Eureka Springs Independent Column

With the fragrance of lilacs flirting with my nose, I lay open the April 27, 1967 edition of the Eureka Springs Times-Echo. The lead story is the upcoming county-wide vote on issuing bonds to fund the construction of a $720,000 hospital in Berryville. There is a full-page advertisement signed by 84 local residents against it, and a quarter-page advertisement in favor of the bonds. I guess we know how the election turned out.

Of course, Holiday Island wasn’t always called Holiday Island, but did you know it was once called Hollydale Island? I didn’t. A front page article announces the change of name from Banach Island to Hollydale Island. This makes sense because the 4800-acre property that includes the island was owned by the Holly Corporation of California.

Reby Nelson’s house on East Mountain burned down and both she and her daughter Rose Brown were hospitalized with burns. Reby Nelson was my wife’s great-grandmother.

Two spelunkers exploring Onyx Cave at the invitation of owner Ralph Schmidt discovered 425 additional feet of passageways and an underground waterfall. J.D. Fletcher and family purchased the Devil’s Dive Resort on Table Rock Lake. Mr. and Mrs. Cecil R. (Pete) Birchfield are congratulated on the April 20th birth of their daughter Stephanie Lynn. The Eureka Drug Company is having a close out sale on all record albums, including their one remaining copy of the very popular The Sound of Music.

Local family doctor Ross Van Pelt spoke to the high school on the dangers of using narcotics not prescribed by a physician. He especially warned against falling prey to heroin.

In Berryville, both the Oklahoma Tire & Supply and the Ben Franklin Store are selling all their merchandise and fixtures and calling it quits. Also in Berryville one can attend showings of A Fine Madness starring Sean Connery and Joanne Woodward.

The US Army is in need of volunteers, especially those with previous military experience. The recruiters in Fayetteville say to call collect if interested in joining up.

And so I close the April, 1967 newspaper and take a moment to admire the blossoming redbud trees on the hill.

Eureka Springs Independent Column

The way I heard it, it was about 1937 when Burt Hull lost his hand in the sawmill accident. He was cleaning sawdust out from under the machine when he raised his hand and the spinning blade caught it. His son Curtis rushed him to the Eureka Springs Hospital in a Model A Ford. That night, Burt was unable to sleep because he could feel worms eating into the severed hand. He had Curtis go back to the sawmill, collect the hand from the sawdust pile, and bury it.

I don’t remember ever seeing Burt Hull, but he’s one of those people I’ve heard about all my life. As a kid, stories of a one-handed sawmill operator grabbed my attention. I understand from the stories that he could do as much work or more with a hook than others could do with a fully functioning hand.

I ran across an article about Burt Hull in a 1975 Carroll County Historical Society Quarterly magazine, written by Coy Logan shortly before Mr. Hull’s death. As I expected, his first job off the farm was sawmilling for Franzisca Massman down at the bottom of Oil Springs Road. But, it turns out that Burt Hull was much more than just a hook-handed saw miller. He was a butcher, a blacksmith, an entrepreneur, and a progressive farmer intrigued by modernization and machinery.

Always for trying new things and for improving what he had, Burt Hull invested $175 in a Case steam tractor as a young man. He bought it up in Joplin and had to get it back to Arkansas. He and his brother and a cousin drove the machine home, gathering wood along the way to fire the engine and hauling water in a barrel for the steam. At night, they’d camp by the side of the road. It took seven days to drive the contraption home from Joplin to Eureka Springs.

Like many in the Hull family, Burt is buried in the Shady Grove Cemetery east of Eureka Springs not far from where he grew up on Kings River.