With a population of a little over 200 people, it's easy to think there's not much to see or do in the small community of Keo. That is definitely an incorrect assumption. This tiny town packs a lot into a small area and makes a wonderful day trip, particularly for people in Central Arkansas. The entire downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with 37 buildings from the early 1900s. Groves of pecan trees and huge antebellum-style homes illustrate the cotton-plantation history of Keo, as do the massive cotton gins. Visitors need to turn right onto Ark. 232 off Ark. 165 to find downtown. Located at the junction are two of the town's unique merchants -- Lisa's on the left and Old Gin Antiques on the right.
Lisa's has a little bit of everything: unique home décor such as designer lamps, art work, candles, unusual gift items, women's clothes, jewelry and handbags. The Old Gin is an antique shop located in a former cotton gin. A good selection of concrete yard and garden ornaments adorn the lawn. Beautiful wood working and furniture repairs are also available.
Goodbar's Antique Lamp Shop features restored lighting fixtures, and those on the restoration waiting list are seen hanging from the ceiling.
Charlotte's Eats and Sweets, located on Keo's Main Street inside an old apothecary shop, offers great food and to-die-for homemade desserts like Italian cream cake and caramel pie. The restaurant generates an old-fashioned feeling with original mahogany apothecary cabinet displays for sale and a soda fountain still produces the confectioneries that marked its heyday.
Next door to Charlotte's is Arin Photography. Cole's Wildlife Taxidermy is located at 382 Main Street.
Located at the end of Main Street is Cobb Gin, though no longer operational, which serves as a silent reminder of the cotton gins that used to dot the landscape in Arkansas. Near the gin is The Nut House which cracks, packages and sends pecans all over the United States.
Continuing west on Ark. 232, antique shoppers will find Morris Antiques, one of the largest dealers in the South on Ark. 232, a few blocks west of Main Street. Eight giant buildings house more than 60,000-square-feet of fine European and American furniture, objects d' art, and light fixtures, dating between the 1750s and 1940s. Bedroom and dining room suites and wardrobes are in plentiful supply, as are some unique pieces, including a horse-drawn hearse.
A walking tour brochure of historic downtown Keo is now available from the Mayor's Office.