Tuesday, October 30, 2018

SARA Spotlights Columbia County History

SARA Spotlights Columbia County History

The Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives has historical documents spotlighting life in Columbia County, which was the eighth county created from the original Hempstead County land in 1852.

During the latter part of the 19th century, people flocked to an area known as Magnesia Springs. The springs were said to have healing properties, and eventually two hotels were built in the area to accommodate visitors who came for the waters.

Magnesia Springs eventually became part of Logoly State Park.

The Methodist Episcopal Church South owned property near the springs, so the church became a place to hold gospels, social meetings and political gatherings.  One image shows an unidentified preacher sitting on the steps at Magnesia Springs. The image is part of the Iris Hamby collection at SARA and contains post cards and photos from several southwest Arkansas counties.

Iris Stemple, later Hamby, was born in New Mexico in 1917. Her father was a farmer, and the family moved to Polk County, Arkansas, by the time she was 13 years old. Iris married Amon Q. Hamby in Polk County in June 8, 1935. The couple lived the remainder of their lives in Arkansas.

The collection is interesting because it contains postcards and photographs from several locations around Arkansas, but primarily of southwest Arkansas. The original material covers the late 1800s through the 1940s. A few items are from the 1970s.

Columbia County has an interesting past. It was named for the female personification of the goddess of liberty. Columbia County had some small settlements prior to its creation. The county seat of Magnolia was incorporated Jan. 6, 1855.