Monday, April 11, 2011

M Is For Mena


It's time again for ABC Wednesday. If you aren't participating in ABC Wednesday, you are missing out on a lot of fun.

This week the letter is M. M is for Mena, Arkansas. I have liven in Mena for 30 years now. My wife and I moved to Mena from Colorado in April of 1981 and have made our home here ever since. We drove from Colorado to Mena in this 1967 Toyota Stout Pickup that I had custom painted to show my patriotism.

My 1967 Toyota Stout

The history of Mena begins in the last decade of the 19th century. In 1895, Arthur Stilwell sent railroad scouts to the Ouachita Mountains. The men were to scout the area and lay out the best path for the soon to be built railroad, which was to run from Kansas City to the Gulf coast.

When the surveyors came there was very little cleared land. The area purchased for the future townsite of Mena was a farm owned jointly by Dr. G.G. Baker and R.S. Owens of Old Dallas. The two men sold it to the Townsite company for $5,000.

It was Stilwell who decided Mena would be the name of this new town along the route to Port Arthur, Texas. He named the town in honor of his friend Jan DeGeoijen's wife, Mena.

It was Mena's father for whom Janssen Park was named. Janssen Park is still a focal point of Mena, and many community events including Relay For Life are held there.

Janssen Park In Spring 3

Relay For Life Banner

Mena became an official town on August 19, 1896. The town fathers chose the official coming of the first railroad passenger car as the town's birthday.

The most historical building in Mena is the old log cabin in Janssen Park. Built eight years before the Civil War, this hand-hewn cabin was constructed by William Shelton, a crippled veteran of the Mexican War, for his home.

Log Cabin circa 1851

Throughout the years, with little physical change, it has served as a home, hospital, inn, a club house, civic center, a museum , and for a time, as the City Hall of Mena. It was thirty-one years old before a title grant was obtained for the land. During those years before 1882, it was just another "squatter's cabin".

In 1906, the cabin, together with four city blocks surrounding it, was donated to the City of Mena by Arthur Stilwell and his associates. They were so charmed with its natural setting, and so vocal in their admiration, that it inspired the local people to develop the park.

Beautiful View

I have really enjoyed the last 30 years that I have spent in this beautiful area. The Ouachita mountain views are spectacular, and there is a quiet beauty here in every season of the year.

Winter View

Spring In Mena 31

Field of Flowers in Mena Arkansas

Polk County Library

Moving to Mena is a decision that I have never regretted. I love this area!


  1. I really enjoyed your post on Mena, and learned a lot. Your all-season photos are lovely.

  2. '67! impressive - how many miles?
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  3. What a beautiful post and fantastic photos for the M Day, Richie! Really enjoyed reading about Mena and its history! Hope your week is going well!

    ABC Team

  4. Wow. I love the truck and the patriotism. I love the history, the cabin (built by a crippled, and those incredible vistas! You are doing a terrific PR job! I'm ready to move on down (except of course work, family...)

    Great post.

  5. A beautiful place. The truck is super neat! Looks like a wonderful place to live.

  6. Beautiful place with interesting history. Images are superb.

  7. MEna has a magnificent landscape I love your pictures, the red tree is awesome!
    I also like the fashion Toyota!
    Léia - Bonjour Luxembourg

  8. thanks for sharing photos and history of your area. It is a beautiful place. You've got me curious as to why Mr. Stillwill decided to name it after his friend's wife. I hope he didn't have a wife. :-)

  9. Lovely photos! I've been through Arkansas many times, but I've never been to Mena. Looks like I've missed out on some really beautiful country!

    Thanks for visiting my blog
    ~ Joy @ Joysweb

  10. The pictures are all very colorful i love it, springy

  11. Nice pick for letter M! Beautiful captures too!

    My Letter M, hope you can come and see. Have a great Wednesday!

  12. What a beautiful place - looks like you get all four seasons, too! Love your truck in its patriotic colours. :D

    abcw team

  13. I am not usually a fan of through-the-alphabet posts, but thanks for all I learned about Mena, Arkansas, today!