See Rock City

See Rock City

Monday, September 8, 2008

Jonesboro, AR

Jonesboro is the largest community in northeast Arkansas and the fifth largest in the state. It is the Craighead County seat (though Act 61 of 1883 created the “Eastern District of Craighead County,” providing for the establishment of another county courthouse at Lake City due to early difficulties in travel). Jonesboro is a regional center in education, retail, healthcare, and industry; its largest employers are Arkansas State University (ASU) and St. Bernards Medical Center. Jonesboro is also an agricultural center in processing rice, cotton, and soybeans, and it is a regional hub for the food-processing industry, being home to Riceland Foods and plants for Frito-Lay, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods/Post Division, and Nestle.

Main Street in Jonesboro (Craighead County); 1938.
Courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood

The bust of King Crowley, the most famous object in a collection of archaeological fakes produced in Arkansas and “found” near Jonesboro (Craighead County) along Crowley’s Ridge; 1927.
Courtesy of the Craighead County Historical Society

Crowley’s Ridge, a crescent-shaped rise that is the highest point in northeast Arkansas, was an important factor in Jonesboro’s development because it was safe from the periodic floods that devastated low-lying areas. A Benjamin Crowley built a homestead on the ridge in 1821 to escape the seasonal flooding. A makeshift courthouse was established at Crowley’s settlement, and the area came to be called Crowley’s Ridge.

Craighead County Veterans Memorial in downtown Jonesboro.

In 1858, Senator William Jones proposed the creation of a new county. The proposal called for the county to incorporate land from the area represented by Jones’s fellow state senator, Thomas Craighead, who opposed the idea. When the bill passed, Jones proposed that the county be named for Craighead, who, in turn, proposed that the county seat be named for Jones. The town of “Jonesborough” was created, with the spelling later simplified.

Arkansas State University Museum

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed on major holidays.

The Arkansas State University Museum began in 1936 with a single glass case of archeological artifacts. The museum now occupies 45,000 square feet in the west wing of the Dean B. Ellis Library. Browse, explore and learn in the 25,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibitions about the natural and human achievements in northeast Arkansas and the Delta region.

The museum has been accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1973.

Craighead County and Jonesboro were officially born on February 19, 1859. Farmer Fergus Snoddy donated fifteen acres for a town site in the area that is now downtown Jonesboro. Twenty-four years later, with the railroad coming to Jonesboro, voters finally approved the town’s official incorporation in 1883.

Craighead Forest Park is one of Jonesboro's most popular natural parks. Seen here is a flock of Canada geese.

Civil War through the Gilded Age

The town’s population was about seventy-five when Arkansas voted to secede from the Union. On August 2, 1862, the Skirmish at Jonesboro took place on Court Square when Union soldiers captured Confederate troops south of town and took them to the county courthouse. A Confederate unit attacked and drove the Union troops from the town. Jonesboro did not sustain major damage from the war and returned to its agricultural economy afterward.

Bell House 303 W. Cherry Street, Hours: Private Residence

The Bell House was built in 1895 by J. V. Bell. Bell, a native of Tennessee, opened and operated one of the first bookstores in Jonesboro. He later became the secretary of Jonesboro Savings and Loan. In 1919 Bell sold the house to Thomas Hardy, a cotton speculator. Hardy’s daughter converted it to a fraternity house. The condition of the house deteriorated, and it was twice threatened with demolition, once during the Great Depression and again in 1965. The Bell House, now restored by its current owners, has elements of Queen Anne architecture and Oriental influence. The Queen Anne elements include the bay windows, high and multiple roofs, turret, multiple gables, and the irregular floor plan. The frequent use of the sunburst design, the stars, and the half-moons reflect the Oriental influence. The Bell House was listed on the National Register on November 7, 1976.

Berger House,1120 S. Main Street,Hours: Private Residence

The Berger House was constructed in 1896. The Bergers were among the most prominent early families of Jonesboro, and the Berger brothers are listed with 34 other residents in the January 1883 Papers of Incorporation for the City of Jonesboro. Morris Berger Jr. is noted as one of the most successful Jewish immigrants in this part of Arkansas. As secretary of Johnson-Berger Company, he gained prominence in Jonesboro as a local merchant and businessman. After Berger’s death in 1932, his wife lived in the house until 1944, at which time the house was sold to A. J. and Ruth Gatlin of Weiner. The Gatlins occupied the house until 1950, when it became the Jonesboro-Craighead County Public Library. It was used in this capacity until 1964, operated briefly as a carpet business, and again has been a private residence since 1965. The Berger House was listed on the National Register on November 7, 1996.

Berger-Graham House,1327 S. Main Street,Hours: Private Residence

The Berger-Graham House, one of the few remaining outstanding residential structures located on Jonesboro’s Main Street, was built in 1904 by Marcus Berger. Berger, a prominent merchant, presented the house to his son Joseph as a wedding present. Joseph married Essie Blass, the daughter of Gus Blass. Blass was a Jewish merchant who founded Blass Department Store in Little Rock. The Bergers lived in the house from 1904 to 1909, at which time they moved to Little Rock. The house was sold to H. W. Graham, president of the Southern Mercantile Company in Jonesboro and the Arkansas Grocer Company in Blytheville. Despite financial difficulty, Graham was able to keep the house and turned it into a boarding house and tearoom known as the Homestead Inn. The Graham family occupied the house for more than 30 years. It was entered on the National Register on October 10, 1985.

The town was also the center of a great logging industry at the time, requiring efficient transportation to get the lumber to market. In 1881, the Cotton Belt railroad laid track north of downtown. Later, the Missouri Pacific, Frisco, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads served Jonesboro. Jonesboro’s growth was significantly enhanced in 1906 with the creation of City Water and Light (CWL) as a municipal utility. CWL continues to serve the town and, due to its extremely reasonable utility rates, is often cited as a major factor in Jonesboro’s growth, attracting business and industry to the area.

Former Federal Courthouse in Jonesboro (Craighead County).
Photo by John Gill, courtesy of the photographer

Early Twentieth Century

In 1900, following a malaria epidemic, a group of sisters from the Olivetan Benedictine order established a six-room hospital in Jonesboro called “St. Bernard’s” in honor of St. Bernard Tolomei, founder of the Olivetan Benedictines.

The original Holy Angels Convent, established in 1887 in Jonesboro (Craighead County).
Courtesy of the Arkansas Catholic archives, Diocese of Little Rock

In 1904, Woodland College was created, and in 1924, Jonesboro Baptist College was established; both were forced to close within a few years for budgetary reasons. In 1909, the Arkansas legislature passed a law providing for state public schools of agriculture in each of the state’s four districts. Jonesboro competed against Greene County and Mountain Home (Baxter County) to house the school, and after a pledge of $40,000 and 200 acres of land, Jonesboro was chosen. It was named the First District Agricultural School when its first classes were held on October 3, 1910.Now known as Arkansas State University (ASU), it was the first of its sister district colleges to be granted university status.

