Hot in Hot Springs

On July 31st my daughter and I went to Hot Springs.  We got to Arkansas a day earlier than we usually do and decided to take a vacation day sight seeing. I hope next summer we can do even more of this.  

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)

What was my prior knowledge of Hot Springs Arkansas before going there?  Not much, I knew there were hot springs, I didn't know why.  I knew that it was a popular tourist spot and I also knew it wasn't too horribly far from the family place but we had never been there.   

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The water out of Hot Springs average 143 degrees f. and people have been drawn to the springs for hundreds (and likely thousands) of years.  The water that come from the springs are over four thousand years old (well obviously all water is "old" it's just not something we think about).   In 1832 under the Jackson administration the government set aside four sections of land to "reserve" them for the people.  In 1877 the government took control over the springs and approved the private bathhouses which you will see some more photos of.  

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In 1921 Hot Springs National Park was established.  

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Bathhouse Row is an interesting area. I believe one bathhouse is still in operation.  By the 1960s many of the bathouses had closed their doors and fell into disrepair.  By 2004 the park began renovating the buildings to help economically revitalize the area.  

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The water is hot! 

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These photos are more of a documentary style and of a tourist nature.  Not my best shots, but I wasn't trying very hard.

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Some images of Bathhouse Row   

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I hope to add enough historical information to educate you about your visit to Hot Springs or any other unusual places I've been to. I need to start working on educational power points, which was my original plan when I began visiting historical places. 

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I will do another post about the bathhouse museum we toured in Hot Springs. 

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This has a beautiful design. 

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Now if you actually want a real bath in Hot Springs the Buckstaff is the operational bathhouse there. 

Buckstaff Baths

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My daughter really wanted to do this. 

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We shopped a little and ate and then drove up the mountain to go up the observation tower.  

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I don't really like observation towers as I learned in Sioux Falls.  I don't like heights that much not in these situations.   

Hot Springs from the Tower (1 of 1)

It's a nice rainy day here in Oklahoma.   I just feel like staying inside.  Next week the job officially begins and I'll be a tired person.  

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You really can't see the forest for the trees out here...

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My Grandma's Voice

Grandma Sharp from Joy Franklin on Vimeo.

 I've written about my Grandmother before on here, I'm sure.  I picked up the mail on Tuesday and had an envelope from a cousin in Mississippi.  In it there was a magazine filled with night pictures like the kind I've been posting recently and there was also a letter and this photograph with it.  The first part of it is my Grandmother speaking about her life and family and at the end it is Great Aunts and Uncles speaking about their families.  I haven't heard her voice since I was a kid - she had a stroke a couple of years before she passed away in 1993.  I can't explain the emotions that this gift of my Grandmother's voice brought.  I'd forgotten her voice, but hearing it brings her all back to me. I'm beginning to believe in the importance of capturing our loved ones on video.  


This was the early 20th century 

I've taken these photos off of a family forum.  That is my Grandmother on the left.  She was the oldest of her siblings.  She was born in 1896. We had a Grandmother who was of a different generation.  


This was my Grandmother at a young age - she grew up in Umpire Arkansas.  She married Fletcher Dowe Sharp in 1922.  Prior to that she was a teacher and she taught in a one room schoolhouse.  Which she speaks of on the recording above.  It's wonderful.   I am not an overly emotional person but this got to me.  


Here she is with three young children, so this was before my Dad was born.  He was the baby born in 1937.  My Grandmother was in her 40s when my Dad arrived in the 30s. I'm very lucky to have known her.  The Faulkner longevity helped, her Mother lived to be over 100 and passed away in 1977 (the year I was born).   


My Grandparents and my Dad in the late 1930s.  

I didn't know my Grandfather, he died before I was born and I didn't know my Mom's parents either although they were alive when I was born.  She was my only Grandparent.  So I can't put words on how much hearing her voice means to me.   It's truly priceless.  


This is the only picture I've ever seen of my Grandma with her hair down.  I remember how she always kept it braided and in a bun and told me stories when I was a small child about how she never cut it.   


My family was taking cat photos before the internet.  Who needs the internet to enjoy cat photography?  My Dad is the kid in this photo, I suspect it was all his idea.  


But I love these old photos.  

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I love that we have a connected world to be able to know such a large family. Yes, I'm in this photo.  

