Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ozark Signs

Marion County Courthouse, Yellville.
I am in the middle of making some visits around the state before the semester starts. When I make it back to Fayetteville, my route will have taken me all the way around the perimeter of the Arkansas half of the Ozark Plateau.  It occurred to me that the entries of the last few days have been far more faith and culture than Ozarks, so I thought I would pull out some of the better sign photos from the drive so far.

Old time religion seems to be holding its own in the Ozarks, but newer expressions are making inroads.  The rock church building is the Church of Christ in Viola, population 381, built, or maybe only rebuilt in 1954 and looking just as an Ozark church of the era should.  Below it are a more contemporary church and its adjoining coffee house are on the courthouse square in Yellville, population 1204.  Given the choice, I think I'd have to root for the Church of Christ against the modern interlopers.  The Viola C of C building looks much too stern to have an overhead projector for throwing up the latest praise music on the wall.

Hardy, population 578, is one of the eastern most tourist towns that can still be called Ozark before the hills give way to the delta.  When I was a boy, it was best known for the Arkansas Traveler Dinner Theater, and the first sign shows that a few businesses are still mining that angle.  Things have changed as well.  The main drag includes the Silver Dragon, Arkansas's best place to buy frankincense, myrrh, and more exotic herbs.  It also boasts the Pig 'n Whistle, an English pub, where I'd love to see the explanations given of toad in a hole.

The last two pictures are from Russell, population 228, where one of the southeastern-most fingers of the Ozarks shoots into the bottom country to drive off the monotony. (Sorry delta South folks, I love you, your food, and your music, but your terrain has never grown on me.)  I saw the old gas station above and decided to take a drive through the town streets, which run on both sides of the railroad tracks.  The old Methodist church looked much as I remembered it, but fresh expressions are mixing with commerce here as well.