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Marcus Phillips 1988 interview Transcribed by Mary Kallenberg Park Volunteer Nov 9, 1996


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Marcus Phillips 1988 interview
Transcribed by Mary Kallenberg Park Volunteer Nov 9, 1996
“I” stands for person doing the interview

“MP” stands for Marcus Phillips talking


Names of places and persons are spelled as heard-not necessarily correctly

Words which are not clearly understood are in brackets [ ].

Tapes are identified by writing on the actual tape

Tape marked “Marcus Phillips 3” side A


I This is continuing our interview on April 18 1988 with Marcus Phillips. Tell me about the old Gorge road.
MP The Gorge road was a very picturesque road. And after you got [it past] the camp it began to ascend the side of the mountain and was very high. It was winding and it followed the contour of the canyons, in and out, and being on the ledge it was really somewhat dangerous because it was quite a drop off, a bluff, on the ah, down the mountain from it in case you lost control of a car. This road continued in use until about, in the 30’s, they began to build the gorge road where it is now. And had to do a lot of blasting and I worked on that project and the engineer was Frank Ellsworth the father of our late Mayor, no uncle of our late Mayor Tom Ellsworth. And that was my first experience I guess with surveying I sharpened stakes on that job and blasted a log and built the road out through the gorge as it is now. Then after they built it, the next project was to try to return the gorge road, the original road, back to nature. Soil had to be hauled and more or less bucketed up the side of the bluff and put on the road and grass sowed and trees and one thing and another. And I worked on that project for some time. And I hated to see that road done away with because it was so picturesque but it was dangerous. I know one particular time when the Olesh theater set the town on fire across from Bath House Row and it burnt out a block or a block and a half of the city and there was a traffic jam and that was about 1926, and a lot of the traffic to get back to North Hot Springs went out the gorge and there was some pretty dangerous traveling at that particular time. And probably a few things like that that convinced the government that the thing to do was to put the road where it is now.
I Tell me about some of the other old roads and trails in the park
MP Well also the gorge road, of course, was what we call the Sleepy Valley road at one time and of course the development of Sleepy Valley there. The Quarry people used it a whole lot in working along Indian Mountain and then the other mountain adjacent to it. The next roads to be changed were of course the ones on West Mountain. Well at this particular time they contracted the work out, most of it. And there was, of course this was during the great depression in the early 30’s and there was a lot of unemployed people and the contractors agreed to pick their men from the unemployed and they began to use this. Well test holes were made to determine the type of surface they would have to build over and the amount of expense involved in making the cuts because this is Nevaculite and it’s very hard rocks. The contracts were let and of course the roads were built but some of the contractors folded up because it was more of an expense building through that Nevaculite and so far as I know that was about the last blasting that was done. Then the old roads of course they too were turned back to nature. They were filled with soil, grass planted , trees planted, and so on. And we have the roads as they are now. I remember one instance that happened , now they could blast at that time, now they don’t blast anymore. But, to blast and to make it safe, they would build a large raft out of pretty good size poles, and they would lay that over these holes, and of course they had the wires in and the battery system that they shoved the handle on and it ignited and blasted. Well that was pretty safe. But one day they wanted to make a quick blast. And at this particular time there was the road coming up much of where it is now from Whittington Avenue but also a road came up another street there that some called Gem Street. And some called Brooks, Brooks and Gem Street. And of course Gem street was named by the colored people that lived on it that owned a lot of property and they also owned the old Gem, they named the Gem theater after Gem Street. Ah, that was a colored owned theater on Malvin Avenue. It was a very popular theater in its day because the Creole people came up from Louisiana and put on Vaudeville and so on, but ah, the colored people or black people maybe as I should say that lived along this street, there’s quite a few houses on it, well they got in a hurry to make this blast and left the raft off of the.. and they threw a large rock into the air and it sailed up, way up into the air, kind of like a Howitzer cannon would shoot , and arched over and came down on Gem street, hit into the roof of this house, fell down through the house and hit the eating table where these people were around the table eating dinner. After that George Bolton, if you recall him, made us a safety tote. And he said when that huge [dong] hit that table, said it rained people for 30 minutes. So that was one of the instances I remember about the building and changing of those roads. And of course old Gem street was closed, the government bought it out and the houses, of course the people moved out of there and it became government property, and at that time the government had been authorized to buy the houses along Whittington, on the south side where the mountain drive approaches. Now all of this, there was nice homes up and down that side and of course they sold to the government and the government moved it and returned it to nature. I helped do some of this. The government, the National Park Service, had its own quarry where they quarried very beautiful rocks, I never did go to the quarry. But they had one of the building on Whittington we called the Government barn, ah and I worked on the project when they built, added to this and built more buildings. And the crew of men went out and quarried the rocks and then they built this building. I think the