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1960’s – Nicholson Tractor, Swifton

Tractors, large combines, and cotton-picking machines spelled the downfall of many agricultural towns throughout the South. As mechanization robbed laborers of their jobs, they moved away, taking their buying power with them. If towns could not generate other sources...

1960’s – Tornado Destruction

Tornadoes have always been a constant threat in Jackson County, as in much of Arkansas. The damage shown here reflects the incredible force of these storms, which generally track the old Southwest Trail from southwest to northeast through Arkansas. Although Newport is...

1960’s – Bob Penix and Jim Bailey

Two leading Tuckerman farmers, Bob Penix (left) and Jim Bailey, inspect a crop of peanuts. As intensive cotton farming robbed the soil of its minerals, farmers experimented with a wide variety of other crops in an effort to replenish the soil. Eventually, soybeans and...

1960’s – Robert Harvey

Robert Harvey, a lifelong resident of Swifton, was a longtime member of the Arkansas General Assembly. Senator Harvey was one of the most influential members of the Arkansas legislature for decades and the author of the Revenue Stabilization Act, by which the State of...

1960’s – Buzz and Margaret

Margaret Van Dyke was one of the most beloved citizens in the county. Full of ideas and mirth, she wrote and directed plays, traveled extensively, and wrote a popular column for the Newport Daily Independent under the nom de plume Eliza Doolittle. Here, she...

1960’s – Brown Shoe Company Ground Breaking

Here, the Brown Shoe Company christens its new facility. Among the citizens and dignitaries present that day are, from left to right, James A. "Jug" Wallace, P.K. Holmes Jr., Arkansas governor Dale Bumpers, an unidentified Brown Shoe Company official, John Minor,...

1960’s – Eat More Possum

Alcorn Minor Sr. was one of the liveliest and most popular people in Jackson County. His zest for playing pranks and making people laugh was legendary, as is suggested by the "Eat More Possum" sign on his office door. Not many people ate possum in Jackson County....

1960’s – Swifton Cotton Pickers

These cotton pickers in Swifton were proud of their day's work. Pictured here are Pam Swink Worthington and Mrs. and Mrs. Tom Gibbs. At this late date, cotton was still picked the way it had been for centuries: by hand, with the picked bolls stuffed in large sacks,...

1960’s – Fire at the Hazel Hotel

An exciting fire brought down the old Hazel Hotel in the early 1960's. Many people turned out to watch the blaze at Second and Hazel Streets, some of them undoubtedly remembering the terrifying fire of 1926. The Hazel was one of the last real hotels in Newport, all of...

1960’s – Jamie Umsted

Pretty Jamie Umsted (later Castleberry) served as Newport's representative in the Arkansas "Miss Hospitality" contest. Here, she flew in for her Newport visit and is greeted by, from left to right, her little brother Mick; her father, Milton Umsted; Newport mayor Bill...

1950’s – Dinner on the grounds

Dinner on the grounds at Newport's First Baptist Church was a favorite activity on pretty Sundays. The Reverend Ed McDonald thought it was a good idea and apparently so did a lot of little boys. (Courtesy of Jane Parnell.)

1950’s – Silver Moon

The Silver Moon in Newport, with a seating capacity of 800, was thought to be the largest honky-tonk in Arkansas. People came from as far away as Memphis to hear Fats Domino, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty, Sonny Burgess, and many other rock-and-roll,...

1957 – Boy Scouts

Boy Scout Troop No. 67 from Newport prepares to attend the National Jamboree in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 1957. Pictured here are, from left to right, (first row) David Hare, Jim Carr, and Robin Carr; (second row) troop leader Ray Fann, Stanley Wilson, Cecil...

1950’s – George Kell’s Team

Baseball hall of famer George Kell of the Detroit Tigers, a native of Swifton, coached this all-star team in the mid-1950's. Clockwise from the bottom left are James McCoy, Mike Allen, Sonny Wayland, Kell, Crackie Parker, Chigger Jones, Dale Harrison and George Kell...

1956 – Sonny Burgess, early Pacers

Jackson County native Sonny Burgess, in the dark coat, entertains the crowd at Farmers Day in 1956 with his band, the Pacers. Onstage with Sonny are Kern Kennedy on the piano, Bobby Crafford on drums, Jack Nance on trumpet, Joe Lewis on lead guitar, and Johnny Ray...

1955 – Elvis at Swifton Gym

Elvis Presley warms up for a performance at the Swifton High School gymnasium in 1955. A 13-year-old Tara Chapman snapped this photograph with her Brownie camera; later, her father took her to Elvis's pre-Graceland house in Memphis, and the King came out and sang to...

1955 – Lindley and Governor

As the newly elected governor of Arkansas Girls State, Newport's Lindley Williams is escorted into her inauguration by Arkansas Governor Orval E. Faubus in 1955. Outfitted in her prom dress, Williams was following the tradition of her day, which clearly did not regard...

1953 – February Follies

For many years, the Newport Service League put on an annual follies to raise money for its many charitable projects. This was always a popular enterprise, both for the many citizens who loved the opportunity to strut their stuff onstage under the direction of a...

1953 – Newport’s Business Leaders

Gov. Francis Cherry ( front row, fourth from right ) visited Newport in 1953 to meet with the town's business leaders. Chamber of commerce executive director Maude Hinkle escorted him around and undoubtedly apprised him of the many industrial development opportunities...

1953 – Tim and Smiley Burnett

Nine-year-old Tim Watson won the Smiley Burnett Look-Alike Contest in 1953. Burnett was a film star who played in the cowboy movies many children loved to watch on Saturday afternoons. Young Tim came home from the movie with his prize, a mean little Shetland pony,...

1952 – President Truman speaks in Newport

President Harry Truman (speaking) made a stop in Newport in 1952 to campaign for his old friend Sid McMath, who had held Arkansas in the Democratic Party in 1948 when the Dixiecrats bolted and almost cost Truman his election. Sitting on the platform with Truman are,...

1951 – African American High School

W.F. Branch High School, the Newport school for African American children, was imposing. In the wake of the 1954 Brown decision by the US Supreme Court, the Newport School Board constructed additional modern school buildings in an attempt to stave off school...

1952 – Emory Chapel Methodist Church

Emory Chapel United Methodist Church in Newport was originally a congregation of the northern Methodist Episcopal Church. Established in 1881, the first church on Front Street was traded in 1897 for a lot on Remmel Avenue, where it is still in operation. The church...

1951 – St. Paul’s Fire

In 1951, two young boys broke into the sacristy of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and started a fire in the sanctuary, perhaps accidentally. The ensuing blaze gave the townspeople quite a scare, but the Newport Fire Department was able to extinguish the fire without...