A few weeks ago, in celebration of Rebecca’s birthday, her dad and I took her to Ozark Folk Center State Park near Mountain View, Arkansas. Being about 3 hours away it was a day trip for us.
Our first stop was a coffee shop in the nearby town of Ozark. Rebecca thought it wouldn’t be proper to have a road trip without stopping for coffee. So we did.
Then we settled back to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery and quaint little towns as we wended our way to our destination.
Ozark Folk Center is a “living history” village of little shops dedicated to preserving traditional local crafts. We found it fascinating because we enjoy several of these crafts ourselves. I didn’t get pictures of all the shops as we were too busy looking around. Most of the shops had craftsmen demonstrating the various crafts.
Some of the shops we visited included:
- candle shop
- cooper and whittling shop
- papercraft shop
- quilt shop
- herbal nursery
- apothecary shop
- broom shop
- knife shop
- doll shop
- print shop
- woodworking shop
Our favorite shop was, naturally, the print shop. Lyle was familiar with most of the equipment and techniques being demonstrated, having grown up in the trade.
I asked him if he would enjoy manning a shop like that, just puttering around on small projects and giving demonstrations. He said he thought that would be fun.
I was disappointed that the fiber arts shop wasn’t open that day.
Another building we were fascinated with was the schoolhouse.
“Folk history dates the Ozark Center Schoolhouse to around 1870. It originally sat in the Gaylor community of the Fifty-Six district.
Although built as a homestead cabin, it was also used as a schoolhouse in the late 1920s and early 1930s. We were told by two former students that the 8 to 12 children who attended sat on split-log benches, used slates and McGuffey readers, and went to school only in the summer for 2 1/2 months, when they were not needed to help with the chores at home. It was not a state-funded school.”
The schoolhouse is currently furnished with typical antique school desks, not split-log benches.
The pioneer-style one-room cabin was also interesting (as were the surrounding herb gardens). The cabin had a porch on both the front and the back, but the interior was pretty small.
The “mountain lady” who was the guide for the cabin told us that there were 8 people in the family who lived there for 60 years. We assumed that not all 8 people were there the entire 60 years, but even for a few years, it was certainly tight quarters for that number of people.
The cabin was furnished with one bed, a table, a cookstove, and a fireplace. I think she said the cookstove would have been outside during summer months, and that, in fact, the family mostly lived and worked outside so the only time they would be inside would be for meals and at bedtime.
We enjoyed the mountain music performed on the blacksmith’s stage, featuring a variety of instruments including the auto harp, the dulcimer, mandolin, fiddle, bass, banjo, and even spoons.
When we finished our tour of the village we drove into Mountain View looking for the ice cream shop a friend had recommended. I didn’t get a picture of the ice cream shop itself (it was a little trailer with a walk-up window) but it shared the yard with this interesting house.
We had to laugh at the “Mtn. View Missile Defense and Possum Smoker.” And we couldn’t resist visiting the music shop with a resident dog comfortably lounging in front of the counter. (Again, no picture. Sorry.)
It was a fun day. Next time we head out I’ll try to remember to take more pictures to share with you.
Other Adventures We’ve Had in Arkansas
- Mammoth Spring and More
- Mulberry River Road Scenic Byway
- Mountain Crest Academy
- A Visit with Lum and Abner
- Ancestral Cemeteries on Memorial Day
- Territorial Fair in Little Rock and a Visit to the State House
- Camping on Beaver Lake
- Natural Dam and Other Back Roads Adventures
- War Eagle Mill and My Great-Great-Great Grandmother