Category Archives: Civic Organizations

Bradley Chamber of Commerce Banquet, 3-6-10

The 26th annual Bradley Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held in the Bradley Elementary School cafeteria during the evening of March 6, 2010.  Attendance was excellent, as it always is during an election year, with many present seeking to be elected to or to retain political office.

The Community Service Award was given to Kala Traxler, shown below with Mollye McCalman.  Kala also arranged a slide show for the banquet.

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Travis Gore, whom Emcee Richard Estes, referred to as the “Sage” of the chamber, recognized State Senator Barbara Horn for her contributions to Bradley.  Senator Horn is in her last year of service in that position, and she made a few brief remarks.  Travis and Barbara can been seen in the following two photos.

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With so many politicians present, not just the usual one T-shirt, but instead two T-shirts were auctioned off.  The auctioneer was State Representative Bruce Maloch, seen below.  Bruce is in his last year of service in that position, and has served as auctioneer for several past Chamber banquets.

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Mollye McCalman holds up one of this year’s Conway Days T-shirts, below.

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And Joe Middlebrooks holds up the other T-shirt to be auctioned off, one he said meant “Who dat gonna win this election?”

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The Best Ad for Bradley went to Eugenia Collum, seen in the following two photos, the last of which with Emcee Richard Estes.

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No annual Chamber banquet would be possible without the assistance of the student servers, shown below.

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Governor Conway Days are held each year on the last weekend in March.  The primary date of celebration this year will be Saturday, March 27, 2010. 

Lafayette County Fair in Bradley, 1947

The 65th (at least in its current incarnation) annual Lafayette County Fair is being held this week at the fairgrounds just off Highway 82 between Stamps and Lewisville.  Before that, it was held at a location just off the Skelly Road (now County Road 22), which basically runs from the southwest part of Stamps to the southeast part of Lewisville, and vice versa.

Few are aware, however, that at least on one occasion, the Lafayette County Fair was held in Bradley.  In 1947, the Fair was in its third year.  Exactly where in Bradley was it held?  In the field just south of what members of my generation remember as the residence of Mr. & Mrs. L. E. “Happy” Taylor.  Today, it might occur to many that there wasn’t much room for such an undertaking in that location because of the proximity of Highway 29 just behind (east) of that field.  However, that portion of Highway 29 was not constructed until 1954, seven years later.  Highway 29 ran in 1947 in front of the Taylor residence, i.e., between their home and the railroad tracks. 

The following are some photos of that event, which have yellowed and deteriorated with the years.  A makeshift corral was erected for the livestock events:

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Local merchants exhibited their wares:

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And, finally, the following photo shows a reasonably good of view of what was then Highway 29, still unpaved, next to the railroad.

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Making Plans for Summer Baseball, 1957

Today is the day in which most major league baseball teams open their regular seasons, so let’s take a look at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the organization which sponsored the Bradley Little League, Pony League,  Babe Ruth, and American Legion baseball teams in 1957.

The following article is reprinted from the Lafayette County Democrat, with permission.

– – – – –


The Board of Directors met on Monday, February 11, 1957 at one p. m. at Hamner Implement Company for the purpose of preparing for the coming baseball season, which will include the Little League, Pony League, Babe Ruth and American Legion ball clubs.

The appointed officers and their duties are as follows:  Commissioner, Ralph Hamner; President H. M. Burks; V. Pres, Odell Clary; Sec-Treas., John Coker; Umpire Controller J. W. Camp.

Plate Umpires: Gerald Walding, Marvin McCalman, Billy Barker.

Base Umpires: Herbert Collier, Madison Drake, Jack Jones, Harry Bussey.

Transportation Officers:  Odell Clary, Herman Barnett.

Bus Drivers:  Herbert Collier, Clyde Jackson.

Entertainment:  Thomas Williams, Herman Barnett, J. W. Camp.

Police and Traffic:  Glendon Barnett, Pat Coker, L. G. Middlebrooks, Hulon Mitchell, Madison Drake, James Wilson, Carl Baker.

Food Concessions:  Mrs. John Coker, Mrs. Ralph Hamner, Mrs. L. G. Middlebrooks, Mrs. Lewis Whisenhunt, Mrs. Herman Barnett, Mrs. Thomas Williams.

