KBRS Bumper Sticker

Donated by Sharon McGuire

Springdale’s first radio station, KBRS AM 1340, began broadcasting In September 1949. The station was brought to Springdale by Donald W. Reynolds, founder, president, and chief executive officer of the Donrey Media Group. The last three call letters of KBRS were chosen for Bentonville, Rogers, and Springdale, towns in Northwest Arkansas that did not have a radio station. Through the years, KBRS was active participant in the community and sponsored many fundraisers, including a “Pie Auction of the Air” to benefit projects organized by the Springdale Fire Department and local civil defense organizations. KBRS ceased operations in Springdale sometime in the 1990s.

Perhaps “Big Bopper” on the sticker refers to Jiles Perry “J. P.” Richardson Jr., the singer known as the “Big Bopper.” Richardson was best known for his songs “Chantilly Lace” and “White Lightning.” He was also a disc jockey. Shortly after midnight on February 3, 1959, Richardson, along with fellow performers Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly, boarded a charter plane in Clear Lake, Iowa, bound for the next stop on their “Winter Dance Party” tour. Around 12:55 a.m. pilot Roger Peterson received clearance from the tower and took off, only to crash about five miles outside of Mason City, Iowa, killing everyone on board. The tragedy has become known as “The Day the Music Died,” following a reference in Don McLean’s 1971 hit song, “American Pie.”

It is also possible that the bumper sticker is a nod to 1960s KBRS disc jockey Dale Forbes, who was also known as the “Round Mound of Sound” and the “Watermelon Man.” Forbes went on to work for both the Springdale and Fayetteville police departments. He also played bass guitar and trumpet for The Rogues, a local rock-and-roll band.

Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic SP

Pentax Spotmatic SP cameraDonated by Mike Donat

This camera saw quite a bit of Northwest Arkansas history. It once belonged to longtime photojournalist Charles Bickford who worked for the Springdale News for almost 40 years. During that time he was one of the best-known photographers in Arkansas. Bickford’s subjects varied from Arkansas football, basketball, and baseball games to politicians speaking from the end of a pickup truck to everyday life events. Many of his photographs and negatives live on in Shiloh Museum’s photo archives as part of the Springdale News Collection.

Later in his career, Charles Bickford sold this Pentax camera to Mike Donat, also a photographer who, amongst a varied career, worked for the Northwest Arkansas Times, shot game and practice footage for the University of Arkansas Athletic Department, worked in Collier Drugstore’s photo department, and in 2006–2007, was the Shiloh Museum’s photographer and darkroom technician. Donat donated this camera, an iconic piece of local photojournalism history, to the Shiloh Museum in 2005.


Bo Williams, the Shiloh Museum’s current photographer/digitization project manager, shares his insight on this Pentax camera:

CAMERA INFO
– Pentax Spotmatic SP in black paint

– Originally released in 1964 but produced until 1976. However, this was likely manufactured pre-1970 due to the lens provided with it (Pentax was not very diligent with correlating their cameras’ serial numbers to specific production dates).
– Manufactured by Asahi Optical Co. in Japan but distributed by Honeywell in the United States

Pentax cameras were, and continue to be, the underdogs of the photographic world. Despite world-renowned quality and innovation, they just never seemed to find the fame that they deserved. Even the Spotmatic SP as seen above was one of the first SLR cameras to include a through-the-lens light meter, a feature that would be considered a given by today’s standards but would have been unheard of sixty years ago. As far as quality is concerned, their lenses are still considered some of the best ever produced, even when compared to contemporary offerings, while many of the camera bodies themselves are still very functional despite being 50+ years old. In fact, I use a Pentax film camera of a similar vintage myself for my own personal work and it has never let me down. Despite all of this, I would imagine that very few readers today will even recognize the Pentax name as they have always lived in the shadow of the likes of the more prevalent Canon and Nikon. This is why, when I was asked to select an artifact from our collection to be highlighted for the Artifact of the Month, I knew immediately what had to be done.

