For the Fans

Tontitown Grapers baseball team, Tontitown, Arkansas, circa 1945.

Tontitown Grapers baseball team at Mantegani Park in Tontitown, circa 1945. From left: Abe Pianalto, Virgil Verucchi Jr., Williard Moon, Paul Pianalto, Bill Fiori, Guy Bariola. Veronica Keith Collection (S-2006-44-5)

A couple years ago I went to my first-ever minor league professional baseball game. It immediately began a love affair that I thought might wane, but it really has not. I went to my first major league game last summer and loved every moment of it. Sadly, this year I have been watching replays of previous games and following players on Twitter and Instagram. We will not discuss the teams (nor sports, nor players) I follow because I understand just how passionate people are about their favorites, but the experience reminds me of an article I read as an undergrad about baseball magic and the incredibly dedicated and detailed rituals players and fans engage in to ensure a win. Next time you watch a basketball player take a free-throw or a pitcher set up, watch for their routine. You won’t be able to unsee it once you find it.

A while back, museum outreach coordinator Susan Young proposed that Aaron Loehndorf (arguably the biggest baseball fan among the museum staff) and I come up with an “Shiloh Sandwiched-In” program on a local sports topic. Before we agreed to the idea, we wanted to be sure enough material was available to put a program together. Of course there was. Our research focused on the most common form of baseball magic—mascots. Ultimately the Sandwiched-In talk was sidelined and the research went into files on my external hard drive. But the topic stayed in the back of my mind for a long time. If I came across a new team while I was working on something else, I made a note or took a picture with my phone and added the information to my spreadsheet. And then it just sat there. Until now.

Tontitown Grapers baseball team, Tontitown, Arkansas, circa 1945.

Tontitown Grapers baseball team at Mantegani Park in Tontitown, circa 1945. From left: Abe Pianalto, Virgil Verucchi Jr., Williard Moon, Paul Pianalto, Bill Fiori, Guy Bariola. Veronica Keith Collection (S-2006-44-5)

A couple years ago I went to my first-ever minor league professional baseball game. It immediately began a love affair that I thought might wane, but it really has not. I went to my first major league game last summer and loved every moment of it. Sadly, this year I have been watching replays of previous games and following players on Twitter and Instagram. We will not discuss the teams (nor sports, nor players) I follow because I understand just how passionate people are about their favorites, but the experience reminds me of an article I read as an undergrad about baseball magic and the incredibly dedicated and detailed rituals players and fans engage in to ensure a win. Next time you watch a basketball player take a free-throw or a pitcher set up, watch for their routine. You won’t be able to unsee it once you find it.

A while back, museum outreach coordinator Susan Young proposed that Aaron Loehndorf (arguably the biggest baseball fan among the museum staff) and I come up with an “Shiloh Sandwiched-In” program on a local sports topic. Before we agreed to the idea, we wanted to be sure enough material was available to put a program together. Of course there was. Our research focused on the most common form of baseball magic—mascots. Ultimately the Sandwiched-In talk was sidelined and the research went into files on my external hard drive. But the topic stayed in the back of my mind for a long time. If I came across a new team while I was working on something else, I made a note or took a picture with my phone and added the information to my spreadsheet. And then it just sat there. Until now.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word mascot as “a person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck; (now) esp. something carried or displayed for this purpose. Also: a thing (often an animal or personified character) used by an organization, esp. a sports team, as a symbol or for good luck; an emblem.” The origin of the word is French and first appeared in 1867 in an operetta by Edmond Audran. (This operetta was first performed in 1880, if you would like to know.)

Mascots have evolved in many ways. Early mascots for baseball, for example, were young boys who sat with the team. Now they can be Mudhens, Celery Stalks, or Gus the Pioneer (Gentry Public Schools, Benton County.) Mascots provide entertainment and encourage engagement with the crowds. They dance, they interact directly with fans, and often have a ritual of their own  their team scores. Mascots have even been controversial, most recently with teams using Native American nomenclature. And what if your team has the same mascot as another? Ahem, Fayetteville and Springdale: both towns have used the Bulldog as their mascot for decades. This sparked a friendly rivalry and newspaper accounts differentiated by calling them by the team color (purple for Fayetteville, red for Springdale) rather than Bulldogs when they published a retelling of games between the two teams.

Siloam Springs (Arkansas) football team, 1928.

Siloam Springs football team, 1928. Front row, from left: Chester Gilliland, Roy Wolfe, “Tiny” Ward, Zeke Cecil Camp, Vaul Smith, Cal Dean Gunter Jr., Peter “Taz” Paul LaFallette. Back row, from left: Paul “Dayo” Guthrie, Ralph “Slick” Henry, Lee “Athletic” Elrod, Cecil “Beardie” Elrod. Siloam Springs Museum Collection (S-83-297-69)

Farmington girls basketball team, Farmington (Washington County), Arkansas, 1937.

Farmington girls basketball team, Farmington (Washington County), Arkansas, 1937. Washington County Historical Society Collection (P-456)

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word mascot as “a person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck; (now) esp. something carried or displayed for this purpose. Also: a thing (often an animal or personified character) used by an organization, esp. a sports team, as a symbol or for good luck; an emblem.” The origin of the word is French and first appeared in 1867 in an operetta by Edmond Audran. (This operetta was first performed in 1880, if you would like to know.)

Bentonville, Arkansas, baseball team, circa 1912.

Bentonville baseball team, circa 1912. The team was part of a regional African-American league ranging from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Joplin, Missouri. Back, from left: Thad Wayne, Marion “Sonny” Finney, and Lloyd Trout. Front, from left: Yates Claypool, Virge Black, and John Barker. Elizabeth Robertson Collection (S-95-7-42)

Mascots have evolved in many ways. Early mascots for baseball, for example, were young boys who sat with the team. Now they can be Mudhens, Celery Stalks, or Gus the Pioneer (Gentry Public Schools, Benton County.) Mascots provide entertainment and encourage engagement with the crowds. They dance, they interact directly with fans, and often have a ritual of their own  their team scores. Mascots have even been controversial, most recently with teams using Native American nomenclature. And what if your team has the same mascot as another? Ahem, Fayetteville and Springdale: both towns have used the Bulldog as their mascot for decades. This sparked a friendly rivalry and newspaper accounts differentiated by calling them by the team color (purple for Fayetteville, red for Springdale) rather than Bulldogs when they published a retelling of games between the two teams.

It is not just the mascot that evolved, but the sports and organizations themselves. Over the years, we’ve had our school teams of course, but we also had town teams that would sometimes take on the school team. On July 30, 1937, the Fayetteville Daily Democrat reported on the local WPA baseball league: Greenland beat Tontitown, and Springdale was scheduled to play Fayetteville the following day. We also had professional teams that might play for a season or two and then disappear. These pro teams were funded by local businessmen. And one of the most important changes to sports was desegregation of teams and leagues.

Lest you think I refer to baseball mascots only, I would like to report that on July 14, 1967, the Springdale News recounted a football game between the local police department (the Fuzz) and the fire department (the Hose Jockeys).

Some sports played on the local level were obscure, or so I thought. Does anyone know what shinskinner hockey is? I found this mentioned in one article from 1929. When I did some initial Google-searching I came up with the Bruins. These guys are hockey players today, but once upon a time, there was a soccer team called the Bruins. But in this instance? Basketball, boys and girls. Shinskinner hockey referred to basketball.

Below is the data I have collected thus far, with a lot of help from Aaron. I hope you enjoy exploring the variety of mascots Northwest Arkansas has seen over the years!

COUNTY

SCHOOL

MASCOT

Benton

Bentonville 

Tigers

Benton

Decatur

Bulldogs

Benton

Gentry

Pioneers; was Gorillas (football)

Benton

Gentry (may be club team)

All-Stars (baseball)

Benton

Gentry 

Longhorns (basketball)

Benton

Gravette 

Lions

Benton

Gravette (town team)

Blues (baseball)

Benton

Ozark Adventist Academy

Skeeter the Skyhawk

Benton

Pea Ridge

Blackhawks

Benton

Rogers Heritage High

War Eagles

Benton

Rogers High

Mounties, was Mountaineers

Benton

School of the Arts

Penguins

Benton

Siloam Springs

Panthers, was Travelers (baseball)

Benton

Siloam Springs

Bear Cats (town baseball team)

Benton

Siloam Springs

Jays (town baseball team)

Benton

Siloam Springs Northside Elementary

Koalas

Benton

Sulphur Springs

Pirates

Boone

Alpena

Leopards

Boone

Bergman

Panthers

Boone

Everton/Bruno-Pyatt

Patriots

Boone

Gaither

Cubs

Boone

Harrison

Golden Goblins

Boone

Lead Hill

Tigers

Boone

Omaha

Eagles

Boone

Valley Springs

Tigers

Carroll

Berryville

Bobcats

Carroll

Eureka Springs

Highlanders

Carroll

Green Forest

Tigers

Madison

Huntsville

Eagles

Madison

Kingston

Yellowjackets

Madison

St. Paul

Hornets

Newton

Deer

Deer

Newton

Jasper

Pirates

Newton

Mount Judea

Eagles

Newton

Western Grove

Warriors

Washington

Elkins

Elks

Washington

Farmington

Cardinals

Washington

Fayetteville

Purple Bulldogs

Washington

Fayetteville

Maulers (junior football, 1929)

Washington

Fayetteville 

Pirates (junior basketball, 1929)

Washington

Fayetteville

Rinkydinks (junior basketball, 1929)

Washington

Fayetteville 

Little Can (junior basketball, 1929) 

Washington

Fayetteville

Caddies (junior basketball, 1929)

Washington 

Fayetteville

Educators; became Angels (town minor league baseball)

Washington

Fayetteville Christian

Eagles

Washington

Greenland

Pirates

Washington

Haas Hall 

Mastiffs

Washington

Har-Ber 

Wildcats

Washington

Lincoln

Wolves

Washington

Prairie Grove

Tigers

Washington

Shiloh Christian

Saints

Washington

Southwest Junior

Cougars

Washington

Springdale

Red Bulldogs

Washington

Springdale Police Dept.

Fuzz (football, 1987)

Washington

Springdale Fire Dept.

Hose Jockeys (football, 1987)

Washington

Tontitown

Grapers

Washington

University High

Cardinals (basketball, 1929)

Washington

West Fork

Tigers

Washington

Winslow

Squirrels

Washington

Winslow

Independents (basketball, 1929)


Rachel Whitaker is the Shiloh Museum’s research specialist.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word mascot as “a person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck; (now) esp. something carried or displayed for this purpose. Also: a thing (often an animal or personified character) used by an organization, esp. a sports team, as a symbol or for good luck; an emblem.” The origin of the word is French and first appeared in 1867 in an operetta by Edmond Audran. (This operetta was first performed in 1880, if you would like to know.)

Bentonville, Arkansas, baseball team, circa 1912.

Bentonville baseball team, circa 1912. The team was part of a regional African-American league ranging from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Joplin, Missouri. Back, from left: Thad Wayne, Marion “Sonny” Finney, and Lloyd Trout. Front, from left: Yates Claypool, Virge Black, and John Barker. Elizabeth Robertson Collection (S-95-7-42)

Mascots have evolved in many ways. Early mascots for baseball, for example, were young boys who sat with the team. Now they can be Mudhens, Celery Stalks, or Gus the Pioneer (Gentry Public Schools, Benton County.) Mascots provide entertainment and encourage engagement with the crowds. They dance, they interact directly with fans, and often have a ritual of their own  their team scores. Mascots have even been controversial, most recently with teams using Native American nomenclature. And what if your team has the same mascot as another? Ahem, Fayetteville and Springdale: both towns have used the Bulldog as their mascot for decades. This sparked a friendly rivalry and newspaper accounts differentiated by calling them by the team color (purple for Fayetteville, red for Springdale) rather than Bulldogs when they published a retelling of games between the two teams.