Drinks:  Ralph Hamner, Hulon Mitchell, Ralph Hamner, Jr., Buck Williams, Merle Gore.

Repairs:  Odell Clary, James Wilson, L. G. Middlebrooks, Madison Drake, Marvin McCalman, Clyde Jackson, John Coker.

Grounds:  Thomas Williams, Glendon Barnett, Pat Coker, Jack Jones, Herman Barnett, J. W. Camp, Billy Barker.

School Property:  H. M. Burks, E. V. Powell, Entire Ground Crew.

Board of Directors:  Ralph Hamner, Thomas Williams, Glendon Barnett, Pat Coker, Jack Jones, Herman Barnett, James Wilson, L. G. Middlebrooks, Horace Burks, John Coker, E. V. Powell, Madison Drake, J. W. Camp, Odell Clary, Harry Bussey, Carl Baker, Lewis Whisenhunt, Hulon Mitchell, Billy Barker, Gerald Walding, Herbert Collier.

At this meeting it was also decided to improve the playing field by leveling the grounds, installing more lights, repairing the bleachers, concession stand, fences, and the property South of the ball field, when leveled and drained will provide a new entrance to the field.  A heavy wire fence will be built along both base lines to protect the spectators.

The Ground Committee voted to bring the following implements to work the grounds.  Plows:  Ralph Hamner, Thomas Williams, and Jack Jones; Land Levelers:  Ralph Hamner and Glendon Barnett; Disk Harrows:  Ralph Hamner, Lewis Whisenhunt, Horace Burks and Pat Coker.

All Board Members agreed to wear ball caps as to Mr. Hamner’s suggestion.

During 1956 a total of 66 boys participated in the program.  In 1957 a total of 100 is expected to participate.

Respectfully Submitted, John R. Coker, Secretary-Treasurer; Merle Gore, Reporter.”

Bradley Chamber of Commerce Banquet, 3-7-09

The Bradley Chamber of Commerce held its 25th (!) annual banquet in the Bradley Elementary School cafeteria this past Saturday, March 7, 2009, with a good crowd present.

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Emcee and auctioneer Richard Estes auctioned off one of this year’s Governor Conway Days T-shirts, as shown by Mollye McCalman, below.

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Also auctioned off was a glass etching donated in memory of the late Jackie Walker.

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The Best Ad for Bradley award was presented by Travis Gore to the Walnut Hill Telephone Company, represented by Mitchell Ham.  Travis holds this year’s Walnut Hill phone directory which has an image of Governor James S. Conway on the cover.

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Fred Harris, below, announced that the Centenarian Award was being given to Mrs. Mariah Mitchell.  Mrs. Mitchell, widow of the late Frank Mitchell, was not able to be present.

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Mollye McCalman presented the Community Service Award to Mickie Gore, shown below with her husband, Travis.

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Governor Conway Days, as always, will be held this year during the last weekend in March, specifically March 27–28, 2009.

Oh, and one last note.  After the banquet had adjourned, my camera caught this bit of nefariousness:

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In the interest of full disclosure, however, I must admit that I walked out with some of those rolls myself!

Bradley Boy Scout Troop No. 72, 1957

In 1957, Bradley had an active Boy Scout Troop (No. 72), which was described in the 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook as follows:

“Highlights of Boy Scout Troop No. 72 during 1957.

Feb-1957.  The Scouts distributed the posters of the Special Clean Up drive sponsored by the B & P W Club.  The Scouts celebrated the 47th Birthday of Scouting in the U S A with an open house and family night dinner at the American Legion Hut.

June-1957.  Seventeen Scouts spent one week in June at Camp Pioneer, near Hatfield, Arkansas.  Two Scouts were inducted into the Order of the Arrow at this Camp.

July-1957.  Two scouts went to the National Jamboree at Valley Forge.

During the year of 1957 a total of 300 Boy days and nights were spent in camping.

Four Scouts advanced to Tenderfoot.  Two Scouts advanced to Second Class.  Two Scouts advanced to First Class.  Two Scouts advanced to Star Scouts.  Mack Jackson advanced to Life Scout.  A total of twenty merit badges were passed.

Thomas Burks and Don Barnett are the two Boy Scouts that attended the National Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge.

