Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Post Oak School

Crittenden County at one time had over 80 one-room schools scattered about the county.  Where ever there were enough students to attend, the families tried to provide some kind of education for them.
One of these early schools was Post Oak.

 The school was located about five miles from Marion on the old Marion-Morganfield Road.  It was built in the late 1880's.  The first building was of logs.  The picture at the right is the second building, which was constructed with a wooden frame and it had two front doors, and several windows. 

Sometime during the 1920's the school bell that was in the cupola on top of the building was stolen and not returned.

Church and Sunday School were also held in the building before a church was built nearby at Repton.

Some families that attended Post Oak School were: Truitt, Rankin, Manley,  Smith, Thurman, Wilcox, Conger Nations, James, Fritts, Gass, Gilberts, Walkers, Brantley and Wilborns.

In 1929 the school was closed and students were sent to the new consolidated Mattoon School with the students of Oakland, Seminary  and Applegate school districts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Marion's 1919 Main Street Fire

Marion has had many fires in her past history.  I guess all the old towns were troubled with fires, as heating would be from coal or wood with a chimney, and many buildings would be of wood.  Also blacksmith and stables would be located in the area and they were always starting a fire.

This fire that struck down town Marion was in July of 1919.  It destroyed the businesses from Carlisle Street down to the Masonic Lodge on Bellville and Main Street.  As you can see in the picture the Masonic Lodge, the building on the left was spared but the other buildings were totally destroyed, with just the brick fire wall left standing. The old Marion Bank is on the right end, with it's outer walls still standing but the inside was totally destroyed.

This rare photo of this fire was shared with us by Don Foster, of Livingston Co.  (I wonder if there are other old photos such as this one in someone's attic or garage and they do not realize what they have.)  A statement in the Crittenden Press at the time of the fire, stated that they had pictures made of the ruins that the fire had made to have for future history.

The citizens of the town of Marion got tired of looking at this scene and had hopes of it being cleaned up and new business buildings rebuilt in the very near future, but it was 1921 before this happened.  Perhaps they were tired from the expense of other fires in past years, but finally in June of 1921, Mrs. Electra Carnahan Frisbie got busy and built this section back.  

This is the section of buildings that were burned and this is how they look today.  The year 1921 is engraved on a plaque and is pictured about the door  and window with the columns of brick on each side.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

White's Chapel Church & Cemetery

Crittenden County has many, many, small country churches within it's boundaries.  Some have a history that has followed them through the years and others we only know them by their names and not hardly any history on their organization at all.  One of these churches is the White's Chapel.  It is located on State Road 297 in the area that is known as the Irma neighborhood. 

A little history about the church was gathered some years ago and it said that the Methodists first established the church and when they abandoned it the Church of Christ took it over.  Today it belongs to the cemetery association and it's available for funerals or other functions connected to caring for the cemetery.  

The building in recent years has been renovated with new siding and a new roof, also storm doors and a handicapped ramp.  It is now surrounded by the White's Chapel Cemetery.  Long ago the cemetery was only on the left side of the church, but today the burials have grown and the back and right side grounds have many tomb stones.  

To raise money for the upkeep of the cemetery, the association has sold white vinyl fence panels to families of those buried there or anyone that would like to purchase one to help the cemetery.  The panel that you purchase has a small gold plaque on it to identify who bought that section.  The cemetery is now almost surrounded by this white fence. You can see part of the fence is the picture above. Picture was made May 8, 2010.

Many people buried in this cemetery are from the Tolu and surrounding area. You can tell the families of those buried here care for their loved ones and the White's Chapel building and cemetery.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Old Newspaper Advertisements

The old advertisements in the Crittenden Press are fun to read.  They can be very informative.  As I look for other news worthy items in the old papers, I always have to take time to check out the ads.  These ads came from the Aug. 16, 1906 Crittenden Press.

R. F. Dorr, the funeral director and embalmer, has just received the finest funeral car ever shipped into this section.  It cost $1000 and is a beauty and a credit to Marion.  

It would look well on Broadway, N. Y. and proves that the old reliable undertaker and funeral director is keeping a pace of the time and is prepared to do work contracted to him in the best of style.

The community of View, Ky. which is in the next ad, was a small community west of Crayne, Ky.  There is nothing there today that would let anyone know that there was once a village located here.

At View, Ky. for the year 1907, one dwelling house, one store house, blacksmith shop and stock scales.  Will rent separately or all tegether.  Good stand for store and shop; for farther information wrte me at View, Ky.

I also have seven Jersey cows and young calves for sale , they are full bloods and all in good shape and giving lots of good rich milk.  Will sell cheap rather than winter them.
A. H. Cardin, View Ky.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crittenden's Buffalo

In the early 2000's several Native American descendants came to Crittenden County with plans to bring many Native American sites and events back to this land.  Most of the plans never materialized and not much is known about what happened with the ones that were here.

