Welcome! Here’s What’s New With Us!

Welcome to the online gathering space for the McElroy House: Organization for Folklife, Oral History, and Community Action.

If this is your first time to hear about us, we thank you so much for your interest!  Or maybe you heard about our plans for the Center which began back in 2009.  This blog will bring you up to date and, we hope, encourage you to join us!

Back in 2008 when our plans for the center were first approved by the Dardanelle City Planning Commission, our goals were to provide a hub where youth could learn from their elders and diverse members of the community could come together to share living cultural traditions, swap and discuss ideas and concerns, and document and study oral history and community life in the Yell and Pope County areas of central Arkansas.

(Tres Leche Cake from La Popular in Dardanelle, Arkansas)

In the past few years we’ve been talking to people who have created similar organizations in various areas across the nation and, most importantly, we’ve been listening to the voices in the community, hearing what others have to say about how the center can best serve the community as a whole.  There’s so many people we have yet to speak with, and we hope creating an online presence will help facilitate more conversations.

We’ve been rather slow in getting off the ground, in part because we’ve been holding on to the idea that we needed to have the house itself ready before we could start working on some of the community projects we have planned.  And while we’ve been doing similar research work for a while now, we thought we needed the building in place before we could engage in larger projects and partnerships. For a variety of reasons, however, it could be some time before the building is ready for use as a center.

(Future Home of the McElroy House and Garden)

So after much thought and some wise words from one of our organizations members, we’ve decided  we don’t have to wait on the building to begin the work.  Let the house come when it may.  It will be a nice addition but it’s not necessary.  After all, our work is out in the community—-in the homes, community buildings, schools, senior centers, fellowship halls, barber shops, and panadarias—-any place where people gather together.

We’re still going to call our organization The McElroy House because the inspiration for the organization remains the same (see post above) and someday the housewill be ready and it can serve as a hub for all the work that proceeds it.  We’re really excited about our big plans for an onsite garden and the small parking lot that will conserve water for use in the garden.  We want the building to be an extension of our core ideas and be as sustainable as possible, not to mention historic.  But we don’t need a building to work with people, document stories, work toward preserving living traditions, and envision the future of our home.

(Decoration Days at Harkey’s Valley Cemetery.  Photo by Bryan Moats)

So this blog will keep you up to date on all our goings ons and provide information about ways to get involved no matter where you live. We’ll be letting you know about our decisions on non-profit status, possible membership models, and a host of other participatory funding options ( Of course, if you’re interested in the project and want to help out, we’ll glady take your good, old-fashioned philanthropy!).  We will also keep you up to date on current conversations and projects.  And we want to hear your ideas and suggestions!haha.

More to come in future days.  Check back often! 

If you want to read our mission statement and see information about future plans and current projects, visit our “about” and “current projects” links.


Meredith Martin-Moats

P.S. As I mentioned above, we’ve already been doing research and community work for a while now, including the Seed and the Story column published every other week in the Post Dispatch and various discussions about folklife, sustainability, social justice found at the Boiled Down Juice Blog.  You can also  “like” the blog on facebook and follow us that way.  There will be a lot of crossover on these pages, but you can come to this page specifically for things related to our progress and goings on at the organization.

Thanks again for stopping by!


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