Ben Elrod: Part 4

posted by rexnelson on June 30th, 2015

It didn’t take Ben Elrod long to learn that there were major differences between being the vice president for development and being the president of Ouachita Baptist University at Arkadelphia.

Read More

Ben Elrod: Part 3

posted by rexnelson on June 29th, 2015

When Ben Elrod arrived as the young president of Oakland City College in rural southwestern Indiana in 1968, the school had 670 students and an operating budget of $1.2 million. That was about to change — for the better — under the leadership of Elrod. Soon, Ouachita would come calling again.

Read More

Ben Elrod: Part 2

posted by rexnelson on June 26th, 2015

As vice president of development and later president of Ouachita Baptist University, Dr. Ben Elrod earned a reputation as a master fundraiser. He got his start as a Ouachita student, helping save the school’s athletic program.

Read More

Ben Elrod: Son of south Arkansas

posted by rexnelson on June 25th, 2015

How was I to say no when my friend Ian Cosh, the vice president for community and international engagement at Ouachita Baptist University, called last year and asked me to join him as the co-author of a small book on the life of Dr. Ben Elrod, the former Ouachita president? I didn’t, of course.

Read More

Leaving home

posted by rexnelson on June 22nd, 2015

I stepped into the carport where my dad once had parked his big Oldsmobile, started my car, drove slowly around the circle and then headed for U.S. Highway 67, Interstate 30 and the office. The tears didn’t clear until somewhere east of Malvern.

Read More

The Albert Pike and the Sam Peck

posted by rexnelson on June 10th, 2015

The Albert Pike and the Sam Peck are two old downtown Little Rock hotels with fascinating histories. One still serves as a hotel. The other is now a residential facility.

Read More

The grand hotels

posted by rexnelson on June 9th, 2015

The early 20th century was a time for building hotels in downtown Little Rock. Most of the hotels opened during that period — the Marion, the Lafayette, the Albert Pike and the H. Grady Manning — are no longer being used as hotels. The Frederica (built in 1913 and later called the Sam Peck) now does business as the Legacy Hotel. The Lafayette houses offices and condominiums. The Albert Pike is a residence hotel. The Marion and Manning are long gone, imploded on a cold Sunday morning in February 1980 to make way for the Excelsior Hotel.

Read More

Catholic fare

posted by rexnelson on June 3rd, 2015

While I’ve attempted to visit as many independently owned restaurants across the state as possible through the years — especially those in rural areas — one thing I’ve not done is take in most of the historic annual events that are associated with Catholic parishes. Though there’s not a large Catholic population in Arkansas, these are among the most storied and anticipated events in our state.

Read More

The Natural State bucket list

posted by rexnelson on May 19th, 2015

It’s high time to update our Arkansas bucket list. So here we go with the list of things every Arkansan should do at least once.

Read More

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.

Read More