Saturday, January 28, 2017

Norman, Ark., used to be Womble

Norman is in Montgomery, in west central Arkansas. Ouachita National Forest surrounds the town. Norman sits on the northern bank of the Caddo River.

Norman’s peak population was 552, in 1910. The closest the town has come to that population was in 1980, when the census showed 539 residents. The 2000 population was 423. In the next 10 years, the population declined by 10.6%, to 378. Estimated 2015 population was 359. Demographics show a white population of around 95%. About 21% of families and 29% of the total population is below the federal poverty line.

At the southern end of town is a Caddo burial ground, “discovered by city officials, led by then-mayor Duane Cox, who protected it with a wooden fence. Recently, descendants of the Caddo added to the site a footpath and benches as well as plaques containing historical information regarding the living habits of Native Americans.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman,_Arkansas

As might be expected in a town surrounded by thick forest, “Norman’s early fortunes were tied to the lumber industry. However, by the 1930s, most of the prime timber in the area had been cut, and the mills began to move elsewhere.”

http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2584

Trees all gone, no reason for mills to stay. A common occurrence in the 19th century. Lumber and railroads were tied together, with transportation needed for logs, and railroads in need of things to carry. In other parts of Arkansas these days, you will still find lumber mills and leading in and out of the mills are rail lines with cars filled with cut and planed planks and studs and beams.

A Facebook site titled “Things to do in Norman, Arkansas” links to The Original Caddo CafĂ©, but if you go there you will find “Closed Now.”

A few miles east of Norman is Alamo, listed as “a populated place within the township of Alamo” by

http://arkansas.hometownlocator.com/ar/montgomery/alamo.cfm

Alamo’s July 1, 2016, population was 172. The town had 89 housing units, with 24 vacant.





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