Arkansas State University

New student union at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County); 2007.
Photo by Mike Polston

Arkansas State University (ASU) is the only four-year public university in northeast Arkansas. While grounded in a heritage of service to the region, the influence and impact of ASU’s teaching and research extend throughout the state and nation.

Indian Stadium at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County); 2007.
Photo by Mike Polston

Arkansas State University had a humble beginning. On April 1, 1909, Governor George W. Donaghey signed Act 100, creating four district agricultural schools, culminating an initiative inspired by the Arkansas Farmers’ Union. On March 28, 1910, the trustees of the First District Agricultural School selected a farm just east of Jonesboro (Craighead County) as its location. Recruiting a leader to translate legislative authorization into educational reality, the trustees hired Victor C. Kays to be the school’s first principal. Although only twenty-eight, Kays was an experienced agricultural educator. He served as chief executive for thirty-four years.

Entrance to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County); 2007.
Photo by Mike Polston

Having hired Kays, the trustees awarded contracts for an administration building and two dormitories. However, opening the school could not wait for their completion. On October 3, 1910, in what had been Jonesboro’s Elks Lodge, the faculty and staff welcomed 189 students. The new school, affectionately known as Aggie, emphasized practical training in agriculture and home economics, and in 1913, its first graduates received high school diplomas.

Arch presented by the 1927 graduating class of First District A&M College, now Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County).
Photo by Mike Polston

The nation’s entry into World War I prompted a significant transition in the school’s history. Trustees Love Banks and Robert E. Lee Wilson obtained a Student Army Training Corps (SATC) detachment, but the program ended in 1918 shortly after the armistice. Nevertheless, the endeavor had long-lasting significance. Only junior colleges could participate in SATC, so the school hired additional faculty, expanded the curriculum, and launched an ambitious construction program greatly facilitated by contributions of materials, equipment, and labor from Wilson, who was a landowner and plantation manager in the region. The legislature confirmed this transformation in 1925 by changing the school’s name to First District Agricultural and Mechanical College. Subsequently, the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredited the junior college and conditionally approved a senior college curriculum.

Arkansas State University Museum at in Jonesboro (Craighead County).
Photo by Nathan Polston

Entering its third decade in May 1931, the A&M College awarded its first baccalaureate degrees. Tarnishing that milestone was a fire in January that destroyed the administration building. The insurance settlement proved insufficient to build a replacement facility, and the state’s financial distress stymied the sale of bonds. Determined to prevail, the board arranged financing and named the new building Wilson Hall to honor the influential trustee.

Dean B. Ellis Library at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County).
Photo by Nathan Polston

Using the art deco style of Wilson Hall as the architectural standard, the school constructed dormitories, classroom buildings, student support and operational infrastructure, and an athletic stadium. Acknowledging this maturation, the General Assembly in 1933 renamed the institution Arkansas State College (ASC), and the North Central Association accredited the senior college curriculum. The following year, the college recognized the support received from Senator Hattie W. Caraway by awarding her its first honorary doctorate.

Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI) research facility located at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County).
Courtesy of Arkansas Biosciences Institute

While the 1930s witnessed steady growth, the next decade’s prominent themes were turmoil and transition for the college, especially with regard to enrollment and executive leadership. Enrollment at Arkansas State fluctuated dramatically as a result of World War II, dropping to an all-time low of 114 as students and faculty entered military service or took employment in war-related industries. Fortunately, several military training programs used the campus and enabled the school to remain open.

Burial Site of Former U.S. Senator, Hattie Caraway,2349 W. Matthews Avenue Lane

The burial site of former U.S. Senator Hattie Caraway is the only existing property in Arkansas that is associated with the life of the first woman to ever be elected to United States Senate. After the sudden passing of her husband Thaddeus on November 6, 1931, Arkansas Governor Harvey Parnell appointed Hattie to serve in his seat until the next election. On December 9, 1931 she was sworn into office. On January 12, 1932 a special election was held and Hattie Caraway became the first woman ever elected to the United States Senate and continued to serve until her defeat in 1945. During her time in office, Hattie also became the first woman to chair a committee in the U.S. Senate and preside over a meeting of the U.S. Senate.
On February 1, 2001, Hattie Caraway made history once again by becoming the first Arkansan to appear on a postal stamp. The 76-cent Hattie Caraway stamp is among the “Distinguished Americans” stamp series issued by the United States Postal Service.

A post-war influx of veterans, whose education was facilitated by the G.I. Bill, caused enrollment to rebound to over 1,000. Housing and educating these students severely tested the college’s capacities and resources. Coping with these realities proved especially challenging because this was a period of administrative transition.

President Kays retired in January 1943, but he did not sever his association with the college. Rather, he became president emeritus and business manager. Over the next eight years, the college had two presidents, Horace E. Thompson (1943–1945) and William J. Edens (1946–1951), and between their terms Kays served as interim president. When the post became vacant again in March 1951, the trustees moved expeditiously and in less than one month announced the hiring of Carl R. Reng.

With the inauguration of Reng, Arkansas State College entered another period of administrative stability and witnessed development unrivaled in the school’s history. From an enrollment of less than 900, the school grew to over 3,000 by 1960. A corresponding expansion of the physical plant added dormitories, housing for married students, classrooms, athletic facilities, an administration building, a new library, and a student union—the Carl R. Reng Center.

Athletic mascot “Runnin’ Joe,” adopted by Arkansas State University (ASU) in 1994.
Courtesy of the Cabot High School Museum

The institution achieved another historic milestone during Reng’s administration. Reflecting the expansion of its academic programs, in 1955 the college began offering graduate-level courses and launched a campaign to obtain university status. This drive culminated in the introduction of a bill in the 1959 General Assembly to change the college’s name to Arkansas State University. The legislative climate deteriorated, however, when the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) announced its opposition, and the bill did not pass.

The drive toward university status continued, and by the mid-1960s, support appeared to be approaching critical mass. President Reng, sensing the favorable political climate, initiated an intense and personal lobbying campaign in the months leading to the General Assembly’s 1967 session. This time, Arkansas State’s advocates prevailed, and on January 17, 1967, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller signed the act that changed the institution’s name to Arkansas State University.

C. A. Stuck and Sons Lumber,215 Union St.

C.A. Stuck & Sons Lumber is directly associated with the development of Craighead County and much of northeast Arkansas. It is one of the first known examples of a large wood mill associated with early deforestation of the region. Constructed in 1889 to house C.A. Stuck & Sons Lumber mill, the complex was enlarged shortly thereafter to include the woodshop and two woodsheds. Although windows and doors have been boarded up in some areas, the buildings appear much like they did at the time of their construction c.1890s. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 27, 2002.

