We spent some wonderful time with a little gray haired lady at the Coal Miners Museum in Paris, Arkansas. I never knew that coal was such a vital part of this area of Arkansas back in the late 1800's to the mid 1900's. Her parents owned a grocery store that serviced the area and she used to help with getting people the products they needed. But more importantly, she was full of information about how they lived and more importantly worked back then. Can you imagine working for $1 a day and down in the minds none the less. It is true, they did used to take birds in a cage down in the mine with them and if they died they new to get out and get out quickly. It is unbelievable that they used to go into those mines with candles.
They used to have horns that went off at 6am, start time, noon and quitting time. Hard to imagine life where we don't have time readily available by either a watch or our phones.
They had these wash houses where they had these baskets that they would put their clothes in and lock them up. They would take their work clothes (full of soot from the mines) out to the river and clean with lye soap weekly and let them air dry. They would never come completely clean but that seemed to get them the cleanest. As I sit here, getting ready to take hang up my laundry and put another load from my washer into the dryer it makes me ponder. How hard life was back then and how easy we truly do have it these days and yet, we complain and take those appliances that make our lives so easy for granted.
to goWalking through this tin heat box gave some insight to how these black smiths lived and worked whether it was in the hot steamy summer heat or the dead of winter.
If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood of Paris, Arkansas then it is worth your time to stop by the Coal Miners Museum. No charge as it is completely ran off of donations but don't forget to sign the guest book while you are there as that helps them too. Also, there is an old time jailhouse but we ran out of time to go visit. On my next trip up to Mount Magazine I will have to make sometime for the jail house. I must say, there are a lot of beautiful places and some that seem to be a step back in time still here in Arkansas. So, if you come to this treasure trove of a state please take some time to visit their beautiful state parks and take in some of these small beautiful towns full of history.