This box belonged to Bill Heiligers and sat on the counter of his book store near the cash register. Heiliger’s Book Store, located at 908 Front Street, was a downtown institution, supplying Conway with books and other supplies.
In 1880, Sam Heiligers, an immigrant from Rotterdam, Holland, came to Conway where his sister, Sarah E. and her husband, Joe Van Ronkle (yes, the street is named for this family!) lived. His first business, a grocery and provision, was located at Oak and Front. Later, he moved north on Front Street where he had both a retail and wholesale grocery and provision business.
Sam, 43, married Minnie Merriman, 17 ½, (yes, there’s a street named for this family as well!) in 1892. Theirs was the first marriage license issued in Faulkner County. The Heiligers had four sons, Edward, Charles, Sam and Isaac.
Charles worked for Smith Auto Company and operated The Palm Gardens, a confectionary, before entering the book and office supply business during World War II. He and his wife, Lida, had two children, William Charles (Bill) and Elizabeth Merriman (now Nussbaum).
Conway Book Store was at 905 Front (old Chamber of Commerce location) from 1944 until 1956 when it moved to 904 Front and became Conway Book and Office Supply. In 1965, Heiligers sold the school and office part and moved to 908 Front (the old First State Bank location) where he ran just a bookstore.
Bill (pictured) worked with his father in the book store, which was later named Heiligers. After managing the store for 45 years, he sold it and retired in November 1985. Crossman Printing has been in that location ever since.
This box is now part of the Faulkner County Museum’s permanent collection. To see more artifacts, visit the museum, its Facebook page or its website www.faulknercountymuseum.org Help preserve the county’s history by supporting the museum!