The retirement state

posted by rexnelson on April 15th, 2015

It was 1948 and World War II veterans were starting families and buying homes after having attended college on the G.I. Bill. In the flat cotton country of east Arkansas, a West Memphis businessman named John A. Cooper Sr. had an idea that would change Arkansas.

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The Spa City bucket list

posted by rexnelson on April 6th, 2015

David Bazzel is going to spend three nights in Hot Springs this week. He asked me to come up with the ultimate Spa City bucket list. Here goes.

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Oaklawn’s renaissance

posted by rexnelson on April 2nd, 2015

The old lady of Central Avenue has received a remarkably successful facelift. Along came Instant Racing. Along came the other so-called games of skill. Up went the purses. Horses went on to win Triple Crown races. And the national media noticed. For Oaklawn Park at Hot Springs, maybe these are the good ol’ days.

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The Sunken Lands

posted by rexnelson on March 18th, 2015

In the Sunken Lands, the company founded well over a century ago by Ernest Ritter plugs on. And the Marked Tree Siphons still lift the water of the St. Francis River over the levee.

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Shame of Hot Springs: Part II

posted by rexnelson on March 3rd, 2015

They gathered in downtown Hot Springs last Friday night to mark the anniversary of the fire that destroyed the oldest section of the Majestic Hotel. The pile of rubble from that fire is still there a year later.

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Farewell Sno-White

posted by rexnelson on February 6th, 2015

I received sad news Friday. An Arkansas institution, Pine Bluff’s Sno-White Grill, will be closing.

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An oasis at Clarendon

posted by rexnelson on January 29th, 2015

John and Jeremiah Moore are in their 20s. With a deep love of east Arkansas, they’re working to preserve the rich history and culture of a region that too many others have forgotten.

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The preservationists

posted by rexnelson on January 21st, 2015

The event was the annual Arkansas Preservation Awards banquet. These are my kind of people. They have a love for this state, an appreciation of its history and a determination to preserve those things that have made us who we are as Arkansans. For decades, Arkansas did a poor job of preserving its past. There’s no need to pretend otherwise.

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John Prock: Man of influence

posted by rexnelson on December 30th, 2014

Google the name of any FBS head coach, and dozens of stories will appear. Google the name of John Prock, and you won’t find much. Ken Bissell knew what faced him when he began working on a book about Prock, Harding University’s head football coach from 1964-87. There would be dozens and dozens of interviews to conduct. There would be a lot of digging through old files and scrapbooks.

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A very Southern Christmas

posted by rexnelson on December 23rd, 2014

Christmas traditions are important. You see, the memories you make are a key part of the Christmas season. While preparing to write my weekly newspaper column, I decided to have a blast from the past by invoking the Helena oyster loaf. That’s right, I said oyster loaf.

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