Many years ago, the people at this town petitioned the government for a post office. A local schoolteacher solicited suggestions from the townsfolk, and the instructions on her ballots told them to "write in ink." Apparently enough of them took the instructions literally and wrote in "Ink" so that "Ink" became the alternate choice. When the preferred name was rejected, the alternate became the name of the post office.
I like the story, but it is probably just folklore. Ink, Arkansas (on highway 88, east of Mena), got its post office in 1887. Because the Federal Postmaster was trying to cut down on the number of duplicate town names, many towns did not get their first (or second, or third, or...) choice of name. When requesting a post office, the local postmaster was required to supply several alternate names.
As you might imagine, that requirement led to some pretty peculiar place names. There was once a place named Herbine because the local postmaster, desperate for an alternate name, took the name off a bottle of patent medicine he happened to have in the room. The first choice of name for this place was "Melon." "Ink" was the second choice. I would be awfully curious to know the third.
The postmaster's reasons for listing either name are lost forever. The Ink post office closed its doors in 1967. Incidentally, Ink has some regular brick homes and frame homes and gas stations and such. I know that the pictures I've included here might give a false "Dogpatch" impression. Also note there's a seven-foot-tall pyramid in the church cemetery. It doesn't seem to be anybody's monument in particular.
Thanks to the Arkansas History Commission (501)682-6900 for recommending books "From Mendag to Norsk," and Masterson's "Arkansas Folklore." Also referenced here is Ernie Dean's "Arkansas Place Names."
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