most I had to do with the building of it was mixing mortar. I helped dig back the bank to make room for this and of course, as you know they are beautiful buildings, this beautiful stone work. Then there was a street on Whittington just I would say east of the government barns that went into their gravel pit. Now that has been closed off. I worked in this gravel pit quite a bit. And they would take gravel to make fills wherever the government would need pit gravel for fill. I believe they called it the big Fort Church. And they operated this for a long long time and then they bought the street that went to it and Housley was a veterinarian that had his office and his animal hospital there and the government bought this animal hospital and then that street has been closed out. The other little streets were closed as the government bought land. But coming back to the mountain roads that were built, I didn’t work on the mountain roads so much. Now they employed men then to build the gutter with flag stone. And the National Park supervised that work more or less itself and I think it had some masons that were regularly employed that built some of those. Then they had their nursery up Whittington that they were quite active with at one time and their greenhouse. The most of the work that I did on the west mountain was a special , a special appropriation was made to employ men to change the trails. Now this is where I worked most of the time. The trails that went through the Park Service then on West Mountain, you would follow a trail and then to go up they would build a flight of steps out of masonry. Well this was quite a climb and was very dangerous in the winter time when it iced over. They reached a decision to do away with those trails and build gradually trails that just followed the contour and was not such a climb. So all of this masonry helped dig, tear this away. And we built the trails where they are now. And one of the things I remember in building those trails we approached a dump, pretty good size dump. And of course we young men didn’t know what it was and we asked some of the older men and they said, well this is a railroad dump where they started to build the cog railway up the mountain. A man got a franchise, a company did, from the city of Hot springs to start in at Court Street which was of course where it was anticipated that a courthouse would be built. The government let them have that block there to build a courthouse. It wasn’t hardly considered feasible because Court Street is so steep. Later it was subdivided again into lots and of course west of it the Levi hospital is situated. But right there in that vicinity is where they started constructing up the side of the mountain through the National Park the cog railway that was to come all the way to the top of the mountain up there about where the drive is just west of where the lookout station is up there. And I asked them about the cog railway, they never did complete it. And since I’ve been employed by the city of Hot Springs I found where the city of Hot Springs granted to them the franchise for a cog railway of course they had to work with the federal government also, but I have on this map where the cog railway was to start you see, and where it was to continue on up there and here’s your lookout station you see which would have been quite a thing had they had the money to complete it and had there been enough demand for it to, enough people using it for it to pay off of course it might have in that day before the automobile, it might have been a paying thing. And that dump I’m sure is still visible and maybe the park workers the men no doubt know about that dump they may not know the history of it, but sometime Jeff and I may go up there and look it over. But it would have been something nice had it been completed. Besides building the trails, I helped build some trails where Canyon street use to be east of Central Avenue. Canyon Street went east of Central Avenue there by the DeSoto Hotel. And Mountain Drive went up that mountain on up to the top of it and make a circuit there and connected with the mountain drive that came off of Ramble street that was called the North Mountain Drive and in turn they connected with the tower. The National Park Service decided to do away with that road. And I helped do away with that road and of course we would slope the bank, and in those days in order to employ a lot of men they did not use machinery, machinery was in vogue of course at that time but there was a huge unemployment- (another voice is heard in the background but not understood)-the great depression in the 30’s. Now this was about 1938 when I started to work on that and I worked on through 39, 40 and into 41, as an employee, of course not of the National Park Service but of the appropriations that were made. The National Park Service would make applications, the government would appropriate money and the National Park Service of course would supervise the work but they would pick men out from the employees to be sub-foremen and Mr. Huey, who one time I understand, now you can check the records on this, I think one time he was a supervisor with the National Park Service but he was retired at that time but he came out of retirement and supervised us on this construction. And all these projects that I’ve been mentioning of building new trails and doing away with old trails, Mr. Huey was the supervisor over it. And of course George Bolton was then here and I believe the ,am I right in saying at that time Mr. Libby probably was the other man. And there was a nice home on Fountain Street where George Boldton lived. We destroyed Canyon Street and the Mountain Drive. And as we came on down and approached this edge of town close to the hotel, we put some huge stone in there and blocked it, so people couldn’t go on up with their vehicles and whatever trails were built were built in other places. But I know when we finished this the supervisor looked at it and he said that’s not right , that looks like someone put that stone in there. He said we want the stone put in there where it looks like nature put them in. So we put them in then, changed them very irregular, and put them in. And that was the end Canyon Street and the drive from Canyon Street, the Canyon Drive some people called it.