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The family that Rufus and Molly built on Battle Hill Road.  Which was not named after a battle; just a family battle - among my ancestors.  

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This beautiful country of SW Arkansas in the Ouachitas.  Having the land where my Great-Grandparents settled has helped keep this family connected over the years.   

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The Cossatot River that runs nearby.  I never went to the First Sunday Reunion with my Grandmother because we always came to Oklahoma for the Watermelon Festival the week after.  We started coming in 1995 for the 100 year reunion and I've raised my children going here.  I've gotten to know the cousins as an adult.  I'm grateful to have had my Grandmother's Sisters in my life. 


I am very grateful for the forethought my Grandmother's family put into this interview.  I'm thankful that after so many years of missing her that I've been able to hear her voice and the voices of my Great-Aunts who I also miss very much.  I'm Grateful that I was sent this audio and have the ability to upload and share this with my cousins all over the country.  That I can share my very old fashioned Grandmother and her voice with all of you.  She means the world to me and is part of the reason I've always been fascinated with history.  She came from another era, a time when women only wore dresses and kept their hair up.  She didn't drive.  She was a devout Methodist and I remember staying with her in the summers as a child and how fascinating her trunk of old memories was.   I am so incredibly happy to hear her voice again.  We can only do so much with images but hearing the voice triggers a million memoriesof a person.   

First Sunday in Arkansas

In 1895 my Great Grandfather set up their homestead near Umpire Arkansas.  The house still stands where ten children were raised and traditions were born.  Every year our large, extended family gathers to reunite, a tradition that survives despite the loss of the Great Grandparents and now their ten children who are no longer with us.   Yet the family has been in this part of Arkansas for far longer than 1895.  

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This is my family, can you see me?  I'm not the photographer in this shot.   These are all cousins and in many cousins they'd probably be distant cousins that you don't know, but not in the Manasco family.  The families are composed of my Father's first cousins and their children and grandchildren

George W. and Rhoda Manasco

In one cemetery down the road the first Sunday services are held.  This cemetery contains many of my ancestors.  My Great Great Grandparents are pictured here, the father and mother of Rufus Manasco my Great Grandfather, who is also buried in this cemetery.  Photographs are important, I've visited the graves but it was my first time to see this image of these people who are my Great, Great Grandparents.  

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This is the dusty road that many people traveled down to see my Great Grandfather Rufus who was Justice of the Peace from the time he was 18 and until his death.   

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They farmed and settled in this beautiful Arkansas landscape, with the Ouachitas next to them.  

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The Cossatat River was flowing.  It was full, normally we go wade and play in this river.   I imagine my Grandmother took my Father here when he was a child to play in the Cossatot.  

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As I think about the "why" of photography, it seems that our photography is often geared towards our children and a lot of times as we age we no longer want to see the reflection in the mirror because we desire our young "self" --- yet, the photos I value of are those who I've lost.  Those photos of that friend who is no longer there,  my Grandmother, all I have left of some people are those few images.  So, when at family gatherings I try to capture those images of the adults, the elderly and the children.   

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Cousins playing under the old trees. I imagine my Grandmother and her siblings playing under the tree. I imagine my father played under this same tree with his cousins as a child in the 1940s.  


We all sit under the old porch and eat our Sunday meal. 

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Catching up with family.  With Facebook there isn't always as much catching up,  I guess it kind of ruins it.  I remember my first few years going to the reunion the porch was always filled with scattered albums of photos telling the stories of people's years.  The porch isnt' filled with photo albums now, it's filled with us on our smart phones looking for some 3G signals.

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We all gather in Arkansas, so we can attend First Sunday Services at Bethel Cemetery. 

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To remember our ancestors.  To know they congregated here at their greatest sorrows a century ago.  To know that we still remember them, we remember where we came from.  

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And we will again next year at our Manasco reunion in Umpire.  

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Great Grandfather Rufus Manasco with his parents behind him.   

Fort Smith Arkansas

Fort Smith was established on December 25, 1817.  This place holds nearly 200 years of American history.  But prior to the establishment of the western influence on this region the Native populations held great civilizations just to the west on this impressive river that you can learn about at the Spiro Archaeological site.  Here is a great link to the history of the area on the National Park Service website. 

