Friday, August 3, 2007

Conway's 10 Most Influential People #9 - John Hugh Reynolds

.....from the Log Cabin Democrat:

Reynolds helped make Hendrix one of the best
Log Cabin Staff Writer
Friday, June 25, 1999
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Beau Wilcox
Tucked into its comfortable plot between Harkrider and Washington Streets, Hendrix College is, by a purely aesthetic examination, an unassuming institution.

But its reputation statewide and nationwide often makes it seem significantly larger. The school which barely exceeds 1,000 students is considered an outstanding value by major publications like Forbes and Money Magazine, and has found itself among elite company in recent years in the U. S. News & World Report's list of the best colleges in America, private or public.

The chain of individuals who have helped Hendrix attain such high regard is extensive. But many current and former administrators and faculty members would mention John Hugh Reynolds as a singularly important force in the growth and advancement of Hendrix College.

Between 1913 and 1945, Reynolds served as president of the institution. And during that period, his efforts were both numerous and grand.

Bob Meriwether, a former Hendrix professor and administrator, now serves as an unofficial historian for the college. In the book "Faulkner County: Its Land and People," published by the county's historical society in 1986, Meriwether included a biography of Reynolds that lists his litany of accomplishments.

Born near Enola in 1869, Reynolds experienced some schooling before moving to Altus (Franklin County) in 1889 to attend Hendrix College. A year later, the school relocated to Conway, and Reynolds would be a part of that transition for over half a century.

After teaching at Hendrix for a few years, Reynolds moved to Fayetteville to perform the same duties at the University of Arkansas. In 1912, he was named the university's acting president, and when he was not granted the position permanently, Reynolds came back to Hendrix June 17, 1913 to take that leadership role.

He would, in truth, never leave again.

Hendrix College presidents (from left) Stonewall Anderson (1902-1910), Alexander C. Millar (1887-1902, 1910-1913) and John Hugh Reynolds (1913-1945). Taken in Conway, date unknown.

Reynolds' work was impressive. He made great efforts to get financial donations for the college and to heighten the quality of the faculty. Even while the Great Depression spelled doom for other institutions across the nation, Reynolds kept Hendrix stable and even growing, with four new buildings constructed during that tumultuous period. The school's endowment increased markedly during his tenure, and the prominence it enjoys today truly began to flower in Reynolds' 32 years as president.

Consider these myriad achievements: Reynolds was a member of the General Board of Education of the Methodist Episcopal Church South for three decades, and a chairman of the church's Christian Education Movement. He was a political activist and an administrative genius who attracted money to the college from some of the nation's most prestigious foundations, and he is still renowned for bringing a highly-acclaimed faculty from across the state, region and country.

The physical sciences building at Hendrix was named after Reynolds, although he resisted that honor until after his retirement. Coincidentally, as Reynolds is being celebrated as the ninth-most influential person in Faulkner Coun ty history, the building which bears his name is being renovated as part of Hendrix's new physical science complex. He died in 1954, but his legacy was preserved as all four of his and wife Margaret's children attended and graduated from Hendrix.

One President on Another

Although his work at Hendrix concluded more than half a century ago, appreciation for Reynolds' varied successes still runs high, particularly from the woman who now holds his former position.

Current Hendrix President Ann H. Die said during a recent interview that Reynolds' contributions retain their significance and glory today.

"I do think that the college's modern reputation dates from his time," Dr. Die said. "He not only sought to have strong academic programs here, but he brought in a number of well-known academics to speak, and he was responsible for major curriculum changes."

Dr. Die also noted that Reynolds truly helped mold the college into a liberal arts institution.

"The quality of academics certainly flourished during his tenure," Dr. Die said. "He intended for students to study all that was out there...and to learn how to sort fact from fiction, and theory from falsehood."