Reng’s administration lasted eight more years, but this was a tumultuous period for the university, as Reng confronted social and political unrest. Although Walter Strong, Fred Turner, and Larry Williams integrated the student body in 1955, the faculty lacked minority representation until the hiring of C. Calvin Smith in 1970 as a history instructor. (Smith had earned his MA in history at ASU previously.) Moreover, persistent advocacy by the Black Student Association kept civil rights a prominent issue on campus for the remainder of Reng’s tenure.

Race was not the only element in the administrative cauldron. Reng also had to contend with student protests against the war in Vietnam, the questioning of his involvement with the Citizens Bank of Jonesboro, and the turmoil surround the nonrenewal of contracts for some pre-tenured faculty. As these disputes churned, however, Indian athletes achieved national recognition. The football team played in the college-division Pecan Bowl in 1968, 1969, and 1970, winning the national championship in 1970. Two years later, Thomas Hill, a hurdler at ASU, won a bronze medal at the Munich Olympics.

Reng retired in 1975. After twenty-five years of administrative constancy, Arkansas State had three presidents the following ten years: Ross Pritchard (1975–1978), Carl Whillock (1978–1980), and Ray Thornton (1980–1984). Eugene Smith’s elevation to the presidency in 1984 restored the customary stability. Indeed, Smith had deep institutional roots at ASU, having graduated from ASC in 1952 and returned in 1958 to join the faculty in the Department of Secondary Education. Subsequently, Smith served as dean of the Graduate School and as executive vice president. During his presidential tenure, which lasted until 1992, the university secured a doctoral program in educational leadership and moved to NCAA Division 1-A athletics.

Following Smith’s retirement, the university hired John Mangieri to be president, but this administration lasted only two years. His successor, Leslie Wyatt, has been president since July 1995. Wyatt came to ASU from the University of Mississippi, where he had served as vice chancellor for executive affairs.

During Wyatt’s tenure, the university has cultivated an area of concentration centered on the problems of the eastern Arkansas Delta region. Construction of new facilities has continued, the most notable additions being the Fowler Center (a performing arts facility), new student apartments, and an expansion of the student center. Moreover, Arkansas State University is now a system with campuses at Beebe (White County), Mountain Home (Baxter County), Newport (Jackson County), Heber Springs (Cleburne County), Marked Tree (Poinsett County), and Searcy (White County), along with an instructional site in Paragould (Greene County). The university has also enhanced its research capabilities by becoming a partner institution in the Arkansas Biosciences Institute and launching additional doctoral programs in environmental science, heritage studies, and molecular biosciences. In an administrative reorganization, Robert Potts was hired as chancellor of the Jonesboro campus in the fall of 2006, while Wyatt retained the presidency of the ASU system as a whole.

In 1910, a group of area farmers decided to try growing rice in the fields outside of town. Their success led to the creation in 1930 of what was at the time the largest rice mill in the world, operated by Riceland Foods, Inc. The rice industry continues to be one of Jonesboro’s leading businesses, along with the cotton and soybean industries.

Jonesboro continued to grow through the 1920s, though its prosperity was muted due to its agricultural economy and the demise of its timber industry when the forests were logged out. As a town with an agriculturally based economy, Jonesboro was forced to weather the Great Depression as best it could. While it was physically safe on the high ground of Crowley’s Ridge from the Flood of 1927, Jonesboro’s economy suffered from the devastating impact on its low-lying neighbors who traditionally came to Jonesboro to shop as well as to process and sell their produce. As the impact from the 1927 flood was beginning to improve, Arkansas was struck by drought in 1930 and 1931, which also had a ripple effect on the town’s economy.

In September 1931, the town made headlines in The New York Times for what became known as the Jonesboro Church Wars. Following fiery preaching by the evangelist Joe Jeffers, two opposing Baptist factions fought each other, and gunfire was exchanged before order was restored. Governor Harvey Parnell called out the National Guard and ten state policemen to keep peace. The September 21, 1931, issue of Time magazine called it the Battle of Jonesboro.

Francis Cherry with his children in front of their home in Jonesboro (Craighead County); 1952.
Courtesy of Charlotte Cherry

In 1920, Jonesboro citizen Thaddeus Caraway was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 1932, his widow, Hattie Caraway, became the nation’s first elected female senator. She often helped Jonesboro by finding jobs on federal projects for poor and handicapped residents, interceded at Arkansas State College to find work-study positions for needy students, and lobbied to build a new post office at Jonesboro.

World War II through the Modern Era

When World War II began, Caraway helped convince the U.S. government to establish a training detachment for the military at Arkansas State College. The College Training Detachment brought GIs from all over the nation to Jonesboro; many settled in town after the war. On September 23, 1944, a county-wide election was held. The vote turned out in favor of creating a “dry” county, outlawing sales of alcoholic beverages.

Modern St. Bernards Medical Center.
Courtesy of St. Bernards Medical Center

Private house in Jonesboro (Craighead County) that was transformed into the first St. Bernard’s Hospital, now St. Bernards Medical Center; 1900.
Courtesy of St. Bernards Medical Center

In 1950, Jonesboro resident Francis Cherry became governor of Arkansas. The town saw a dynamic period of growth in the 1950s and 1960s with the establishment of businesses such as Arkansas Glass, Colson Caster, Frolic Footwear (a division of Wolverine, makers of Hush Puppies), General Electric, Pepsi-Cola, and Hytrol Conveyor Co., one of the largest manufacturers of conveyors and conveying equipment in the world.

Jonesboro’s African-American Cultural Center today emphasizes the history of the black citizens of Craighead County. The E. Boone Watson Community Center in Jonesboro is also dedicated to preserving and remembering black culture in the town, with more than fifty exhibits, including photos, newspaper articles, and other pieces of historic memorabilia. The traditionally black Booker T. Washington High School has held a reunion every two years since 1926 for graduates of Jonesboro’s black school during the segregation period. In 1955, two years before the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, Army Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Turner Jr., Walter Strong, and Larry Williams began taking classes at Arkansas State College. Strong and Turner were the first two black students to graduate from Arkansas State, in 1959 and 1960 respectively.

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro (Craighead County).
Courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

On May 31, 1958, the Nettleton community voted 699–76 in favor of a proposed annexation to join the city of Jonesboro. Tthe highly rated Nettleton School District continues to operate independently of Jonesboro schools though it is within the city limits, as do the school districts of Valley View and Westside, which were also absorbed as Jonesboro continued to expand geographically.

In 1984, local resident Earl Bell won an Olympic medal for the pole vault. In 1990, Debbye Turner, a Jonesboro resident, became Miss America. Bestselling author John Grisham, who was born in Jonesboro, chose the town for the world premiere of the television movie based upon his book, A Painted House. Jonesboro has its own television station, KAIT, an ABC affiliate, plus numerous AM and FM radio stations as well as the Jonesboro Sun newspaper. In addition to the continuous growth of St. Bernards Medical Center, Jonesboro is also served by NEA Medical Center, formerly Regional Medical Center of Northeast Arkansas.

