Saturday, August 29, 2009

Photo Exhibit at the Museum

The Mulberry Band, May 1912

I visited the Siloam Springs Museum this afternoon in order to view a new exhibit: "Photographs of Siloam Springs at the Turn of the Century, During the Roaring 20's and During the Hungry Years." All of the photographs in this collection are from the private collection of local resident Don Cundiff. I am familiar with Mr. Cundiff only through his frequent and spirited letters to the editor of the Herald Leader, and it is evident through those letters and his thirty year hobby of collecting Siloam Springs photos and memorabilia that he has a great passion for our city.

I really enjoyed the exhibit. I never tire of seeing glimpses into Siloam's history, and coming face to face with the generations of people who have made their home here. I love to recognize familiar buildings and landmarks, and to be reminded of the past.
The exhibit is divided into several categories: the 1900's, the Roaring 20's, and the 30's 40's and 50's. My favorite photo in the 1900's case was one featuring some banners hanging over a downtown business with the slogans, " The People Have Caught On" and "The Smile That Won't Rub Off." Those would be appropriate for today's downtown spirit as well, I think. I also liked a photo of a baptism taking place in the creek- it might be in the area behind the gazebo. Wouldn't it be neat to see something like that in Sager Creek today? And speaking of gazebos- I was impressed by a photo of a two story gazebo that once ruled over City Park. The caption mentioned that it hadn't lasted long. I wonder why? You can get a glimpse of the short-lived structure in the photo below:

The Roaring 20's display featured an interesting note about the Gay-Ola Bottling & Ice Cream Company that operated on Jefferson Street (east of Washington) from 1920-1926-ish. I'd never heard of this former Siloam business. They made Gay-Ola Delaware punch and "all flavors of soda water and kindred beverages" as well as Quality brand ice cream.

The 30's 40's & 50's display had some interesting photos of what appeared to be storm damage, with an uprooted tree laying on top of someone's porch. There were pictures of the former city pool, and some enjoyable Homecoming snapshots. There was also a small collection of photos of KUOA staff and on-air personalities, including "the Old Scotchman" in his kilt. Huh?

As if whiling away a peaceful hour in the museum wasn't enough fun, Cynthia Lee, museum hostess extraordinnaire, treated me to the VIP tour that included the museum basement and glimpses of the archives. There were numerous historic artifacts, including some awesome soap box race cars, and I also saw what can only be referred to as "the Bride of Frankenstein." I can say no more.

The photo exhibit will be on display through October 31. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10-5. Other upcoming museum events include: an Autumn walking tour of the Historic district on September 12th, the Annual Historic Homes Tour fundraiser on October 1oth, and the museum's 40th Anniversary birthday bash at the museum on November 14th at 2:00. For more information about these and other museum programs, call 524-4011.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Main Street Memories

There are so many things about downtown Siloam Springs that are special. And each of us probably have our own favorite spots. I would really love to hear from some of you- your favorite memory, a special moment, the experience that made you fall in love with our wonderful town.

One of my many favorite memories happened in March of 1992. It was Spring Break of my Junior year of High School (I'll save you the math- I'm 34), and my older sister, Heather, was planning to attend John Brown University. We lived in Atlanta at the time, and my sister and Dad asked if I'd like to tag along while Heather toured the campus and registered for fall classes. I'd never been to Arkansas before- actually, I'd never been west of the Mississippi, so I thought it sounded like fun. Five hours into our road trip, I awoke in the back seat asking if we were there yet. They both chuckled, and informed me that the trip would take about 12 hours. So much for my geography skills!

When we eventually arrived in Siloam Springs, we found ourselves in the charming downtown area. I begged my Dad to let us stay at the Crown Motel- it looked so quaint and had a great location, but he opted for the Super 8 on Highway 412. After dropping Heather off at JBU for a day of orientation, my Dad and I set out to explore. We fed the ducks, as shown above (and hey, whatever happened to that swan? It's so classy). We also discovered some of the many stone stairways built into the hillsides overlooking Sager Creek. I still remember how magical and fun it was to find the stairs, semi-covered with leaves and vines. It felt as if we had stumbled upon some undiscovered path. I fell in love with the parks and creek, and with the stately older homes on College and Alpine. We also stopped at the old Ben Franklin store on Broadway for Slush Puppies.

My first fun and carefree day in downtown Siloam resonated deeply within me, and factored into my decision to attend JBU as well. I really liked the idea of attending college in such a friendly place. Little did I know that I would be living here still, seventeen years later. That I would call Siloam Springs home.

If you would like to share a photo, memory or story about downtown Siloam Springs, please contact me at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's cookin' at the Farmer's Market

I had a delightful time visiting the Farmer's Market Thursday morning, and I thought I'd share a recipe that incorporates red & yellow (or Roma) tomatoes, jalapenos, onions and cilantro, all purchased from our local farmers.

Fresh Mango Salsa
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 green jalapeno, halved lengthwise, seeded and minced
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients and serve with chips. It tastes even better the second day.

Don't forget to visit the Farmer's Market each Tuesday and Thursday from 8-1 at the corner of University and Mt. Olive.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

1st Annual Dog Day of Summer Dog Walk

I'll just tell you right off the bat that words will not fully capture the cuteness of Saturday's Dog Walk. There were adorable dogs all over the place! My heart was completely stolen by Molly, a tiny French Bulldog, as well as two enormous bull mastiffs that had recently been adopted at the Siloam Springs Animal Shelter.

