Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Christian Church Has New Quilt Squares

The placing of Quilt squares on structures throughout Crittenden County has become very popular in the past two years.  They started out as being called Barn Quilt Squares and were only placed on barns.  Lately they have been showing up on homes, garages, and all kind of out buildings. 

 The latest addition of these beautiful and colorful pieces have been placed on a local church, Marion Christian Church, on West Bellville Street.

They were placed there by a member of the church, Merle Myers, as a tribute to her late husband Jim Myers, who died in March of last year.  

The quilt squares also serve as a nod to the state's quilting heritage and the church's participation each year in is displaying quilts during Marion's Back-roads Tour and Festival, each April.

This church building was built by a Methodist congregation, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, in 1890 after a storm destroyed their first church.  The Methodists worshiped there until April 12, 1912 when they moved into their present church on College Street.

Various organizations used the building until it was sold to the Christian Church congregation in 1947.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hayward Building Then and Now

Soon after the great fire of 1905 that wiped out Marion's downtown business district, the local businessmen  of Marion started to rebuilt the town very quickly.  On of the first store buildings to be finished was on the corner of Main Street and E. Carlisle Street.  It was build by prominent business man E. J. Hayward, who was associated with the Farmers Bank.

Soon after it was finished the Yandell-Gugenheim Dept. store rented out the space and their clothing store was located there for many years.  

With very little change over the years, the front of this store stayed the same, with the glass display windows always a vital part of down town Marion.  

Through the years, the businesses of Carnahan's Dry Goods, William's Department Store, and The Style Shop occupied this prominent space on Main Street.

In the early 2000's attorney Bart Frazer purchased this building and turned it into law offices.  With the new owners also came the remodeling of the front entrance.  Gone are the large plate-glass displays, to be enclosed with smaller windows, also added was the balcony, which made a very different look to the old historical  main street building.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Our Fluorspar History

In the year 1922
To the region around Marion, in Crittenden County, America looks for its supply of fluorspar.  To the average layman, fluorspar as such means nothing until he discovers that it has revolutionized the making of steel, that it enters into the manufacture of his pocketknife, his automobile, his watch and every article in common use which contains steel.

Where fluorine originates no one knows.  It emanates somewhere deep in the earth's interior, it finds its way through volcanic channels, and in those few spots where it has been discovered, combines itself with calcium and becomes fluorspar.

Almost invariably, fluorspar is found in crevices of the earth - what geologists speak of as faults and runs in vertical veins.   

As it has been said, the region around Marion supplies about 85  percent of all the fluorspar used in the United States.  Although spar is found elsewhere, but such discoveries are in most cases merely of interest to the mineralogist and form no basis for commercial mining.  This area, then, has a practical monopoly of the mining of the product.

This behind the scenes picture was made in 1926, and is from a booklet entitled "Mines Safety Inspection,".  the description with the picture said, "general view taken from on top of #1 Tabb (Lafayette Mill) shaft house looking toward the Wheatcroft and May Helen mines."   In the far right background, you can see some of the homes and the water tower of the Lafayette Heights community.  

The railroad  played an important part in transporting fluorspar from the area.  It was loaded from the Lafayette Mill conveyor belt and hauled to the Marion Depot to be shipped to other locations up north.

The railroad and trestle  in this photo was not visible from the highway, and it makes this a very special picture

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How Some Of Marion's Streets Got Their Names

Many of our streets in Marion today still carry the name that was given to them over a hundred years ago.  Most were named for prominent businessmen, or a family that owned the land when the street was built.
  • Rochester Avenue.  William H.  Rochester was a Marion pioneer in the important profession of blacksmithing.  He came to Marion in 1845 and set-up the town's first machinist shop.  He purchased a two hundred fifty acre farm off the northeast corner of Marion in 1853.  He built a two-story log home on the land.  The farm was known then as Rochester Grove and the new home was given the name Waveland. 
  • Kevil Street was given that name in honor of the Kevil Family.  Joseph Bell Kevil was one of the founders and original owners of the Marion Roller Mill, which was located in the area that the Marion Feed Mill is today.  Mr. Kevil served the county in many positions, as county surveyor for many years, and had a thorough knowledge of Crittenden County boundaries of any man who lived here.  He also served a s County Attorney, Mayor of Marion and Police Judge.  The Kevil family home was at the end of Kevil Street located on the East Depot side of the street.
  • Walker Street that runs in front of Fohs Hall and the old hospital.  It was named in honor of R. C. Walker.  Their family home was located on this street.  Mr. Walker founded and published the first Crittenden Press in 1878 and operated the paper until 1900 when he and his family moved to Colorado.  
  • Jarvis Street is located a little north of down-town Marion.  It was named in honor of A. B. Jarvis, an important business man with ties in Marion through his tobacco factories.  At the time when tobacco was the "cash" crop of Marion, Mr. Jarvis was in charge of the tobacco business in Marion.  He owned and operated two tobacco factories.  One of his factories was located on Jarvis Street.
  • Travis Street is also located in the vicinity of Jarvis Street.  After the close of the Civil War, the great increase in the business zone of Marion, plus the movement of freed slaves from the farms to the cities to secure employment called for additional mercantile lots and an industry for Marion.  Herrod Travis, an ex-slave got several former brick-maker's together and founded the Kiln that produced most of the brick, if not all, used in Marion's construction before 1917.  The alleyway where the kiln was located later widened into a street named Travis Street in his honor.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

KentuckyTheater Building - Then and Now

 The building that we remember being the Kentucky Theater was build in October 1944.  It has previous burnt in December of 1943.  

Mr. C. W. Grady owned the lot where the theater was and he rebuilt it.  It would be a beautiful modern facility for the town of Marion and Crittenden County.  The large neon sign that hung above the entrance was the largest sign of it's kind in Marion.  The seating capacity would be for 484 people, and on Saturday nights it would be standing room only.  It was well lighted with new cushioned seats for comfort while watching the latest movies.

This is a good photo of the Theater as most of us remember it.  Picture was shared by Tommy Woodward.

We enjoyed this wonderful home town theater until it closed it's swinging glass doors in 1978.   The allure of going to a bigger town to see a movie, and movies you could get on tape and watch at home, may have been a big factor in our little theater having to close it's doors.

The building went on sale in Dec. 1980 and local resident Larry Or purchased the building in May of 1982.  He soon started renovating the old building and made it into his CPA PSA Offices.
This is the building as it looks today.  There is nothing that is left to even remind us that this was once the beloved Kentucky Theater where many of us grew up going to the movies on a Saturday afternoon.