Old Abandoned Church In The Ozarks – Jacki Kellum Watercolor – The Old Rugged Cross

“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross….”

A couple of weeks ago, I went out to the site where Dogpatch USA formerly was–near Harrison, Arkansas, in the heart of the Ozarks. Dogpatch is no longer open to the public, but I talked the management into allowing me entry–just to take pictures. It was a brutally hot day in July, and “the powers” allowed me safe passage–car, camera, and all. I photographed one old, forgotten fortress after another until I came upon this ancient, abandoned church building. perched on a summit. When I saw this old missionary, my heart raced. The lyrics to The Old Rugged Cross kept swimming through my mind –– On A Hill Far Away Stood An Old Rugged Cross.……

Old Abandoned Church In The Ozarks

Jacki Kellum Watercolor

Today, I painted that Old Rugged Cross. Thank you, God, for bringing me home.

“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
‘Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown”

I have recently moved from the East Coast in New Jersey, and my early New Year’s Resolution is to visit every one of the breathtaking spectacles that are in reasonably close proximity to my new home in Harrison, Arkansas, which is in the Ozark Mountains, and then to paint them. The former Dogpatch USA was a theme park that is 9.4 miles from my new home.

Authentic Old Wooden House at Dogpatch USA near Harrison, Arkansas
iPhone Photo Taken by Jacki Kellum
Copyright July of 2018

Although Dogpatch was a commercial venture, it was filled with numerous authentic, old Ozark buildings that were moved to the park from their original locations. I cannot say that I am a theme park aficionado, but I love everything about old, abandoned buildings, and the Ozarks is still brimming with those. For the most part, they still bloom where they were planted.

Abandoned Farmhouse in the Ozark Mountains on the Gravel Road to Hawk’s Bill Crag – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

What Is Dogpatch USA?

“Dogpatch USA was a former theme park located in northwest Arkansas along State Highway 7 between the cities of Harrison and Jasper, an area known today as Marble Falls. It was opened in 1968, and was based on the comic strip Li’l Abner, created by cartoonist Al Capp and set in a fictional village called Dogpatch. The property that comprised Dogpatch USA was leased in late 2017 to Heritage USA, Inc. and is being renovated to become the site of production and broadcast studios, and an RV park, hotel, theater and theme park. The new park is named Heritage USA Ozarks Resort at Historic Dogpatch, and is currently open while undergoing renovations.[1]

“Dogpatch USA was a commercial success in its early years. Investors tried to parlay that success into a sister park, “Marble Falls,” planned with a ski resort and convention center. The venture failed and led to the park’s closure in 1993. The property fell into disrepair. In August 2014, the park was purchased by Bud Pelsor and a business partner, who announced plans to restore the park and eventually re-open it.[2] Beginning in December 2014, Pelsor opened the park to visitors for several events; these were the first occasions on which the park was open to visitors since its 1993 closing.[3][4] In March 2016, Pelsor’s business partner wanted to sell his share of the park, so the park was put up for sale again; however, Pelsor said he would be happy to maintain half-ownership in the park and sell the other half to a new business partner.[5]” Wikipedia


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