Downtown Arab

Arab Station 09-23-2014

While cruising around, down and through Stoddard, Wayne and Bollinger counties looking for what was left of the Dark Cypress, I spotted a road sign that said ARAB – X Miles. (Of course, if you are from these parts, you pronounce it A-RAB.)

How could I not go to one of those interesting place names that Missouri has in abundance? When we got to the intersection of Highway 51, Highway C (which runs east to Advance) and Highway P (which runs west toward Lowndes and Greenville), we had arrived at downtown Arab, which consists of Arab Station.

Mother looked at the place a minute and said, “I’ve been here before. I met one of my friends here one morning. She said the deer hunters all come here for breakfast. We were disappointed that not many of them showed up that morning.”

I thought it was probably better that I not ask why Mother and her friend were stalking deer hunters in A-RAB.

Where did the name come from?

Arab Station 09-23-2014Wikipedia, which references Paul Corbin’s Reflections from Missouri Mud, said the community was founded in 1908 and received its name from the city of Arab, Alabama.

When I looked up the Alabama town, Wikipedia said “The name of the town was an unintentional misspelling by the U.S. Postal Service in 1882 of the city’s intended name, taken from Arad Thompson, the son of the town founder and first postmaster Stephen Tuttle Thompson. Two other names for the town were sent to the Postal Service for consideration: “Ink” and “Bird.

Mayme L. Hamlett’s Place Names of Six Southeast Counties of Missouri tells a slightly different story: “A post office established in 1908 in the eastern part of Jefferson Township by Jasper Cooper of Bollinger County, interested in a chain of stores. Later the Cooper Store was moved about three miles southwest to the present site of Arab where Peter Stilts and Grisham Mercantile Company had a store. Several names were sent to the post office authorities who accepted Arab; but what prompted its suggestion is not remembered. Marvin Clubb was the first postmaster.

The Missouri Arab, Wikipedia added, “The community was probably initially founded for the purposes of postal delivery with the mail gathered twice a week from Zalma and delivered to Arab by horseback. Arab was originally located in Wayne County; in 1943, the post office and community were moved four miles away to extreme southern Bollinger County.

“In 2000 the population of Arab was 7, all members of the same family. Arab is home to the Arab Station, a convenience store that in addition to selling small selections of groceries and cigarettes and alcohol, also consists of a deli that serves pizza and a bait shop.


6 Replies to “Downtown Arab”

  1. “also consists of a deli that serves pizza and a bait shop.”

    Well, I guess you could catch a pizza and some worms and get gas. talk about one stop shopping even in small town America.

  2. There is Arabi across the River from New Orleans…I wonder if it a chain of convenience stores started across the country in the early days…Short name, easy to spell, and will always be near the first of an phone book or alphabetical list! So there is another story on how Arab got its name. I am never been there…I least i do not recall the trip…

  3. In 1970 after we were married, we lived at Duck Creek (Gaylord Memorial Lab) while Jim was doing his wood duck research. Became familiar with Arab during those days. We wives seemed to learn all the gas stations and tire repair enterprises within close proximity!

  4. The Arab station is the sole quick shop within miles. I’ve never seen it when the place isn’t packed with serious testosterone. You can fix yourself a pretty delicious hot dog with lots of mustard, arrange to have someone come clean out your septic tank, and pick up an endless supply of abandoned dogs.
    If you had been there, you would remember it!

  5. When you got to the left-hand intersection turn at A-rab, you knew you were not far from good bassin’ at Duck Creek. My best day was 5 in the aggregate of 21 pounds. Fishin’ buddy John Ramey caught zero.

  6. The story of Arab brought back many fond memories. My Mother was from Wayne County (Wapepello Lake took two of my Grandfathers farms). When we would go visit relatives we would go through Arab and would have to stop for a candy bar there…Mom swore they had the best candy bars on the world. You may want to try one the next time you pass through! lol

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