I Did you ever hear them say why they wanted to quit using that road entrance?
MP I never did hear why. I think that one thing probably, with so many roads there was a lot of trouble patrolling them as automobiles increased and people were maybe inclined to throw out trash and other things you see. And of course they improved the roads that they decided to retain. I helped build trails around near the tower. And break up the concrete and we made some changes there at lookout station. Of course they built the park there where they had the sunrise service. I can’t think of any other attractions that I helped do. Now they built buildings. Also I helped on the project where we dug a ditch all the way from Whittington Avenue and laid a pipe line up to the lookout station on west mountain.
I For a water line?
MP Yes, ma’am for the water there. Drinking water and for the restroom facilities. I about forgot about that project and that was quite a project. We dug it by hand. A ditcher could have dug it easily enough you know, but it was dug by pick and shovel.
I Do you remember the other old roads on West Mountain, that went up by the Mountain Valley, what is now the Mountain Valley water building?
MP Let me think just a minute. The Mountain Valley Water building? Oh, yes. Well now that was Canyon Street on the west side and that zig-zagged when you got up there. The trail it just went in a serpentine.
I Was that suppose to be for cars?
MP Mostly for horseback riders. And that’s about all that could use it. Now in the old days there was a house up there and some private land. And people used that to get into their home. I’ve past by and seen the smoke going out of the chimney in wood burning days. And the government bought that place and demolished the house. Back..I don’t believe the whole house… I believe that was after World War II when that old house was torn down. So as long as that house was up there it had to stay open. And when they bought that property out they could close it out. Of course they’ve had some nice walls. Now another project that I worked on after World War II we had a terrific water shortage, had some droughts. And of course the pipeline were laid from the reservoirs on top of the mountain that I’ve been describing, the big tanks. Came on down Cliff Street and came to the hub of Cliff and Pine and Amber Streets where they come together and came to Pine Street, and crossed Pine Street near the Presbyterian…and crossed Wheaton near the Presbyterian Church off of Pine. From that point on we had to get permission form the National Park Service to lay this large water line. And of course it was being crowded because it was really an emergency on, it was a drought then and we were having droughts every summer and a lot of the hotels had their own deep wells. And a few of the times instead of getting cold water they got hot water. And of course the Army Navy hospital had it’s deep wells, you just simply had to have it. The hospitals had to have them because of emergencies. And the National Park Service gave them the permit to do this, we put it underground, we put the soil and everything back like it was. And we had to cross Canyon in one place and there had to be an undergirding of steel, now here we’re on National Park Service land, that’s why I’m telling you this, and had to lay stone on top of it to give it a natural look. And finally we came to Whipperwhill Street. When we came we came around the mountain we came to this home site I was telling you about, and when we got to Whipperwhill Street, of course we were on a street that had been dedicated by National Park Service, their monuments are along there, and we came down Whipperwhill Street with this pipeline, now that’s about all the good that it’s ever been to the city. And then of course we approached the city property, proper down at Exchange Street there. But this is another project that we built across government property. Of course we could not blast. And we came through some very very hard flint and Nevaculiet. And all they could use was jackhammers. They could use jackhammers and this was really some job. Day after day I watched them with the jackhammers and make such little progress you know in some places in laying this pipeline. Specially when they left [Winston]Avenue and went up the side of the mountain there, between the Presbyterian church and St. Mary’s church, up the side of the mountain there. I believe that’s the last time, the last hitch that I had working on National Park Service land, as I remember.