One of the things they had big plans for was the returning of buffalo herds to the county.  Most everyone was excited about this.  It was really exciting to see these huge animals from many years ago grazing on our local land.  These buffalo were brought to Crittenden County in 2004 by the local Cherokee organization as a tourist attraction and novelty.

The first herd was placed on a farm on the Weldon Rd. about 4 miles from Marion.  The animals seemed to do fine - until they decided they wanted to roam.  Once out and on their own, they were not about to be returned and put back in the fenced in area.  The herd had to be done away with.

A second group were placed on a farm on the Aunt Jane Tabernacle Road  about 12 miles from Marion.  The picture above is of these buffalo's.  They were content for awhile, but as their nature, they wanted to roam.  Through the fence they went and during their travels, they damaged local farmers fences and hay and forage.  In the end these 4 magnificient animals had to be done away with also.

A native American saying is "You can drive a buffalo anywhere he wants to go."  That about says it all.

In this picture the buffalo are shown in the back of the photo.  They looked perfectly at home on this land.  But it's not their nature to be confined to a fenced in field.

We got to enjoy them for a while, but it was not to be that they be a part of Crittenden County history for very long.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Crittenden Hotel

The last hotel that Marion had in its city was known as the Crittenden Hotel.  Located on East Carlisle Street next to the Women's Club Building.  The Hotel was built after the great fire of 1905.  In it's day it was busy and popular place.  The picture at the right was made in 1976 as it was up for sale.  At the time there was mostly businesses in it's spaces.
The automobile spelled the death of the hotel.  When transient business started to drop off, rooms were rented out to permanent guests.  When the train was the main source of travel to the city, the old hotel would be full of guest from all over the United States.  The mining industry in the early 1920 and 30's would bring many an investor and explorer to town and here's where they would stay.  Business men and salesmen also kept the rooms full.  The hotel kept a horse drawn bus to meet the trains and carry visitors to the hotel.  In 1912 the horse was replaced with an auto-buggy with solid rubber tires.

In the 1940's the Crittenden Hotel was mostly known for it's food.  It had a well-known and popular dining room with long tables with white tablecloths, and good food and service.  The "place to dine" in Marion.
By the 1950's the hotel part was rented out as apartments and most of the rest of the building held businesses, such as a barber shop, dress shop and insurance office.

This picture was made in December of 1991 after a winter wind storm, and spelled the end to this historical landmark building.  The end result being the old building had to be completely torn down.
The area where this building stood is now a well manicured parking lot.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Barber Shops

Remember the Barber shops of yesteryear?  Marion had several barber shops through the years.  I remember two of them that had the old Barber Poles. One of Main Street, it's location now included in the People's Bank location. The old poles, truly a thing of our past, and probably a collector's item. They always fascinated me to watch as a child as the stripes would swirl around and around.  

The best known old Barber shop of Marion was located on East Carlisle Street and it belonged to Walter McConnel and Blanton Wiggins.  It was built in 1919. What was so unique about this Barber shop was that when it was built McConnel and Wiggins had their own water and heating plant installed in the basement and it was equipped with showers.  Public showers for the gentlemen of the town what a luxury. You could come in and have a haircut and shave and for a quarter you could have a shower in the facilities in the basement. (I did not know about these showers until several years ago.)  

This Barber shop was located in the office room next to the Alley way on Carlisle St.  In 1987 Roy Rogers of Fredonia, who started working for McConnell in 1971,  and Tim Harrison owned the Barber Shop and closed this location and in 1987 reopened their shop two doors from this present location, in the office that Andrews Jewelers operated for many years.  Roy and Tim are shown in the picture at the right in the old shop before it was relocated up the street.

Some years later, the People's Bank bought this whole block and Roy and Tim moved their shop to another historic building on Main Street.  If fact, the People's bank today has two of Marion's old Barber shop locations covered with it's offices.

Today Roy's Barber Shop is the only old-time men's Barber Shop still operating in Marion.  How fortunate for Marion we still have unique shop.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Marion Gets Phone Line - 1900

The first news of Marion getting interested in having its own telephone service was in May of 1883, but it was 15 years later before Mr. Alexander showed up with the real thing.

In January 1899 Mr.J. T. Alexander, the telephone man from Providence, Ky. spent a day in Marion soliciting subscribers for the local exchange he was planning for Marion.  

The telephone lines were already installed at Shady Grove and they had telephone service.  The lines would be run from Shady Grove to Marion.  

The picture on the left is of the telephone group of the Iron Hill Exchange.  This group of men would run the lines from Shady Grove to Iron Hill (Deanwood) and then on to Marion.

Marion had it's first phone service for use in June of 1900. Marion's first telephone office was located on the corner of North Main and West Bellville Streets.  This building, in later years, was the Red Front Grocery Store and then the Western Auto Store.  This historic building was torn down in Nov. 1998.

Note all the men that had climbed the telephone pole to have their picture made for this historic event.  We're lucky to have some of these old historic pictures from years ago, but I wished someone had taken the time to write the identities of the people on the back of the pictures.  Who knows - some of our ancestors might be clinging to the pole.