Bear Brand Teddy Bear

Bear Brand Hosiery teddy bear, circa 1970sDonated by David Quin

This teddy bear was a marketing item for Bear Brand Hosiery Company. Founded in Chicago in 1893 as Paramount Knitting Company, the name was changed to Bear Brand in 1922. At first the company specialized in factory-made fleece-lined men’s socks, later branching out to include stockings for women and casual socks for the whole family.

In 1951, Bear Brand Hosiery opened a factory in south Fayetteville (the present-day location of the Arkansas Research and Technology Park on Cato Springs Road). According to an article in the Northwest Arkansas Times (April 10, 1951), the new plant boasted 280 knitting machines, “hundreds of windows which afford proper lighting,” a special ventilation system, and an employee cafeteria. The knitting machines were to be run on a double shift, yielding an output of 2500 pairs of socks per day. At its full operation, Bear Brand anticipated putting 150 local people to work. 

Bear Brand also opened a plant in Siloam Springs in 1951, followed by factories in Bentonville in 1962 and Rogers in 1968. The 1960s saw Bear Brand’s focus shift to production of women’s pantyhose, making Northwest Arkansas a leader in the pantyhose industry. In 1970, Fayetteville hosted Bear Brand’s annual national sales meeting. Held at the Holiday Inn, the convention featured a “psychadelic, choreographed fashion show” which stressed the “hosiery needs of the liberated woman.” New hosiery styles shown included “those for the woman with a generous figure, thigh-high styles for future fashion in longuette (mid-length) dresses, an over-the-calf style for wearing with pants suits, styles for the young or early teen petite figure, and a nude pantyhose with only the waistband unconcealed.” (Northwest Arkansas Times, June 3, 1970)

The Siloam Springs Bear Brand factory closed in 1975 and the Rogers plant in 1976, with the Bentonville and Fayetteville operations soon to follow.

Donated by David Quin

This teddy bear was a marketing item for Bear Brand Hosiery Company. Founded in Chicago in 1893 as Paramount Knitting Company, the name was changed to Bear Brand in 1922. At first the company specialized in factory-made fleece-lined men’s socks, later branching out to include stockings for women and casual socks for the whole family.

In 1951, Bear Brand Hosiery opened a factory in south Fayetteville (the present-day location of the Arkansas Research and Technology Park on Cato Springs Road). According to an article in the Northwest Arkansas Times (April 10, 1951), the new plant boasted 280 knitting machines, “hundreds of windows which afford proper lighting,” a special ventilation system, and an employee cafeteria. The knitting machines were to be run on a double shift, yielding an output of 2500 pairs of socks per day. At its full operation, Bear Brand anticipated putting 150 local people to work. 

Bear Brand also opened a plant in Siloam Springs in 1951, followed by factories in Bentonville in 1962 and Rogers in 1968. The 1960s saw Bear Brand’s focus shift to production of women’s pantyhose, making Northwest Arkansas a leader in the pantyhose industry. In 1970, Fayetteville hosted Bear Brand’s annual national sales meeting. Held at the Holiday Inn, the convention featured a “psychadelic, choreographed fashion show” which stressed the “hosiery needs of the liberated woman.” New hosiery styles shown included “those for the woman with a generous figure, thigh-high styles for future fashion in longuette (mid-length) dresses, an over-the-calf style for wearing with pants suits, styles for the young or early teen petite figure, and a nude pantyhose with only the waistband unconcealed.” (Northwest Arkansas Times, June 3, 1970)

The Siloam Springs Bear Brand factory closed in 1975 and the Rogers plant in 1976, with the Bentonville and Fayetteville operations soon to follow.

AQ Chicken House Toothpick Holder

Donated by Pat Cornish

In the late 1940s Roy Ritter, a pioneer in the Arkansas poultry industry, was raising broilers at his AQ (Arkansas Quality) chicken farm in Springdale. At that time Ritter played host to business people from all over the country as part of his job in poultry sales. Of course when these folks came to Springdale, they wanted to go out and eat a chicken dinner! For a while, Ritter took his guests to the Rock House Café on Highway 71. 

It wasn’t long before Roy Ritter decided to open his own restaurant serving his own homegrown broilers. The first AQ Chicken House opened in 1947 on a hilltop in Springdale overlooking Ritter’s chicken houses in the valley below. Ritter owned the restaurant until 1970 when he sold it to pursue other interests.

Printer’s Block

Donated by Parker Rushing

This metal-plated printer’s block engraved with a cow  was used by the Prairie Grove Enterprise newspaper, back in the days when the letters and illustrations on a newspaper page were hand-placed—or “typeset”—in preparation for printing.

With the slogan of “A Community Newspaper Dedicated to Building a Better Community,” the Enterprise was first published on November 19, 1936, by George and Ida Wiswell and their son, George Jr. In 1965 Tri-State Publishers of Springdale bought the Enterprise but the commercial printing department and equipment were reacquired by the Wiswells in July of that same year. Boyce Davis, owner of the Lincoln Leader, purchased the Enterprise in June 1967 and sold it back to the Wiswells. The Wiswells continued to operate the Enterprise until 1971 when they sold the business to the Alan Nicholas family of Cleveland, Ohio. The paper has been bought and sold multiple times since 1971; as of 2018, it is owned by Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC and published weekly as the Washington County Enterprise-Leader

Cottage Cheese Jar

Donated by Deanna Stevens

Located on the corner of West and Watson streets, Fayetteville Milk Company opened about 1930 and closed in 1974. Owners and operators through the years were Albert Ucker, Hoy and Toy Riggins, and Jack Daugherty. William and Deanna Stevens bought the building about 1975. Inside, they found old dairy and processing equipment, and cases of glass cottage cheese jars with the cardboard seals.

Fayetteville Dairy ad, 1955

Fayetteville telephone directory ad, 1955

Paymaster Check Writer

Donated by Harps Food Stores General Office

Check writers, sometimes called check protectors, were designed to print checks which could not be tampered with or altered in some way. This manually-operated “Ribbon Writer” check writer, which dates to 1966, was used by Springdale’s Harps Food Stores

In 1930, Harvard and Floy Harp opened Harp’s Cash Grocery on corner of Emma Avenue and Water Street in downtown Springdale. The Harps succeeded even through the depths of the Great Depression, and expanded to a larger store in 1941.The Harps’ son Don joined the business in 1953. In 1956 the Harps opened Springdale’s first supermarket, Harp’s IGA at the corner of Sunset and Highway 71. They became a small chain when they opened Harps North in 1964. Two more sons, Reland and Gerald, and other members of the Harp family joined the business as the company expanded. Today, Harps has more than 85 stores in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. 

“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: