Eureka Springs Independent Newspaper Column for January 8, 2014

George O’Connor maintained and operated the Eureka Springs weather station for several years. Located behind O’Connor’s Texaco, he recorded weather data for the National Weather Service and various media outlets. Patricia Williams Cobb is George O’Connor’s granddaughter and has this memory:

“I remember his little white weather station out behind the gas station. He would also call his weather report into not only the paper, but the radio and T.V. station every night. I remember the excitement one time, when the T.V. weatherman said during the broadcast, ‘George O’Connor says it is __ degrees in Eureka Springs.’ I thought my grandfather was a celebrity!”

A fixture in Eureka Springs for six decades, George Paul O’Connor was born in Marcus Hook, Penn., and grew up there and in North Dakota. Following work in the 1920s, he and a friend made their way south to Eureka Springs where George settled down and married Norma Fioravanti. Norma O’Connor clerked at the Eureka Drug Company for 26 years.

I knew George only after the ravages of Alzheimer’s, but have heard stories of his keen, active mind. Staunchly independent and opinionated, while reading the newspaper or a book (even an encyclopedia), he would underline and make notes in the margin, sometimes vehemently disagreeing with the author’s viewpoint.

For decades he lived just out of the city limits on U.S. 62 (his address was Route 1, Box 2) and when the city of Eureka Springs annexed his land he joined a lawsuit with other landowners. Though they lost the suit on appeal, George O’Connor and what he thought comes shining through when you read the opinion.

Besides opening the Texaco Service Station in 1950, he served as a Justice of the Peace on the Carroll County Quorum Court and was a highly skilled carpenter, known for his steep roofs. 

Jack McCall told the story of loafing at O’Connor’s Texaco one day looking at George’s car, a Ford LTD. Jack asked, “George what does L T D stand for?”

Without missing a beat, George said, “Little Tom Dooley.”

O’Connor’s Texaco is now the long-time location of Sparky’s Roadhouse Café.

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