As older Arkansans fondly recall, Lum and Abner were the lovable radio characters created by two young comedians from Mena, Chester (Chet) Lauck and Norris Goff. The two fictional old codgers operated the “Jot ’Em Down Store” in an equally fictional Arkansas mountain hamlet called Pine Ridge. From 1930 to 1955 millions of fans laughed at their antics as the show was broadcast over four major radio networks and, during World War II, over Armed Forces Radio. During the 1940s, the popular pair made six movies. In 1936 the citizens of the small community of Waters changed the town’s name to Pine Ridge since several of the show’s comic characters (all played by Lauck and Goff) were composites of people from Waters and nearby Mena. Established in the 1970s and housing Lum and Abner memorabilia, the museum building consists of two connected prototypical early-twentieth-century rural general stores. They are frame one-story structures with gabled metal roofs hidden by stepped false fronts, double-door entrances, and full-width front porches with shed roofs. The larger store, on its original site, was the J. R. Huddleston General Merchandise Store, operating from 1912 to 1962. Dick Huddleston, the proprietor, was a character on the program and later became an entertainer himself, traveling the country with a show called “The Pine Ridge Follies.” Since the 1930s the store has at various times housed the Pine Ridge post office, as it does today. The smaller store was the A. A. McKinzie General Store, which was moved from across the highway in 1972 to become part of the museum. These two store buildings, once familiar sights in rural America, are all that remain of the community of Waters/Pine Ridge, which, like countless crossroad commercial centers, vanished after paved highways and dependable automobile transportation rendered them obsolete.
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Lum and Abner Jot ’Em Down Store and Museum, and Pine Ridge Post Office (Huddleston Store and McKinzie Store)
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