I Near the bath, the Whittington area in general, where the National Park Service has it’s little area, what’s your earliest recollection of what was there?
MP Well my earliest recollection there.. of course there’s an artesian well out there in the park. I don’t think it comes up like it at one time did because of the water table. Then there’s also a little swamp close to where the Mountain Drive comes in. I remember, the people of course liked to take walks in this, I remember the Nursery that was in the Whittington Park, I do not, I’m not old enough to remember the lakes they had, they had done away with the lakes when I came along, at least in memory. The trolley cars, you see in your old days if you’ll notice, if you look on a map , the original lay out of the town, the boulevard there, the streets are very serpentine in formation and still that way on one side. and if you wonder why the streets are so wide in one place and so narrow in others well one time they had the same width because both side of the street ran parallel. But to put the trolleys there and to work it out with the city and with the government part of the time the trolley would be on city and part of the time on government, well then they had to lay it out straight. And I remember the trolleys going up Whittington Park and of course Whittington Park was the show place of the town. When I was a child and when the trolleys cars were taken up of course the National Park Service, the city sold out or gave out, it transferred any ownership it had to the National Park Service so that side of Whittington, of the streets are very straight, opposed to the other side that so serpentine. That was a direction of course we always went to go to the park that the city laid out. And there was some…the.. this was in cooperation with the people that owned both the old water company before the Hot Springs bought it out and the government and of course the city of Hot Springs And they called them lipptydips in those days, there’s another name for them now. What was it you called them?
I Rollercoasters?
MP Rollercoasters, ok, they had those up there. The track I’m pretty sure were build out of the old track where the mules had pulled the street cars. And of course when they put in the electric cars which is what I remember they had better track. But they could use that track for the rollercoaster. And now we’re off of the… but we’re where the park has bought, the park owns as part of the property now. The rollercoaster went… it was just beyond the alligator farm, just west of it in that open area where the fine arts building is now. But it went way over towards the park, I don’t think it got…it might be on some of what the park owns now. But over the tree tops and through the woods. I rode that one time. The girl I was with enjoyed the ride very much, but I promised the Lord that that would be my last ride, and I kept that promise. But anyway it was really dangerous, the thing finally had to be condemned and torn down. Of course just beyond it was the ostrich farm. Now in the old days the celebration would last about three days at the fourth of July, they had the dancing pavilion there, they had an old theater there, and the arcade and other things. And up Whittington Park is my… I can remember my… the first Ice cream cone I remember, I was about 3 years old. And the woods, you could tramp in behind there, on what is now the National Park Service property. Because they bought property that surrounds it, you were on a part of it then, and you’re hiking around there. Of course they a little zoo. They had the red barn, the big red barn where on about the second floor was the dance hall and the bottom floor was where they kept the horses I spoke about that they rented. And there was something else on the third floor that I don’t recall. Anyway, that’s now housing development and then just north of it the National Park Service has bought it and they have bought the Kempner Homestead which of course they could homestead at that time because you were out of the reservation. And they had a beautiful home there also and a big gazebo that a hall went to it where they could eat in the summer time, hot weather. And on up at the end of the Whittington Park that the government now owns a lot of people lived. And of course right after world war II they had a housing development by the Veterans Administration and of course there was one model house built there. It never did develop and the National Park Service owns all of that. Now as far as remembering… Now one thing that I remember that was on park ownership was the bandstand or gazebo just as you approach the first greenway there. You probably know that there was a bandstand there. And they would play the band there and of course they had the bicycle race…..end of tape
Tape marked “ 3 & 4” side B
First part of this side of tape is a repeat from other side starting from “and you were on a part of it then and you’re hiking around there. Of course they had a little zoo..” Transcribing started where other side of tape stopped.