Other tidbits about John Hugh Reynolds:
In 1922, B.W. Torreyson gave a witty biography of Dr. Reynolds at the Conway Rotary Club in the club's series of "gridiron" talks.
In 1924, J.H. Reynolds' daughter, Ruth Reynolds, married Professor David Driver who was teaching in Brazil. She sailed from New York to Brazil for the wedding with her brother, George Reynolds, and her mother as escorts. George taught at Centenary College in Shreveport, La.
In 1926, Dr. Reynolds joined the Conway Country Club along with D.W. Robins.
In 1928, Reynolds announced that their would be a new roof garden atop the administration offices for social activities at the college.
In 1930, Dr. Reynolds continued working despite a fractured collarbone suffered when he had to run his car off the road into a ditch to avoid an accident in Malvern.
In 1931, Reynolds' mother-in-law, Mrs. Elizabeth McWhirter Harwood, celebrated her 100th birthday in Conway. She moved to Conway from Missouri following her husband's death.

Conway's 10 Most Influential People #10 - Theodore S. Smith

from the Log Cabin Democrat......

Smith remembered as hero, civic leader, businessman
Log Cabin Staff Writer
Friday, June 25, 1999
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Fred Petrucelli
The life of S. Theodore Smith, as told by his son, automobile dealer Ros Smith, is an admirable study of an astute businessman and civic leader who combined his genius for accomplishment and the love for his community.

Admiration for his father shines through in Ros Smith's recitation of the good works of this man who in a Log Cabin Democrat survey was named the 10th most influential person in Faulkner County's history.

Businessman, war hero, community activist -- these are the legacies of Smith, who made his mark among the city's movers and shakers, men who shaped the destiny of the locale with their foresight and perspective.

Smith was born in 1894 into a Conway family of merchants. His father, S. G. Smith, operated a general store and cotton sale barn in downtown Conway. He was a businessman who prospered and then lost heavily in the dark days of the Depression.

"He thought he had done well buying cotton at 5 cents a pound in the New Orleans market only to see the price drop to 2 cents," Ros Smith says, recalling stories of the difficult times of bankruptcies and bank failures.

Schooled in Conway, Theodore Smith attended Hendrix College and was the mascot for the Warrior football team before he transferred to the University of Illinois.

With the outbreak of World War I, Smith elected to join the Army and was sent to France with an artillery unit after a period of training at Fort Roots. He had earned the rank of second lieutenant when he was shipped abroad.

On Oct. 16, 1918, less than a month before the armistice ending the war was signed, Smith was wounded during the furious fighting at Chateau-Thierry, a small town in the north of France.

A barrage of shrapnel struck the left side of his body, inflicting wounds to his shoulder, arm and hand and immobilizing him. He was carried off the battlefield -- his third major assault on the Germans -- in serious condition. The effects of his
wounds and scars would remain with him throughout his life. He later became highly decorated by the French and American governments.

Smith's fate on the battlefield was unknown for some time. He was taken to a French hospital and was incommunicado. Word was received in Conway that Smith had been killed in action, and soon afterward people in the community held a memorial service for the man, laying him to rest in absentia.

Smith had been taken to a remote hospital after he was wounded and was virtually forgotten. He remained incapacitated in a hospital for a year before returning to Conway in 1919 to the surprise of all.

Being taken to a French hospital proved to be a move in his favor, he believed, since he feared that American doctors would have amputated his arm.

After a period of recuperation at home, he married Kathrine Hayes of Little Rock in 1925. Ros Smith was born of that union in 1926.

The Smith automobile business commenced in 1916 by S.G. Smith, who had high hopes that his son would take over the agency on his graduation from college. But World War I played havoc with those plans.

Smith did follow his father in the automobile business, and in 1923 he moved the auto agency from a site near the present Mercantile Bank to Front Street next to the Conway Theater.

Some 45 years later, Ros Smith assumed control of the dealership and moved to it Smith Ford's present location on Oak Street in 1973.

During the most visible times of his life, Theodore Smith was very active in city government, serving as an alderman and at one time taking over temporarily as mayor.

He also made his mark as chairman of the Conway Corp. Board of Directors, his association with the entity continuing for 45 years. Many of the good works coming out of that organization bore the stamp of Theodore Smith's efforts.

He was a charter member of the Conway Rotary Club, which was founded in 1921, and a pillar at First United Methodist Church.

Ellen Smith, for whom the Conway elementary school is named, was an activist in her own right. The grandmother of Ros Smith campaigned for a position and won a spot on the local school board, becoming the first woman in the state to accomplish that feat.