The town made national news because of deadly tornadoes in 1968 and 1973, as well as a tragic school shooting at its Westside Middle School on March 24, 1998. The Mall at Turtle Creek, was a $100 million project that is now the largest mall in northeast Arkansas. Nearby towns such as Bono (Craighead County), Brookland (Craighead County), and Paragould have become virtual bedroom communities, as many people come to Jonesboro daily to work. A significant Hispanic population has also been attracted to the town by employment opportunities in construction, agriculture, and food processing.

The Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce has been extremely active in recruiting large businesses such as Nestle and Frito-Lay. Local amenities in Jonesboro include the Craighead County–Jonesboro Regional Library, the Jonesboro Municipal Airport, and the Fowler Center for performing arts.

Jonesboro’s Craighead Forest Park is owned by the city and was first developed in 1937, when the local Young Men’s Civic Club began work on the fifty-five-acre lake. Today, the lakeside park offers outdoor sports, hiking trails, camping, fishing (with the lake stocked by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission), and special events such as July 4th in the Forest and a Labor Day blues festival. In 2004, the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center opened in Jonesboro, offering visitors a look at the native wildlife of Crowley’s Ridge.

Notable natives & residents

Earl Bell - former pole vault champion and current coach of top US men and women vaulters,

Earl H. Bell (born August 25, 1955) is a former world record holding pole vaulter from the United States, winner of the bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics and current coach to a number of the nation's top men and women vaulters. He was born in Ancón, Panama Canal Zone.

At his last Olympic appearance, Bell finished fourth at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He held the world pole vaulting record for approximately a month in 1976 and set an American record of 19' 0 1/4" in San Jose, California in 1984.

In 2002, Bell was inducted into the USATF Hall of Fame.

Coaching career

Bell established Bell Athletics outside of Jonesboro, Arkansas where he has coached Jeff Hartwig, Derek Miles, Kellie Suttle and Jillian Schwartz, among other top pole vaulters.

Wes Bentley - actor best known for his role as the drug dealer Ricky in American Beauty,

Wesley Cook Bentley (born September 4, 1978) is an American film actor.

Bentley was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the son of Cherie and David Bentley, who are United Methodist ministers. He has three brothers, Philip and Jamey, who are older, and Patrick, who is younger. Bentley grew up in Mountain Home and later in Sherwood. He attended Sylvan Hills High School, Sherwood, Arkansas and the Juilliard School's Drama Division, New York City. He married in 2001 and is a Taoist.

Bentley has starred in several films, including American Beauty, The Four Feathers, P2, and Ghost Rider. He took part in Tony Zierra's 2008 documentary My Big Break, which follows the early careers of Bentley, Chad Lindberg, Brad Rowe and Greg Fawcett.

He has been married to Jennifer Quanz since September of 2001.

Rodger Bumpass - the voice of Squidward Tentacles on SpongeBob SquarePants,

Rodger Bumpass (born November 20, 1951) is an American voice actor with credits in cartoons stretching back to The Jetsons. He was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Present-day viewers know him as the voice of Squidward Tentacles, Dr. Gill Gilliam and the anchovies on the Nickelodeon animated series SpongeBob SquarePants, The Chief from Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego, Dr. Light on Teen Titans, Professor Membrane on Invader Zim and Wooper on The Pichu Brothers. He has also appeared in adult cartoons, such as Heavy Metal. Bumpass has over 693 film credits, according to IMDb.

According to Matty Simmons' book, If You Don't Buy This Book We'll Kill This Dog - Life, Laughs, Love and Death at the National Lampoon, Bumpass was to star in a comedy called Jaws 3 - People 0, for National Lampoon. It would have followed Animal House, and starred Bumpass with Bo Derek, who had just made her movie 10. Universal Studios canceled the deal before shooting.

During August 2006, rumors were circulated that Bumpass died during heart surgery. His death was noted on IMDb and in the Arkansas State University alumni newsletter. Bumpass confirmed that reports of his death were untrue.

Bumpass is married to actor Amy Stiller, sister of actor/writer/director Ben Stiller. Bumpass rides a recumbent bicycle; as an in-joke by the producers of the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Squidward does too

Hattie Caraway - first woman elected to the United States Senate,

Hattie Ophelia Wyatt Caraway (February 1, 1878 – December 21, 1950) was the first woman elected to serve as a United States Senator. Hattie Wyatt was born near Bakerville, Tennessee, in Humphreys County.

She married Thaddeus H. Caraway and moved with him to Jonesboro, Arkansas where she cared for their children and home and her husband practiced law and started a political career.

Her husband was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1912 and served in that office until 1921 when he was elected to the United States Senate where he served until he died in office in 1931.

Arkansas Governor Harvey Parnell appointed Caraway to serve out the rest of her husband's unfinished term. She was sworn in to office on December 9, 1931 and was confirmed by a special election of the people on January 12, 1932 becoming the first woman elected to the United States Senate. (see also: Rebecca Latimer Felton).

Caraway made no speeches on the floor of the Senate but built a reputation as an honest and sincere Senator. She served a total of 14 years in the United States Senate, from 1931 until 1945, as a member of the Democratic Party.

When she was invited by Vice President Charles Curtis to preside over the Senate she took advantage of the situation to announce that she would run for reelection. Populist Louisiana politician Huey Long travelled to Arkansas on a 9-day campaign swing to campaign for her.

In 1938 she ran again for reelection against John L. McClellan and was victorious after receiving support from a successful coalition of veterans, women, and union members.

She ran for a final time in 1944 and was defeated by J. William Fulbright.

After leaving office she was appointed to the Federal Employees Compensation Commission and to the Employees Compensation Appeals Board.

Caraway was a prohibitionist and voted against anti-lynching legislation along with many other southern Senators. She was generally a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt's economic recovery legislation.

Hattie Caraway suffered a stroke in early 1950 and died in Falls Church, Virginia. She is buried in Oaklawn Cemetery (formally West Lawn Cemetery) in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Her gravesite was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2007.

Clint Top Hat

Clint Catalyst - writer, actor, model, stylist, journalist, red carpet commentator for 2007 Emmy Awards,

Clint Catalyst (b. Clinton Green, April 8, 1971) is an openly gay American author, actor, screenwriter, television producer, spoken word performer, stylist, and self-described “accidental model". Often referred to as “the most photographed model of the underground” due to his surprisingly long run of editorial, catalog and print work in an industry not associated with longevity.

Catalyst has covered music, LGBT issues, and popular culture for numerous magazines including Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly, Hustler, Frontiers (magazine), LA Alternative Press, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Instinct magazine, Permission (magazine), Out (magazine), and Shepard Fairey's publication Swindle Magazine.

John Grisham - novelist,

John Ray Grisham (born February 8, 1955) is an American ex-politician, retired attorney and novelist, best known for his works of modern legal drama. As of 2008, his books have sold over 235 million copies worldwide.

