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MUSEUM MUSINGS: Harrison CCC Camp rocked

Written by David Holsted, published in the Harrison Daily Times, May 28, 2020

On the morning of Oct. 16, 1935, about 100 men gathered at the H. C. Hester farm north of Harrison and started harvesting one of the Ozarks’ leading crops – rocks.

No, the men weren’t really harvesting the rocks. They were simply removing the rocks from the pasture land and placing them in gulleys. The rocks would be used to construct permanent check dams. It was part of a soil erosion prevention program.

The men were from the Harrison Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp 4748.

The CCC was the brainchild of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. It had two purposes. It provided outdoor employment to young men who were idled by the Great Depression, and it provided protection, improvement and development of the country’s natural resources.

Camps housing about 200 men each were established in every state. By September 1935, there were 2,635 camps in the United States. During the CCC’s heyday, 77 camps in Arkansas undertook 106 projects.

Camp 4748 was located on Highway 65 a mile southeast of Harrison. According to a description from the time, enrollees of Camp 4748 “breathe the invigorating ozone of the Ozarks, and a snappier group is not to be found anywhere else in the country.”

Enrollees at Camp Harrison worked on both soil erosion projects and forestry projects. The men built rock dams, brush dams and wire dams for gulley control. According to reports, there was a lot of land around Harrison that bordered on sub-marginal classification, land that was being slowly washed away by heavy rains, and its general use impaired.

Most of the soil erosion work was done on cut-over timber land. However, there was still much excellent timber land, and in order to protect it from damage by fire, Camp 4748 men constructed fire trails.

In a story appearing in the Harrison Daily Times, Camp 4748 project manager Claude Woolsey said that stone, brush and other materials would be used to make the check dams. Some of the land would be terraced, and permanent grass sown.

Agronomist H.C. Pettit said that all farms in the demonstration area would have the opportunity to benefit from the same work.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, crews from the Harrison CCC camp worked on the Lake Leatherwood Park project near Eureka Springs. The park was composed of 1,600 acres, a 100-acre lake and a large limestone dam. It was said to be one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.

The CCC camps made sure to mix in a little fun along with the work. Camp 4748 had baseball and basketball teams. Volleyball, wrestling and boxing also had its devotees.

A number of dances were held at the camp “with girls from Harrison serving as excellent and attractive dancing partners.” Every night, a group from the camp attended movies in town.

The camp even had its own newspaper. The Dirt Dauber was started in January 1936, and ran monthly.

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MUSEUM MUSINGS: Goblins look into the eye of the tiger and blink

By David Holsted, published in the Harrison Daily Times, May 21, 2020

The Harrison Goblins took the court accompanied by the strains of “Hold That Tiger.” By the end of the evening, the team’s battle song could have been “Looks Like I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail.”

On February 18, 1964, the Valley Springs Tigers continued their dominance over the Harrison Goblins by winning a 51-49 squeaker at the Harrison High School gymnasium. It was the third win of the 1963-64 season by Valley Springs over their Boone County rivals. The Tigers had defeated Harrison 66-57 in the finals of the Arkansas Tech tournament and 67-52 in an earlier game played at Valley Springs.

With the victory over Harrison, Valley Springs stretched its winning streak to 40 games.

The game attracted an estimated 2,500 fans, and “more outside and in the hallways wanting to get nearer the playing court.”

The difference in the game came from the free throw line. Valley Springs converted 17 of 22 free throws, compared to 11 of 18 for their hosts.

According to a newspaper account, the Goblins, inspired by the Harrison High band’s playing of “Hold That Tiger,” quickly took control of the game in the first quarter. Lendel Thomas scored eight points, as the visiting Tigers appeared uneasy.

Valley Springs rallied, though, and after “two quick swishers” by Jerry Greenhaw and Jerry Heard, the Tigers held a 22-13 advantage over the Goblins. Valley Springs was up 26-21 at the intermission.

The Goblins controlled the action in the beginning stages of the third quarter.

“The action got fast and furious from that point on,” the Harrison Daily Times reported, “with (Don) McEntire and Heard making free throws, but the Goblins’ (Robert) King and Thomas worked underneath for field goals and (Meredith) Miller dribbled around Heard twice to put Harrison out in front 31-28 with 4:36 left.”

The Tigers’ Greenhaw tied the score at 33 with “a baseline beauty.” Valley Springs went into a minute-long stall before baskets by McEntire and James Trammell gave the visitors a 38-36 lead going into the fourth quarter.

With 47 seconds left and the Tigers up 48-47, Greenhaw was fouled. He made both free throws, giving Valley Springs a 50-47 lead. A subsequent steal and coast-to-coast layup by Larry Morris put Harrison back within one. McEntire was fouled with 17 seconds left. He made one of two free throws. A last second desperation heave by the Goblins fell short.

McEntire was the leading scorer for Valley Springs with 16 points. Heard and Trammell each contributed 12 points.

Miller led the Goblins with 15 points. Thomas added 12 points.

With the loss, Harrison fell to 20-9.

In the “B” game, Harrison won its 15th consecutive game by defeating Valley Springs 42-36.