Archive Posts

The Harold Bell Wright Era

The Harold Bell Wright Era by J. Thomas with Joshua Heston To understand Branson today, we must harken back to the earlier days of an old-fashioned people and the early steps of those who walked the paths of these White River Hills. With around seven million visitors a year, Branson has become a center for…

Ozark Easter

Ozark Easter by Dale Grubaugh Howdy folks! It’s Easter and this here is my story: Easter was always a big time at our house when I was a youngin’. All the city kinfolk would come for the weekend. There would be lots of food and fun. We kids would help color the boiled eggs and…

Smells Like Rain & Tastes Like Tears: Shepherd the Musical

PLATE 1. “Young Matt” (Caleb Odenthal) fights the Baldknobbers. Photo by Beckie Fairchild. Smells Like Rain & Tastes Like Tears: Shepherd the Musical by Joshua Heston with Caleb Brubaker “Do they think this is the end?” Dave Wallace wondered as he looked over an audience rising to their feet. The applause was long and lasting…

Eureka Springtime

PLATE 1. A Victorian mansion with neighborly — albeit rickety — bridge as seen on Eureka Spring’s West Mountain, framed by the Ozarks’ setting sun. A Eureka Springtime by Joshua Heston It is Thursday and I am on story assignment — this time at the Ozark Mountain UFO Conference. If there’s one thing I’ve learned…

Search for Truth: UFO Conference

UFO Conference’s Search for Truth by Joshua Heston Eureka Springs, Arkansas. A cool April night. Across the valley, the outstretched arms of the “milk-jug” Jesus reaches my way from East Mountain. The castle hotel balcony upon which I am sitting is known for a lady in white who dissolves in green mist as she plummets…

Sweetest of Monsters

PLATE 1. The Centaur Escapes. The Centaur Escapes displays an enraged centaur, half-man and half-horse — muscular back arched, fists clenched — against a troubled sky. From whom is he escaping? What cause is there of this angst? O’Neill, wisely, leaves that answer to the viewer — or, perhaps more personally, simply kept the answer…

The Roads to Bonniebrook

PLATE 1. Winding roads among the rocks and cedars lead to the Bonniebrook Estate five miles north of present-day Branson, Missouri. The Roads to Bonniebrook by Joshua Heston On an early morning in January, 1947, the little Ozark cove and cedar break with a tiny stream leading down to Bear Creek was bleak and barren.…

The Celtic World

John Anster Fitzgerald (1823-1906), Titania and Bottom The Celtic World by Joshua Heston “From the cradle to the grave our every move is shadowed by beings not quite of this world.” (1) In the old days, before our inundation of technology, before we could pat ourselves on the back for having discovered every mystery worth finding,…

Irish Games in the Hills

Irish Games in the Hills by Joshua Heston I suspect more than one exasperated hillbilly has — unknowingly — participated in the old Celtic games of strength. The necessary components are at hand. First, there are plenty of stones for throwing. Second, there are a great number of Irish and Scotch families in these hills.…

Toby Show, circa 1985

The Toby Show “Fifty or 60 years ago, actors came to small towns in the Midwest and set up tens. In all the towns where these shows appeared, it was a time of celebration. “Legitimate theater looked down their noses at these shows but to the people, these actors made the world a better place.…

Celebrating Silver Dollar City

PLATE 1. Vintage murals celebrate Silver Dollar City’s unique heritage. Celebrating Silver Dollar City by Jim Barrett (written spring 2000 in conjunction with Silver Dollar City’s 40th anniversary) I got to seriously thinking about the history of Silver Dollar City and a goodly number of old memories began flooding back. I remembered going over to…

Moon Plantin’

Moon Plantin’ by Dale Grubaugh Winter has come to the Ozarks. The ground is white with snow and the temperatures have dipped down to single digits and below to make it bone chillin’ cold. It’s a good time to sit by the fire with a hot cup of coffee and read a favorite book, magazine…