It is not just the mascot that evolved, but the sports and organizations themselves. Over the years, we’ve had our school teams of course, but we also had town teams that would sometimes take on the school team. On July 30, 1937, the Fayetteville Daily Democrat reported on the local WPA baseball league: Greenland beat Tontitown, and Springdale was scheduled to play Fayetteville the following day. We also had professional teams that might play for a season or two and then disappear. These pro teams were funded by local businessmen. And one of the most important changes to sports was desegregation of teams and leagues.

Lest you think I refer to baseball mascots only, I would like to report that on July 14, 1967, the Springdale News recounted a football game between the local police department (the Fuzz) and the fire department (the Hose Jockeys).

Some sports played on the local level were obscure, or so I thought. Does anyone know what shinskinner hockey is? I found this mentioned in one article from 1929. When I did some initial Google-searching I came up with the Bruins. These guys are hockey players today, but once upon a time, there was a soccer team called the Bruins. But in this instance? Basketball, boys and girls. Shinskinner hockey referred to basketball.

Below is the data I have collected thus far, with a lot of help from Aaron. I hope you enjoy exploring the variety of mascots Northwest Arkansas has seen over the years!

COUNTY

SCHOOL

MASCOT

Benton

Bentonville 

Tigers

Benton

Decatur

Bulldogs

Benton

Gentry

Pioneers; was Gorillas (football)

Benton

Gentry (may be club team)

All-Stars (baseball)

Benton

Gentry 

Longhorns (basketball)

Benton

Gravette 

Lions

Benton

Gravette (town team)

Blues (baseball)

Benton

Ozark Adventist Academy

Skeeter the Skyhawk

Benton

Pea Ridge

Blackhawks

Benton

Rogers Heritage High

War Eagles

Benton

Rogers High

Mounties, was Mountaineers

Benton

School of the Arts

Penguins

Benton

Siloam Springs

Panthers, was Travelers (baseball)

Benton

Siloam Springs

Bear Cats (town baseball team)

Benton

Siloam Springs

Jays (town baseball team)

Benton

Siloam Springs Northside Elementary

Koalas

Benton

Sulphur Springs

Pirates

Boone

Alpena

Leopards

Boone

Bergman

Panthers

Boone

Everton/Bruno-Pyatt

Patriots

Boone

Gaither

Cubs

Boone

Harrison

Golden Goblins

Boone

Lead Hill

Tigers

Boone

Omaha

Eagles

Boone

Valley Springs

Tigers

Carroll

Berryville

Bobcats

Carroll

Eureka Springs

Highlanders

Carroll

Green Forest

Tigers

Madison

Huntsville

Eagles

Madison

Kingston

Yellowjackets

Madison

St. Paul

Hornets

Newton

Deer

Deer

Newton

Jasper

Pirates

Newton

Mount Judea

Eagles

Newton

Western Grove

Warriors

Washington

Elkins

Elks

Washington

Farmington

Cardinals

Washington

Fayetteville

Purple Bulldogs

Washington

Fayetteville

Maulers (junior football, 1929)

Washington

Fayetteville 

Pirates (junior basketball, 1929)

Washington

Fayetteville

Rinkydinks (junior basketball, 1929)

Washington

Fayetteville 

Little Can (junior basketball, 1929) 

Washington

Fayetteville

Caddies (junior basketball, 1929)

Washington 

Fayetteville

Educators; became Angels (town minor league baseball)

Washington

Fayetteville Christian

Eagles

Washington

Greenland

Pirates

Washington

Haas Hall 

Mastiffs

Washington

Har-Ber 

Wildcats

Washington

Lincoln

Wolves

Washington

Prairie Grove

Tigers

Washington

Shiloh Christian

Saints

Washington

Southwest Junior

Cougars

Washington

Springdale

Red Bulldogs

Washington

Springdale Police Dept.

Fuzz (football, 1987)

Washington

Springdale Fire Dept.

Hose Jockeys (football, 1987)

Washington

Tontitown

Grapers

Washington

University High

Cardinals (basketball, 1929)

Washington

West Fork

Tigers

Washington

Winslow

Squirrels

Washington

Winslow

Independents (basketball, 1929)


Rachel Whitaker is the Shiloh Museum’s research specialist.

Paul’s Blue Ox

Note: Thanks to our museum photographer, Bo Williams, for filming Paul’s Blue Ox in action.

When cataloging an artifact, many aspects of it can be extremely helpful in determining how it was used, where it came from, and the date range of manufacture and/or use. A family history of that artifact can fill in many of those blanks. Artifacts that are stamped with company information, and, in some cases, a patent number, can give us a very specific date range to go from. However, when that patent number does not match a patent resembling the artifact in question, it becomes even more challenging to figure out a date. Such was the case with a recent donation from the Patricia Laird Vaughan estate of “Paul’s Blue Ox,” a toy made by Multipl-aktion Toy Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Paul’s Blue Ox is a “ball-actuated” toy:  marbles roll down the back of the ox until a lumberjack type figure rises up, knocks the marble off of between the ox’s horns, and dumps it on the tray at the bottom of the toy. Paul’s Blue Ox came to us in its original box. Printed on the box is patent number 1791217. A patent search on the internet linked that number to a European patent for female and male connector circuitry, not for a toy from the 1940s (that date was my educated guess).

Next I turned to a web search to find information about the Multipl-aktion Toy Company. The search engine kept trying to tell me the company name was “Multiple-Action” Toy Company, which was not the name I was looking for. I was able to find one web listing for the toy with the same patent number which dated the toy as 1931 but yielded no other new information. I also located an entry in the 1944 Minneapolis city directory for the “Multipl Aktion Toy Company” with salesmen David Ackerberg and Sidney Rivkin listed as company officers.

