Being and Arkansan in the U.S. is kind of like being a Scotsman in the U.K. The rest of the country has expectations about us based on wild frontier stereotypes which appeared in fictional accounts generations ago written by people who had never been here. The "barefoot hillbilly" image makes us uncomfortable, yet places like Dogpatch and Booger Hollow Trading Post have made commercial use of it. Ozark High School even uses the hillbilly as its mascot.

By posting this story I run the risk of perpetuating the very stereotype that we try so hard to live down, but check out the licence plates in the parking lot and you'll see that every yankee who drives down highway 7 stops there anyway. I've also noticed other online travelogue writers who pass through Arkansas all seem to find Booger Hollow even if they see nothing else in the state. I guess I'll just stick to the facts and try to be a good sport, because that stereotype shows no signs of going away. And as long as we're facing facts, we might as well admit that like so many stereotypes, this one is true enough often enough to keep it going even without the help of Booger Hollow. Trying too hard to suppress or counter-spin the image makes us look desperate and needy. Might as well just go with it.

So here it is. Booger Hollow Trading Post has operated in this spot for forty years and owes much success to the high-frequency roadsigns announcing the distance from you to the attraction. "Booger Hollow Ten Miles." "Booger Hollow Nine Miles." "Booger Hollow Eight Miles." By the time you actually get there, you're desperately curious and the young-uns in the back seat are all stove up. If you fan past the place, you're not going to hear the last of it before you reach Branson.

The trading post consists of a gift shop, a diner and some hillbilly photo-op atmosphere. Here's one of those photo ops on the left. It's the Booger Hollow Double Decker Outhouse. The lower level is practical, but the upper facility is perpetually closed "until we git the plummin' figgered out." The attraction is pretty much the same today as it was thirty-five years ago when my family stopped there on the way to Ozark vacation spots. Even though we visited theme parks like Dogpatch and Silver Dollar City, Booger Hollow is my most vivid memory of those trips.

The gift shop features loads of hillbilly themed knick-knacks as well as local simple-life goods like honey and sorghum and lye soap. The diner offers the usual fare, but with a colorfully worded menu aimed right at the gigglebox of your carbound, stir-crazy eight-year-old... "boogerburger," "boogerdog," etc.

The attraction borrowed its name from Booger Hollow, a geographic feature some ten miles south of the trading post. Here is a picture offered as proof that the name isn't fanciful. It's Booger Hollow Tabernacle, and just down the road is the Booger Hollow Community Center found within Masonic Lodge #596.

The name originated with the belief that the hollow was haunted due to the numerous graveyards located there. Booger in this case is a variant of bogie or boogie, as in "boogie man." So to call the place Booger Hollow is a colorful local term meaning Ghost Valley. According to the USGS, Tennessee and Kentucky each have valleys named Booger Hollow. The town of Boozeville, Georgia was formerly named Booger Hollow, although dropping "Booger Hollow" in favor of "Boozeville" is kind of like walking halfway to church.

Booger Hollow is found on highway 7, 22km north of Russellville. The Trading Post is a few miles north of that. The mailing address is in Dover. Phone 501-331-3440.


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