By RAYMOND W. TOLER

I ran across this old snapshot of Searcy from the 1930s that appeared to be almost too small [2 x 1 inches original size] and too fuzzy to reproduce but might have historical value. The large white house at left is the Oliver home, which still exists, at 605 North Spring. The Steward home, which is gone today, is visible down the street above the heads of the boys. It was built by L.J. Steward, who was county sheriff from 1910 to 1916. The dark building at right is the Simpson home, on the northeast corner of Spring and Academy. Beside it is a plank bridge on Academy Street. Both streets are gravel. I remember one summer the city closed off Spring Street and deposited paper bags filled with a dry chemical on a grid pattern, spacing them about four or five feet apart, north to south and east to west. Next, workmen cut open the bags and dumped the chemical on the street. Then a motor patrol (road grader) went up and down the street – not with a blade but using large fork-like tines. The process continued until the chemical was thoroughly mixed in with the dirt and gravel. As a resident of Spring Street, I sought out the foreman and inquired as to just what the heck was going on. He must have known I was Dr. and Mrs. Toler’s son because he very patiently explained that the chemical would draw moisture from the air making for a dustless street. Years later as I was studying chemistry at the University of Arkansas I remembered the incident. The chemical was probably calcium chloride. In the photo the tall boy standing is Gerald Onstadt (or Onstatt). His brother is standing next to him. His name escapes me. They lived in a small apartment with their mother in the large Patterson house on the southwest corner of Spring and Vine streets, directly behind the Rialto Theatre. She was a beautician. The pole by the fireplug carried streetlight and other electrical wires. We would shake the guy wire vigorously and make the street light flicker. I posed the five boys and took the photo in front of my home at 510 North Spring (the house is still there). Albert Yarnell thinks one of the boys could be Bobby or Billy Rogers. I wish I could identify the others but it has been more than 70 years ago! vvv