Arkansas November 01, 2016
12 Things That Prove Arkansas Is Hands Down The Strangest State
It’s my opinion that no place can be truly great without also being a little bit strange. Strange is good. Strange shows character. Well, Arkansas might be more than a little bit strange. In fact, it may well be the strangest state in the union. From weird events to weird places, here are twelve things that will definitely make you say “only in Arkansas.” All of these things mean, of course, that Arkansas is obviously the greatest state too, because strange and great go hand in hand.
1. The Legend of Boggy Creek
There’s a bigfoot-like creature haunting the area surrounding Fouke. It was once the subject of a 1972 docudrama called
The Legend of Boggy Creek. The town of Fouke has a lot of fun with this beast, even aiming it at tourists with their Monster Mart.
2. The Story of Susan Alamo
The small town of Alma is a hotbed for local myths about the fate of infamous cult leader Tony Alamo’s dead wife. I grew up in this area and heard a thousand times that when the government raided Tony Alamo’s cult headquarters, the body of Susan Alamo went missing. It turns out that she is actually buried in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Regardless, it’s weird enough that her embalmed body was on display for six months on the Alamo compound, just 15 minutes from my childhood home.
3. We’ve created some foods that not just anybody would think of.
Arkansas is responsible for cheese dip, cheese dogs, and fried pickles. The rest of the country might be awfully grateful, and we are too, but who thinks of things like that?
Arkansans, that’s who.
4. We’re practically the World Capital of World Capitals.
Hope is the Watermelon Capital of the World. Alma is the Spinach Capital. Mount Ida is the World Quartz Crystal Capital. Mountain View is the Folk Music Capital. Searcy County is the Chocolate Roll Capital . . . actually maybe it would be easier to list the places that aren’t world capitals . . .
5. We’ve got some of the weirdest laws anywhere.
From trying to outlaw the Arkansas River’s flood stage in Little Rock to make sure it stays below the level of the Main Street bridge to the fact that it’s illegal to mispronounce Arkansas in Arkansas to that time toddlers were allowed to get married with parental permission, we can out weird law any state, any time.
6. Prohibition lives on in some Arkansas counties . . .
Of Arkansas’s seventy five counties, thirty five of those counties don’t allow the sale of alcoholic beverages within their borders. So while you can have a nice cold beer with your meal in most Arkansas counties, there are some where that’s a hard no. The county I live in, for example, requires that I cross the county line to buy wine for dinner parties.
7. . . . at the same time, Arkansas has a surprising number of breweries and wineries.
For a state with nearly half of its counties still living in a prohibition-like situations, Arkansas’s yearly revenue from brewery sales is pretty significant. In 2012, Arkansas’s breweries were responsible for well over one hundred million dollars in tax revenue.
8. Arkansas is home to one of the largest corporations in America . . .
Walmart is headquartered in Bentonville, and if you don’t already know it’s one of the biggest businesses in the world, I’m not sure what planet you’ve been living on.
9. . . . it is also one of the poorest states in the nation.
Despite being home to one of the world’s largest retailers and some of the wealthiest families in the nation, as of May 2016 one in five Arkansans lived well below the poverty line.
10. Names, names, names.
From Bald Knob to Deer to Toad Suck, Arkansas pretty much has the best taste in weird names. My favorite is the Arkansas School for the Deaf Leopards. The Arkansas School for the Deaf has been around since the early 1940s, so its mascot wasn’t named after Def Leppard the rock group. But the mascot is the leopard, so whoever chose the mascot gave us all a cool little irony.
11. When the governor leaves the state, he isn’t really governing Arkansas anymore.
This year Arkansans will vote on ballot issue two, which basically asks the question of whether or not the governor continues being the governor when he leaves the state. Up until now, it has been a law that when an Arkansas governor crosses the state line, the lieutenant governor takes his place until his return.
12. We paint weird things on our tall structures.
From the silo in Lavaca painted like a Budweiser can to the water tower in Alma that looks like a can of spinach, Arkansas is full of these tall oddities.
For strange things only people from Arkansas do,
click here. To find the strangest things that ever happened in the Natural State, check this out.