Recreation and Sports

Entries - Entry Category: Recreation and Sports

Blanchard Springs Caverns

Blanchard Springs Caverns (BSC) is a magnificent limestone cave system starting more than 200 feet underground in the Sylamore Ranger District of the Ozark–St. Francis National Forest, fifteen miles northwest of Mountain View (Stone County). The only cave administered by the U.S. Forest Service, it is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. Three guided tours through the caves are open to the public: the Dripstone Trail (open all year), the Discovery Trail (open during the summer), and the Wild Cave (open by special reservation). The limestone rock from which the cave developed was formed by fossilized sediment from sea creatures at the bottom of an ancient inland sea estimated to exist about 350–500 million years ago. When …

Bolt, Tommy

Tommy Bolt was one of the top golfers on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour in the 1950s. The winner of the 1958 U.S. Open, he was also a pioneer in the development of the PGA’s senior tour that emerged in the 1960s. He later retired and settled in Arkansas. Thomas Henry (Tommy) Bolt was born on March 31, 1916, in Haworth, Oklahoma, to Walker Jeter Bolt and Adreon Geneva Jones Bolt. Little is known about Bolt’s youth beyond the fact that his mother died when he was two. With his father working in construction, the family moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, when Bolt was six. Bolt dropped out of Byrd High School as a sophomore, and like many professional golfers, …

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (BGO) in Fayetteville (Washington County) opened in 2007 on acreage leased from the City of Fayetteville. The nonprofit organization is the result of a grassroots effort to establish a botanical garden with a mission of offering education, entertainment, and recreation to adults and children through a variety of events, programs, classes, and community connections. The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is a member of the American Horticulture Society—which allows BGO members reciprocal admission to gardens and arboretums across the country—and the American Public Gardens Association, which encourages involvement in gardening for all ages. The Botanical Garden Society of the Ozarks was incorporated in January 1994. The founder and first director was Donna Porter, who …

Boyle Park

Boyle Park was created when John F. Boyle (1874–1938) donated a 231-acre tract of land in the southwestern area of the city to the City of Little Rock in 1929. The park was later expanded to include 243 acres. The park begins at 26th Street and Boyle Park Road, and Rock Creek runs through the park. In the deed, Boyle stipulated that the land was to be allocated for recreational use. If the property ever ceased to be used as a park, the title of the land would revert back to the Boyle family. Boyle Park was the third of its kind in the city. It was preceded by MacArthur Park in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Allsopp Park …

Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival

The Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival celebrates the pink tomato industry in southeastern Arkansas. Originally a one-day event, it has become a weeklong celebration that attracts approximately 30,000 people each year. In June 1956, the first Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival was held in Warren (Bradley County). Loran Johnson, who was director of the Chamber of Commerce at the time, was one of the founders of the festival. The one-day event included musicians, a carnival, and exhibits. Each year, a chairperson of the festival was chosen. A parade and beauty pageant were added the second year. Another festival event began after Jean Frisby, who was the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (UACES) home economist for Bradley County, and Loran Johnson, who …

Brock, Lou

aka: Louis Clark Brock
Louis Clark (Lou) Brock, a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, played a major role in changing the way baseball was played by using the stolen base as an important offensive weapon. He retired as Major League Baseball’s all-time stolen bases leader, a record that stood until 1991. Lou Brock was born on June 18, 1939, in El Dorado (Union County). He was the seventh of nine children born to Paralee Brock, who worked as a domestic and a field laborer. After Brock’s father, Maud, left the family when Brock was two years old, Paralee Brock and her children moved to nearby Collinston, Louisiana, where Brock grew up in the poverty …

Broyles, Frank

aka: John Franklin Broyles
After beginning his administrative career as an assistant coach at Baylor University in 1947, John Franklin (Frank) Broyles became one of the most familiar and powerful figures in all of college sports. In his years at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), he built a diverse and excellent athletics program, plus a system of world-class athletic facilities in addition to establishing a winning tradition that includes the most football victories as head coach in Razorbacks history: 144 wins, far ahead of the runner-up coach, Lou Holtz, whose teams won sixty. Frank Broyles was born on December 26, 1924, in Decatur, Georgia, to O. T. Broyles and Louise Solms Broyles. Broyles became a star quarterback at Georgia Tech, where he …

