Pfeiffer (Independence County)
Pfeiffer in Independence County is located just east of Highway 167 (North St. Louis Street) on Pfeiffer Road about five miles north-northeast of the county seat, Batesville (Independence County), and about eight miles south-southwest of Cave City (Sharp and Independence counties). Pfeiffer Creek is nearby. A marker at Pfeiffer reads, in part, “A light-colored crystalline limestone known as Batesville marble has been mined in this area since 1836. Pfeiffer was also a railhead with wagons coming from many points to pick up freight.”
Charles Anton Pfeiffer from Baden, Sigmaringen, Germany, and his father, Joseph Pfeiffer, started the Pfeiffer Stone Company—dealers in stone, marble, and granite—on a moderate scale in 1860 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Joseph Pfeiffer and his family had fled Europe during the turbulent days of the Revolutions of 1848. Joseph Pfeiffer became well-versed in cutting stone and developed into a master craftsman. The business was expanded under Charles and his eldest son, Otto Leonard Pfeiffer, who established the marble quarry in Arkansas in what came to be called Pfeiffer. By 1903, a railroad spur was connected to it, and a community grew up around the quarry. Cutting machinery and stone-quarrying equipment were added to make it a sizeable operation. Even though one of Otto’s daughters, Agatha Estelle Pfeiffer, was born at Batesville in 1908, the Pfeiffer family never established a permanent home in the county but continued to use St. Joseph as the center for its stone company.
Otto Pfeiffer was president and superintendent of the Pfeiffer Company, and his younger brother Joseph Anton Pfeiffer was vice president. One of the master stone cutters of Pfeiffer was a fellow German immigrant, Fritz Krueger, who was listed as an alien on the 1920 federal census.
Pfeiffer marble was used in building the two-story federal courthouse building in Batesville in 1904, which also served as a post office; the building is still used for county offices, with the city library on the first floor. Marble from the area was also used in building the Arkansas State Capitol building in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Company vice president Joseph Anton Pfeiffer personally carved much of the molding, capitals, and other decorative work for the State Capitol building. The quarry supplied the stone for the federal penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Methodist churches in Batesville and Jonesboro (Craighead County); and many other buildings and monuments throughout the East and Midwest.
As a result of the growing population from the mining operations, a post office was established in Pfeiffer in 1907 in a general store, with Joe M. Gray appointed the first postmaster. However, following Otto Pfeiffer’s death in 1921, and his father Charles Anton Pfeiffer’s death in 1928, the quarry closed in 1930. The post office closed during World War II in 1942. With the closing of the Pfeiffer mine, the population gradually declined, with many moving to Batesville, Cushman (Independence County), or Cave City. The only active quarry today near Pfeiffer is the Midwest Lime Company off Highway 167 on Midwest Lane between Pfeiffer and Batesville.
Businesses in Pfeiffer include a convenience store with a gas station, as well as more businesses as one gets closer to Batesville. Churches of Pfeiffer include Believers Community Church on Highway 167 and the First Baptist Church on Stacey Drive.
For additional information:
McGinnis, A. C. “A History of Independence County, Ark.” Special issue. Independence County Chronicle 17 (April 1976).
Powell, Wilson. “The Kruegers of the Pfeiffer Stone Company.” Independence County Chronicle 15 (July 1974): 13–35.
Van Buren, Arkansas
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