Cold Springs School

aka: Hepsey School

The Cold Springs School, located in Cold Spring Hollow within the Buffalo National River area in Marion County, is a single-story, Craftsman-style building constructed around 1935 with assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 20, 1992.

Located in a remote area along the Buffalo River in Marion County, the community of Hepsey (Marion County) received a post office in 1896, though it was discontinued in 1924. It is not known when the first school was built in the area, but one was in place by 1926 when an eighteen-year-old high school student, Erma Pierce, from Bruno (Marion County) taught there during the summer. Pierce took the train to Buffalo City (Baxter County), where she was picked up and driven over a mountain road to Hepsey. She taught the summer term, poling herself across the Buffalo twice a day from the home where she boarded.

Around 1935, funding was acquired from the Works Progress Administration to build a new school for Hepsey. The single-story building was constructed of cut stone and featured a gable-on-hip roof, a pedimented entryway, seven banks of windows on its north side to provide natural light, and the exposed rafter tails that are a hallmark of the Craftsman style of architecture. The project provided needed jobs for the remote community during the Great Depression.

The Cold Springs School had a small student body. A 1942 report showed that the school’s reach covered only eight square miles, and it served only fourteen students. It was most likely consolidated in 1948, when Initiated Act No. 1 abolished all schools with fewer than 350 students. The Cold Springs School survives in the twenty-first century in good condition and is maintained by National Park Service staff at the Buffalo National River.

For additional information:
Baker, William D. Public Schools in the Ozarks, 1920–1940. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1990. Online at (accessed September 3, 2020).

Berry, Earl. History of Marion County. Yellville, AR: Historic Genealogical Society of Marion County, Arkansas, 2002.

Catton, Theodore. Life, Leisure, and Hardship along the Buffalo. Omaha, NE: Midwest Region National Park Service, 2008.

Hope, Holly. An Ambition to be Preferred: New Deal Recovery Efforts and Architecture in Arkansas, 1933–1943. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 2006. Online at (accessed September 3, 2020).

Story, Kenneth. “Cold Springs School.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at (accessed September 3, 2020).

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


    My mother was born at Hepsey in 1929. She and her sibling went to school there before the Cold Springs school was built.

    Karen Knight AR