With nothing to show for my sleuthing but limited bits of information on the Blue Ox, I reluctantly moved on to another artifact from the same donor—a toy xylophone. The xylophone’s patent numbers proved quite helpful, and the numbers started with a “US” prefix. I finished cataloging the xylophone, then, on a whim, I went back to the Blue Ox patents. I decided to try the patent search again, this time adding “US” to the patent number. This led me to a 1929 patent for a liquid-vending machine issued to Sidney L. Long of Minneapolis, Minnesota—same location as the Multipl-aktion Toy Company, but the time period was a bit early and the patent was not for a Blue Ox toy.

I delved deeper into the other patents submitted by Sidney L. Long, and there, finally, I found a ball-actuated toy, patent number 2434571, filed August 29, 1945. That patent is for a toy that looks almost identical to the Blue Ox.

Even though an erroneous patent number led to several dead ends, it still provided valuable information for finally tracking down the correct patent for Paul’s Blue Ox.


Aaron Loehndorf is the Shiloh Museum’s collections and education specialist.

Telling Ed’s Story

Aaron Loehndorf with Ed Stilley, March 2019.

Shiloh Museum collections and education specialist Aaron Loehndorf greets Ed Stilley at the Instruments of Faith exhibit reception, March 30, 2019.

There is a saying, “all good things must come to an end.” On January 13,2020, our Instruments of Faith exhibit on the life and work of folk instrument maker Ed Stilley will close. For me, it was truly a blessing to curate the exhibit, and it will be bittersweet as I take it down.

Early in the exhibit creation process, I was fortunate enough to meet folk musicians Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, friends of the Stilley family. The assistance and support from Kelly and Donna made the exhibit possible, and they made the work enjoyable. Kelly and Donna introduced me to Ed Stilley and his wife, Eliza.  Meeting the Stilleys is still an awe-inspiring moment for me. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met as they welcomed me into their home. I have never met anyone like Ed—forceful yet quiet, reserved yet expressive. The fact that I had the chance to spend time with him during the course of the exhibit was the highlight of the entire process.

Museum exhibits frequently cover topics from the past or about individuals that are no longer with us. Telling someone else’s story, especially while they’re still alive, can be daunting. I had some concerns about how the exhibit would be received, especially since at the heart of Ed Stilley’s life story is his response to a vision he said he received from God. It’s a very personal story. I wanted to present it to the public in a meaningful, respectful way. Overall, I could not be happier with how Instruments of Faith turned out and the rave reviews we’ve received from visitors. There might be one or two minor tweaks—things I would have done differently—but all in all, I am happy with it.

Ed Stilley and Kelly Mulhollan

Ed Stilley signs a copy of his biography, True Faith, True Light, as author Kelly Mulhollan looks on. Stilley and Mulhollan were attending the museum’s Instrument of Faith exhibit reception on March 30, 2019.

While Ed Stilley stopped making instruments a few years ago due to poor health, he and his family joyfully attended the Instruments of Faith exhibit opening on March 30, 2019. Ed sang a hymn for the audience and also signed copies of his biography, True Faith, True Light, written by Kelly Mulhollan and published by the University of Arkansas Press. I think for all those in attendance, being in the same room with Ed Stilley, getting the chance to shake his hand, was a very moving experience. I believe the exhibit reception was Ed’s last public appearance. He passed away on June 12, 2019.

Soon the Ed Stilley instruments will come down, the tools in his replica tool shed will be put away, and the life-size photo of Rose the mule will find a new home. I wish I had words to do justice about what this experience has meant to me, but I am at a loss. It was truly a life changing process to be a part of, and I will carry the memories and experiences for the rest of my life. Thank you once again to all the individuals who loaned their Stilley instruments for the exhibit. Another thank you to all who came to see the exhibit and took time to share their impressions with us. (It is always nice to hear positive comments from the people that the museum serves.) Finally, a special thank you to Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, and to the entire Stilley family for entrusting me with Ed’s story. I hope you feel that I did it justice.


Aaron Loehndorf is the Shiloh Museum’s collections and education specialist.

Vance Randolph Slept Here

Southern Hotel, early 1900s, Springdale. Arkansas

Southern Hotel on the southeast corner of Holcomb and Meadow in downtown Springdale, early 1900s.

Note: Vance Randolph (1892–1980) was a folklorist whose writings on the traditional Ozark culture were published from the 1920s through the 1970s in collections such as Ozark Folksongs, Ozark Superstitions, and Down in the Holler: A Gallery of Ozark Folk Speech, among others. 

In 1968 the Shiloh Museum was given a guest register from Springdale’s Southern Hotel. Joe Robinson, a Springdale businessman and a founding board member of the Shiloh Museum, recovered the ledger after the old hotel building was torn down as part of Springdale’s urban renewal program. (Urban renewal was a federal program that ran from 1950s to the 1970s that sought to renovate towns and cities nationwide by removing rundown buildings and homes to make way for new development.)

Flora and Henry B. Rice opened the Southern Hotel in 1920 in a converted house on the southeast corner of Holcomb Street and Meadow Avenue. Their customers came from as far away as New York and as close as Springdale (the locals were mostly extended-stay boarders.) The hotel’s claim to fame was Flora Rice’s delectable home-style meals. In 1935 the Rices moved to another, smaller, converted house on the corner Main Street and Grove Avenue where they ran the Southern until the early 1960s. The building on Holcomb became the Alvin Hotel, which operated until 1966. It also was torn down during urban renewal.

Southern Hotel dining room, early 1900s.

Southern Hotel dining room, early 1900s.

The Southern Hotel register is a big item, about the size of a cement block and just as heavy (it seems). In my thirty-five years as collections manager I have had to build it a custom storage box and move it a few times for re-shelving purposes. From time to time I would turn its pages and think how interesting it might be make a list of all the names to see who stopped at the hotel back in the day. Other projects kept it on the back burner until this year when Michele Gibson, our front desk receptionist, volunteered to take on the task. So in between her front desk and gift shop duties she has been transcribing eleven years (from 1920 to 1931) of Southern Hotel guest signatures. That’s 4015 days, multiple listings per day, and often with challenging handwriting. We’re at over 14,000 names and counting.