Historic Fort Smith Arkansas-1883
I arrived at Ft. Smith Wednesday afternoon with my daughter and we finally had the opportunity to meet with a friend with whom I've written to online for a few years now.  

Old Depot at Fort Smith-1873
There was an interesting mural on this old railroad depot.  

Judge Isaac Parker Mural  at Ft. Smith Arkansas-1872
Judge Isaac Parker was known as "The Hanging Judge" because he sentenced so many to death.  The history of the region is interesting and pretty wild.  We have a book of the stories of murders that happened further south in McCurtain county Indian Territory at the turn of the century and it was a place filled with murders and lawlessness.  

The Gallows in Fort Smith Arkansas-1891
The Gallows at Fort Smith

The Gallows in Fort Smith Arkansas-1895
It was still a miserable 100 degrees outside.  

Arkansas River in Ft. Smith-1935
Being from western Oklahoma the Arkansas River is an impressive site to see. 

Arkansas River in Ft. Smith-1943
Barges can navigate the river, the river has been an important means of travel and trade for well over a thousand years.  Remember history didn't begin with the exploration period of the the anglos, history has been happening in this region since archaic times. 

Fort Smith Arkansas-1907
Travel and transportation has changed over the last two centuries, yet the river and it's water within it is still the lifeblood needed for any community.  

Ruins of Old Fort Smith-1915
The ruins that were left behind.  The Osage people historically occupied this region until the late 18th century brought early refugees from Cherokee country in Georgia, soon followed by the Removal act which brought in the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Seminoles and Creeks.   

Trail of Tears at Fort Smith-1928
I will continue with more Fort Smith images soon!  


Cossatot Falls

Off of Highway 278 between Umpire and Wickes Arkansas you will find the Cossatot State Park. While in Arkansas, my Son and I had a day out before our family reunion and we went to the Cossatot, near Umpire Arkansas.  We went down to the river first then backtracked to follow the gravel road the four miles to the Cossatot falls.  Now, I imagine the drought and heat has affected the falls greatly, as the sign point out that its a "rapids" and a butt kicking one at that.  Not to mention that the meaning of the word "Cossatot" is actually French for "Skull Crusher," and looking at the rock formations in this falls area I believe that at one time it would crush a lot of bones.  

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Welcome to the park... but before you get to the falls you turn off on a narrow windy road.  Kudos to the logging truck drivers, because that is something I have NO desire to do after driving these narrow windy roads.   It is interesting to think of all the people who once lived on this land.  

Howard County Road Arkansas-136
If you look down you can see how steep this road is.  We are in the Ouachitas.   

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I LOVE Arkansas, but the landscape of the Plains is so much easier to photograph.  Arkansas is great, but you can't see the forest for the trees.   I love driving these roads, probably because I know that as far back in the early 1830s many of my ancestors had made this home.  

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Raging.... I think not.  Well, not this August.  Maybe next year....  

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Imagine water rushing over these rocks, smoothed by centuries of rapids rushing over them.  Yes, I took a $2000 camera out in the water.  Yes, I'm stupid sometimes.  Yes, I fell down.  Yes, I lost my flip flops.  Yes, the rocks are painful to walk on.   Did I answer your questions?  Now when we returned Saturday evening, I left the camera in the truck.  Smarter much? No not really I didn't wear shoes on those rocks then for fear of losing them.  I'm too old for barefoot adventures.   

Cossatot Falls  (1 of 1)
I have to admit its, great fun.  A combination of rock climbing, waterfalls and swimming holes!  All things I like. 

Cossatot Falls Howard County Arkansas (1 of 1)
See my Son down there?  I was up on a rock taking this shot. 

Cossatot Falls near Umpire Arkansas (1 of 1)
Looking down the falls.  Hey, these rocks are mossy and slick!  My poor flip flops floated away down the Cossatot.  

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these rocks may look pretty, but remember pretty things can hurt you.   

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We really enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Cossatot Falls

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Note the scenic waterfalling from the rocks.  Pretend you didn't see the legs of my man-cub enjoying the rushing water. 

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There he is! He loves this! 

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Love this flower... 

Cossatot flower (1 of 1)
Beautiful, compared to the pale winter-like dryness at my home Arkansas was lush and green this August. 

