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Mith242

Pictures of Pine Bluff

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While Little Rock is pretty explanatory I feel I said try to give a little background for Pine Bluff. Not everyone may be very familiar with it. It's southeast of Little Rock and has quite a bit of history. Especially since that part of the state has the oldest settlements in Arkansas. Pine Bluff has had some boom times in the 20's and 60's. There's been others but I think these two probably had the biggest effect of the city that you see today. Whereas Fayetteville may have some buildings from the 20's, it's nothing compared to what was built in Pine Bluff. Unfortunately many of those buildings are already in disrepair if not already destroyed. The move of retail away from the downtown area in the 60's played a big role in the decay of the downtown area seen now. It got even worse by the 70's, not only were the boomtimes over most of the businesses had moved out of the downtown area and left empty buildings that started falling apart. I was a bit surprised to see how many buildings have already been torn down. You can see the old tile floors in a number of areas where there is now just an empty lot. Pine Bluff seems to be getting a bit better but it's lost a lot of people the last few decades. Back in the 60's Pine Bluff was expected to be over 100,000 by now. But today it's struggling to stay above 50,000 and a lot of that is due to annexing quite a few areas around the city. But enough commentary for now. I'll try to give more as I post more pics.

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In the first shot you can see Simmons First National Bank. One of the only bright spots in Pine Bluff and especially in the downtown area. There's also a couple of shots of the old railroad depot. The railroads used to play a huge role in the economy of Pine Bluff. They still do to a certain extent but nothing like it was before. Especially when the Cottonbelt Railroad had it's headquarters in Pine Bluff. Not everything will be shots of urban decay. But it is one of the best places in the state to see it. More pics to come when I can get them all uploaded.

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Pine Bluff certainly looks dead, but maybe they can turn that around and revitalize downtown. They have a lot of potential there IMO.

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I'll start off with some more older buildings. Most are around the Simmons Building. The first couple are of the old Pines Motel. There's been lots of talk about renovating it back to the way it used to be. But so far nothing has happened the past couple of decades. Unfortunately even if they manage to get the money to fix it back to the way it used to be I don't think there's going to be much demand for a hotel, especially in that area. Some of the bottom floor is still used for retail but the rest is vacant. Despite all the gloom and doom there is some retail still in some areas of the downtown. But it's still a mere shadow of what it used to be. Pine Bluff has had a much harder time compared to some other cities in Arkansas in trying to restore it's downtown. But I guess that's hard to do when many of the city residents have left. The last pics are of the Simmons Building. I'd hate to imagine how bad thing would be in Pine Bluff if it lost Simmons too. Much of the city's industry has left in the past few decades. The Simmons Building is around 11-12 stories although it's spilled over into neighboring buildings. Matt saw something giving him the impression the building was built back in the 20's but I'm pretty sure it's got that 60's look to it. Maybe it was remoldeled then.

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More pics after I get off work tomorrow. I'll start showing some of the murals of Pine Bluff amoung other things.

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Pine Bluff certainly looks dead, but maybe they can turn that around and revitalize downtown. They have a lot of potential there IMO.

It certainly does have potential. But I think the city has to find something else to help support it's economy. That and quite a few people have left over the past few decades. It's a rather poor city with high unemployment. It's having a hard time getting things going again. I have seen signs that the city seems to be recovering to a certain degree. But I still think it has a long way to go to restore things back to the way the city was in the past.

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Nice pictures, Mith!

I've never been to Pine Bluff, but it looks like a very nice and interesting city.

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Terrific pictures. Those are some terrific old buildings. In a prosperous area I could really see that downtown becoming something. I hope PB can turn things around someday.

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Yeah it's sorta weird. It's certainly had a very interesting past, which I'll get more into. But for those of you who aren't familiar with the city at all. I think if you ask anyone who lived in the state to move to Pine Bluff they'd probably laugh in your face. Pine Bluff isn't the greatest place to live I admit but even worse is that it has a horrible image. Yes there is high unemployment but I'm not sure the crime rate is quite as bad as what people seem to think. Believe it or not I wasn't shot at or anything while I was going around taking pictures. The city certainly has some problems it has to focus on but hopefully they will also take the time to try to preserve more of the city's history. Much has already been lost, hopefully the city won't lose anymore. One thing I was surprised about was that while there are some old buildings I couldn't find any historical district or anything. It seems most of the older neighborhoods didn't survive. That's not to say there aren't some nice old houses but they seemed few and far between. It's a shame to occasionally find a nice old house only to see it surrounded by a pawn shop, liquor store and car wash. Unfortunately I'm not joking. But anyway more pics after work today.

