Black Oak Mayor Eddie Dunigan is transforming a building with a painted mural near Highway 135, into the site of Black Oak’s first museum.
“We have the band Black Oak Arkansas, Jim Mangrum, or Jim Dandy, the lead singer from Black Oak,” says Mayor Eddie Dunigan. “Author John Grisham. Author of A Painted House about Black Oak. We weren’t capitalizing on that, in any way or any form.”
The museum will highlight Black Oak’s golden days, when logging, railroad and cotton industries were booming.
“Mexican nationals were brought in to pick…and people from the hills would come and pick cotton,” Dunigan adds. “And our Saturday nights you couldn’t walk up and down the sidewalks of Black Oak because of the crowd of people.”
The Black Oak Museum will also share similarities with the Buffalo Island Museum in Monette. The Buffalo Island Museum features hundreds of artifacts. Many dating to the 1900’s and even 1800’s. Telling of the agriculture and industrial history of the Buffalo Island District.
The antique piano, mobile post office and more, are donations. Monette mayor Jerry Qualls is happy to give them to the Black Oak Museum as it kicks off the ground.
“You can look at some of the pictures we’ve seen…and some of the roadways. This was all under water and timber,” says Jerry Qualls, who is the mayor of Monette. “So we’ve got a few historic things like that. People are surprised when they come in here and see what we have.”
Mayor Dunigan is counting on Black Oaks’ history to fire up interests in tourism and bring businesses to the town of less than three hundred people.
The Black Oak Museum is anticipated to open to the public next September.