Lum & Abner and Queen Wilhelmina

Posted by on September 14, 2017
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Tuesday, 9/12

The store, on the left, is in its original location. The museum on the right, was moved from across the street. The post office in the background was moved back just a bit.

I’m not quite old enough to remember to listening to Lum & Abner on the radio…but I do remember hearing of them.

Lum and Abner was a comedy radio show that aired from 1931 to 1954 and was set in fictional Pine Ridge, Arkansas.   Chester Lauck and Norris Goff were the voices of Lum and Abner as well as many other characters on the show.
Pine Ridge was modeled after a small town (Waters) in which Lauck & Goff grew up.  In 1936, the town of Waters officially changed its name to Pine Ridge.
The Lum and Abner Jot ’em Down Store and Museum is an homage to the Lum and Abner days.  The store of today is the original building and dates back to 1909, when Dick Huddleston owned it.  The building that holds the museum was moved from across the road and was a rival store at one time.   Also still standing is the building which held the post office.

Michael chatting with the store owner.

Today Dick Huddleston’s store is known as the Lum & Abner Jot ’em Down Store and sells a small amount of Lum & Abner memorabilia (t-shirts, calendars, CDs, pens, pencils, etc) and also houses a tiny working post office.

The museum (which is smack dab next to the store) houses bits and pieces of the Lum & Abner radio show, movies and every day life in Pine Ridge.  Along one wall of the museum is a bunch of old inventory from the original store….some still in the cellophane it was originally packed in for shipping.  I found that pretty interesting.

Meet Rocky, vicious guard dog!

We roamed around the store and museum for quite a while.  Chatting with the owner.  Petting Rocky, a big old lug of a dog, possibly part basset hound, who guarded the front door.  We ended up purchasing two t-shirts and several CDs so that we can listen to Lum & Abner as we head on down the road.

After our visit to the Lum & Abner site we continued on AR-88 which took us to Mena (pronounced Mean-a) and then we drove along the Talimena Scenic byway through the Queen Wilhelmina State Park and on into Talihina, Oklahoma….roughly 115 miles from home!

Imagine this view with the leaves changing!

It was a pretty drive through the Ouachita Mountains and Forest.  There were a lot of scenic overlooks and we stopped at many of them to check out the views.  Some of the trees are just beginning to turn colors and I can just imagine what the drive would have been like at the height of the ‘colors’ season.

About halfway through the scenic drive, we stopped at the top of Rich Mountain where the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge is located.  The lodge has 40 rooms, starting at $100 per night and just at looking at the gorgeous lobby with its beautiful view it would be an awesome place to stay a few nights.

Queen Wilhelmina Lodge

The Queens Restaurant is on the first floor of the lodge and that’s where we had lunch.  Michael opted for a burger and fries while I went with the soup and salad bar (soups were chicken & dumplings or shrimp gumbo).  Lunch was very good and you can’t help but enjoy the scenery while you eat.

After lunch we continued our journey on the byway and it wasn’t long (less than 10 miles, I think) before we hit the Oklahoma border.  Michael happened to see a small sign for a historic marker so he pulled over.

This little marker caused an awful lot of controversy.

It turned out to be the original milepost that marks the Arkansas-Choctaw Nation boundary, which was placed in 1877.   Apparently the post was originally placed in the wrong location, too far to the west, but left in place.  After many year the Choctaw Nation was compensated for the loss of bout 136,000 acres of land.

What a view and just the start of the Walking Stick encounter!

Further into Oklahoma we pulled off the road at another scenic overlook.  This one was a bit off the road and was also a small picnic area.  Michael got out of the truck to read the signage and just as he turned toward me to show me something, I happened to see a Walking Stick on the sign post.

Meet Mr. Walking Stick (one of MANY!)

It turns out that Michael was going to show me a Walking Stick that was walking on him but when he turned it fell off.  As we looked on the ground for it we noticed several more Walking Sticks walking around…then we saw more…and more.  We had to be careful where we walked or we’d step on them.

Take a GOOD look! This table is COVERED with the little dudes!

Then we happened to see that there were a bunch on a nearby picnic table…..then we looked at the next table and it was covered!  They were ALL over it…hanging from the underside of the table, crawling up the legs, resting on the seats….crawling on the ground.  It was CRAZY!  And a bit creepy too!  After we left I had phantom Walking Sticks walking on my legs for quite a while!

When we got to Talihina, Oklahoma we stopped at a convenience to use the restroom and grab a snack for the 115 or so mile trek back home.

This is what came home to!

The trip back home went much faster than the trip out as we took OK-63 to Mena and then AR-88 to AR-270 to home.  There were no stops at scenic overlooks or historic markers so we were back in Mt. Ida about 5:00 pm.

It was a good day.  We both enjoyed the drive, taking our time to enjoy the views and spending the day together.

9 Responses to Lum & Abner and Queen Wilhelmina

  1. Billy Summit

    You are in my home territory. I’ve have foot prints all over that area. I went to school at Oden. Have fun.

    • Kelly

      Well, I’ll be! Didn’t realize you’d gone to school in Oden! Knew you were from Arkansas but don’t know that I knew exactly what area.

      Nice to hear from you, Billy!

  2. Marcie Warren

    Beautiful day y’all had. I enjoy your posts.

    • Kelly

      Thanks, Marcie! We both really enjoyed the day…nice and simple is often best for us.

  3. Donnie Pitchford

    I love the Mena/Queen Wilhelmina/Pine Ridge/Mount Ida/Oden etc, area! Big fan of “Lum and Abner.” So much so that I was part of the National Lum and Abner Society since its founding in 1984, and since 2011, I’ve been producing the “Lum and Abner” comic strip which is in the newspaper there in Mena. I invite you to check it out.

    • Kelly

      Donnie,

      So happy to hear from you! Neither of us, being in our early 50s, got a chance to listen to Lum & Abner before picking up the CDs at the store in Pine Ridge and have already listened to 3 of the 5 we got and have enjoyed it immensely! I would like to hunt down more CDs and watch a few of their movies as well. They’re great for listening to on travel days!

      We’ll check out the Mena newspaper the next time we’re in the area!

      Wonderful World!

      • Donnie Pitchford

        Thanks for your reply! I am 59, but got to hear L&A on an East Texas radio station between 1981 and 1985. Google Radio Spirits. They have CDs available. You can read my comic strip online also. Click my name and I think it is linked to the strip. if there is anything I can help you with, let me know. The Lum and Abner Festival is in Mena the first of June every year.

        • Kelly

          I’ve found your comic strip as well as the FB group! Thank you!

          • Donnie Pitchford

            Oh, that’s great! I think Robert Garrison welcomed you. Thanks so much. The audio version of the comic strip was started to help our many blind friends, since they couldn’t see the strip. We don’t claim to be perfect imitations! But I hope to introduce more and more folks to the characters and hopefully inspire them to listen to the original shows and movies. Thanks!

What do ya think?