Feature Articles

The Celtic World

John Anster Fitzgerald (1823-1906), Titania and Bottom The Celtic World by Joshua Heston “From the cradle to the grave our every move is shadowed by beings not quite of this world.” (1) In the old days, before our inundation of technology, before we could pat ourselves on the back for having discovered every mystery worth finding,…

Irish Games in the Hills

Irish Games in the Hills by Joshua Heston I suspect more than one exasperated hillbilly has — unknowingly — participated in the old Celtic games of strength. The necessary components are at hand. First, there are plenty of stones for throwing. Second, there are a great number of Irish and Scotch families in these hills.…

Toby Show, circa 1985

The Toby Show “Fifty or 60 years ago, actors came to small towns in the Midwest and set up tens. In all the towns where these shows appeared, it was a time of celebration. “Legitimate theater looked down their noses at these shows but to the people, these actors made the world a better place.…

Celebrating Silver Dollar City

PLATE 1. Vintage murals celebrate Silver Dollar City’s unique heritage. Celebrating Silver Dollar City by Jim Barrett (written spring 2000 in conjunction with Silver Dollar City’s 40th anniversary) I got to seriously thinking about the history of Silver Dollar City and a goodly number of old memories began flooding back. I remembered going over to…

Moon Plantin’

Moon Plantin’ by Dale Grubaugh Winter has come to the Ozarks. The ground is white with snow and the temperatures have dipped down to single digits and below to make it bone chillin’ cold. It’s a good time to sit by the fire with a hot cup of coffee and read a favorite book, magazine…

Dutch Oven Cookin’

Dutch Oven Cookin’ by Elias Tucker (Dale Grubaugh) Winter can be a challenge in these Ozark hills. During the last week of January, the hills around here got all dressed for the occasion. Blanketed in sleet, snow and freezing rain, the Ozarks looked a bit like a waiting bride in a veil of ice. Beautiful…

Oak

PLATE 1. Quercus palustris. Oak by Joshua Heston There are so many species of oak in the Ozark Mountain region that identifying them all is a bit daunting. This is only a partial list. White Oak (Q. alba) Black Oak (Q. valutina) Pin Oak (Q. palustris) Bur Oak (Q. macrocarpa) Shingle Oak (Q. imbrecaria) Post…

I Was Given — to See — the Trees

PLATE 1. Dogwood blossoms, Taney County, Missouri (March 31, 2009). I Was Given — to See — the Trees by Jim Barrett (FROM MY BOOK OF WORD PICTURES) I found myself in a primordial forest of gigantic white oak trees on an Ozark mountaintop ridge line – and I knew that I was looking at…

Deep & Blue: Springs of the Ozarks

PLATE 1. The magical Blue Spring empties into the Current River, Shannon County, Missouri. February 20, 2009. Deep & Blue: Springs of the Ozarks by Joshua Heston Pure water spilling from the rock itself. There is an elemental quality to the idea. Particularly to flat-landers, there is something enchanting about Ozarks springs. The scene of…

Sassafras

Sassafras by Joshua Heston The sassafras tree is fragrant — reminiscent of lemon — when its branches or leaves are crushed. There are no sassafras species outside of North America and its common (and Latin) names are derived from a Native American word for the tree. A generation ago, sassafras was regularly used as a…

Aunt Pena

PLATE 1. Miller’s Bluff, Bourbeuse River Aunt Pena by Dale Grubaugh My great Aunt Pena [Peenee] Ringhiesen Stovall wasn’t my great aunt when I first met her. She lived on the Bourbeuse River near the old Hog Trough Bridge in Gasconade County, Missouri, and was a neighbor to my Uncle Sidney and Aunt Mildred. As…

Don Bilyeu

(PLATE 1, above)”That’s me and old Mickey. He was about 15 when I moved to Neosho and I took him with me and kept him in the garage there. Came in one night and old Mickey wasn’t in there. I spent several days hunting for him but I never found him. Went off and died…