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Communities Champion

Local author Sandy Ray Chapin writes about the old villages and tiny hamlets of Douglas County in his book of Ozark folk histories, Searching For Booger County. Here is an excerpt from the book about the village of Champion.

Champion Map
Click the map to see it full size.

Drive south on C Hwy three miles from Hwy 76 and turn east on WW Hwy. Cross a rolling upland of scattered farms and woods and gradually descend to Fox Creek. The pavement ends at Champion. Find an out-of-the-way place to park.

On the right is tiny, anachronistic Henson’s Store. Built in 1928, the store was purchased by Ed and Anna Henson in 1940 when their son Duane was two years old. The Hensons bought live chickens and rabbits, cream, and eggs from local farmers and used a gasoline-powered mill to grind grain. Ed always made room for passengers on his Monday, Wednesday, and Friday trips to Mountain Grove for supplies. Take a look at the Champion one-room schoolhouse beyond the store. Years ago dozens of children played in this yard.

Henson's Store at Champion
Henson's Store at Champion.

Much of old Champion was washed away by the June 1942 flood. Imagine floodwaters up to the porch of the store! Duane saw his home unearthed from its foundation and dragged away with many of his family’s possessions. By Christmas Jay Austin finished building the new Henson house you see on the hillside above the store.

Pedal east across the slab over Fox Creek. Try to visualize the force of the September 1993 flood that created the “dunes” of gravel in the streambed. Back at the store Duane has photos of the torrent. CR 234 winds up a narrow canyon and emerges onto the Coonts Ridge fields. Turn right on narrow CR 235 and descend through stunted blackjack, hickory, and post oak into pastoral Dobbs Hollow.

Map and text from Searching For Booger County by Sandy Ray Chapin, who lives on a farm in Douglas County. The book creates an imaginary bicycle journey. Folk histories are illustrated with hand-drawn maps. It is available from Boogeyman Books, boomanbooks@hotmail.com