On the very first day of the project, on the very first page of the ledger—May 4, 1920—we had our first surprise. There on the page was “Vance Randolph, Kansas City.” What!? Was this the noted Ozark folklorist Vance Randolph? To confirm that it might be him, Michele looked for his autograph online to compare the signature. It was not his signature. But then we noticed that the hand that wrote “Vance Randolph” had written the name above it on the register, “N. R. Tripp,” also from Kansas City. And they were both booked for Room 9. We theorized that Tripp and Randolph were traveling together.

But how to confirm this? The first place to look was in Robert Cochran’s definitive biography, Vance Randolph, An Ozark Life, which lays out Randolph’s life in great detail. Randolph, born in 1892, was raised in Pittsburg, Kansas. By 1920 he had completed most of his education with a B.A. in biology and M.A. in psychology. He applied to do graduate studies on Ozark Mountain people under pioneer anthropologist Franz Boas at Columbia, but those plans fell apart when Randolph couldn’t get Boas interested in the project.

Vance Randolph, 1916

Vance Randolph when he was a high school biology teacher in Pittsburg, Kansas, 1916.

In the years leading up to 1920 Randolph had dabbled in Socialist politics, briefly worked as an insurance salesman and high school teacher, served in the Army during WWI, and traveled the country. He had also started to write, some of his first work appearing signed and unsigned in pre-war editions of Appeal to Reason, a Socialist newspaper published in Pittsburg, Kansas. Cochran writes, “By late spring, 1920 Randolph seems to have returned to Pittsburg from his East Coast wanderings—he was apparently in St. Louis on February 23—and evidently spent much of his time over in the Ozarks. There are song citations from May, June, and July, a three-month break in the late summer and fall, and then more citations for November and December.”

So now I knew roughly about Vance Randolph’s activities in 1920, but what about N. R. Tripp? Turning back to Cochran’s book I checked the index and there I found an entry for one Newell R. Tripp. But wait a minute; it was listed in quotes as one of Vance Randolph’s pseudonyms. A quick check in the book revealed that it was a nom de plume that Randolph used in the mid-1920s. Randolph and Tripp visited Springdale in 1920.

It was time to track down the real Newell R. Tripp.

Thanks to Ancestry.com, finding Newell Richard Tripp didn’t take long. The first thing that popped up was the 1920 census showing him living in Joplin, Missouri, married, and working as a traveling salesman for a wholesale drug company. A few more clicks and I had found his connection to Vance. Tripp was born in Kansas in 1889 and spent some years in the Kansas cities of Beloit and Lawrence. From 1914 to 1917 he lived in Pittsburg, Kansas, like Randolph. And, like Randolph, he was drafted into service in July 1917.

So now I had Tripp and Randolph in the same town at the same time and that might have been enough, with so much time passed, to assume some kind of an acquaintance between the two. But then, while searching through issues of the Pittsburg Daily Headlight at Newspapers.com, I found two articles that revealed their connection. First was an article from 1917 regarding Tripp’s deferment from service (he had a dependent wife and child) that also detailed his life in Pittsburg before he was drafted. Besides his job at a local pharmacy and as a traveling salesman, turns out Tripp, like Randolph, was active in the local Socialist party. In fact, he ran for justice of the peace on the Socialist ticket. Surely they had crossed paths there. One more article finally proved their acquaintance. In the “Local Mention” column of the June 5, 1916, issue of the Headlight the following notice appeared:

Pittsburg Daily Headlight, June 6, 1916.

So Randolph and Tripp were buddies in Pittsburg before the war and afterwards. In 1920, although they lived in different states, they met up again for a series of trips to Springdale. But for what purpose? Was Tripp, the traveling salesman, out on sales calls with Randolph tagging along? Who knows? They stopped at the Southern Hotel on May 4, August 17 and 18, and September 28. Issues of the Springdale News around those dates had nothing to report. But then, a traveling salesman on his rounds would not necessarily be newsworthy. And as regards Vance Randolph, it would be another 10-20 years before he would gain recognition as folklorist of the Ozarks.

Cochran wrote that Vance Randolph considered 1920 a watershed year in his life, the one that set him on the path for his life’s work. In December 1920 Randolph bought a cabin in Pineville, Missouri. It became his base for many years as he began to collect and write about Ozark songs, dialect, and culture. His first published work on Ozarks culture, “A Word-list from the Ozarks,” appeared in Dialect Notes of the American Dialect Society in 1927.

In his work as a freelance writer on a myriad of non-Ozark topics, Vance Randolph sometimes used pseudonyms. Under the name “Newell R. Tripp,” Randolph authored The ABC of Chemistry for Vanguard Press in 1924 and Behaviorism: The Newest Psychology (circa 1925) for the Little Blue Book paperback series published by E. Haldeman-Julius. (And just to “put a bow on it,” Haldeman-Julius was also a Socialist Party buddy of Randolph.) I wonder if the real Newell R. Tripp ever knew that his name was used as a pen name by his friend, Vance Randolph?

Vance Randolph returned to Springdale at least one more time in his career. In February 1942 he came to town to collect and record folksongs from Maggie Glover Morgan, which would be published in his book Ozark Folksongs in 1946.


Carolyn Reno is the Shiloh Museum’s assistant director and collections manager.

The Greek Connection

George Pappas at the counter of the Majestic Café, Dickson Street, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 1930s.

George Pappas at the counter of the Majestic Café, Dickson Street, Fayetteville, 1930s. Fran Deane Alexander Collection (S-2012-137-557)

The family joke is that when the first Greeks immigrated to the U.S. they had one of three occupations—restaurateur, confectioner, and cobbler. My paternal grandfather had a soda fountain and candy kitchen before switching to shoe shine and repair. In 1907 he immigrated from the Peloponnese (a peninsula in southern Greece) and settled in Chicago, home to a large Greek community. When I moved to Northwest Arkansas many years ago and began working in museums, I was surprised to find that several Greek men had made their home here in the early 1900s.

