23 March 2009

Coley's Truck Stop - Dermott, Arkansas


This may seem odd, but I’ve never taken a real spring break. I've never been to Cancun or Panama City Beach (though I'd like to one day!!). My family and I go to small towns, battlefields, state and national parks, and out-of-the-way museums. This spring break, we spent 4 days going to some of the places we’ve always wanted to go. One of the places we've all wanted to track down for a while was Coley's Truck Stop in Dermott, Arkansas. Here's why...

In 1955, my grandfather, Kenneth McKee (I called him Gengan), was an Arkansas State Trooper stationed in Dumas. A local man named O.T. Coley and his wife ran a truck stop and restaurant in Dermott called the Twin City Diner. It was a place to sit, visit, and drink coffee with local people, which is something my grandfather did very well. He was 27 years old when he made the acquaintance of three young men on a journey to make their marks on the world. They were on their way to be on the Louisiana Hayride, a radio show based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. My grandfather visited with them on a fairly regular basis, and on this particular day, a picture was taken of them drinking coffee. My grandfather, dressed in his state trooper uniform, had his picture made with Bill Black, Scotty Moore, and Elvis Presley, who was holding my grandfather’s revolver. Gengan was always very proud of this picture, and he could say that he knew Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys before they were really famous. We‘ve had the picture hanging in our house for years. I asked about it when I was a little girl, and he said, “Yes, Elvis did have blue suede shoes on.”

My parents and I have always wanted to see the old truck stop where my grandfather befriended Elvis Presley, so on Friday, March 20, we did just that! The only remains of the old truck stop and restaurant on U.S. Highway 65 are the bases of the old gas pumps and the metals poles of what may have been the entrance to the diner. Another building has been built around it, but no businesses are there now. If anyone has any pictures of the old Coley’s Truck Stop (or Twin City Diner), I would love to see them!




Thank you, Dermott, for giving me a little piece of my Gengan's history!




8 comments:

  1. This has always been my favorite Elvis photo. My Dad is a State Trooper and it's always amazed me that Elvis was able to talk the Officer out of his revolver. Now I know why!

    Thanks for sharing the story.

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  2. Brandon,
    You are very welcome - I appreciate your comments! I'm sure your dad has some very interesting stories too - my grandad could entertain us for hours. Thank you - and visit us again!

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  3. You might check with John and Cecille Green in Monticello, Arkansas. John's family owned the truck stop for years.

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  4. If this truck stop still exists, please let me know. I'm a producer. 213-426-0767.

    Thanks.

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  5. My mother worked at this truckstop when the Greens owned it. She worked there in the late 1969 til 1971 or 1972. It was also called Skelleys truckstop at one time. My moms name was Mamie Dornan. Maybe someone who reads this will know or remember knowing her. Thanks for yhe story it was amazing. I to am a huge Elvis fan and I love that photo.

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  6. 10 14 12 j h green and cecille incorrect abt location of twin city truck stop have pictures of the one elvis was in please contact me .j h green 870 723 5924

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