Monday, August 13, 2012

Our home in Arkadelphia, Arkansas

There are a couple different stories about how Arkadelphia got its name. No one is certain which has more truth. What we do know is that the town's first name was Blakelytown, and that the change gave the placename a new intrigue and poetry that inspires locals to dream up origin myths, and visitors to imagine great boats filled with east coast refugees.

To get here, we drove through Joplin, MO where we found that our mural from last year has a new info box for visitors who stop by and want to know more about the project. Thanks to the folks at Dixie Printing, visitors can now pick up a beautiful free postcard of the mural that gives details about the project.

 Arkadelphia is framed by the confluence of the Caddo and Ouachita rivers, in an area known for a beautiful natural environment and wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities. The region's lush pine forest is one of those attractions and also one of the areas most important economic resources. This is timber land. Spend a couple of minutes downtown and you'll see a convoy of trucks along Route 67 hauling the long tapered pine logs.

Entering Arkadelphia past one of the town's brand new liquor stores (the county went wet only last year) and through the ravine that divides the rival campuses of Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist Universities, we  found the address on McNutt Street that would be our home base. Project coordinator Farrell Ford met us there at a beautiful brick house adjacent to the Ouachita  campus.  The plushly decorated two story colonial, which was a B & B for years, is now on the market, and we muralists are just temporary caretakers. We are grateful for it, especially the porch.

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