Monday, April 08, 2013


We almost blew past Tulip, Arkansas, and actually had to back up to check it out. Not quite a ghost town, more like a spectral presence where a handful of buildings and signs are left to bear witness to Tulip's stint as the "Athens of Arkansas" -- until it was virtually abandoned during the American Civil War. Nowadays, all of Dallas County, Arkansas, where Tulip is situated, amounts to about 8,000 people. In case you're wondering, the county, just like Dallas, Texas and Dallas, Pennsylvania, is named for George Mifflin Dallas (1792-1864), mayor of Philadelphia and President James Know Polk's Vice President during the Mexican-American War.

Here sits the Tulip Community Building.

In this sign, the claims for Tulip are quite grandiose: "known by the 1850s as a center for higher education, the 'Athens of the South.'"  The area's pottery heritage remains, but not much in the way of "higher education."

Not mentioned above is one of Tulip's early educators, Madame d’Estimauville de Beau Mouchel (or Beaumouchel). Apparently, she became "too intimate" with a wild character, a member of the local "elite" named Solon Borland (1808-1864). As a result of jealousy, double standards or whatnot, Madame de Beau Mouchel was forced to leave and may have relocated to New Orleans. As for Borland, in addition to his miscellaneous dallying, he worked as a doctor, pharmacist, pro-dueling newspaperman and politico. He was also a volunteer officer during the US-Mexico War, and was captured, then escaped and finally repurposed as a staff aide (ADC) for Brigadier General William Jenkins Worth (for whom Fort Worth, Texas, is named). Borland then served as a US Senator, a diplomat in Nicaragua, a secessionist and Confederate officer before dying of "natural causes" soon after the wartime collapse of Tulip. 

In nearby Fordyce, where we'd earlier encountered members of the "Christian Motorcycle Association" collecting money for an unspecified "charity" at the main traffic light, there's a steam locomotive and converted train depot, a little museum, some shops and a few traces of former residents Bear Bryant and Johnny Cash. Oddly, half of Dallas County now lives in Fordyce.

Today's Rune: Journey.      

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Have heard of it but have never visited there. Lots of small places kind of like that in Texas as well.