I don’t know about President Van Buren, for whom the western Arkansas city is named, but there is little boring about this comfortable, welcoming and historic neighbour of Fort Smith. After a classic French dip lunch at Ed Walker’s, in FS,
I made the short drive to Old Van Buren, and its Train Station Visitor Center.
The premier collection in this small museum is of fine crystal glass.
On July 21, 1985, Van Buren grabbed the attention of the world at large. Let the National Transportation Safety Board tell the story:
“About 7:51 p.m. on June 21, 1985 a privately-owned, 70,000-pounnd tractor-semitrailer operating in interstate commerce under a trip-lease agreement with C. Maxwell Trucking Company, Inc., lost control while descending a steep 3,439-foot-grade on southbound State Route 59 in downtown Van Buren, Arkansas. The truck collided with the rear of, and overrode, a station wagon which was stopped at the bottom of the hill. The truck and the station wagon continued 84 feet forward, across an intersection, up a curb, and through a guardrail. They then traveled another 22 feet and struck two commercial buildings. A fire ensued and engulfed both vehicles and three buildings. Both occupants in the truck and the seven occupants in the station wagon were fatally injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the truckdriver to comply with regulatory signs and to properly use limited service brakes and transmission for speed control purposes, which permitted the tractor-semitrailer to accelerate to a high speed while descending the steep grade on State Route 59. Contributing to the accident were the improper adjustment of the vehicle’s service brakes due to inadequate vehicle maintenance; the truckdriver’s lack of experience, maturity, and training required for interstate truckdrivers; and the absence of an adequate surveillance and enforcement program for the trucking system. ”
The community remembered the fallen, and moved on, while preserving the best of its past.
It goes back to the old, one-room Pike School.
It was sweet to cap this visit with a sweet, cool latte at Coffee and a Good Book.
Finally, here’s a hint, that definitely did not come from Heloise (homemaker’s radio show, of the 1940’s).
Next up: Little Rock’s Riverfront