Rowan at Cosstot Falls (1 of 1)
We will definitely be returning to the Cossatot Falls.   





First Sunday

The first Sunday in August my Manasco family gathers at the Great Grandparent's homestead in Umpire Arkansas, the extended family of Molly and Rufus and the descendents of their 10 children.  

Abby and Ella Color (1 of 1)

What memories do you have of those family reunions where you got to see your favorite cousin?  I remember the reunions we had and seeing my cousins. What memories we build as children with our family.  I had such a wonderful time this weekend watching my little cousins enjoying each others company.  Such precious babies they are, and they grow up so, so fast.  

Abby and Ella outside of the fence (1 of 1)
They escaped the front yard! There is a fence around the old house, and they snuck out the back! 

Abby shooting with watergun (1 of 1)
YES she just shot my camera with her watergun. I knew it was coming, yet I had to click the shutter knowing what kind of picture I would get.   The determined look in her eyes.   

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It was 1898 when my Grandmother was a toddler in this very yard.   Over 100 years of children playing in this yard.   How fortunate that this homestead is still in the family. 

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But this means more to me than anything is seeing my Daddy and his older brother together at the reunion.   I love the stories they tell when they are together.   



Arkansas in Black and White

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A few photos of Arkansas in Black and white as I drove off of the Talimena Scenic drive which runs between Mena and Talihina Oklahoma.  If you drive down this Highway 272, not only will you smell your brakes afterwards(maybe you're not supposed to), you could quite possibly make someone severely carsick (which I have been known to do)  and you will end up at the bottom of the Mountain, heading towards Heavener Oklahoma.  I always think of this song when I think of driving out in the Ouachitas "Up On The Ridge"   from one of my all time favorite CDs.

Queen Wilhelmina Park Tourists (1 of 1)
If you leave the Mountain and go into Mena in not too long you can make it to the homestead of my Great Grandparents in Umpire, where we gather every year for our large family reunion!  My Grandparents, born in the 1890s  left the beauty of Arkansas during the Great Depression.  Such a wonderful family I have, that I know so many of my cousins.   In a day in age where often we don't have as much contact with extended relations I get to see mine every year.  

The Tourists and the Ouachitas (1 of 1)
The tourists looking out into the distance.  

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Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.  ~Paul Johannes Tillich, The Eternal Now

Rich Mtn Sign BW (1 of 1)
Photographing, I've found in this relatively new passion of mine is something I love to do alone.  I love to go drive around somewhere different and stop whenever I please and photograph.  Its solitary, its peaceful, it is never sad, it is never lonely.  It is me, my music and of course my cell phone with internet access.  So, yeah I'm connected.  But I'm not lonely by myself.   

Old Store in BW (1 of 1)
Arkansas and SE Oklahoma, always felt like "home" to me, having never lived there.  There is a certain comfort in this reason.  The family ties are deep to this region.   To see a Grave of an Ancestor who died in the 1830s, the Great Great Grandfathers who fought in the Civil War.   The land that is still in family hands.  That sense of place.   That heritage that gives you a connection with a place.   It may not be my home, and may never be my "home" but because were it not for the people who made this their home and met and married, I would not be who I am today.  So because this land, the Ouachitas, and the Piney woods of Oklahoma I am who I am.   

Arkansas Summer

Tormenting myself with summertime photos again... this time from Arkansas.  My Sister and I were talking about our day in the Ouachitas yesterday.    

The debate..turn around or go to Arkansas... we went to Mena.  

Sun in trees at Rich Mtn Cemetery
Sun coming through the trees at an old cemetery on top of Rich Mountain.  I realize I'm torturing myself with summer photos of interesting places, but I can't help it. 

Morning in the Ouachitas
Ouachita Morning.  I used to only really think of Oklahoma mountains as the arid Wichitas near Lawton, until I went on the Talimena Scenic drive from Talihina to Mena.  One of the most beautiful places in the state. 

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Beautiful flower at the Pioneer Cemetery on Rich Mountain.  

Rose near Rich Mtn Fire Tower
Rose with  the Rich Mountain fire tower in the background 

Ouachitas Morning Feb Edit
The beautiful piney woods.  

Window shot ouachitas
Logging Truck
This photo was taken in August, but I can't post about this part of the world without the logging truck.