Pinnacle Springs (Faulkner County)
The springs were noted in 1880 by Jeff Collier. Collier was herding cattle in the area when he came across the springs and noticed they had an unusual taste. Collier told his employer, James D. Martin, about the springs. Martin and other businessmen from the area incorporated the Pinnacle Springs Land Company in 1881 to develop a resort town using the spring water. The Martin family conveyed 360 acres of their land to the company to develop the town.
Marketing for Pinnacle Springs emphasized the curative properties of the springs, the malaria-free environment, and the prohibitionist beliefs of the town’s founders. The spring waters were tested and found to be rich in iron, magnesium, and chlorine, which were thought to be helpful in curing many common diseases. Advertisements of the benefits of the springs and the community’s social and physical climate brought hundreds of visitors to Pinnacle Springs.
In 1881, James Martin and his brother William Martin established a forty-room hotel named the Pinnacle House to provide lodging for visitors. A second hotel, the Park House, soon followed. A number of permanent residents to the community moved to Pinnacle Springs, with roughly fifty houses in the area by 1885. By 1886, Pinnacle Springs could boast two hotels, a skating rink, eight stores, a cotton gin, twelve bath houses, and a post office.
The promotion of Pinnacle Springs as a resort town free of saloons enticed William Moseley to organize Faulkner County’s first institution of higher education in 1889. Arkansas Christian College was a junior college intended to educate schoolteachers. The first and only class of the college graduated in June 1890. Arkansas Christian College closed the same year for several reasons, including the long trip from Pinnacle Springs to Conway (Faulkner County) and the declining population of the town.
After 1890, the population of Pinnacle Springs steeply declined. The town had gained a reputation for attracting “immoral” people. The spring water also proved ineffective in curing common diseases, contributing to the decline in popularity of the community. Many Pinnacle Springs residents moved to the nearby communities of Guy (Faulkner County), Damascus (Van Buren and Faulkner counties), and Greenbrier. Several buildings were destroyed in a fire shortly afterward, and other buildings were deconstructed and moved elsewhere.
By 1950, there was little trace of what had once been a vibrant community. Names and dates carved by visitors along the rock walls leading to the springs are one of the few visible signs of Pinnacle Springs.
For additional information:
Faulkner County Historical Society. Faulkner County: Its Land and People. Conway, AR: Faulkner County Historical Society, 1986.
Glover, Jimmy. “Pinnacle Springs.” Faulkner Facts and Fiddlings 7 (Summer 1965): 21–27.
University of Central Arkansas
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