As I dug deeper into their stories I was able to see how their history, and that of my grandfather, mirrored the greater Greek migration. Around the turn of the 20th century nearly 90% of Greek immigrants were men. Many came with the intention of earning enough money to return home with capital for themselves and, more importantly, dowries for sisters and daughters. But continued conflict in Greece, loss of homeland, the forced return to Greece of a large number of Greeks from Asia Minor, and changing U.S. immigration policies left many stranded. While some married non-Greek women, many remained bachelors, just like the elderly honorary “uncles” in my family.

George Pappas (far right) at the Majestic Café, Dickson Street, Fayetteville, 1930s. With University of Arkansas students and Fayetteville patrolman, Theo Burms.

George Pappas (far right) at the Majestic Café, Dickson Street, Fayetteville, 1930s. With University of Arkansas students and Fayetteville patrolman, Theo Burns. Washington County Historical Society Collection (P-805)

The first Greek I heard about was George Stavrou Pappas [originally Papadapoulos] (1881-1966). He may have been born in Athens and from there moved to Egypt and then to New York and St. Louis before heading to Fort Smith, Arkansas. There he ran the Manhattan Café for twenty or so years, from the 1910s to the 1920s. In 1927 he opened the Majestic Café on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, not far from the campus of the University of Arkansas. The café was frequented by faculty, students, businessmen, Frisco workers, and tourists. George called in lunchtime customers by standing on the street and ringing a large metal triangle. The café was a bit of a convenience store, too, selling such things as candy, cigars, and soap. In 1938 a “summer garden” was built for outdoor dining, with beer served under a grapevine arbor. During World War II George burned the hot checks he held from students heading to war, saying “his boys” owed him nothing.

George’s brother John Pappas (1877-1953) was a sailor before he became chief cook at the café. He served a variety of dishes including steaks, sandwiches, chicken tamales with chili, squab, fish, omelets, split pea soup, fresh shrimp and oysters, and “mountain oysters” (bull testicles). According to journalism professor Walter J. Lemke, professor and future U.S. senator J. William Fulbright often had lunch at the café, but he “distrusted the highly seasoned Greek dishes and always ordered Campbell’s tomato soup, out of a can.” The rationing of meat supplies in 1945 hit the restaurant hard. Before World War II it sold an average of “400 high grade steaks every Saturday and Sunday.” The cut in supplies was projected to bring the number down to ten or fifteen steaks a weekend. John stayed connected with his homeland. In October 1950 he wrote an article for the Northwest Arkansas Times which advocated for the return of the island of Cyprus, then under British rule, back to Greece. The paper’s publisher and editor was Roberta Fulbright (J. William’s mother), who counted “Fayetteville’s Greeks” amongst her friends.

Majestic Café Summer Garden ad, Northwest Arkansas Times, July 25, 1938.

Majestic Café Summer Garden ad, Northwest Arkansas Times, July 25, 1938.

The Pappas brothers had two cousins who worked at the café for a time. Theodore “Theo” H. Kantas (born circa 1890) was the head waiter. He helped George with the Fort Smith café, too. Nick Kabouris [sometimes spelled Kambouris]  (circa 1896-1951) was born in Athens and came to the U.S. as a young man. In 1930 he may have worked in a sandwich shop in Seminole, Oklahoma (near Oklahoma City). Back then Seminole had sixteen restaurants owned by Greeks, and it was said that “the Greeks feed the oil fields.” He was living in Fayetteville at least by 1932, where he rented a room at the Washington Hotel and worked at the Peoples Café, both on the square. Following Italy’s attack on Greece in 1940 during World War II, several prominent Greek Americans created the national Greek War Relief Association. Nick served as a local division chairman, raising money to aid relief efforts.

Denny Malloy [originally Mallas] (1894-1973) was born on the Ionian island of Zakynthos. Before serving in the U.S. Army during World War I he worked as a street paver in Sioux City, Iowa. He married Anna Selby in 1928.  By 1942 the couple lived in Rogers where he was often away during the summer working as a highway concrete finisher. They did not have children.

Tom Mulos making chocolates, Rogers Candy Kitchen, 1953.

Tom Mulos making chocolates, Rogers Candy Kitchen, 1953. Courtesy Rogers Historical Museum

Anastacious Thomas “Tom” Mulos [originally Mullos], (1890-1965) was born in Kithira, an island off of the southern tip of the Peloponnese. In 2005 his daughter-in-law shared the family’s history with the Rogers Historical Museum. According to Clara Lee Mulos, Tom came to the U.S. in 1905 to seek a better life, not telling his mother that he was leaving Greece until the morning his ship sailed. He traveled to St. Louis to stay with a relative and it was there where he learned to make candy. In 1914 he moved to Rogers and opened the Rogers Candy Kitchen on Walnut Street (later moving the business to Second Street, across from the Victory Theatre).  He served in the army during World War I. In 1921 he married Eunice Phillips, one of his employees. They had one child and, as a family, attended a Baptist church.  While they didn’t follow Greek traditions, they did eat some Greek food. The store had homemade candy, a soda fountain, and an ice cream bar featuring such flavors as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Clara’s favorite was the pineapple sherbet. For a time Tom supplied ice cream to the Sunset Hotel at the Linebarger brothers’ summer resort in Bella Vista. The store closed after forty-four years in business, after Tom’s heart attack in 1958.

Ted Logus, as depicted in the January 1928 edition of the Rotarian.

Ted Logus, as depicted in the January 1928 edition of the Rotarian.

Theodore “Ted” Logus [originally Logothetis] (1882-1966) was born in the Ionian Islands on the western side of Greece. He came to the U.S. around 1904 and went to St. Louis to learn candy-making from an uncle. While there he ran a marathon in his street clothes (rather than athletic gear); he came in fifth place. By 1911 he was co-owner of the Neosho Candy Kitchen in Missouri. That’s where he married Maunte Caughron in 1913. A year later the couple lived in Rogers, where Ted co-owned the Rogers Candy Kitchen with Tom Mulos. During World War I he worked on behalf of the War Industries Board to secure “data as to all the available walnut timber” around Rogers for use in airplane construction. After the war he was one of several businessmen who helped organize a town band. He was a Mason and a charter member of the Rogers Rotary Club. For a short time he co-owned the U.A. Candy Kitchen in Fayetteville with Steve Georgenis. In 1930 he had a soda fountain, coffee shop, and confectionary at the lakeside pavilion in Bella Vista. Realizing there wasn’t enough business in Rogers during the Great Depression, he gave his share of the Rogers store to Tom, who had a wife and young son to support. As a divorcee with an adult daughter, Ted figured he could earn a living elsewhere. The Mulos’ repaid this kindness in Ted’s later years, making sure he had home-cooked food and medical care.