MP And they would play the band there and of course they had the bicycle races which went around the park. It was on public property but at the same time it was surrounding the greenways that belonged to the National Park Service. There was a parking place there also for the trolley cars because they would have to put in extra trolley cars in those days to carry the people up to the park, and they would be parked there and the band would be there. The government more or less, instead of having of course any amusement themselves on what they owned other just beautification, the city and private interests ran the entertainment part which was slightly off of government land. And where the Wyehouser offices are just beyond them was the ball park. Now back this way probably on what was government land was livery stables. And apartment houses in the old days and the government has bought that up. Fitzsimmon-Corbit fight up there. Thought they’d have [blank and Sullivan] fight there but they ruled them out you know, in the old days I heard the old timers talk about it. (small talk about the recorder working) Of course the most that I remember about the Gum Springs Park is the old ruins that had been left there because when the city began to develop the Whittington Park and other private interests like the Alligator Farm and Ostrich Farm, the Gum Springs Park was more or less over shadowed. Now I’ll get it The reason I brought this book along, somewheres in it, and I haven’t found it yet, is the manager. The man that lived up there was in the census records, he gave his occupation as being the manager of the Gum Springs Park. And I’ve never talked with any of the old timers about what all they did have in Gum Springs Park other than swimming, I think the swimming is probably what kept it alive as long as it did. I will though look up some of the old timers and try to get you more information on Gum Springs.
I Where did the road to it enter?
MP When you go up, going up Whittington, just before you come to the Wyrhouser offices, you turn to the right and then you come to the little streams, almost dried up now, the water level is down, and you go up the little valley there, and have a little road up that, and have a little road up on the ridge. And the Jamisons owned, their land is above that, where their trailer park is. And so much of that was laid out and expected to be used for Park purposes until they could own something that the owners of Gum Springs Park owned. But I believe this is about all I can recall about Gum Springs.
I When was it most popular?
MP Well, it was before any of the other, because when the government laid out Hot Springs in 1876 and 77 and 78, the commission laid it out, then the city immediately began to develop a park, the baseball park and the dancing pavilion and other things. Now I think there was a dancing pavilion in the Gum Springs Park, but I think then was when it’s competitions began, so it existed, I’m thinking right now out of the top of my head, that it existed prior to that time. Of course the city was able to, it and the people it leased to, was able to put in more attractions, then a trolley cars went right up past the city park, to park you see, and carried the passengers that way. I can’t think of any other interests right around there, there were other enterprises began, of course the ostrich farm was quite an enterprise. I know, I was talking to the man that was raised there, Eddy Colburn, and he said on special occasions there had been as many as700 people went through the ostrich farm in a day, and that’s a lot of people when you get back in the horse and buggy days. Let’s see, you might ask me another question if you can think of one. (pause). Where Gum Springs is, I’ll be talking while you’re… The county bought some lots just to the east of it, and which was their gravel pit, and they leveled out a lot of that big [far chirt] in their gravel pit, which was of course was part of the Hot Springs reservation.
I That’s the pit that’s still there as you turn right towards the warehouse?