Smith, who died in 1973, is remembered as a sharp businessman who had a keen interest in the city's economy. He and banker Thomas Wilson worked in tandem of sorts to help snare several small industries and urge them to locate in Conway's industrial park.

They traveled extensively in quest of industry as representatives of the Conway Development Corporation and were highly successful in recruiting "clean" businesses, such as a shoe factory, now SAS, and Virco Mfg. Corp.

Other interesting tidbits about this Conway businessman:
S.T. Smith was a golfer and took part in the 1931 Conway Country Club golf tournament vs. Preston Bethell.
S.T. Smith's mother-in-law was Mrs. Caughey Hayes and she had a summer cottage at Ferncliff.
S.T. Smith's son, S.T. Smith Jr. (nicknamed 'Ros') graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1947.
In 1952, S.T. Smith and his wife, Kathrine, moved from their home at 857 Mitchell Street to the home of his late parents at 1837 Caldwell St after they did some remodeling which included adding a garage on the west side. They sold the Mitchell St. home to Dr. and Mrs. Albert J. Sneed.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Featured Conway Links - City of Conway

This featured link is to the Conway Chamber of Commerce.

...from their history:
The City of Conway was founded by A. P. Robinson, who came to Conway shortly after the Civil War. Robinson was the chief engineer for the Little Rock-Fort Smith Railroad (now the Union-Pacific). Part of his compensation was the deed to a tract of land, one square mile, located near the old settlement of Cadron. When the railroad came through, Robinson deeded a small tract of his land back to the railroad for a depot site. He laid off a town site around the depot and named it Conway Station, in honor of a famous Arkansas family. Conway Station contained two small stores, two saloons, a depot, some temporary housing and a post office.
Conway was designated the county seat of Faulkner County in 1873, the same year that the county was created by the legislature. In October 1875, Conway was incorporated and, at that time, had a population of approximately 200. When originally incorporated in 1875, Conway was just one square mile surrounding Conway Station on the Little Rock and Fort Smith Branch of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad. By 1959, Conway encompassed 6.9 square miles. During the next 30 years Conway grew rapidly annexing a total of 15.4 square miles. During the 1990's grew even faster, adding 12.2 square miles. Conway now encompasses approximately 40 square miles. Almost all area annexed has been through petition by the property owners.
For many years Conway flourished as a trade center for a large rural agricultural area. Hendrix College was established in Conway in 1890. Three years later, in 1893, Central College for Girls was established, and Conway was on its way to becoming an educational center. The University of Central Arkansas was founded in Conway in 1907 as the Arkansas Normal School. Its economy was firmly established upon agriculture and the educational institutions until World War II.
After the war, diversification of the economy was started by Conway businessmen, and several small industries were attracted to Conway. Subsequently, additional state institutions were located in Conway, including the headquarters for the Office of Emergency Services, the Human Development Center, and the Arkansas Educational Television Network.
Conway has a sizable industrial / technological base. Industry located in Conway includes Kimberly Clark, IC Corporation, Virco, Baldwin Piano, and Snap-on. Computer database giant Acxiom calls Conway their headquarters.

The city website is a great reference point for Conway residents with information and contact points for the various city departments, as well as the police and fire departments. City council news and updates on city business are also available.

.....for more links from Conway, check out the Conway Arkansas Directory.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Featured Conway Links - Conway Chamber of Commerce

This featured link is to the Conway Chamber of Commerce.

...from their history:
The Conway Chamber Of Commerce started in 1891 as the Conway Board of Trade and in 1916 became the Conway Commercial Club. Since the early years, the Chamber's primary focus has been to help with commercial, retail and community development.

Sixty years ago in September 1946, 22 local business leaders became the first dues-paying members of the organization. Some of these early members are no longer in Conway, but they left large footprints on our city's heritage: Simon's Grocery, Southern Dry Cleaners, First State Bank & Trust, Clark & Adkisson Attorney's, Homer Jones, First National Bank, and Massey Hardware.

Ten of the first Chamber members continue to serve our community fueling this economy, serving the public and in some cases, fulfilling the legacy of their parents, and grandparents in the family business.

The Chamber website is a great starting place for visitors and residents of Conway, Arkansas...with information about the Conway community, Conway businesses, and Conway recreational opportunities.

.....for more links from Conway, check out the Conway Arkansas Directory.