Private Steve Georgenis behind the soda fountain of his candy kitchen, Fayetteville, mid-late 1910s.

Private Steve Georgenis behind the soda fountain of his candy kitchen, Fayetteville, mid-late 1910s. Ann Wiggans Sugg Collection (S-2018-75)

Stamatis “Steve” G. Georgenis (about 1885-1934) was born in Smyrna, Asia Minor (then heavily settled by Greeks, now part of Turkey). He came to the U.S. in 1912 and settled in Fayetteville two years later. Over the years he owned or co-owned candy kitchens on Block Avenue and Dickson Street, under the names of Palace of Sweets, “A.E.F.” Confectionary, U. of A. Candy Kitchen, and Steve’s Place. He sold homemade ice cream, sherbet, and candy along with salted peanuts, soda-fountain drinks, coconut brittle, taffy, banana splits, and cantaloupe sundaes.

Steve Georgenis' candy kitchen, third storefront from the left, North Block Avenue, Fayetteville, about 1934.

Steve Georgenis’ candy kitchen, third storefront from the left, North Block Avenue, Fayetteville, about 1934. Ann Wiggans Sugg Collection (S-2018-75)

Ann Wiggans Sugg, whose family owned the Block Avenue storefront, remembers that “Uncle Steve” gave her candy whenever she went to the store. During the holidays he often treated children to Easter eggs and candy canes. In 1927 he received word that he and his eleven brothers were heir to 1.5 million dollars from their grandfather’s estate in Constantinople, Turkey. He traveled there to collect his share but as to the outcome, no information could be found. He was a member of the local unit of the Arkansas National Guard, serving on the Mexican border in 1916 and later as a cook during World War I. When asked about his service he said, “A country that’s good enough to live in is good enough to fight for.” A founding member of the Lynn Shelton Post of the American Legion, Steve was buried in Fayetteville’s National Cemetery with full honors, including a firing squad of eight uniformed Guardsmen and a bugler sounding “Taps.” Following Steve’s death, Ted Logus ran his shop on Block Avenue until the summer of 1937.

“A.E.F.” Confectionary ad, Fayetteville Daily Democrat, July 28, 1919. The name refers to the American Expeditionary Forces, a unit of the U.S. Army formed to fight on the Western Front (largely in France) during World War I. At the time of this ad, proprietor Steve Georgenis had just returned from serving overseas.

One of the pallbearers at Steve’s funeral was Louis J. Lagos (circa 1896-1958). Possibly born in Sparta in the southern Peloponnese, he was a small boy when he came to America, first living in Ohio and then Chicago. In Oklahoma he operated a candy store in Oklahoma City and had cafes in Seminole and Tulsa. He served in World War I and was a member of the American Legion and the Masons. While the 1940 census shows him a resident of Tulsa, his “inferred residence in 1935” is Fayetteville.

James Vafakos, Indiana Harbor, Indiana, 1910s.

James Vafakos, Indiana Harbor, Indiana, 1910s. J. F. Atlas, photographer. Courtesy William N. Vafakos

Dimitrios “James” Nick Vafakos (1885-1975) was born in Arna, a village in the southern Peloponnese. He arrived in New York in 1903. He served during World War I and, prior to that, was said to have helped chase Mexican bandit Pancho Villa. For a time he homestead land in Crawford County, where he married Hazel Cranley in 1922. The couple had two sons, one of which is William, who recently shared his father’s history with the museum. Because James was disabled due to a gas attack during the war, he was unable to work. The family moved to a farm near Prairie Grove where they lived on home-grown vegetables, livestock, and James’ military pension.  He also had a vineyard of Concord grapes. Although Washington County was “dry” for a time (no alcohol could be purchased), James received a permit to make wine at home, as long as he didn’t sell it. William doesn’t remember the family eating Greek food or celebrating that county’s traditions. The only times his dad spoke Greek was to the cows when he got mad, or to his friend, Jimmy Anagnost, when the two didn’t want their wives to hear what they were talking about.

Gust James “Jimmy” Anagnost [originally Anagnostopoulos] (1888-1959) was born in Trikala, in mainland Greece. He arrived in the U.S. in 1905. After coastal-defense service in World War I he homesteaded in Crawford County, later moving to Washington County with his friend, James Vafakos. It’s possible that the two of them hunted gold and silver in the Prairie Grove area, as James’ son, William, found old assayer reports stating that the minerals were detected, but not in enough quantity to make extraction profitable. Jimmy married Dora Hart in 1926 and together they had four children. An electrician, he worked several odd jobs including hauling goods in his truck and working on local Works Progress Administration projects during the Great Depression. During World War II he worked in the steel industry in Chicago, eventually earning enough money to move his family out of their old dog-trot log cabin and into a brand-new house near Strickler.

Frisco route map from the tourist booklet, Summer Days in the Ozarks, 1915.

Frisco route map from the tourist booklet, Summer Days in the Ozarks, 1915.

It’s clear that these men contributed to Benton and Washington counties in ways large and small.  But why did they come to Northwest Arkansas? Here’s my guess. . . Connect the dots between St. Louis, Neosho, Rogers, Fayetteville, and Fort Smith and you have a section of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad line. It would be so easy to move from one town to the next, looking for opportunities.  Once here, the Greeks connected with one another, as friends and as businessmen. Ted partnered with Tom and Steve in candy kitchens and James regularly came to Fayetteville to visit the Pappas brothers. When Steve died, nearly all of the Greeks were active or honorary pallbearers at his funeral.

