I blogged earlier about the slow travel movement, encouraging people to enjoy their travels more by walking rather than running, spending time studying one place rather than rushing to see as many towns as possible while traveling. I suggested that one great thing to do while slow traveling would be to get a haircut and spend time talking with the hairdresser or barber about their town and their life.
We where so happy this week to hear that Steve Shults, our former county sheriff, former Arkansas state trooper, and current teacher at the law enforcement academy at the local Black River Technical College, has purchased the old Sanitary Barbershop on the town square in Pocahontas. Steve is a lover of local history, and the Sanitary Barbershop is the oldest barbershop in Arkansas, having been in business in the same place on the town square since the 1880’s.
The barbershop is a block from The Lesmeister Guesthouse, on the same street, and is just across the town square from The St. Charles.
When Steve heard that the shop’s owner, Hugh Hightower, had recently decided to retire and close the shop after 130+ years, Steve stepped forward and bought the building and the business. He’s brought in a new barber and he plans to fill the old shop with memorabilia of the shop’s barbering history. He’s even looking for a shoe shine stand to put back in the corner of the shop that used to hold Mabel Johnson’s shoe shine stand.
I stopped by today and welcomed the new barber to Pocahontas and to downtown. Seems like a really nice guy and I’ll probably start getting my haircuts there. I just hope they can find an old Coke machine that dispenses “shorty” bottles of Coke, set to the perfect temperature that causes ice slush to form in the bottle when it’s opened, the way it was at the Sanitary Barbershop when I was a child in the 1960’s!