Eureka Springs Independent Newspaper Column for November 19, 2014 by Steve Weems

On a day of heavy rains in the Spring of 1990, new local residents David and Jane Reuter attended a fundraiser at the Winona School and Church on Rockhouse Road. Attendees, including the Reuters, brought pies that an auctioneer sold to the highest bidder to help pay someone’s medical bills. David remembers bluegrass-style music provided by a fiddler, banjo-player and others. At the conclusion of the event, those driving north towards Eureka Springs found the low water bridge impassable. Drivers climbed out of their vehicles and congregated at the water’s edge and decided to give the creek time to fall rather than taking the risk.

Located in the long, narrow Winona Hollow, the historic Winona building has been a place of learning and worship, as well as voting, meetings, homecomings and weddings. There have also been community pie suppers and dinners on the grounds.

If one peruses old maps, it is found that Winona Springs was the name of this community. Besides the school and church, at one time Winona Springs had about 20 houses, a post office, and a mill.

I’ve read that George Washington Pinkley had a hand in the building of the Winona School and Church sometime before 1893. His daughter, Luella, married my great-grandfather Walter Weems there in 1901.

I live in Winona Township and we used to vote at the Winona School and Church, but it was eliminated as a polling location several years ago. If you were handicapped and couldn’t make it into the building, a poll worker would bring a ballot out. Often, voting on a chilly November morning, a roaring fire in the General-Wesco Jumbo woodstove kept things warm. It was a pleasant and friendly place in which to participate in democracy. I miss it. We now vote in town and it just isn’t the same.

Now this historic building is needing a new roof and repairs. An old-fashioned pie supper and silent auction will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, November 20, at the ECHO Clinic. You can also donate at the First National Bank of North Arkansas or mail donations to P.O. Box 367 in Berryville, Arkansas 72616.

Eureka Springs Independent Newspaper Column for November 12, 2014 by Steve Weems

The first step is to admit I have a problem: I think I’m living in the past. These old Eureka Springs Times-Echo newspapers keep calling to me and I can’t stop looking through their brittle yellow pages. Many of these newspapers date from before my birth and yet so many of the names are familiar; people I’ve heard about my whole life.

The bulk of my habit has been supplied by Kay Kelley. She and Richard had quite a collection of Eureka Springs memorabilia and I was lucky enough to get a couple of boxes of newspapers. Recently, Genevieve Bowman kindly passed along a bundle of old newspapers also. Others have slipped me individual clippings and odds and ends.

Sometimes I read the old newspapers so much that I find I don’t have time to keep up with current news. I may not know much of what is happening today, but I can tell you that LB Wilson scored 23 points in a winning effort for the Highlander boys against Reed Spring on November 17, 1967.

The main photograph on the front page of the November 23, 1967 Eureka Springs Times-Echo is that of the recently completed statue of the American Mastodon at Ola Farwell’s Dinosaur Park near Beaver Dam. I’m sorry that the park is now closed.

Norma Scates column, Busch News, recounts the killing of a tame deer called “John Deer” the second day of hunting season. His bloody collar was found down behind Huffman’s Rock Shop at Busch.

Today, with nearly a thousand killed annually in Carroll County, deer are taken for granted. They are thick everywhere it seems. But in 1967, as the resident deer population was still rebounding, the animal still held novelty value. The 109 hunters that killed deer in Carroll County during the first segment of the November, 1967 season are listed on the front page of the newspaper. Winifred Prior killed a 13 point buck.

Just as now, not everyone welcomed deer hunters on their property. Included in the “No Hunting” classified ads is this one: “Anyone trespassing on my property for any reason does so at his own risk. Mary Jane Fritsch.”

Eureka Springs Independent Newspaper Column for November 5, 2014 by Steve Weems

If I’ve learned anything from the recounted observations of McKinley Weems, it is that the good old days weren’t always as good as advertised. His evidence is anecdotal, but persuasive. He might recall some local event of startling brutality and will say with mild sarcasm, “That’s what we did for fun in the good old days.”

Sometime back, I overheard a snippet of conversation between two white-haired men. One was talking about his idyllic youth. He wasn’t a person known to me and I don’t recall all of what he said, except that when he came of age, the world was a simpler and better place, people were honorable, and one didn’t have to worry about, well, much of anything.

From the clues given, I did some quick math in my head and was surprised to realize that he wasn’t talking about the 1940s or 1950s, but about the late 1960s. (First of all, when did white-haired men become so much closer to my own age?)

My father was in California when I was born in 1968. (Thank you, Wilsie Sherman, for standing in and holding my mother’s hand.) Dad did fly home for a brief visit, but we didn’t see him again until eight months later because of the inconvenience of the Vietnam War. Maybe because of my reading about Vietnam, assassinations and widespread rioting, my impression of 1968 is not one of golden splendor and contentment. But perhaps it was for the gentleman I overheard talking. I’ve not worn his boots for a country mile…

Or is there something psychological going on here? I think of my own youth as a time of relative security without many complaints. Reagan slumbered on the throne but Marines died in Beirut and a space shuttle exploded.

Then again, the people of my youth do not seem that different than the people I know today. Times change, perhaps, but do people really change that much, generation to generation? Don’t look to me, I don’t know. I’ve always liked this quote attributed to Mark Twain, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”