400. Helena-West Helena, Phillips County (AR26)

I approve of this courthouse. It’s the kind of building I like to see at the center of one of these towns. Don’t get me wrong… Clock towers are nice and there are many different styles out there, many of which I’m quite fond of, but this one just speaks to me in a not entirely explainable way.

This is the first time I’d ever heard of the Elaine Massacre. It’s not the first time I’ve run across something similar, either. I can’t exactly say that I’m upset either. I’m hardly surprised. I also get that this is not the last one of these I’m going to run across. Heck, the only thing boggling my mind is how many such incidents probably happened that were never memorialized, remembered, or even known. Not that many, I guess. If you generate enough bodies, it will be remembered.

As local color goes, I didn’t know Hernando de Soto had been through this area. Of course, there’s no reason I would have known, either. I don’t exactly have his bubble gum card, either, so I don’t know any routes he may have taken anywhere. Therefore, contrary to what some people say, I’m not a know-it-all. I certainly have gaps in my knowings of things. And, as always, a shout out to the Doughboy! Always nice to see you! One bit of the darker local color, I didn’t photograph because I wasn’t entirely sure I was seeing what I thought I saw. But, with the benefit of hindsight and the Internet, I can verify that it was. For the first time in my life, I have seen kudzu. I know that there are effective ways to control and even eradicate it now, but seeing the walls and acres of it was still a little terrifying. In my youth, I though it would overcome all other plant life and “[hold] illimitable dominion over all.” Of course, in my youth, I was led to believe that killer bees and quicksand would be imminent dangers, too. But enough of that. I still had business to attend to here…

The cache was incredibly familiar to me as a father of daughters who were once infants not so long ago. I’ve seen about a thousand of these little buggers, and probably owned about a hundred of them, too. It was (predictably) under the bell here at the Phillips County History Museum. Of course, it was especially easy to find because it had fallen from is perch and was just sitting on the ground. A cache is a cache is a cache, though. I returned it to its hiding place and then took a deep breath. I wish I could say that I knew this was officially my 400th county, but I didn’t. I was about to cross a bridge. It’s not that I can’t not cross a bridge. It’s just that I had a very specific reason to do so this time. That’s why I crossed the Mississippi River for the first time this trip and made my way to…

5 thoughts on “400. Helena-West Helena, Phillips County (AR26)

  1. And as for this cache, it’s what I love about geocaching – finding a place you never knew about, or a piece of history you didn’t know about. Want to know when I learned about the Tulsa Riots? About three years ago, and I was educated in New York. I never knew about the New York draft riots, either, until I watched Gangs of New York.


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