Biography and career

John Grisham, the second oldest of five siblings, was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to Southern Baptist parents of modest means. His father worked as a construction worker and a cotton farmer; his mother was a homemaker.[2] After moving frequently, the family settled in 1967 in the town of Southaven in DeSoto County, Mississippi, where Grisham graduated from Southaven High School. He played as a quarterback for the school football team. Unlike the main character in his 2003 novel, Bleachers, he wasn't an All-American football player. Encouraged by his mother, the young Grisham was an avid reader, and was especially influenced by the work of John Steinbeck whose clarity he admired.

Inspiration for first novel

In 1984 at the De Soto County courthouse in Hernando, Grisham witnessed the harrowing testimony of a 12-year-old rape victim.[2] According to Grisham's official website, Grisham used his spare time to begin work on his first novel, which "explored what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants."[2] He "spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, the manuscript was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000-copy printing and published it in June 1988."

The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a young attorney "lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared." That second book, The Firm, became the 7th bestselling novel of 1991. Grisham then went on to produce at least one work a year, most of them wildly popular bestsellers. He is the only person to author a number-one bestselling novel of the year for seven consecutive years (1994–2000).

Beginning with A Painted House in 2001, the author broadened his focus from law to the more general rural south, while continuing to pen his legal thrillers.

A shelf of John Grisham's books

Publishers Weekly declared Grisham "the bestselling novelist of the 90s," selling a total of 60,742,289 copies. He is also one of only a few authors to sell two million copies on a first printing; others include Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling.[4] Grisham's 1992 novel The Pelican Brief sold 11,232,480 copies in the United States alone.

Dave Grossman - author of On Killing,

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman is an author who has specialized in the study of the psychology of killing, which he calls 'killology'.

Col. Grossman retired from the military as Professor of Military Science at Arkansas State University. His career includes service in the US Army as a sergeant in the US 82nd Airborne Division, a platoon leader in the 9th (High Tech Test Bed) Division, a general staff officer, a company commander in the 7th (Light) Infantry Division as well as a parachute infantryman, a US Army Ranger and a teacher of psychology at West Point.

Col. Grossman's first book, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society is an analysis of the physiological processes involved with killing another human being. In it, he reveals evidence that most people have a phobic-level response to violence, and that soldiers need to be specifically trained to kill. In addition, he details the physical effects that violent stresses produce on humans, ranging from tunnel vision, changes in sonic perception, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Controversially, Col. Grossman argues that that the techniques used by armies to train soldiers to kill are mirrored in certain types of video game. The conclusion he draws is that playing violent video games, particularly first-person shooters, train children in the use of weapons and, more importantly, harden them emotionally to the task of murder by simulating the killing of hundreds or thousands of opponents in a single typical video game.

His second book, On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace, is an extension of the first, intended to provide coping strategies for dealing with the physiological and psychological effects of violence for people forced to kill in their line of work (soldiers and police officers).

While his work on violence and killing has been very well received, the extension of his work into the potential negative side-effects of video games has proven much more controversial. Col. Grossman uses blunt language that draws the ire of gamers - during the heights of video game controversy, he was interviewed on the content of his books, and repeatedly used the term "murder simulator" to describe first-person shooter games.

Since his retirement from the Army, Col. Grossman has founded the Killology Research Group and continues to educate law enforcement officers and soldiers in the techniques he has studied for improving outcomes in lethal encounters. He also speaks at civilian events on ways to reduce violence in society and deal with the aftermath of violent events such as school shootings.

Julia Butterfly Hill - environmental activist,

Environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill from Jonesboro (Craighead County), best known for her 738-day vigil atop a California redwood.
Courtesy of Circle of Life

Dustin McDaniel - current Arkansas Attorney General,

Dustin McDaniel (born April 29, 1972 in Fayetteville, Arkansas)[1] is the current Attorney General of Arkansas. A member of the Democratic Party, he assumed office on January 9, 2007, replacing Mike Beebe.

Pete Mead - middleweight boxing champion of 1940s,

Felix G. "Pete" Mead (January 11, 1924 - July 2, 2007) was an American middleweight boxer who fought in the ring from 1942 to 1951. He was defeated in his last fight by Rocky Graziano of New York City. In 1989, Mead wrote his autobiography, Blood, Sweat and Cheers, a collector's item that can sell for as much as $135. He was inducted in 1993 into the Ohio Boxing Hall of Fame.

Jon Olsen - Olympic gold medalist swimmer,

Jon C. B. Olsen (born April 25, 1969 in Jonesboro, Arkansas) is a former freestyle swimmer from the United States, who was highly successful as a member of the US relay teams in the 1990s.

Olsen won a total number of five Olympic medals, including four golds. They were collected at the 1992 and the 1996 Summer Olympics. During his career Olsen was trained by former freestyle sprinter Jonty Skinner.

Olsen swam collegiately for University of Alabama.

Olsen currently resides in Florida with his family where he coaches swimming.

David Ring - motivational speaker with cerebral palsy,

David Ring (born October 28, 1953) is a Christian evangelist and motivational speaker who suffers from cerebral palsy. Since 1973, Ring has challenged thousands of people with his signature message - "I have cerebral palsy... What's your problem?" He currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and four children.

Early years

David Ring was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the son of Baptist pastor Oscar Newton Ring. Ring's father died in 1964. Cancer took his mother four years later, leaving Ring an orphan at age 14. Depressed from the combination of losing his parents and the difficulties of his disability, Ring dropped out of high school. With the encouragement of his sister, however, he gave his life to Jesus in 1970 and returned to Liberty High School in Liberty, Missouri, where he graduated in 1971. Ring earned a bachelor's degree from William Jewell College in Liberty in 1976. His new signature message is "I have cerebral palsy, but cerebral palsy don't have me."

Portrait of John W. Snyder U.S. Secretary of the Treasury painted by Greta Kempton.
John W. Snyder - former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Harry S. Truman,

John Wesley Snyder (June 21, 1895–October 8, 1985) was an American businessman and Cabinet Secretary.

Born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, he studied at Vanderbilt University's engineering school for one year before joining in the Army during World War I.

Snyder came to Washington in the early 1930s with a broad background in banking and business. He held several public and private offices including National Bank Receiver in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Loan Administrator and Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion. In the last office he played a leading part in the transition of the nation's economy from wartime to a peacetime basis.

Snyder was appointed U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in 1946 by his close personal friend President Harry S. Truman, with whom he had served in World War I. His task as Secretary was to establish a stable postwar economy. The main points of his program were maintaining confidence in the credit of the government, reducing the federal debt, and encouraging public thrift through investment in U.S. Savings Bonds.

John Wesley Snyder retired from government at the end of Truman's second term. He died at the age of 90 in 1985.

Tony Spinner - solo blues/rock musician and guitarist for the band Toto,

Tony Spinner (b. 9 June 1963) is an American rock singer and guitarist who has been touring with Toto since 1999, having been selected by David Paich as a backup guitarist and backing vocalist. He is noted to be given the lead vocals of the song "Stop Loving You," originally performed by former Toto member Joseph Williams. When Tony is not touring with Toto, he plays in The Tony Spinner Band.

