Egg Basket

Donated by Billy Dean and Catherine Foster

This basket belonged to Elnora Coralee Webb Fritts (1865-1962). She was born at Durham (Washington County) and lived there always. Elnora and her husband, Lon, had four children: Herman, Lillie, Hattie, and Maggie.

Billy Dean Foster, Elnora’s grandson by her daughter, Maggie, remembers filling this basket with eggs when he was a little boy, and what a heavy load it was when he carried it!

“Dutch Mill” Wine Bottle

Donated by Scott Test

Benjamin H. Van Gundy (1892-1964) was a farmer and sometimes winemaker who lived in southeast Washington County with his wife, Velma (1889-1962), and mother-in-law, Hattie Horr. Ben and Velma were natives of Kansas who moved to Arkansas sometime in the early 1900s. The Van Gundys lived at Hazel Valley for a time, later moving to the Baldwin community east of Fayetteville. They are buried in Reese Cemetery near Elkins.

The 1925-26 Washington County Rural Directory and Registry of Farms includes this entry for Ben Van Gundy:

Grape Carrier

Donated by Martha Brogdon

Historically, grape production in Northwest Arkansas centered in Washington County. While grapes were grown by the first settlers to the region, the crop did not become a major one until residents of the Italian community of Tontitown began setting out vines in 1898.

Grape production in the county took a huge leap forward in the 1920s. Instrumental in this growth was the establishment of a Welch grape processing plant in Springdale. According to an 1937 Springdale News article, in 1920 Welch officials “. . . promised to care for the grape crops from certain Arkansas and Missouri sections and to take all the fruits from places within a 24-hour shipping radius. . .