Sunday, July 21, 2019

Brotherhood Co-op

By the time I arrived in Eureka Springs the hippy inmigration had been in full swing for 3 years, with many of the arrivals coming in 1972 and some before. As banker John Cross noted (perhaps with some degree of hope, "They come and they go." Not all came to stay. Some came over and over again through years. as their personal economic situations would allow. Other folks will know more about those earlier times than I.

The thing that left the greatest impression on Louis Freund was the Brotherhood Co-op. He mentioned it to me a number of times as it had captured his imagination. The Co-op was in a derelict building in downtown Eureka Springs and served as a clearing house for day labor, as well as supplying space for various craft enterprises like the foundry set up by artist Hank Kaminsky. Those days and the co-op itself should be written up in a book before those who played roles in it are lost. The day labor from the co-op provided a great deal of energy to the restoration of homes and buildings in Eureka Springs that were in dire need of attention, and for some, the co-op gave an introduction to skilled artistry. Ken Dane was one of the central figures in the co-op and led crews for the restoration of homes.

In the meantime the town was overrun by long haired hippy folks, who soon knew each other and hugged in the streets, much to the consternation of some of the town's more established local folks.

Many if not most of the young folks attempting to set up new lives in Eureka Springs had been traumatized by the long-ongoing Vietnam War. Some of the young men had been caught up in it and all others had been made sick of the military industrial complex by what they'd seen of the nightly news. Most came to Eureka Springs hoping to build lives that were more than that. And the place here was sure laid out pretty.

Some of the young folks were back to the landers, having been influenced by the writings of Helen and Scott Nearing and drawn by the cheap price of land. What I knew of farming was that it took good soil, a thing I did not see in the area. So even though land was very cheap, this would likely not be the best place to do that.

My own journey was more basic, a calling back to the hand. Back to the land or not, back to the hand though unspoken was very  central to motivating the inmigration of young folks. And Eureka Springs, like a number of other small towns in the US was the place from which to commence that journey.

Make, fix and please create. Hold the doors open for others to do likewise.

1 comment:

  1. Good one Doug! I remember The Eureka Brotherhood Coop fondly. Both my husbands(now and then!) were involved and could certainly add more details. Might even be accurate!