MP Yes ma’am. Leaving the Gum Springs and the park that was on Whittington and the different attractions they had in the old days, going on west of Whittington Avenue of course becomes the Black Snake Road and winds it’s way over the Sugar Loaf Mountain. A little ways farther there was a homestead and a [nole] mine where a man dug for gold. And it was [paratese of iron] but he jumped down in the hole and killed himself when he found there wasn’t anything to it. But if you follow the road on up to the top of the mountain and of course there you cross a trail that follows the comb of the mountain and going down the Black Snake Road and it had it’s right name, if you then take to the left down the Bull Bayou Road there’s an old trail goes up the Bull Bayou to the Buffalo Lakes that the Indians and the trappers followed, shot and killed buffalo at these lakes, but going down the Bull Bayou Road and turning off of it , crossing the bayou, you get on the Music Mountain Road which is on National Park property. Near this road is a trail that came off the old Cedar Glades Road, it came around the ridge of the mountains, the horseback riders used this and also the people that lived on the old Cedar Glades Road at the Colored community, where Aunt Nancy Green lived and the Colored cemetery is located, they would follow this road and go to the Colored community that was at the end of Black Snake Road. I might tell you the end of Black Snake Road is, it crosses Bull Bayou Road and crosses the Mountain Pine hiway, goes to Crystal Hill, turns south and comes out at Greenwood Church, which is a Black church, and of course this 16th section there was settled by the Black people, it was a school owned section of land, which the government gave every 16th section to the school and Black people bought and turned it into farms. So the Black Snake Road was used by the Black community on Whittington, I say this because the government, the National Park Service bought up a lot of the homesites that the Black community owned. And this was the road those two communities stayed in touch with each other on. But if you turn, as I started to say a few moments ago on the Bull Bayou Road, and then turned left and get on the Music Mountain Road, you’re near the trail that they followed to go to the Sour Rock Spring. And the Sour Rock Spring is just off the government land a little ways. This was also a horseback riding road. And Edna Mae Biggerstaff bought this land. And she laid out a Music Mountain subdivision and she laid it out in about four phases, I think there’s about four different little subdivisions in there and quite a few people have bought in there. Then of course the Boofoo Heights subdivision is in there. And the government has been buying in that direction. In fact they bought… The railroad was built from the old diamond, the old Memphis Dallas and [Goth] railroad which went from Hot Springs west towards Glennwood and the Missouri Pacific built the road off of that road, the Memphis Dallas and [Goth] railroad was abandoned and they used the trackage and laid it through the Music Mountain area, of course it wasn’t Music Mountain at that time, but it is where the government, the National Park, is extending its lines and stopping at that point, near the tracks. Well in the old days, it has always been in Arkansas against the law to have rooster fights, but they would take their game, chickens, out there and hide back in those recesses and hold their rooster fights away from the law. And then, this borders the beginnings of the Flatwoods which is out of the government, National Park property and also the National Park property borders property and probably owns some of the property that was a part of the old county farm that existed there and the old cemeteries there. And Garland county kept that as a place for elderly people and also a lot of people that seemingly just couldn’t stay afloat. Went out there on the county farm, so to some extent it was a poor farm also and they operated that for many years.
I Where was that?
MP Well, it lay on either side of the tracks through there. The government owns a portion of it, a little portion of it and that’s why I brought in the county farm. The land that they cultivated would actually be on the west side of the bayou in the flatlands there was what they cultivated for land, but they had their homes along there on either side and their orchards and so on. And of course we’re out of the government, National Park boundary a little a bit they had their dancing pavilion there and many other things and this was the beginning of course of the Flatwoods, but a lot of the people that were considered part of the Flatwoods community lived on what is now government owned land. And then…..
I When was this started, the county farm?
MP The county farm. Well, it was started right after Garland became a county, in 1873. And it was sold out sometime before WW I, the land was sold, I don’t think they were even using it as a county farm at that time. I’ve seen a list of all the merchandise and things that they had to sell there at this place,. But then, some of the land in the National Park was homesteaded by women. Now many times in the old days land was homesteaded by women because if a man was a certain amount of Indian blood he was not eligible to homestead. So the land that Edna Mae bought had been, way back, homesteaded by women, Then there was some mines operated in that area, Dr. Howsly, Boes Housley, operated a mine in there, or owned a mine and had some people operating it for him. But like many other mines, of no consequence, they looked for gold and they looked for silver and they looked for other minerals. And the National Park Service owns quite a bit of land where they mined for gold and other minerals. This is the most that I know about Music Mountain except after the time Edna Mae developed it. The Bulls Bayou itself which is close to bordering government land in some places, there’s many stories about how it got its name. Of course one story told by the pioneers is that a couple of bull buffalos fought themselves to the death there. But probably the most plausible story since it’s called bayou, is it was originally the Bayou Bulls named by the French because it expanded its banks it’s such a tremendous water shed and the trappers, the French trappers did work up and down that stream. And they count, the French trappers were in and around what is now owned by the National Park Service in those days and of course they had all the streams named with French names. Coming back then to another project I worked on with the National Park Service in the gorge where the gorge campground is. When polio got so bad, this is a story that I got, that they had decided to destroy the dam and I helped tear down the dam, and they did away with it.
