Have spent two fantastic holidays in Arkansas (pronounced R-can-saw) fishing on Lake Ouachita (pronounced wash-it-ah). Only problem is they don’t speak English and even though it’s in the middle of 21st century America, it’s rather like stepping back in time. The following photos were taken on a visit to Mountain View in the Osark Mountains which rather illustrate the point, even though we didn’t quite see the Clampit Family.
On holiday in Arkansas, USA, staying in Mountain View – a small town 2,700 population, high in the Ozark Mountains. “The folk music centre of the world”.
A town lost in a 1960’s time warp. Elvis features 50 times on the jukebox in the Rainbow Cafe. He could walk through the door any minute and be quite at home. Little old boys with long white beards, in denim overalls with 2 inch thick braces, can be found on every corner.
Mom and Pop shops from yesteryear – home cooking restaurants. Crafted wood tables and rustic porch seats; fashion shops full of tie died t-shirts and dresses waiting for the hippies who don’t come so often these days; and antique shops full of things that must be at least 40 years old.
The best shop was the drug store – no longer selling snake oil and medicinal potions – but still doing homemade ice cream, candy bars and phosphate drinks. Oh, and Grannie’s pies, made by an 80-year-old lady who has been making pies almost since the pharmacy first opened. Strawberry pies, coconut pies and peanut butter pies. All guaranteed to contain at least 2000 calories per slice
But D E L I C I O U S
The town has status, it is the county town, so in the centre of the town square is the County Court House. Round the next corner is the Police Station and just a block down the road is the sheriff’s office and the county jail. Difficult to see where all the crime comes from especially when it is a “dry” county – no alcohol is to be found anywhere.
Not only that, but this is a very religious part of the world with churches on every block – the first Baptist Church, First Assembly of God, Grace Lutheran Church, Happy Hollow Cons Menn Church, Church of Christ, First United Pentecostal Church, Church of the Living God, Arbanna Baptist Church, Bethel Springs Mennonite Church, First Assembly of God, Evangelistic Centre Church, Church of Christ East Side, Broom Tree Refuse, First Apostolic CR-Covington……… plus fifteen others!
It is a charming old-fashioned, honest, God-fearing country town, no doubt like many others all over America. Sadly on its outskirts are the familiar symbols of a more modern commercial world. The Wal-Mart Superstore, the world’s largest retailer, born in Bentonville, Arkansas, now long since replacing the local shops. The Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Subway fast food outlets undercutting Grannie’s Pies.
There is a high price to pay for modernisation when communities like Mountain View disappear.