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I'm going to switch gears for a bit and start posting some pics of the murals in downtown Pine Bluff. I can't recall when exactly they got this started. I'm thinking they started late 80's. They started small and then started making some pretty big ones. I can't say if I managed to get all of them but I think I managed to get most of them. They're basically scattered all around the downtown area. I would have liked to be able to get all of each mural in one pic but in a lot of cases I had to get so far back and you lost a lot of detail. So I ended up just splitting up the murals into smaller seperate shots for each one so you can make out more of the detail. Some of them I had a hard time with the sun also. They all have to do with Pine Bluff in some fashion, even the one about the movies. Apparently someone in the early movie period had some ties to Pine Bluff.

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The last pic is actually the first mural that was made I believe. It deals with the Quapaws that used to live in the area and used to make up a part of the city. At some point some Chickasaws had kidnapped some white children and some Quapaws helped track down the children and got them back. Really a shame that the Quapaws were eventually removed to Oklahoma. Can't say I've ever heard a bad thing about them really. They certainly contributed a lot to the state.

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Okay finally got all of them to load. I was having a lot of problems there on both ends but I think they are all finally loading now. One of the murals has a pic of a woman. In the background is also Davis Hospital. I actually have a couple of shots of it that I'll post later on. It's not in use anymore and sits abandoned as so many other places seem to in Pine Bluff.

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Here's comes some more pics. The first several are of the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. It's actually a pretty nice facility. It may not be able to pull in some of the things that the Walton Art Center does but it's been around longer and it would be a nice facility if it was located anywhere else in the state also. The rest are pics as I get back closer to the main downtown area.

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More pics to come.

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More pics as I make my way back to the center of the downtown area. If anyone couldn't tell from my other pic topics I've got a lot of pics. I've also got one more murak I missed in my previous post.

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The Murals remind me of some of the paintings on the floodwalls in Cape Giradeau.

Nice Pics!!!

Someone else mentioned Cape Giradeau. I've never been so I can't compare them.

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Some more pics. These are away from Main Street which a lot of the earlier pics were on. I'm not positive but I think this was 2nd St or one of those low numbered streets. The first pics are of the David W Reynolds Community Service Center. It's a rather new building I don't think I've ever seen before. It houses all the services like United Way and others. The red brink building I took a number of pics of is the Saenger Theater. I also got some of another theater that's been renovated into a community theater. I had thought that it might have been the old Malco Theater but one of my relatives though that the old Malco was on Main. If it is I didn't see when when I walking around taking pics. I was hoping to see it since Malco is really making a presence here in northwest Arkansas. Malco is based out of Memphis for those of you who aren't aware.

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More pics as I make my way back to Main St. Also some more urban decay and an interesting all brick alley with an old Coke ad that I found interesting.

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Now to pics of the Jefferson County Courthouse and the Hood Building just across the street from it. The Hood building was built in the 1880's I believe, I'm not sure about the courthouse. It's also pretty old, there was a fire in the late 70's that damaged part of the building. You can't tell from the side but they added on in the late 70's on the other side after the fire. There's also the Dexter Harding House. I don't think this was it's original location but was put here later after it was saved. I'm afraid I don't know the age of it but I believe it's the oldest house left in the Pine Bluff area. There's also some views of Lake Pine Bluff just north of the courthouse. The construction is going to be a farmer's market right on the lake. Then there's also a number of historical signs. Barraque St is a sign of the French aspect the city used to have. The French settled Arkansas Post (Post D'Arkansea I think was it's original name) in 1686. Very old for this part of the country. But it wasn't settled in very good land and had to deal with constant flooding. It was the capitol for a while but after that was moved to Little Rock it sealed it's fate. A number of the French decendant families ended up in Pine Bluff. But just like the Quapaws the French aspect of the city slowly faded away. I also have an interesting story about the courthouse and the lake that I'll post near the bottom of the post.