Bryant, “Bear”

aka: Paul William Bryant
Paul William “Bear” Bryant is one of America’s all-time most successful college football coaches. At the time of his death, he had won more games than any other coach, including the legendary Amos Alonzo Staggs and Pop Warner. Arkansas-born Bryant remains an icon not only for athletic accomplishments but for personal strength, determination, and the will to win. Paul William Bryant was born on September 11, 1913, near Kingsland (Cleveland County) in south central Arkansas, to William Monroe Bryant, a farmer, and Dora Ida Kilgore Bryant, a homemaker. Bryant was the eighth surviving child (three died at birth) of a total of nine. He had four brothers and four sisters and was the youngest boy, with one sister born four …

Bull Shoals-White River State Park

Arkansas’s seventh state park, Bull Shoals-White River State Park, is near Mountain Home (Baxter County) in northeast Arkansas on the White River, one of the nation’s premier trout-fishing streams, and Bull Shoals Lake, one of the region’s major man-made lakes. The site was adopted into the state park system in 1955 after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the lake by constructing Bull Shoals Dam on the White River. Bull Shoals was named by early French hunters and trappers who used the word “Boill,” meaning a large spring, to describe the area. Edmund Jennings, the first English-speaking person to visit the “Six Bulls” country, lived among the Indians for fifteen years before returning to his home state of Tennessee. …

Burgess, Franklin

Arkansas native Franklin Burgess earned All-American honors in basketball at Washington State’s Gonzaga University and played professionally before going on to a successful career as a lawyer and judge. Franklin D. Burgess was born on March 9, 1935, in Eudora (Chicot County) to Morris and Ollie Burgess. Burgess attended Eudora Colored High School and then spent one year at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College (AM&N), which is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, before joining the U.S. Air Force. After his discharge in 1958, he entered Gonzaga University. By this time, he and his wife, Treava Burgess, had twin daughters, so Burgess focused on the school’s academic offerings as well as its basketball program. He earned a …

Burns Gables

Burns Gables was a popular restaurant, gift shop, and lodge that operated on Mount Gayler (Crawford County) for more than forty years from its preeminent location at the “Top of the Ozarks.” Fort Smith (Sebastian County) pharmacist John Burns opened the resort in 1936, a short but steep and winding four miles south of Winslow (Washington County). He believed the place was ripe for business, given the popularity of Winslow as a resort. The original three-story lodge, which incorporated Tudor architecture, was built from native stone and topped with several ornate gables. Gabled cottages were built around a garden behind the lodge. The resort was expanded in approximately 1949, when a wing was built onto the lodge’s south side. The …

Cabotfest

Cabotfest, an annual celebration hosted by the city of Cabot (Lonoke County), was first held in 1978 to commemorate the city’s recovery from a devastating tornado that struck in the spring of 1976. Since its founding, the festival has become Lonoke County’s largest, attracting thousands of visitors each year. On March 29, 1976, five citizens of Cabot died in an early afternoon tornado that also destroyed a large portion of the business sector. As the town neared complete recovery, local officials decided to organize a celebration for the fall of 1978. Committees, under the direction of local banker James M. Park, organized the event and chose the phrase “Cabot, We’re Back” as the festival theme. It was decided that the …

Calico Rock Museum and Visitor Center

The Calico Rock Museum and Visitor Center, which was formally dedicated on April 12, 2014, occupies two of the oldest surviving buildings in downtown Calico Rock (Izard County): the E. N. Rand Building (built in 1903) and the Bluff City Bank Building (built in 1896). The museum foundation also owns the 1906 Calico Rock Progress Building, which houses a café and ice cream parlor. While the museum preserves and displays the art and history of the community, it also has a contract with the City of Calico Rock to provide visitor center services. In 2007, a group of interested citizens formed the Calico Rock Organization for Revitalization Efforts (CORE) and began searching for a location to establish a museum to …

