worked in a broom factory in Oklahoma.
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