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The bluff that helped name the city is long gone includin parts of the city. It was founded on a bend of the Arkansas River. Unfortunately the bend kept eroding away the city. At one point there were two blocks of the city just north of the courthouse. The river eventually consumed them and even threatened the courthouse. It's illegal for anyone outside the goverment to change the course of a navigatable river. But the citizens weren't going to sit around and let the courthouse fall into the river. So they illegally blasted a new course for the river further away from the city. Lake Pine Bluff is the remnants od when the river had been much closer to the city.

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More urban decay pics. And a few others also. The last pic is the Kress Building which is going to be renovated. It used to be an old discout store. I found out later the old Woolworth Building was across the railroad tracks from it. I don't think I got any shots of it.

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Here's some pics of the Pine Bluff Civic Center. It contains the Public Library, police station, courtrooms and such. It was built in the early 70's and it's a bit off of from Main St. There's also a small Japanese garden there too. Pine Bluff's sister city is Iwai City Japan. They brought over workers and all the materials for the garden in the late 80's. Then there is also another historic marker near the Civic Center.

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Now some pics of the Nature Center at Regional Park in Pine Bluff. I think officially it's called the Governor Mike Huckabee Nature Center. I won't get into what I think of him not building a nature center here in the Ozarks :P . Unfortunately they were cleaning most of the inside exhibits where most of the fish and reptiles are kept. There's also an outdoor aquarium that's houses a lot of fish and reptiles that have been found in nearby rivers, creeks and bayous. But at this time of year most of them are rather reclusive. There's also a couple of injured bald eagles there. Before anyone makes a fuss about them being caged the way they are, they are permanently disabled. I think one of them has a whole wing missing so they can't fly.

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Now to some pics of some older houses in Pine Bluff. I couldn't find any historical districts. Maybe some exist that I couldn't find but I almost get the impression while there are some older homes and buildings there really isn't any older neighborhoods left. I did find one group of older houses all together but most times there would only be a couple together or in some cases just one. I really liked the last house. When I saw it from far away I thought it was going to be a house that was about to fall down on itself. It actually seemed in good shape, it just needs a paint job very badly. Unfortunately it was surrounded by a car wash, a liquor store and a pawn shop.

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Here's a group of miscellaneous pics. I'll start of with a couple of a billboard. I know it sounds odd but it's a rather interesting billboard. I don't know how long it's been up but it was there when my grandparents lived in Pine Bluff in 1940. I don't know how long it was there before then. There's been some times when she wasn't swinging back and forth. But luckily the billboard has been saved (never thought I'd hear myself say that). I'm not sure when it was turned into housing but behind the billboard used to be an old racetrack. Not sure when it was first put there but I do know it was there in the 20's. Then there's some other pics, including the old Davis Hospital that can be seen in one of the murals. There's also some of Bayou Bartholomew which starts off just northwest of Pine Bluff. Bayous just aren't in Lousiana, we have them here in Arkansas too, granted they're mainly in the southern part of the state. Just curious does anyone know how large of an area has the term bayou? I know some terms are indictative some limited areas. Just like shut-ins are only found in the Missouri Ozarks.

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Sorry if I'm overwhelming everyone once again with pics. I do tend to take lots of pics and I guess I'm trying to give a good overall view of large parts of the city. I'm getting closer to finishing with what I have for Pine Bluff. This is the Confederate Cemetery southwest of Pine Bluff near Sulpher Springs.

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I think I only have one more group of pics to post for Pine Bluff. That will have to wait till I get off work later today. Then I can start with Little Rock. People might find them more interesting.

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One last group of pics. If anyone is still paying attention at this point. I'll finish up with a little more urban decay, the old AP&L plant. Although I did throw in a pic of some railroad tracks.

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So anyone have any comments or questions? Or is anyone still interested at this point. People seemed interested before in pics of Pine Bluff. Maybe I shouldn't post so many pics.

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