"Don't try to impress with fancy guitar licks, but always play from the heart!"
Tony Spinner, musician, guitarist and vocalist is not only a blues player through and through who lives and breaths blues music, he is also blessed with an incredible voice as well as an amazing guitar technique. That's what makes him such an exciting performer to see live! Let's dig into the career of this unbelievable talented guitarist to find out what Tony is all about!

Tony was born in Cape Girardeau, MO on June 9, 1963. His family wasn't musical as far as playing instruments, but they listened to music a lot especially Marty Robbins, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and a wide variety of others. Tony always got excited when a tv show would have a musical guest. He loved to watch shows like Sonny and Cher, Dean Martin and Glen Campbell.

Tony always liked music as far back as he can remember: "I started off liking '50's rock-n-roll celebrities such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry who I still like today and I also remember liking songs that told stories like "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" by Jim Groce and "Uneasy Rider" by the Charlie Daniels Band."
At the age of 8 he took guitar and piano lessons for a short time but he really wanted to play the saxophone, because it always was the lead solo instrument in most of the '50's music that he listened to at the time. At age 14 Tony really got serious with guitar after watching the movie "Woodstock" and seeing Alvin Lee with 10Years After and Jimi Hendrix. Tony tried out for a jazz band but it only lasted a day and a half on guitar: "On the second day of rehearsal the band leader figured out that I couldn't read music and sent me on my way. He said I couldn't play in the jazz band without learning to read music. I still can't read and I still don't play jazz!" During his highschool period Tony and his buddies always had a band. They changed the name of the band almost every week, because they couldn't agree on a name! They played hard rock like Van Halen, Ted Nugent and Queen.

The musician that influenced him most was Chuck Berry: "His music still gets me excited when I listen to it. He really wrote some great lyrics. Jimi Hendrix was very influential because he was so expressive with his music. Stevie Ray Vaughan got me out of hard rock and back into the blues and boogie that was my first love and of course Rory Gallagher was a big influence, because he taught me to play from the heart and not to think too much with your head. Don't worry about trying to impress people with fancy guitar licks...but play from your heart!"

Tony started getting serious about music in junior high school. His friend Kevin Rellegert bought a bass guitar from a Sears catalog and he and Tony would work up songs together. Eventually they found a drummer and started a band. The first gig was at a talent show at the Jackson, Mo. Fair. They lost to tap dancers! "The judges were old and were holding their ears the whole time we were playing, but the audience seemed to like us." The music Tony likes to play most is boogie and blues because it feels very natural to him. He liked it from the start and it makes him feel good! The music he never gets tired of listening to are albums from the original Allman Brothers Band with Duane and Barry. He collects their bootlegs as well as bootlegs of Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower and he spends most of his spare time listening to them. Lately he is also listening a lot to Norah Jones and Doyle Bramhall II. He likes bands that improvise live with their music. That's interesting to him!

One of the first gigs with his band was at a place called "The Hideaway" in Illinois: "It was always hard to find a gig when I first started playing music. I remember driving across the Mississippi River from my home town of Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Illinois and convincing a club owner to give my band a chance. Well this guy did and that's pretty much where we started. It taught me that persistance is the key to getting anywhere in life!"

The first time he met Kim Edens was the night he moved to Arkansas from Missouri more than 20 years ago. He moved to join a band and the guitar player took him to see Kim's band play. He knew right away that Kim was a great drummer. Tony met Sonny Hunt when he recorded at his studio with a band he was in and he bumped into Mark Fender off and on in different night clubs; they played the same circuit. It was early 2001 that The Tony Spinner Band started playing together.

Such is the respect he has with the musician fraternity in the U.S. that Tony has joined the grammy award winning Toto band and has performed on all their shows since 1999, singing background vocals (high harmonies) plus electric and acoustic guitar. He now sings lead vocals with TOTO on their big hit "I can't stop Loving You". He appears on the Toto CD "Livefields" and on the Toto "Live in Amsterdam" DVD released in September 2003.

Tony Spinner has three records of his own released on the Blues Bureau International Label. The first record, "Saturn Blues" was recorded in 1993, "My '64" in 1995, and "Crosstown Sessions" in 1996. He was also chosen to record on the label's tribute albums to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King, "Hat's Off to Stevie Ray," and "Fit for A. King."
His most recent work includes a remake of "Up From the Skies" on the "Voodoo Crossing, a tribute to Jimi Hendrix" CD released in November 2003. Since 1998, he has also performed on two records and toured with Paul Gilbert, formerly of Mr. Big, playing electric and acoustic guitar and singing background vocals. Prior to 1998, Tony toured as guitarist and background vocalist for the Pat Travers Band.

Tony likes playing early 60's strats and his personal favorite is a 1960 Fiesta Red Strat named Vern. He owns the '64 Chevy SS on the cover of "My 64" and it is one of his most prized possessions and one of his favorite hobbies.

Tony is currently writing and recording his forthcoming CD titled "Chicks and Guitars" which is tentatively scheduled for a late 2004 release. When Tony is not touring with TOTO he plays in the United States and The Netherlands with this own group The Tony Spinner Band.

Charley Thornton - sports figure,

Charles J. "Charley" Thornton, (06 June 1936 - 16 February 2004), was an important American college sports figure.

Charley Thornton was born on June 6, 1936 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He graduated from Jonesboro High School in Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1954. Thornton graduated from Arkansas State College in 1958 earning the award as the top male student. After college Thornton became a sports editor at The Jonesboro Sun and then at the Arkansas Gazette.

Thornton soon became an important figure in college athletics. During his career he served as alumni and public relations director at Arkansas State, sports information director at Tulane University, executive assistant to William Byers who was the NCAA executive director, associate athletic director at Texas A&M University, and chief fundraiser at the University of Alabama. Thornton held the position of assistant athletic director at the University of Alabama for 18 years and was athletic director at Arkansas State University for three years. Thornton also served as the chief executive director for the Memphis Showboats of the USFL. Thornton was also part of the operations staff of the NCAA Basketball Tournament for many years. Thornton is perhaps best remembered as co-host of Bear Bryant's television program at Alabama.

Thornton is a member of the Hall of Fame of the College Football Sports Information Directors of America and a recipient of the Arch Ward Award.

Charley Thornton died on 16 February 2004 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Bobby Lee Trammell - rockabilly musician

Bobby Lee Trammell (January 31, 1934 – February 20, 2008) was an American rockabilly singer and politician.

Trammell was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas to Wiley and Mae Trammell, who were cotton farmers. Wiley played fiddle and Mae was an organist at a local church; in addition to these influences, Trammell also listened to the Grand Ole Opry and attended services at the local Pentecostal church, where gospel music was sung.

