Friday, September 26, 2008


Grannis Soccer Field Construction
In the spring of nineteen hundred and seventy nine, a line of storms extend from about Dallas Texas, to the North East near Russelleville Arkansas. A fast moving cold front was over flowing warm moist gulf coast air that was being pumped up into the Ouachita Mountains by a slow moving low pressure system. Polk County was going to get some weather. The local radio station was talking about the approaching weather. Police officers on patrol were sending in regular reports as well. The Polk County Police communications dispatcher acted as a clearing house for the reports, for local emergency preparedness officials. Then a Deputy Sheriff in the South end of the County reported seeing a funnel cloud. You could hear the apprehension in his voice as he reported over the radio that he had ran his car up next to a cut bank for protection from the storm. Quiet followed, making the dispatcher nervously call to him over the radio. After a short time the Deputy Sheriff answered. The twister had turned his patrol unit around in the highway and put trees on the ground nearby.
His reports were the first to reach Mena about the tornado that did so much damage to the town of Grannis, totally destroying the Grannis School.
The Grannis School Principal had also been monitoring the weather. At some point in his observations he knew that the approaching storm was as bad as he had ever seen. It was then that he decided to hold a tornado drill at the school. The alarm was given and the children and teachers filed into the cafeteria and sat down against a heavy masonry wall. The wall and the actions of the staff saved lives that day. Within minutes the school was a pile of rubble, but miraculously no one was seriously hurt.
The school was never rebuilt though the site was cleared off and cleaned up.
Years pass and the property was now owned by the Wickes school district. It had became over grown and was used occasionally by the County road department to store raw road surface materials. Fast forward to today. The City of Grannis and the Wickes school district have agreed on a land transfer and construction of a new soccer field is well underway. As local residents drive by to check on the progress, you can see the smiles on their faces. It is good to know that youngsters will soon be playing on the old Grannis school ground again.

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