Hope Star from Hope, Arkansas on September 20, 1974 · Page 9
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Hope Star from Hope, Arkansas · Page 9

Hope, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Friday, September 20, 1974
Page 9
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Friday* September 20, 1ftt HOPE (AtttO STAR page /Vine •tate buys Goodlett gin. to move it to Washington %i ' ^~,j * Goodletts paid *5,000; 1956photos show in operation last steam-driven gin 89-year-old gin to be a tourist attraction ByALEXH.WASHBURN Editor of The Star The historic Goodlett cotton gin at Goodlett, Ark., the last steampowered gin in the United States, has been sold to the State Department of Parks and Tourism and will be moved to Old Washington Historic State Park and placed in operation there as a tourist attraction. The property was owned by Mrs. Kate Goodlett and Sons, the latter being Sloman and Robert, of Ozan, and Reese, of Hot Springs. The move to preserve the ancient gin was triggered by your editor. Having heard that out-of-state interests had approached the Goodlett family with a proposal to buy and relocate the gin as a museum of Southern life. I discovered the family's asking price was $5,000, and obtained from Sloman Goodlet a promise that the home folks would be given preference in any sale. I then took the proposal to the State Department of Parks and Tourism, suggesting that if it wasn't feasible for the state to make the purchase now The Star would launch a public subscription campaign to close the deal, to which I would contribute $1,000 personally. Fortunately the state moved in and bought the old gin, delivering its $5,000 check to Sloman, spokesman for the Goodlett family. The check having been cashed earlier, we posed Danny Rankin, superintendent of Pioneer Old Washington State Park, handing a symbolic cneck to Sloman Goodlett in the park headquarters at Washington. Superintendent Rankin, observing that the Goodlett gin is world famous, said its relocation in Washington would be made shortly, and the gin then would be placed in operation for tourists to see how the South used to gin cotton with a wood-fed steam engine furnishing the power. Your editor had a special interest in the Goodlett gin, for I photographed it while still in operation 18 years ago—the pictures to the right of this report having appeared originally, in The Star of Oct. 16, 1956. The pictures shortly afterward were republished by the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Kelly Bryant, Secretary of State, a native of Hempstead county, gave great help in the negotiations which led to the rescue of this invaluable Southern treasure. The idea was to make the relocated gin a working machine in Washington State Park—but it costs money to run a gin. Kelly Bryant came up with an idea: He found a manufacturer equipped to turn put miniature imitation cotton bales measuring 5V2x3Vfex2y,, inches, which <couldibe.sold.to(tourists-.as souvenirs at $1 apiece producing enough profit to keep the gin running when tourists are on hand. This was of importance equal to the taks of financing the purchase and relocation of the gin itself—for it means that the gin exhibit should be self-sustaining, relieving the State Department of Parks and Tourism of any extra burden. We photographed the miniature bale, and are reproducing the picture in this column. DANNY RANKIN, superintendent of Pioneer Old Washington State Park, left, tenders the $5,000 check to Sloman Goodlett—a pose recreated for today's Star, the official State Department of Parks and Tourism check having been received and cashed somewhat earlier. HERE IS A PICTURE of the miniature cotton bale developed by Secretary of State Kelly Bryant, Hempstead county native, which will be sold to tourists as a souvenir at $1 apiece-tne profit going to maintain operation of the Gwdlett gin when it is relocated at Washington and run for the benefit of park visitors. The miniature bale measures S^xSVaxZ^ inches. The Pictures TOP LEFT—The Goodlett Gin on Highway 4 north of Ozan in the Goodlett community, photographed Oct. 9, 1956, by A.H. Washburn. The gin has been operating continuously since 1886—70 years. „. , , , TOP RIGHT—Louis Stuart, fireman and head man in the engine room, throws another log on the fire. His head of steam is 110 pounds. The safety value is set at 120. MIDDLE LEFT—This steam engine has run the gin for 58 years. Its name plate bears the legend: Atlas Engine Works, Indianapolis, Ind. Note that the engine is powering the belt on its left wheel, which is running the gin. At the end of the ginning season this belt is taken off, another belt is placed on the right wheel-and then the Rin staff are in the business of grinding sorghum cane. The old engine never missed a beat until two years ago when new rings and other repair items had to be installed by the Nashville foundry. BOTTOM LEFT—Bob Stuart supervises the gin, which is on the second floor directly over the engine. This is a Munger Double Rib Huller Gin. BOTTOM RIGHT—This is the beginning of the gin operation. M.C. May of Ozan Route One has driven his truck under the suction pipe and his cotton is going up the chute. Local schools receive complimentary letters The Story From Hope Star of October 16, 1956 The gin was built in 1885 by David Goodlett, better known as Captain Dave. It is now owned by Mrs. Kate Goodlett & Sons. The operating staff, besides Sloman Goodlett, are: Louis Stuart, Bob Stuart, Charles Swift, and George Ross as extra man. According to the Goodlett family it is the only complete steam-driven gin now operating in the South. Over the 70 years of its existence it has averaged 600 bales a year. In 1955 its total was 900 bales—and up to noon of Tuesday, Oct. 9, when these pictures were taken, it had ginned 610 bales of 1956 cotton. The gin handles a bale in exactly 30 minutes. And the average time-out for breakdowns during the ginning season also is just 30 minutes. With home-grown wood for fuel, and farm help for a staff, the Goodlett Gin looked to The Star's editor to be the next thing to perpetual motion. About the only thing they have to buy, apparently, is lubricating oil for the engine, and sacking and steel bands for the bales. But we are only joking. When something turns up in the cotton, gins have trouble—and foundry work is expensive. Nevertheless, this old steam gin at Goodlett obviously has one of the best operating records in all the realm of King Cotton. The Board of Education and personnel of the Hope Public Schools have received complimentary letters from LeRoy Pennington, coordinator of Guidance Services of the Arkansas State Department of Education. Mr. Pennington expresses pleasure for the improvements in providing accommodations for counselors at the junior and senior high school and for the concern the Board and staff has shown in meeting student needs in the area of career planning, counseling and general pre- paration for life. The arrangement of the library in conjunction with the guidance center is mentioned as being an excellent arrangement. Mr. Pennington slates, "I seldom find as much planning and understanding of and for a program as is demonstrated in this instance." The Board of Education sponsored recently a ren- novation of the old gym and a nearby classroom into a modern library and counseling center. BSD administrator named LITTLE RUCK (AH) - Gov. Dale Bumpers named Henry L. McHenry, 40, of Little Rock acting administrator of the state Employment Security Division Thursday. He will replace J. Merle Ivemley, who has resigned effective Oct. 1. McHenry is an employe of the federal Labor Department assigned to the state under provisions of the Intergovern- meni Personnel Exchange Act. McHenry's federal assignment is with the Arkansas Manpower Council's Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program. —Attend Church Sunday.

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