Now for a bit of camera history. Back in the day, photojournalists, press photographers, and war photographers often found themselves in precarious situations while being paid very little to do so. At the same time, budding camera manufacturers such as Pentax usually produced their cameras in two finishes; the cheaper, less durable and inherently more subtle black paint and the now infamous hallmark of any “vintage” camera, silver chrome. The aforementioned working photographers, needing to keep a low profile and some cash in their pockets to buy more film, tended to opt for the cheaper and stealthier black-paint cameras. This was all well and good for a while but then something interesting happened. These photographers found themselves at the precipice of history, quite fortuitously, with a camera in their hand. Their work went on to capture and define world history. The more notoriety the photographers gained, the more attention their cameras received. They became the rock stars of the photographic world and their cameras the equivalent of Fenders and Gibsons. These cameras that were once produced as a cost-saving measure have survived through history to become some of the most sought after and collectible pieces of photographic equipment today. A black-paint camera alone is enough to draw the eye of any photographer, but one worn down to the brass like this humble Japanese Pentax SP, proudly brandishing dents and scratches as testaments to surviving through history, is certainly worthy of attention in 2020. It might be a bit cliché, but the question has to be asked: can you imagine what this camera must have seen?

Pentax Spotmatic SP camera

Donated by Mike Donat

This camera has seen quite a bit of Northwest Arkansas history. It once belonged to longtime photojournalist Charles Bickford who worked for the Springdale News for almost 40 years. During that time he was one of the best-known photographers in Arkansas. Bickford’s subjects varied from Arkansas football, basketball, and baseball games to politicians speaking from the end of a pickup truck to everyday life events. Many of his photographs and negatives live on in Shiloh Museum’s photo archives as part of the Springdale News Collection.

Later in his career, Charles Bickford sold this Pentax camera to Mike Donat, also a photographer who, amongst a varied career, worked for the Northwest Arkansas Times, shot game and practice footage for the University of Arkansas Athletic Department, worked in Collier Drugstore’s photo department, and in 2006–2007, was the Shiloh Museum’s photographer and darkroom technician. Donat donated this camera, an iconic piece of local photojournalism history, to the Shiloh Museum in 2005.


Bo Williams, the Shiloh Museum’s photographer/digitization project manager, shares his insight on this Pentax camera:

CAMERA INFO
– Pentax Spotmatic SP in black paint

– Originally released in 1964 but produced until 1976. However, this was likely manufactured pre-1970 due to the lens provided with it (Pentax was not very diligent with correlating their cameras’ serial numbers to specific production dates).
– Manufactured by Asahi Optical Co. in Japan but distributed by Honeywell in the United States

Pentax cameras were, and continue to be, the underdogs of the photographic world. Despite world-renowned quality and innovation, they just never seemed to find the fame that they deserved. Even the Spotmatic SP as seen above was one of the first SLR cameras to include a through-the-lens light meter, a feature that would be considered a given by today’s standards but would have been unheard of sixty years ago. As far as quality is concerned, their lenses are still considered some of the best ever produced, even when compared to contemporary offerings, while many of the camera bodies themselves are still very functional despite being 50+ years old. In fact, I use a Pentax film camera of a similar vintage myself for my own personal work and it has never let me down. Despite all of this, I would imagine that very few readers today will even recognize the Pentax name as they have always lived in the shadow of the likes of the more prevalent Canon and Nikon. This is why, when I was asked to select an artifact from our collection to be highlighted for the Artifact of the Month, I knew immediately what had to be done.

Now for a bit of camera history. Back in the day, photojournalists, press photographers, and war photographers often found themselves in precarious situations while being paid very little to do so. At the same time, budding camera manufacturers such as Pentax usually produced their cameras in two finishes; the cheaper, less durable and inherently more subtle black paint and the now infamous hallmark of any “vintage” camera, silver chrome. The aforementioned working photographers, needing to keep a low profile and some cash in their pockets to buy more film, tended to opt for the cheaper and stealthier black-paint cameras. This was all well and good for a while but then something interesting happened. These photographers found themselves at the precipice of history, quite fortuitously, with a camera in their hand. Their work went on to capture and define world history. The more notoriety the photographers gained, the more attention their cameras received. They became the rock stars of the photographic world and their cameras the equivalent of Fenders and Gibsons. These cameras that were once produced as a cost-saving measure have survived through history to become some of the most sought after and collectible pieces of photographic equipment today. A black-paint camera alone is enough to draw the eye of any photographer, but one worn down to the brass like this humble Japanese Pentax SP, proudly brandishing dents and scratches as testaments to surviving through history, is certainly worthy of attention in 2020. It might be a bit cliché, but the question has to be asked: can you imagine what this camera must have seen?

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.

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.

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

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