The Boy Scouts are sponsored by the American Legion.

Mr. J. M. Drake [shown below] is the Scoutmaster for Troop 72.  He was the assistant Scoutmaster for several years.

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The American Legion Hut [shown below] where the Boy Scouts hold their meetings.”

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The American Legion Hut had fallen into disrepair and was demolished several years ago to make way for the construction of a baseball/softball field.

A previous article on this site has mentioned that George W. Bell was Scoutmaster of Troop No. 72 at one time.  In the early 1960’s, when I was of Scouting age, Glen Ruth was the Scoutmaster.  Perhaps some reader(s) can recall the names and approximate tenures of other Bradley Scoutmasters.

I was one of a very few people who attended the ceremony at the Legion Hut where Mack Jackson was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, so I have personal knowledge that Bradley had at least one Scout to reach the highest rank in Scouting.  Perhaps some reader(s) have knowledge of others to accomplish that feat.

Bradley B. & P. W. Club Officers, 1956

Who were the ladies who compiled the 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook, from which so much material has been shown on this site?  It’s impossible to say for certain, but a reasonably good clue can be found in an article which appeared in the June 14, 1956, edition of the Lafayette County Democrat.  It is reprinted here with permission.


Officers of the Bradley Business and Professional Women’s Club installed are:

Vera Reed, President

Ida Middlebrooks, Rec. Sec.

Susie Lewis, Cor. Sec.

Thomasine Cook, Treasurer

Committee Chairmen:

Ruth Baker, Health & Safety

Mary Sue Baker, Radio & TV

Sigel Allen, National Security

Virginia Faye Cochran and Vesta Powell, Music and Entertainment

Jeanette Templeton, Program Coordinator

Ella Mae Jones, News Service

Margaret Odom, Education & Vocation

Gladys Powell, Finance

Sue Hammond, Int. Relations

Rilla Cochran, Legislation

Lois Drake, Public Affairs

Betty Cochran and LaRita Burks attended Girls State at Little Rock, sponsored by the Club.”

Bradley Fire Department, 1955, 1957

The 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook recognizes the Bradley Volunteer Fire Department for its contributions to the community.  The narrative is as follows:

“The Bradley Fire Department never relaxes it’s [sic] efforts a moment to promote fire protection for our community.

It meets twice a month for a 2 hour instruction course.  Mr. Geo. Bell, the former instructor, resigned in the summer of 1957 to accept the position of District Civil Defense Director….

The Chief, 13 Volunteer Fireman [sic], and the 6 Junior Marshals attended a course in Rescue at Magnolia.  A local inspection to reduce hazards was made, and a class in First Aid was conducted.

The equipment, consisting of 2 pumpers – one with a 450 gal. tank and one with a 600 gal. tank – 425 feet of hose, 2 fog nozzles, 4 five gal. Indian Pack pumps, one 14 foot ladder, 1 fireman’s axe and 4 electric lanterns, are housed in a tile building.   This building also has a kitchen, dining area and office space for the Mayor.  The chief and firemen, their time and services gratis and other expenses, incidental for operation, are underwritten, mainly, by public donations.

The Fire Department and the Town recently purchased a Mobile Unit for emergency use.

Four fire hydrants were installed in the business district in June, 1957.  These hydrants were financed by contributions by the business firms.”

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Below are two pictures taken from the scrapbook, the first of the Fire House and the second of one of the World War II-era fire trucks.

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Below is an image of an Bradley Fire Department record of attendance at drills for the first few months of 1955.

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The names of the members/attendees are as follows:  Carl W. Baker, Rogers Baker, J. W. “Buck” Camp, A. C. Cobb, John R. Coker, F. M. Cochran, Jr., H. G. Collier, T. E. Cason, J. M. Drake, Johnnie Kennedy, L. G. Middlebrooks, Alvin Owens, T. R.  Stampley, J. H. Starling, J. B. Works, and George W. Bell.

Civic Organizations, 1957

The 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook contains a summary of the activities of three of Bradley’s civic organizations at that time, namely the P. T. A., the B. & P. W. Club, and the Rotary Club:


The officers and various committees have worked together year after year to achieve objects of the PTA until now it is a solid, dependable, hard-working organization that is a credit to Bradley.  It has a membership of 242, an increase of 112 members over last year.  This group was one of the 115 membership award winners in Arkansas PTA.

