Fayetteville Then and Now

If you haven’t visited Fayetteville in a while, you’ll notice a few things have changed. Most of the best things about Fayetteville, of course, remain even if some have had to evolve.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Brenda’s Bigger Burger, providing the closest off-campus fast food, was torn down in 2015.

Bates Elementary, which was southeast of the high school, was torn down to make way for expansion of the high school.

The 71 and 62 Drive-ins were replaced by Walmarts at different points in time. Meanwhile, the 112 Drive-in opened to continue offering carloads of high school students a cheap way to watch movies.

Bell-Bottom Jeans occasionally return to world of fashion, but you won’t see too many in Fayetteville today.

The University Museum is in mothballs today. The collection — including the mammoth-sized clam shell, mineral collection and plaster triceratops — remains housed at the Arkansas Archeological Survey, but there is no museum to visit.

Lewis Brothers Hardware is no longer in business, but the building in which it resided still stands on the Square and is the Bank of Fayetteville.

Altered States

Fayetteville High School is probably the biggest alteration you’ll see when you visit. Parts of the old high school exist under the fabric of the new building, but most of it no longer exists, including the gymnasium, the cafeteria, the tennis courts, and the loading dock where the smokers hung out. The high school includes ninth-grade students now.

Bulldog Stadium is still at Harmon Playfield, but the hometown crowd sits in the west stands now, and they are significantly enlarged from our days. The track around the field has also been reduced to a practice track, and the main track for high school athletes is next to Ramay Junior High now.

Sixth Street, which ran along the south side of the high school block, is now called Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The Ozark Theatre, the movie theatre on College Avenue, is no longer a theatre but was converted into private offices. Malco Theaters consolidated all of Fayetteville’s movie theaters into the Razorback multiplex near the intersection of Joyce Street and Steele Boulevard.

The Boys and Girls Club has moved from the site north of Bulldog Stadium to much larger facilities on the west side of town.

Ramay and Woodland Junior Highs are still going strong, although today, they serve just the 7th and 8th grade students. The school district has added middle schools that take 5th and 6th grade students, while the elementary schools take K-5.

Jefferson Elementary is no longer an elementary school, but the school district continues to use it for adult education and other programs.

King Pizza was sold at some point and then disappeared for a long period, but then the next generation, including our classmate Regina Strong, brought the pizzeria back as Ye Olde King Pizza. The great taste and square-cut slices are still the same if not better. It’s at 3162 West Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Restaurant on the Corner, a mainstay on Dickson Street for years moved to the old Hush Puppy Restaurant out on the north end of Garland Avenue in the 1990s. The menu is nearly the same though.

The University of Arkansas has been growing new buildings like weeds, so a lot of the campus will feel like a new wilderness if you haven’t visited recently. Old Main, however, remains a beacon on the hill.

The Hilton Hotel downtown is now called the Chancellor. It got a pretty thorough renovation just a couple of years ago, so check out the restaurant and bar on the first floor.

Parking is still hard to find, and now you pay for parking spots in most of downtown during the peak periods in the evenings. Pay attention to the parking number of your spot and pay via meters at most street intersections.

The Old Post Office on the Square closed as a restaurant in the late 1990s and went through a series of other cafe and restaurant names before being sold. Today it’s back to being a restaurant.

The Northwest Arkansas Mall is significantly bigger than it was when we were in high school and most of the shops’ names have changed, but you’ll still find Sears, JC Penney and Dillards as the anchor stores.

Still Here After All the Years

Hugo’s restaurant on Block Street still serves great food and has the best atmosphere in town, although like all restaurants in Fayetteville, it is smoke-free now, so the atmosphere might not be quite like you remembered it.

Wilson Park is surprisingly very similar to its essence in 1976. There is a walking path around the perimeter. The pool has a better concession area. The merry-go-round finally rusted enough to become a danger beyond its inherent ability to sling children into one another and it was removed. Otherwise, it’s nearly the same.

Farmers Market still goes strong on the Square from March into November. Along with a Saturday market, you’ll find farmers selling produce on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

More?

Send us a note at FayettevilleClassof76@gmail.com if you’re curious about the status of a favorite place from the 1970s. We’ll see what we can find out.

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