I What year was this?
MP All right, this was about 39 when I worked on that project and 40, 39 or 40, I believe, I believe it was in 40, the winter of 40. And just upstream form the amphitheater was a wide place in the road and there was a spring ran out of the mountain and many people use to park there and drink that water and that’s been kept over. Of course the….. I can’t think of any…. Of course there was the iron spring. Also near where the swimming pool was, was a trail that run west through the canyon there and I remember a lot of people all through the day walked that trail.
I Even the…. Someone had told me that the city use to own that property where the swimming pool was and then later gave it to the park.
MP Well, they may have. Now Colonel Fordyce gave the chamber of commerce the property over there where the quarries are and that was given to the National Park Service and the city may have had some little park there that they gave to the government. The government had done considerable expansion. The road was changed and a new approach was built to the park, where it is now. There use to be a different approach into the National Park.. Across from the gorge entrance, staying on the gorge road, all of that huge bank there was blasted off to swing the road farther away from the campground. I believe that the government bought a part of what was the transit camp, is that right? Where the school has some offices and the government has some offices? The transit camp was built probably around 34 and 35. And people stayed in that and were bussed to the government bathhouse where they took their treatments and bathed. And they detained them there as you can see a fence around it. Well the government has bought in next to that. You might stop it if you want….
I I want to ask you… Earlier when you were mentioning that Colonel Fordyce had let the state use his pond for fish hatchery, could you say more about that?
MP I don’t know a lot about that. I have some notes on it. But I can’t remember them, I’ll bring them down. Now anything I that have notes on I’ll bring to you and we’ll or I’ll make a copy of them and bring them to you. I have some notes. I’m more or less talking out of top of my head right now. Of course he built the old mill there, the water mill that you see, below that which is on government land. I believe the government has bought the homesite on the hill haven’t they?
I Not yet.
MP They haven’t bought that yet? I use to go there, I went there when I was a boy, and they had a tennis court up there, he had a lot of things up there. Mr. Moreland, who was one time city engineer, lived there and seen after that for Colonel Fordyce. Colonel Fordyce would go out and explore Indian trails and as I said a little while ago, when we were talking about him, he would get old maps or buy old maps from people and look for buried treasures. Sometimes he’s find old guns and things like that. Of course he found a lot of Indian relics and collected those together. He wrote an article when Hot Springs celebrated it’s 50 year centennial. I remember the centennial in 1932, the National Park centennial, the state centennial, yes in 1936, 1919 along there Colonel Fordyce wrote an article on Indian trails for the state. It went in…well he wrote it for the Arkansas Gazette. It went into their publication at that time.
I While we’ve got a little tape left, tell me what you remember about the celebration in 1932 for the parks anniversary.
MP That was one of the greatest parades that I’ve ever seen. To me it was greater than anything they put on TV, like the Orange Bowl parade, or anything like that. Everybody went all out, the National Park went all out. And of course the Army Navy hospital was in operation and they went all out. The citizens went, everybody participated in it and of course the bands, the Army Navy band paraded in that and the soldiers that were stationed here, the Army and Navy were in that parade. And then of course they had people from Little Rock and floats from different parts of the state were in the parade. Then they had floats that depicted the pioneers and the early settlers, the hunters and all of this was in the parade. And one thing I remember that the band from the Army Navy hill went down and played in the [Como] Square and as they played in-between intervals for changes in the music the director would shoot a pistol up in the air. I’m sure it was a blank pistol. And then they danced the Virginia Reel in front of the Arlington Hotel. People stood in the Arlington park there which is government land and watched the dancing of the Virginia Reel. Of course I remember when Roosevelt came to Hot Springs and he rode right down the sidewalk in front of bathhouse row off the mountain. And when he got off the train, was put in the car, Mcgaulton was expecting to ride with the president. And he …presidential guards wouldn’t let him, they put him in a different car. So they toured the mountain where the tower was, went up this route and they came down off the mountain, and the people stayed in the street. And of course there was no traffic. And the street in front of the Arlington hotel was filled up with people. It was on a hot day and people actually fainted right there in the crowd. And it was lined up with guards, everywhere. And of course when they brought the president down along with the motorcade it came right along the wide sidewalk in front of bath house row. And the children over in the Arlington park, as we called it, I don’t know whether you call it Arlington park now or not’ but anyway they were putting on a pageant. And the motorcade stopped long enough for Roosevelt to view the pageant that was being put on and then he came on down the sidewalk area and back and went on out of course to Couchwood for dinner and then worshipped at the Rockport Methodist Church at Rockport which is the oldest church in this state. That’s..ah.. I remember when we had also the saga of waters that played in the park when we celebrated the coming of DeSoto in 1941. There was quite a… The National Park Service went all out during that time. Any other questions?