There were all sorts of breeds, large and small, and it could not have been a lovelier day for the event. At the registration desk, participants were given Main Street mugs filled with dog treats and plastic bags for, know. The main event was a leisurely one-mile stroll through Bob Henry Park. Halfway through, the organizers kindly provided water for the approximately 25 dogs participating.

After the walk, there were a variety of contests, and the competition was steep! Miss Dogwood and Miss Teen Dogwood were among the judges. There were awards given for Cutest Big Dog, Cutest Little Dog, Best Trick, Pet/Owner Look-alike, Oldest Dog, etc. Lord Byron, a lovely little guy with a flowing white tail and a sparkling personality won Best All-Around. The event also featured various vendors of pet-related items and a Frisbee catching demonstration. Shelley Simmons, Director of Main Street, did an awesome job putting it all together, and I will look forward to next year's Dog Walk.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Coming Events

Wow, there's certainly a lot happening over the next several days, and I wanted to make sure everyone was in the know.

Although not exactly on Main Street, the Hannah's Hope pool party fundraiser at the Family Aquatic Center is certainly worth mentioning. Hannah was a little girl who passed away last December from cancer, and her parents, Jon and Tiffany Boles, created the Hannah's Hope foundation to raise funds to assist other families with children who have cancer. During their journey with Hannah, they found few resources available to families for non-medical expenses. For more information, visit The pool party will take place Friday, August 7th from 6:30-9:00. Admission is free with a donation.

Also on Friday night, the final movie in the park, Hotel for Dogs, will be shown at 9:00 in Bob Henry Park. This is a free event. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Project Graduation will be selling concessions.

On Saturday morning, August 8th, Main Street Siloam Springs will be hosting the Dog Day of Summer dog walk. Registration begins at 8:00 am at the corner of University and Mt. Olive, and the 45 minute walk begins at 9:00. Afterwards, there will be pet vendors and contests, such as cutest big and little dogs, best dressed, and pet/owner look-alike. The cost is $12 for one dog, $8 for an additional dog. Owners will need to bring proof of their pet's recent vaccinations. BONUS: The Cafe on Broadway will be giving out free home-made dog biscuits!

Also on Saturday, from 5:00-8:00, all downtown shops will be open, and there will be carriage rides. The cost is $5 per person, kids under 10 ride free.

Last but not least, the final concert in the Second Saturday Music series will take place in the Twin Springs gazebo at 7:30. Jed Marum, joined by Mason Brown, will be performing. Marum's musical style is American Celtic with bluegrass roots. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. The concert is free, but donations are appreciated.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

II Gal's Junk

Junk? Certainly not!
If you are anything like me, flea markets contain treasures galore. II Gal's Junk is my favorite kind of flea market- lots of variety, with items for both serious and casual collectors, and there are bargains to be had. When I was visiting there today, I decided to take some photos of items that I really loved- sort of an imaginary shopping spree:

Don't you just love this little guy with the big belly? Is he a squirrel, as the tag says? Maybe a bear? I don't care! I just love him. His sweet face and shy smile as he offers his tiny cookie- how could one resist? I'm always drawn to cookie jars at flea markets, but I don't actually own one. For starters, I don't want to end up with a belly of these proportions, but also because I think personally, I would want to stop at just one cookie jar (rather than an entire collection), and I can't imagine finding the perfect cookie jar. I don't want to buy one, and then later see a different, better one and regret my choice. However, I am inclined to think this one might be a contender for best. cookie. jar. ever.

One of these beautiful clocks would look great on my nightstand. I would be awakened by its cheerful buzzing promptly at 7:00 am, so that I could put on my frilly dressing gown (that would match my elaborately frilly nightgown), in order to whip up a delightful and hearty breakfast for my dashing, fedora-wearing husband, whose arrival home at 5:00 pm would also be heralded by my lovely clock. (No gagging, please.)

My son would have a ball in this awesome pedal fire truck. Wooooooooooo..woooooooooooooo... clang! clang! I can just hear it now.

I actually own one of these Dakin "Dream Pets," and getting it out each Christmas makes me smile. This adorable pair has been marked down to $12.49- a bargain for a little Christmas cheer.

A really fun-looking "Hootenanny" guitar (with box) that could help me channel my inner Loretta Lynn.

This was one of my favorites- a postcard salesman's kit from 1966. About 20 or so sheets of uncut postcards with all sorts of themes- hilariously adorable pets (shown above), the beach, fall leaves, humorous illustrated jokes, etc. I'm having trouble picturing this salesman's pitch, though. In my experience, when you visit Las Vegas or Gettysburg, you purchase postcards with very specific images of those locales, so when your note says, "Having a great time, wish you were here," your friend or loved one can look at the image on the front, and they'll know exactly where "here" is. Maybe these postcards were designed for nondescript beach towns, or New England destinations with a lot of generic fall foliage. This salesman could then say, "There you are- this sand dune looks just like the one down the street! No one will know the difference! Now, can I put you down for a gross?"

II Gal's Junk was opened June 1, 2007 by Pat Calico and Ginny Fuller. They don't utilize consignment-type booths, rather they assemble the store's ever-changing collection themselves. Pat particularly loves depression glass, while Ginny is especially fond of the vintage clothing they sell. (For instance- a fabulous black pantsuit with a faux skirt overlay in hot pink paisley for just $2.99. Yes, you heard me right. It's stupendous!)

II Gal's Junk is located at 120 S. Broadway (between The Balloon Closet and Jolly Roger's Sweet Shoppe.) They are open 10-5 Wednesday-Saturday, with other days by appointment or chance. Call Pat and Ginny at 238-8005 for more information.