As a high schooler, Trammell played country music, and when Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash toured in Trammell's area in the middle of the 1950s, Perkins invited him to sing a song and told him to talk to Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records. The meeting came to nothing, but Trammell moved to Long Beach, California soon after in hopes of landing a recording contract. While in California, he took a job in a Ford manufacturing plant. He saw Bobby Bare play at a carnival and convinced Bare to let him come on stage for a few songs. Lefty Frizzell, who was in attendance at the fair, asked him to open for a show at the Jubilee Ballroom, a venue in Baldwin Park, California. Trammell soon was performing there regularly, and won a reputation for Elvis Presley-like spastic gyrations and wildness on stage that occasionally caused controversy.

Manager/record label owner Fabor Robison signed Trammell to a contract, and he released his first single, comprised of the self-penned tunes "Shirley Lee" and "I Sure Do Love You, Baby". The recordings included session musicians James Burton on guitar and James Kirkland on bass. The single sold well and was picked up for national distribution by ABC/Paramount. The song never hit the national charts, but may have sold as many as 250,000 copies. Ricky Nelson covered "Shirley Lee" soon after.

Trammell's career then went through a series of mishaps. He auditioned for The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, but was not offered a spot. Ricky Nelson had expressed interest in looking at more of Trammell's work, but Trammell did not take the offer seriously. During the recording of his second single, "You Mostest Girl", he was backed by an orchestra and chorus, and he nearly quit his contract over the difficult recording session. Both this single and its follow-up, "My Susie J - My Susie Jane", failed to chart, and by the end of the 1950s, Trammell was performing strictly local dates in California. He staged a practical joke on the top of a broadcast tower, but when the structure began to collapse, he had to be rescued by local authorities, and was barred from performing in the state.

After returning to Arkansas, Trammell sparred with Jerry Lee Lewis before a gig and destroyed Lewis's piano. Once these stories had made the rounds among promoters, he was essentially blackballed from public performance everywhere.

Trammell continued recording for small local labels, but his reputation prevented him from getting much radio airplay. He self-distributed the records from his car in the 1960s. He was offered licensing contracts with Warner Bros. Records and others, but he refused them; he recorded for Sims Records through the end of the 1960s. In the 1970s, he played country music, and in the 1980s, he found some success in Europe during the rockabilly revival there.

In 1997, Trammell was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he served until 2002. He died on February 20, 2008 in his birthplace of Jonesboro.

Biography by Bruce Eder
If Bobby Lee Trammell never became as well known as Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard, it wasn't for lack of trying. In a time when Elvis was tamed and Jerry Lee was on the outs, Trammell kept gyrating shamelessly and doing loud, raw rock & roll and staying away from ballads. Born in the early '40s, he was one of four children of Wiley and Mae Trammell, who owned a cotton farm near Jonesboro, AR. He came by his musical ability naturally — his father had played the fiddle professionally and his mother was the organist at the local church. He was drawn not only to the music of the church, however, but also to country music, and he listened to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio religiously; more than that, he had an interest in black gospel music, and occasionally sneaked out to the local black Pentecostal church, to watch and listen to their music and dancing. Trammell was playing country music in high school and aspiring to a singing career, but that remained a far-off dream until one day when Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins performed locally, and he was permitted by Perkins to sing a song with the band, and then advised Trammell to pay a call on Sam Phillips at Sun Records. His contact with Phillips was very brief, owing to what Trammell himself freely admitted —in an interview with Ian Wallis — was his own immaturity. He ended up heading west and taking a job at the Ford plant in Long Beach, CA, and was still trying to get signed when he attended a carnival where Bobby Bare was performing. He managed to convince Bare to let him on-stage to sing a couple of numbers, where he showed off a gyrating style that was in the same league with the early Elvis Presley. He was seen by Lefty Frizzell, who invited him to try out for a performing venue called the Jubilee Ballroom in Baldwin Park, CA, where he won the opening spot on a bill that included Frizzell, Freddie Hart, and Johnny Cash. He earned a regular spot at the ballroom, and was soon building up a following among the teenage listeners in the basically country-oriented crowd, for a whopping 75 dollars a week. One of the people who saw him there was Malibu-based manager Fabor Robison, who offered Trammell the chance at a recording career. Within two months, in November of 1957, he cut a single, "Shirley Lee" b/w "I Sure Do Love You, Baby" — both originals — at Robison's home studio backed by James Burton and James Kirkland — then both in Bob Luman's band — on guitar and bass, respectively. The record, on Robison's own Fabor label, did well enough to attract the attention of a nationally distributed company, ABC Paramount, which leased the master from Robison. Without ever making a major impact on the charts, "Shirley Lee" sold almost a quarter of a million copies by some reports, and also entered the repertory of another new, young West Coast-based rock & roller named Ricky Nelson. Trammell was also invited to audition for The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett, but was rejected for being too hard a rock & roller — and then, in his youth and naivety, he also blew off a suggestion that Nelson would seriously look at recording any new songs that he wrote, thus letting tens, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties (a concept totally alien to him at the time) slip out of his reach.He also very nearly lost his recording contract over the abortive first session for his second single — another original — entitled "You Mostest Girl." Robison had initially booked an orchestra and chorus, and when Trammell proved unable to sing with that kind of backup in a decidedly non-rock & roll vein, they nearly called it quits. Luckily, Robison recognized his error and soon let Trammell cut the song his way, with a five-piece band behind him. Unfortunately, neither this nor a third single, "My Susie J — My Susie Jane," managed to chart. Following Robison's retirement in 1959, he was left on a small label called Warrior, to which his contract had been sold. By then, however, he'd pretty much washed himself up in California and on the West Coast country circuit, mostly because of the intensity of his performances and his own immaturity. Whereas Elvis Presley had always been shocked and even a little fearful of the reactions to his hip gyrations, and downright cautious in his attitude, Trammell devoured the screams of the crowds as he engaged in motions that one country promoter found many times more suggestive than Elvis in his early days; he also liked to build up the crowd reaction, tearing off his clothes, jumping on top of the piano, and generally inciting the crowds, all of this at a time when promoters and authorities were trying to quiet rock & roll down. All of that, plus a practical joke and protest that went awry — leaving Trammell hanging from a collapsing broadcast tower, to be rescued by the police — left him unemployable in California.Soon he was back in Arkansas and managed to burn out his reputation there as well, engaging in a rivalry with Jerry Lee Lewis — then in eclipse as a rock & roll star and trying to re-establish himself as a country musician — that resulted in his vandalizing the piano that Lewis was to play. By 1960, no clubs would book him and no DJs would play the records that he made for an ever-tinier regional labels, down to the point where he was recording himself and distributing out of the back of his car. According to interview with Wallis, he also turned down the efforts to license his songs, by major labels such as Warner Bros. — then a new outfit and hungry for talent — Columbia, and Dot (which, as the home of Pat Boone, would have been a funny fit). When the British Invasion hit, he grew his hair long and continued to run against the grain — especially in Nashville — cutting good, bold rock & roll, mostly for the Sims label, even recording sides with a soul flavor. Finally, in the 1970s, Trammell moved into country music and spent most of that decade playing and recording in that vein, with good enough results that he kept eating. In the 1980s, Trammell tried to get in on the European rock & roll revival, which was in full swing and giving artists such as the surviving members of Bill Haley's Comets their best paydays in decades, but it was a failed effort. He has since left music, so far as is known, having finally been forced into a "day job" in his fifties.