Besides the regular programs, study courses have been held for parents and teachers of the different age groups.  At the meetings Baby-sitters are provided for the children.

The main achievement of the PTA every year is the health program of the school.  A health record of each student in school is kept on file, showing all the information that can be gathered pertaining to the health of each child.

The PTA made a Comic Book survey this year and the Comic Books that were objectionable were removed from the Newstands. 

The PTA Safety Committee has stressed playground safety this year.  The teachers and children have cooperated with the committee to an extent that there is more awareness of the importance of safety, and a number of hazards have been eliminated.

Civil Defense has been stressed in the PTA by having the Civil Defense Co-ordinator from this district speak at one of the regular PTA meetings.  Leaflets on the subject were handed out to members and open discussion was held.

The PTA Lunch Room Committee has emphasized table manners and the importance of a balanced diet by placing colorful posters in the lunchroom, illustrating points needing to be brought out, also the teachers are encouraged to stress diet and manners in the school and to correct students in the lunch-room.

The PTA offered to help plan entertainment for and to chaperone and furnish refreshments for any party the school wishes to sponsor.  The main party of the year was the New Year’s Eve celebration held at the school Gym.  Eighty-eight students were present.

Each year at Commencement exercise, the PTA presents a scholarship award to the Senior who has demonstrated by his grades and other attributes that he has met the qualifications of the PTA Scholarship Award.  This is a cash award of $75.00.

The PTA also presents at Commencement exercises an award to the most outstanding graduate of the year.  This award recognizes the student who might not have made the highest grades in his class, but had other outstanding qualities that merit special attention.  This award is an engraved trophy.

1957 was a very busy year for the P. T. A. Health Committee.  Under its supervision and with the cooperation of the County Health Nurse, 175 children were given the first and second Polio shots in January, February and March.  In April, a pre-school clinic was held and 26 children were given a complete physical examination by a doctor and the nurse; 22 were vaccinated for Small Pox; 8 were given a Tetanus Booster shot and one was given a Polio shot.  A third Polio shot was given to the 175 children.  The entire student body of 365 were given the M. V. test.  288 had good vision and 33 had to have a re-test, which was given in December.  The committee is now following up the re-test.

B. & P. W. CLUB

Bradley’s Business and Professional Women’s Club was organized January 1950 with 18 charter members and now has 34 active members.  The Club participates in all Civic projects in Bradley has won various awards in the State and National Federation for their B&PW work.

Every year at Christmas the club gives a Christmas basket to a needy family.

Each year the club participates in the Mothers March on Polio and a committee from the club served as judges in the Rotarians Christmas Lighting Contest.

The Club’s 1957 main project other than the National Federation’s objectives is sponsoring the Arkansas Power and Light Eighth Annual Achievement Contest.


To the Rotary Club goes much of the credit for the progress made in Bradley for the last 10 years.  Through its efforts, a doctor was brought here but his stay was short, as he was called into the Service.  It is still working on securing another doctor, but, so far, one has not been secured.

The residential street lights were erected under the sponsorship of the Club and, from time [to time], this service is being extended in every direction.  More lights are to be placed in the near future.  Recently, the Club was responsible for raising $100.00 toward the lights already installed.

Each year, this Club sponsors a Christmas program on Main Street the Saturday evening before Christmas.  Carols are sung and Santa arrives to give out candy to the children.  In December, 1957, a Christmas Lighting Contest was promoted by the Club, and prizes were offered to the best arrangement of lights in the residential and business districts.  Much interest was manifested and many pretty light arrangements were seen.

The Club now has a committee making a survey to find out how much interest there is here for bringing in new industry.”

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A few notes:

As to the PTA section:  One wonders how many “newstands” there were in Bradley in 1957 from which comic books were censored.

As to the B&PW Club section:  The “Arkansas Power and Light Eighth Annual Achievement Contest” was, of course, the reason for the compilation of the scrapbook itself.

As to the Rotary Club section:  I believe the reference to the doctor who stayed briefly in Bradley before entering the military is to Dr. Rosendale.  If any readers should have other information, please let me know. 