I What did the Park Service do for this celebration?
MP Well, using this, setting up their props and everything for them to put on the pageant there in the park. And just what their own personnel did I really don’t know. I know the schools, each one put on a play. And of course they had Indians parading up and down the streets and the school boys painted red, beating tom-toms up and down the streets, I remember all that part. It was quite an occasion, but I can’t recall just what the … other than the park displays they had here.
I They had put on plays down there in Arlington Park?
MP Yes ma’am they used it for their plays. And they would put on other little acts in different parts of the town. Back when the hospital was here, of course there was quite a bit of participation with that phase of the government operation. The old Reynold bath house as I remember the name of it. It was build like a, almost to me like a [Mohammed mosque] . Was right over here on the sidewalk when I was a boy. Was a beautiful thing.
I [The Imperial?]
MP Yes ma’am. Yes ma’am. I believe that was the name of it. They tore it down about the time they built this museum or remodeled this museum here I think. Of course they moved this fountain, they’ve moved this fountain I don’t know how many times but I think it’s last resting place is up where it is now, but I’ve drank from the fountain when it was down here. And back then they would…they don’t permit that anymore but of all the people to be standing around that hot water fountain there would be a fellow standing there and he’d stand up past the curb in the street, and preach. They don’t have that anymore. But one time they had a [ruckus] but I think that the government let the city handle the problem, a couple of preachers got on each others time preaching there and one hung around shaking hands with people beyond the time when the other one was to start …end of this side of tape

tape marked “ Marcus Phillips 4 end” side A


MP (first word or two I cannot understand)…place on Government territory you see there and when they got it down in the city court well (laughter ) the Judge signed it by having each preacher to get out and pray and each one prayed that the Lord would forgive the other one for the sins he had committed (laughter) You can tell I’ve run out of anything to talk about. (Laughter). But go ahead and ask me some other questions that might be on your mind, I’m willing to come back if we, if you say we’re running out of time.
I Yeah, I can’t think of anything else right now. If you think of anything else that , you know , that you want…
MP OK, ah
I that would be pertinent on the part, we can call back, set up another time, we’re scheduled to have these machines through the end of May…
MP Yes, ma’am. Well I was tied up kind of yesterday and I didn’t prepare anything and I’ve got some notes and things that, but I have moving men filing a lot of materials that I have and I’ve got it scattered around and I might have been better prepared to have something, but I might think of something that occurred on Park property later on that you would be interested in. If I did I’ll try to put enough of it together to make up a tape and come up here. End of this side of tape.
Tape marked “Marcus Phillips end 1” side B
MP….then it, ah, meandered over the mountain into Walnut Valley. It went through Walnut Valley and crossed 7 hiway just south of Mountain Valley community. And you can see the road coming in there. Now that trail is one of the oldest in the country and it went on through what is now Hot Springs Village, am I on the subject?, and it went on through what is now Lake Wyona on the Salane River which is the Little Rock water supply, that is at least one of the lakes of the Little Rock water supply, and it went on and connected with a hub of trails near Moralton or at that time Old Lewisburg, or Candron, up there there’s several Indian trails in the old days came in that the Indians and the French trappers used. Then there was another trail that turned off of it…. end of tapeMarcus Phillips 1988 interview


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