A Landing a Day

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Atkins, Arkansas

Posted by graywacke on May 20, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a twice-a-week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2014; A Landing A Day blog post number 432.

Dan –  Well, 2/3 isn’t that special, but I’ll take it with this USer landing in . . . AR; 28/35; 3/10; 4; 152.8.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 rus landing 1

My closer-in landing map shows many small towns:

 rus landing 2

Russellville is by far the largest (pop 28,000).  In distant second place is Atkins (pop 2,900), followed by Dover (1,300).    Jerusalem, Hattieville, Blackwell, Moreland, Hector and Scotsville are simply crossroads; not really towns at all.  As you can see by the post title, little ol’ Atkins gets the nod, thanks to pickles (more about this, of course).

 My GE shot shows that I landed in the woods, but nearby are cleared areas with long thin buildings:

 rus ge 1

I’ve seen similar long thin buildings before.  Likely chicken coops  . . .

 I backed way out for this GE shot, which shows mixed woods & agriculture, for the most part.  I’ll be taking a closer look at the wooded area further north in a while:

 rus ge 2

I landed in the watershed of the North Branch of Point Remove Creek; on to the Point Remove Ck; on to the Arkansas R (110th hit); on to the MM (792nd hit).  Hmmmm – “Point Remove” is certainly an interesting name that deserves a little research.

 After reading an on-line article from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture (encyclopediaofarkansas.net), I have gathered that the confluence of Point Remove Creek and the Arkansas River was used as the initial point for the legal description of the extent of Cherokee lands based on a treaty in 1817.  The confluence marked the beginning of the “Cherokee Boundary Line” that served as the eastern border of the land set aside for the Cherokee.

 I hate to say it, but the article is less than clear about the name origins.  It seems to imply that when the Indians were given the boot and shipped out west to Oklahoma (as yet one more Indian treaty was tossed into the wastebasket of history), the point on the map that marked the beginning of the Cherokee Boundary Line was removed:  i.e., “Point Remove.”  Pretty wild explanation if true.

 An alternate explanation is also presented (now quoting with minor editing):

In his book Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory during the year 1819, naturalist Thomas Nuttall identifies the location as “Point Remu,” perhaps indicating that the name was a corruption of the French term for “eddy” or “whirlpool.” [The French term is “remous,” and as all of us takers of high school French know, the “s” is silent.]  William Lovely used the term “Point Remove” in a public document in 1813, where the point was designated as the southeastern corner of the Arkansas Cherokee reservation.

 Well, the latter explanation seems to hold sway, given the dates (Point Remove designated as the corner of the reservation in 1813, before the treaty was signed) and the fact that it seems unlikely that a geographic name would be based on erasing a point (and a line) from a map . . .

Anyway, here’s a GE Panoramio shot of an abandoned bridge over the Point Remove Creek, near its confluence with the Arkansas (that is, right near Point Remu), by tr4driver:

rus pano by tr4driver  point remove ck near confluence

 Moving right along, it seems as though Atkins has quite the connection with pickles.  From Wiki:

In 1945, the Goldsmith Pickle Company invested $75,000 to build a pickle plant in town; townspeople raised an additional $15,000 to build and equip the plant. What became the Atkins Pickle Company sustained the local economy for more than half a century. The poultry industry has played a role as well. Many people around town built broiler houses to serve a number of poultry-processing plants, one of which went into operation in the vacant pickle plant in 2004.

I left in the part about the chickens, to verify my speculation about the long skinny buildings in my GE shot.  Anyway, this is town that pickles built.  But there’s more . . .

From the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture from an article by Gearld David Austin, son of the famous “Fatman:”

In 1960, Bernell “Fatman” Austin (born on February 26,1921) leased a parcel of land east of Atkins (Pope County) from Griffin Oil Co. for ten dollars a month and began building a drive-in restaurant. The Duchess Drive In, a small pink building, opened for business in April 1960, just across the highway from Atkins Pickle Plant, the pickle capital of Arkansas. As business increased, with U.S. 64 being the main road to Little Rock (Pulaski County), Austin started toying with the idea of a gimmick to attract additional business.

The first fried dill pickles ever sold anywhere were sold in the summer of 1963 at fifteen cents for an order of fifteen slices. They still did not taste or look just as Austin had hoped, so he continued to research and develop his idea of the perfect product.

By late summer, he had perfected the pickle to what it is today: a large pickle sliced lengthwise and breaded in the family’s secret recipe, then deep-fried to a golden texture. Soon, the fried dill pickle was known for miles in every direction. As the fried dill pickle gained popularity, many other restaurants, especially in the South, began to copy Austin’s creation, using the hamburger-sliced pickle, but to this day, none have been able to copy his secret breading.

I also stumbled on an article about fried pickles from the Weekender, a free Sioux City IA newspaper, from an article by Earl Horlyk:


Derek Lochner is happily getting his full-on, deep-fried freak-on.

“C’mon, everything tastes better after it’s been swimming in grease,” he said with a smile.

At Lochner’s The House of Q (2520 Transit Ave.), patrons can chow down on such grease-kissed munchables as deep-fried okra, jalapenos, even mac and cheese.

“The only thing I didn’t like was the deep-fried cornbread,” a House of Q waitress interjected. “Other than that, Derek will pretty much deep fry anything.”

But the most popular fried appetizer on the House of Q’s menu are its deep-fried pickles.

Greasy greens

Legend has it that fried pickles — simply put, a sliced pickle that’s been battered and deep-fried — was popularized by Bernell “Fatman” Austin at his Atkins, Arkansas, drive-in in 1963.

A food commonly found at fairs in the South and Midwest, deep-fried pickles were something that Lochner knew he wanted to put on the menu ever since he set up shop in Morningside in 2010.

“It took a while to get the hang of things,” he admitted, “but I think I’ve perfected our recipe.”

The recipe begins with a homemade batter that’s made with beer and a bunch of special seasoning. The trick comes in dabbing the pickle free of moisture with a paper towel. Then, dunk it into a deep-fried bath.

“That way, the batter really adheres to the pickle,” Lochner noted.  “A plate of deep-fried spears is practically a meal all itself,” he said, snacking on one of his creations. “And the perfect dip is with our homemade chipotle ranch dressing.”

Searching Google images for fried pickles, one can see hundreds of similar-looking photos, but one stood out, from the Sweet Life website by food blogger Vianney Rodrigues, who’s motto is:  “Join me as I celebrate Life, Food and Familia all from the Sweet State of Texas.”  Click HERE to check out her fried pickle recipe (and peruse the rest of her site while you’re there).  Anyway, here’s the most appetizing photo of fried pickles that I could find:


 Way back, I mentioned the woodsy area north of my landing.  It turns out to be a land of waterfalls.  I’ll close with some great waterfall shots, all from GE Panoramio.  First, this one of Sugartree Grotto by MooreMonkeys:

mooremonkeys sugartree grotto

I’ll close with three shots by Zack Andrews.  First, this of Whiskey Chute Falls:

zack andrews whiskey chute falls

Then, this of Schoolhouse Falls:

zack andrews schoolhouse falls

And finally, this of Ursa Falls:

 zack andrews ursa falls

 That’ll do it.



© 2013 A Landing A Day

One Response to “Atkins, Arkansas”

  1. spagets said

    I love pickles but not sure about fried ones but I just might check out that recipe you posted, sorry I am a little behind on your posts.

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