B. & P. W. Scrapbook, circa 1957

In an earlier post (6/16/08), I mentioned a scrapbook compiled by the Bradley B. & P. W. Club in the late 1950’s, which was once in the Bradley Public Library.  Since the closing of that library several years ago, I have often wondered what happened to it.  Well, Richard Estes has found it.  It is an absolute treasure trove of information about and photographs of Bradley in the late 1950’s.  Many, many future posts on this site will be devoted to that information and those photographs.

The B. & P. W. Club, assisted by some other local organizations, entered Bradley in a statewide “Community Accomplishment Contest” for at least two years, and perhaps more.  The Contest was divided by population range and Bradley was entered in the division of cities with populations up to 1,000.

Inside the front cover of the scrapbook is a certificate which was apparently won in the first year Bradley was in the contest.  It says:


For Outstanding Achievement in the Initiation and Improvement of Community Facilities in

The 1956 Community Accomplishment Contest

Sponsored by

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce

The Arkansas Industrial Development Commission

The Arkansas Power & Light Company,

The City of Bradley is hereby awarded


In its population group.

The sponsors are honored in making this presentation.

[signed with illegible signature], President, The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.”

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A newspaper clipping announces:


The town of Bradley was notified Sunday that they were one of the ten finalists in the 0–1,000 group of the Seventh Annual Community Accomplishment Contest.

The ten finalists are besides Bradley; Cave City, Danville, Gillett, Hampton, Marion, Mount Ida, Prairie Grove, Salem and Sparkman.

The judges started touring the state Monday to visit the towns and inspect first hand the improvements that had been made and Monday about nineteen citizens of Bradley met at Cochran’s Store in Bradley to talk to the three judges, B. S. Hundley of Star City, Charles Leighton of DeQueen and Glenn Zimmerman of North Little Rock.”

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A magazine clipping contains what is apparently meant to be a summary of the improvements made in the Bradley area over the past year:

“Bradley is a small town located in the southern portion of Arkansas having a population of 678 people and has a fire insurance rating of Class 9.

During the past year they paved 23 blocks of town streets.  They have fire fighting equipment consisting of two trucks and their fire department is headed by a chief and 18 men, all of whom are volunteers.  Five of the 18 men are qualified to teach first aid and the town also provides outside fire service.

The American Legion sponsored a Little League Baseball organization which took care of 66 boys during the summer of 1956.  The local citizens working together collected $2,000 for this program.  A new Legion hut has been constructed in Bradley and they have outstanding scout troops.

One new milk plant was installed with ten new bins.  A new cotton warehouse was constructed covering 16,000 square feet.  The Ground Observation Corp.was created and 55 people have completed the course.  The local PTA concentrated most of its efforts on the health program for the community.  They made a health record for every child in school and also gave a trophy for the most outstanding student.  Two girls were sent to Girls’ State.”

The “Ground Observation Corp.” referred to in the preceding paragraph was part of what was then called “Civil Defense,” and which we now call, generically, “Homeland Security.”

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The scrapbook also contains an account, apparently retyped from some newspaper, which indicates the result of that particular year’s contest:


On Nov. 21 [1957, apparently], Mr. Bill Fountain, one of the District Supervisor [sic] for the Eighth Annual Achievement Contest, sponsored by the Ark. Power & Light Co., Arkansas Economic Council and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce was the guest meeting [sic] of the Bradley Rotary Club.

Mr. Fountain, who is from Ark. Power & Light Co., of Little Rock, complimented the town of Bradley very highly on its achievement in the contest last year.  Bradley ranked in the top ten and [sic] said  that the judges were especially impressed with the Little League program, the Civil Defense program and the cooperation of the entire community in the cleanup program.

He also brought out the fact that, while the town is not, as you might put it, strategically situated, yet it is very PROGRESSIVE AND DESERVED COMMENDATION FOR IT.  [upper case letters are in the original article]

Bradley is again registered in the Eighth Annual Contest, with which [sic] ends [sic] December, and is sponsored by the Bradley Business & Professional Women’s club.”

Another article describing what was apparently the same meeting states that it took place at Smith’s Cafe, which was located where Coker Hardware is now.

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Much more of the B. & P. W. scrapbook still to come….