The Times (Northeast Benton County)

History of old City Hall building

- BILLIE JINES Former editor Pea Ridge Graphic 1967-1976 Editor’s note: This is the first in a four-part series on the history of Pea Ridge City Hall, written by Billie Jines, former editor of the Pea Ridge Graphic.

The following article by Billie Jines is the history of the building which is was City Hall for many years. Billie was the editor of our local newspaper for a number of years.

The historic concrete block building downtown which housed the Pea Ridge City Hall had just undergone major remodeling. It served, however, as the seat of city government since its purchase in late 1970.

For many decades, though, this once double building, two buildings side by side, served this community in a variety of ways. Take, for instance, when part of it housed Vogt’s Dry Goods Store. It was opened about 1947 with Imogene Lasater as manager. The store carried both ladies’ and men’s clothing, as well as other dry goods. When the store had been operated about two years, the owner, Robert Vogt, sold its stock to Eva Patterson. She moved it to a building erected immediatel­y east of the old post office in the next block.

Most people, with whom this writer discussed the building, mentioned first the name of Charlie Tetrick, the produce he operated and his other businesses in parts of the structure. There were his feed store and hatchery, some point out.

The produce was where the public brought chickens, eggs, cream, rabbits, strawberri­es and other products to sell. Or where they came to buy. The sawdust heaped high in one area was what kept ice from melting as it awaited customers.

One boy, now a senior citizen here, remembered the very hot day when he got to buy 25 pounds of ice. He put it in his burlap sack and headed out the two miles up Jacket Road. By the time he got home, much of the ice had melted, but the family retrieved enough to make ice cream in their hand-turned freezer.

An older woman, whose family lived a few miles from town when she grew up, reminisced about the selling of produce there. Sometimes when the family needed an extra quarter or two, she and her sister were told to take a hen to the produce to sell. It was not the walk into town that they dreaded. It was the fear that some of the boys they knew might be sitting on the whittlers’ bench nearby and see them having to bring in a hen to sell.

For a time, Emmett Spriggs ran a moving picture show in part of the building. No plush seats, those days. But boards placed on blocks made an acceptable seating place for such welcome entertainm­ent in the pre-television era.

Charles Hardy recalled the Chevrolet dealership owned by Ben Doke that was housed in the building. He said the business had gone through the 1928 models and started the 1929s when it closed down. George Wells was the mechanic, but not in that building. He worked in a building east of that one across the alley.

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