Rolling Thunder at Toad Suck Dam

City/Town: Conway
Location Class: Residential
Year Built:
Year Abandoned:
Status: AbandonedGutted
Photographer: Ginger Beck

The only remnants of the former sprawling home and grand swimming area overlooking Toad Suck lock and dam is a concrete slab, steel beams, a couple of fireplaces, and an empty swimming pool. The trolley tracks that lead down the steep incline to the ground from the top of the bluffs remains, but the cart is laying on its side, off track.

Known as “Rolling Thunder” – this family home owned by prominent Conway locals has been abandoned for some time and mostly demolished. What once must have been a magnificent estate, complete with pond, sprawling gated drive, and outdoor fireplace and large waterfall, is now littered with cables and broken plastic and dismantled electronics.

Founded in 1933 by D.H. “Dave” Ward, the Ward Body Works company, specializing in yellow school buses, was family-owned for nearly its entirety. Ward was the first to perform a rollover test on a school bus, which led to changes body designs. He was also the first manufacturer to utilize an assembly line to build buses.

Dave Ward died in 1985; in 1993, the family sold the bus plant to American Transportation, later bought by International Corporation. The bus plant closed in 2009 when International consolidated its operations.


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