Debbye Turner - Miss America 1990,

Debbye Turner (born September 19, 1965 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is an American veterinarian, talk show host, and former beauty queen. Turner was Miss America 1990.

Turner, who was raised in Arkansas, was first runner-up in the Miss Black Teenage World pageant in 1981. In 1989 she won the Miss Missouri 1989 title and then the Miss America 1990 title. She was the third African-American Miss America and the second African-American woman to win the title during the national pageant.

Turner completed her bachelor of science degree in agriculture from Arkansas State University in 1991 and next completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. She first pursued veterinary medicine before deciding to go into television.

Turner's first hosting job came at St. Louis' NBC affiliate KSDK, and a show called Show Me St. Louis in 1995. Six years later, Turner joined CBS News as a reporter and contributor for The Early Show, a job that she has held since. Debbye is also a fill-in anchor on the CBS Morning News when Michelle Gielan is absent.

Turner is an accomplished singer, pianist, percussionist, and marimba player, the latter of which she performed '"Flight of the Bumblebee" on during the talent competition at Miss America. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Debbye Turner's older sister, Suzette Turner, is married to Houston megachurch pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell.

Jason Willett - former Chairman, Democratic Party of Arkansas (2005-2007)

Ray H. Thornton Jr., former U.S. congressman representing the Fourth Congressional District.
Courtesy of Paul D. Haynie

Craighead County Courthouse,511 Main Street

The Craighead County Courthouse is the fifth building on the site to house the county government and is the only notable example of Art Deco construction in Jonesboro. Additions made in 1992 and 1995 applied ornamentation that reflect the 1934 design of the main courthouse building. Craighead County and Jonesboro were created in 1859. For a year there was no courthouse, but the State Legislature authorized the organization of a temporary county government. The house of William Puryear was designated as the temporary county seat. The location of the town square was decided upon by four men chosen by County Judge Isham Fuller. The men selected the highest point in Jonesboro, and a two -story frame courthouse was built c. 1862. Area hunters protested the decision to build a courthouse at this site because it would mean the loss of excellent duck, turkey, and bear feeding grounds. The courthouse burned in 1869, destroying all county records. Locals blamed the state militia quartered at the courthouse the night before the fire. A second courthouse was situated in a store west of the square. In 1876, another fire, determined to be arson, destroyed all court records again. The third courthouse, also placed in the lot west of the square, met the same fate when a fire swept the block in 1885. Craighead County citizens decided it would be a good idea to construct a building with fireproof storage vaults in their next courthouse. The two-story building survived a fire in 1889 that destroyed several surrounding Main Street businesses, but it was razed in 1933 for the construction of the current courthouse in 1934. The Craighead County Courthouse was entered on the National Register on September 11, 1998.

Craighead Forest Park,4910 S. Culberhouse Rd.,Hours: Dawn to dusk

Craighead Forest Park is a city-owned park located in the scenic beauty of Crowley's Ridge. The park offers many recreational opportunities such as camping, fishing, hiking, and special events for the public to enjoy. It also is home to the new Rotary Centennial Park, a playground designed for children of all physical abilities. The park opened in 1937 when the local Young Men's Civic Club began work on the site.

Frierson House,1112 S. Main Street,Hours: Private Residence

The Frierson House is an excellent example of the type of town house that was being built in the growing commercial cities of the post Civil War Period. The development of sharecropping immediately after the Civil War was a result of the death of the plantation system and the "main house." As the larger landowners prospered in the two decades after the Civil War, they often built a new house in town and moved there with their families. In the early 1950s, Governor Francis Cherry, the only governor to hail from Jonesboro, resided in the Frierson House and conducted his campaign from the house. It is impossible to accurately pinpoint the house’s date of construction. There are no surviving documents that provide clues as to when the house was built. The architectural style places it between 1870 and 1910. The Frierson House was entered on the National Register on April 24, 1973.

Mercantile Bank Building,249 S. Main St.

Constructed in 1890, the Mercantile Bank Building played a vital role in building the city of Jonesboro in its early days. It is a good example of a Neoclassical style commercial building in Jonesboro. 1890 . Functioned as a bank until 1955. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places Jan. 20, 2005.

Nash-Reid-Hill House,418 W. Matthews Avenue,Hours: Private Residence

The Nash-Reid-Hill House was constructed from 1898 to 1902 as a two-story Queen Anne-style residence. William Travis Nash, who built the house, moved to Jonesboro in 1871and opened a mercantile business. Four years later, he established the Nash Drug Company on the east side of Court Square. Nash and his wife, Louisa, had six children. In 1899, one of their daughters, Flora Louisa, married a druggist, A. W. Reid, owner of Reid’s Pharmacy. He died in 1904, and Flora and their two children moved into the new house. She assumed ownership of Reid Pharmacy and managed the business. According to descendants of the Nash family, Flora may have been the first registered woman pharmacist in Arkansas. In 1907, one of W. T. and Louisa’s sons, Gus Sr., established the Globe Drug Company, which existed throughout the 20th Century. Flora Reid died in 1940, and ownership of the Nash-Reid-Hill House passed to her daughter Ruth Hill. The Nash-Reid-Hill House was listed on the National Register on August 16, 1994.

West Washington Avenue Historic District,500-626 W. Washington Avenue

Hours: Private Residences

Each of the 14 properties in the West Washington Avenue Historic District was constructed between 1890 and 1930, Jonesboro’s first sustained period of economic growth. The one-and-one half block area was the first addition to the city after the original survey in 1859. It presents unaltered examples of a range of popular American architectural styles ranging from the Victorian Queen Anne to the 1920s Tudor Revival. The district has been linked to the commercial and civic development of the community by several of the residents of the district. The list of prominent former residents includes: C.A. Stuck, who in 1889 established a sawmill and lumber company that became the first electrically operated industry in Jonesboro; W.H. Barton, who founded the Barton Lumber Co., one of the largest retail lumber businesses in Arkansas; John W. Snyder, who became the Secretary of the Treasury during the Truman Administration; and Edward Westbrook, a prominent attorney and an original commissioner for Jonesboro’s City Water and Light Plant. The district was listed on the National Register on October 22, 1982.

Westbrooke, Edward L, Building,505 Union Street

The Edward L. Westbrooke Building is associated with the development of Jonesboro and its association with the Jonesboro Masonic Lodge #129. It is also an excellent example, and the only example of Romanesque revival designed commercial building in Jonesboro. Listed in the National Historic Register Jan. 8, 2003.