There’s a fascination with photographs from the past, and it’s definitely an understandable quirk! History is preserved in a number of ways, but it’s a great thing when one is able to visually connect with prior generations when just reading about these long-changed locales isn’t enough. These vintage photos from Arkansas, taken during the 1930s and 1940s, are an awesome trip through an era that holds a huge number of reminiscent stories and memories.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
20. Ozark School Building
This photo of an Ozark school house was taken in September 1935. (This shot is "old school" in every sense of the word!)
19. Sharecropper's Daughter
Taken in October 1935, this young lady, a sharecropper's daughter from the Ozark mountains, stands in the doorway, likely taking a break from the daily grind that mountain life and farm work requires.
18. Marked Tree Main Street
Marked Tree's Main Street still has as much small town charm today as it did in October 1935 when this photo was taken.
17. Blytheville Sharecroppers
This photograph of sharecroppers returning home was taken near Blytheville in August 1936.
16. Fayetteville 1935
This is what Fayetteville looked like in August 1935--quite different from the budding big town that it has become 80 years later!
15. Ferda Plantation Store
This photograph of a plantation store near Lonoke County was taken in 1937. Note that the store also serves as the post office, and the horse directly out front would nowadays be ticketed for being in an emergency vehicle zone. (You can't get away with convenient parking these days.)
14. Route 70 Squatter's Camp
Taken in October 1935, this picture shows an example of what a "squatter's camp" looked like. This camp was located off of Route 70 near Dierks.
13. Downtown Clarksville 1935
This photograph of a street scene in downtown Clarksville was shot in August 1935.
12. Mountaineer Children
This mountain family, with a son pictured in the foreground and a daughter in the back, was photographed in the Ozarks in September 1935.
11. Batesville Loafer's Wall
These men are sitting on what's known as the "Loafer's Wall" in this June 1936 photo taken near the Batesville courthouse. Quite a comfy congregation!
10. Marianna Store
Taken in June 1936, this photograph shows a cotton trader in front of a small store in Marianna. I giggled at the store window, so don't feel bad if you did too.
9. School In Pajamas
Taken during the period where Little Rock schools were closed to avoid integration, this photograph from September 1958 shows three pajama-clad girls being educated via television.
8. Ozark Family
This photograph of an Ozark mountain family featuring a mother and her children in the doorway of their cabin home was taken in October 1935.
7. High School Girl
This photograph, taken in September 1958, shows a high school student being educated via television during the period that the Little Rock schools were closed to avoid integration.
6. Tontitown Grape Festival
This photograph of ladies in the kitchen preparing spaghetti and frying chicken at the time-honored Tontitown Grape Festival was taken on August 16, 1941.
5. Deserted Zinc
This photo of the abandoned mining town of Zinc, Arkansas was taken just outside of the town's limits in October 1935.
4. Sharecropper's Son
This picture of a young sharecropper's son in a likely rare moment of rest during hard times living in Mississippi County, Arkansas was taken in August 1935.
3. Arkansas Cafe
This photo of an Arkansas cafe was taken by esteemed Depression-era phographer Dorothea Lange during the midsummer of 1937. I don't know about you, but I think the "cafa" part shows that the owners at least had some culture. It's not just a restaurant, anyway.
2. Little Rock Nine With New York Mayor
This 1958 photo features New York City Mayor Robert Wagner greeting the Little Rock Nine, the students who history will remember for integrating Central High School.
1. Sunday Clothes
Honored Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange took this 1937 photograph of a Blytheville cotton worker dressed in his Sunday best.
Which of these photos catch your attention the most? How different is Arkansas now from the 1930s, in your opinion? Leave a comment stating your feelings about this glimpse into the past through these old snapshots of the Natural State!