Sunday, September 18, 2005


(Run originally 3/23/04 on our old site)

Don Thompson

We're back from Californy and the insane traffic. I'm trying to place Echo Dell also. I can't remember going there, but my grandfather Thompson had a farm that bordered Little Red River at the area shown on the attached map.

I enjoyed floating down the river on a truck inner tube and climbing into trees along the river bank to get Muscadine Grapes to eat. I think Echo Dell must be somewhere between that farm area and Camp Wildewood. It was probably close to Wildewood. I might coax Paula into writing a story about roughing it at Camp Wildewood. She has a picture.

Another fun activity was trot line fishing on the Little Red. My father and I would start out early in the afternoon collecting crawdads in branches along the road to the river. The trot line was stretched across the river and weighted down with rocks. We made our way across the river by boat while pulling up the line and baiting the hooks with mud bugs. Pretty easy fishing.

The fun part was checking the line next day. What excitement, going across the river again and pulling up the line to see what had been snagged during the night. As we got near a hook point, the line might quiver with the pull of some denizen from the deep. What will be on that hook? We didn't want to see a snapping turtle or alligator gar. The preferred catch of the day was Buffalo, Drum, or Catfish. We removed the fish and re-baited the hooks for another time.

Usually the line was left unattended for several days. I don't know if there were other folks that checked the line. The tie points were pretty well concealed and the line went deep into the river.

Back to Echo Dell. I don't know if Bobby Scott Fuller plans to mention his plans for a book but he told me this yesterday: "When I write my mystery novel (novel noir?), one of the female protagonists will be named 'Echo Dell.' Isn't that a great name? When the movie is made of the novel, a very young Anne Baxter will play the part. Unfortunately, I never made it to our local Echo Dell; or at least not yet."

I think Echo Dell will be an intriguing name, and look forward to the story.


Tom Pry

Frankly, I never even heard of Echo Dell until Mary Kay sent me those photos. According to Ernie, it’s somewhere around the “upper dam” on the Little Red (the “lower dam” is that one just above the VFW).

I did, once, hear about a swimming/partying spot somewhere around here, unnamed, where on a sunny summer’s day, it was fun for a bunch of SHS’ers to go down there with a chilled watermelon. A plug would be carefully cut out of the end, and the heart eaten out of the melon. When that was done, it was buried in the damp sand so that only the open end was sticking out. A largish hole was bored in the plug, the watermelon poured full of gin, the plug put carefully into place, and then everyone pulled out their straws.

Of course, no one WE knew would ever do that … would they?

I suggested a few additional names for Bobby’s book: Higginson McRae, Augusta McCrory, B. B. Capps, Rosebud Hill, Joy Pleasure (the local hooker), good ole “Baldie” Knob, etc.

Betcha can come up with a few of your own.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note from Harold Gene Sullivan

I don’t know why none of the others in my class, ’53, don’t remember Echo Dell, I remember it well. It was a great, isolated place on Little Red River where one could go to swim. I’m sure the roads have changed so much it would be difficult for me to find anymore but when in we were in high school it wasn’t too hard to find. One would take Main Street north just about as far as it would go, maybe it was to the end. Well past the turn off the B-Rock and Camp Wildwood. Then you had to walk a short ways across a field. If I remember, they finally put on of the low-water dams, used to guarantee Searcy water in dry years, right at Echo Dell, which improved the swimming. I may have started going there with my brother, A.,J., who is 6 years older and Mom would make him take me along sometimes. Getting there did take a car, at least I never remember riding my bicycle out there.

This reminds me of several other swimming holes around Searcy. We did walk or ride our bikes to them. One was down on Deener Creek or Gin Creek, I never knew for sure what the name of the creek was. This creek ran just north of Searcy. The hole is not far from where the new high school is built. It wasn’t much of swimming hole, less than waist deep and muddy, but one could get wet in it. On that creek I spent many a summer day fishing and catching sunfish about 3” long. Another swimming hole was one we called Ridge Hole. It was on the Cut, just north of Searcy on Hwy 16, east of the highway. It was almost head deep and fairly clear, except after a rain. South of Searcy on the Pumping Station road, there were two holes, one on Carbide Creek, just off the road. I’ve looked at it in recent years and cannot believe we swam in it. The other was on Des Arc Creek back of the Caldwell place (grandparents of “Cotton” Fuller). It was a very good hole, deep with rocks around it to dive off , and usually very clear. The best of all was Bluff Hole out at Latonia, as I recall one had to drive through the West farm to get to it. We only went there after we had access to cars. It had a high bluff on one side so you could climb as high as you dared to before jumping off. The creek was very clear and deep. Bluff Hole is still my ideal when I think of swimming holes, not that I think of swimming holes often.

I enjoyed Don Thompson’s trot line fishing story. I have some memories along that line that I’ll share later. Right now I’m recovering from having my right shoulder joint replaced and having to type with one finger on my left hand, it is very slow going. The healing is going fine and I looking forward to regaining full use of my right arm. I had the left shoulder joint replaced 4 years ago and it has turned out great.

1:35 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home