James Vafakos with the 1st Aero Observation Squadron, just back from France, August 1919.  Courtesy William N. Vafakos

James Vafakos with the 1st Aero Observation Squadron, just back from France, August 1919. Courtesy William N. Vafakos

Most of the men connected to their newly adopted country by serving in some capacity during World War I. They established community connections as well, through friendships with town leaders and as members of fraternal, business, and military organizations. The Majestic Café even played a role in local government, serving as a polling place for Fayetteville’s Ward 4 voters. Although a few of the men maintained some connection to their homeland, either through food or political engagement, most adapted to their new country. Some even married American women. For the most part their children grew up American—they didn’t learn the language, eat the food, or follow the traditions of Greece.

Illustration from a chocolate and candy recipe booklet distributed by Walter Baker & Co., 1922.

Illustration from a chocolate and candy recipe booklet distributed by Walter Baker and Company, 1922. Courtesy Carolyn Reno

And the candy connection? Turns out it was a real phenomenon, not just a Demeroukas-family joke. In her 2014 dissertation, Greek Immigration To, and Settlement In, Central Illinois, 1880-1930, Ann Flesor Beck recounts that many Greek immigrants came from the Peloponnese, where they had had enough of regional conflict and hard-scrabble farming. In America they gravitated to urban areas, especially those with large Greek populations. As unskilled workers they joined railroad crews, like the Greeks who in 1902 worked on building the Ozark and Cherokee Central Railroad in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) from Westville to Tahlequah, just east of Washington County. They also pursued entrepreneurial endeavors with minimal start-up costs such as shining shoes or pedaling fruit. Some worked in or started their own restaurants, soda fountains, and candy kitchens. A 1904 article in the Greek Star newspaper declared Chicago “the Mecca of the candy business” and said that “practically every busy corner in Chicago is occupied by a Greek candy store.” Newly arrived Greek immigrants learned the business from their Greek employers before striking out on their own. Many found their way to St. Louis, where the town’s Greek population grew from roughly 1,300 in 1910 to an estimated 5,000 five years later. In 1915 one Greek newspaper estimated that there were about fifty thousand Greeks working in the confectionary business.

Rogers Candy Kitchen, owned by Tom Mulos, South Second Street, Rogers, 1950s.

Rogers Candy Kitchen, owned by Tom Mulos, South Second Street, Rogers, 1950s. Courtesy Rogers Historical Museum

I wish I could go back in time and visit the candy kitchens to sample the treats made by Tom, Ted, and Steve. And after? I’d dine with the Pappas brothers at the Majestic Café. (Yeah, dessert first.) The closest I’ve come to spending time with George and John was in the early 1980s, when I hung out with my fellow anthropology students in the beer garden at George’s Majestic Lounge, a bar and music venue. I didn’t know it at the time, but in some way I was connecting with my Greek heritage. Opa!


Marie Demeroukas is the Shiloh Museum’s photo archivist and research librarian.

Window

We love it when folks stop by our museum to look around, and when big yellow buses creep up to disgorge loads ‘o kids. All day, people come and go—they’re the reason why we’re here. I imagine that very few visitors realize that beneath their feet lies a subterranean world where folks toil with the museum’s unseen internal workings. Those of us stationed in the basement are light-heartedly referred to as “dungeon dwellers.” It’s a bit like a sensory deprivation chamber down here, a near total lack of sound, outside stimuli, and natural light. Some days we only pop up above ground for lunch and breaks, otherwise oblivious to happenings above and of weather’s capricious whims. For a few hours it’s easy to forget there’s a world of light and life above us.

zinnias outside stairwell window

Zinnias (and a butterfly) outside the museum’s basement stairwell window.

Ascending the stairs from our basement, there’s a ground-level window looking west from a landing near the summit. Whipping back a curtain that keeps afternoon sun from baking the stairwell presents a worm’s eye view of the world outside. Rising from the basement, it’s our first dose of sunlight, served with a sliver of western sky, a glimpse of weather not quite here yet. Atmospheric reality thus revealed often surprises, does not agree with expectation. Weather doesn’t care, changed its mind while we were underground. Welcome to the Ozarks.

Humans need to be outside. Failing that, those of us under the building will settle for a little sunlight. That window is important. Summer’s abundance brings no hardship on dungeon folk. But when clocks fall back and cheating winter night steals our light, the window disappoints at day’s end, provides no solace. Those few short days of both arriving and departing in darkness take a toll. Like that first gasping breath after surfacing from a deep dive, that first sight of sunlight is anxiously anticipated, finally warms the heart when escaping basement darkness. Natural light is like air—you need it, but you don’t miss it until you don’t have it.

When the curtain parts, sometimes wondrous wee creatures look back. For twenty-some years, green-white curls of ho-hum monkey grass (liriope) held sway over window’s court. Those days we peeked out at snails, slugs, grasshoppers, lizards, and spiders that dwelt therein. Passing squirrels or an occasional tiger-striped cat broke the monotony. Suddenly Marty (Powers, our groundskeeper) wrought his vengeance on that foul liriope, wielding backhoe’s jaws to overthrow despot monkey grass, banished to the compost heap. Masterful Washington County Master Gardeners Renee and Brad Baldwin graciously arrayed a varied and colorful palette, woven of plants that give succor to flutter-bys (butterflies), hummingbirds and sundry busy-buzzing pollinators. Summer’s view from our window stretched, yawned, and awoke.

Monarch butterfly on zinnia.

Closeup of a monarch near the stairwell window, taken by museum photographer Bo Williams.

Certain basement denizens have been down here for decades. As far as I can discern, our bodies haven’t yet begun to physically adapt to underground environs. No loss of pigmentation or eyesight, yet, though greying hair and cataracts laugh and hint otherwise. However, a behavioral adaptation marks the senior dungeon dwellers. They have to stop and look out that window on their way up the stairs. We wish we were outside, failing that, we’ll settle for a little sunlight.

Curtis Morris is the Shiloh Museum’s exhibits manager.