Camden Daffodil Festival

The Camden Daffodil Festival originated from a move to raise money for the restoration of a historic building in Camden (Ouachita County) and has become a means of promoting tourism in the area. The profits from the festival are donated to the community to promote tourism and help sustain the McCollum-Chidester House, which was built in 1847. It is today a museum maintained by the Ouachita County Historical Society. The Camden Daffodil Festival was started in 1994 by Dennis and Roxane Daniel as a result of a group of women motivated to help raise enough money to restore the old, dilapidated Missouri Pacific Train Depot and turn it into a historical site that would house the Camden Area Chamber of …

Camp Joyzelle

Camp Joyzelle was a summer camp for girls that operated for nearly three decades at Monte Ne (Benton County). Summer camps emerged in the late 1800s as a way to provide urban youngsters with wholesome, outdoor activities during the long summer vacation. Summer camping for girls became popular after World War I. Some camps were run by organizations such as the Girl Scouts, while others were similar to private schools and served mostly well-to-do families. Camp Joyzelle was a typical example of the latter. The camp was founded by Iris Armstrong, who at the time had a private dramatic academy in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Armstrong’s goal was to start a camp at which girls could be instructed in drama …

Camp Ouachita National Historic District

Camp Ouachita was the hearthstone for outdoor- and social-skills development and a path through adolescence for two generations of Arkansas Girl Scouts who seasonally camped there between 1937 and 1979. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal New Deal agency, constructed Camp Ouachita from 1936 to 1940 for the Little Rock Area Girl Scout Council (LRGSC) in the Ouachita National Forest, twelve miles south of Perryville (Perry County) and some thirty-six miles west of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Camp Ouachita, the nation’s only surviving WPA-constructed Girl Scout camp complex, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The camp is currently undergoing renovation. Prior to Camp Ouachita, the LRGSC had only limited, seasonal use of the Boy Scouts’ Camp …

Campbell-Brown, Veronica

Veronica Campbell-Brown is a former University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) track and field athlete who specializes in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4×100-meter relay. A citizen of Jamaica, she is the most decorated Olympic athlete affiliated with the state of Arkansas, having won eight Olympic medals from 2000 to 2016. In addition to her Olympic accolades, Campbell-Brown has garnered numerous medals at the youth, junior, and senior levels of competition. In 2007, she became the first of eight track and field athletes to win an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship title, in her case in the 100 meters, at all three competitive levels. Veronica Campbell was born on May 15, 1982, in Clarks Town, Trelawny, …

Campbell, Leon “Muscles”

Lonnie Leon Campbell was one of Arkansas’s first post–World War II sports legends. In addition to being a star Razorback football player during the team’s formative years at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), Campbell played for three professional football teams: the Baltimore Colts, Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Campbell reportedly earned his nickname, “Muscles,” after bending a railroad spike with his hands. In 1946, he also played in the Razorbacks’ first Cotton Bowl game, against the Louisiana State University Tigers. Campbell was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1977. In 1996, he was one of the first inductees into the Bauxite Hall of Fame, now on display in the Bauxite Historical Museum in …

Cane Creek State Park

Cane Creek State Park in southeast Arkansas occupies an environmentally significant setting on the border of two of the state’s geographic regions, the flat Mississippi Alluvial Plain (the Delta) and the rolling West Gulf Coastal Plain. Located on the shore of Cane Creek Lake, the park provides for recreational activities that include camping, picnicking, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and wildlife watching. The park, a joint project of state and federal agencies, grew out of a 1973 proposal by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) to develop a lake and park near Star City (Lincoln County) to enhance recreational opportunities in southeast Arkansas, although legislation authorizing the creation of the park had passed two years earlier. The state parks department entered …

Carpenter, Lewis Glen (Lew)

Lewis Glen (Lew) Carpenter had a long career in football, playing in high school, college, and in the National Football League (NFL). He played for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1949 to 1952, followed by three NFL league championship teams. After ten years as a professional player, he had long career as an NFL coach. Lew Carpenter was born on January 12, 1932, to Verba Glen Carpenter and Edna Earl Pullam Carpenter in Hayti, Missouri. He and his younger brother, Preston Carpenter, grew up in West Memphis (Crittenden County), where he attended high school and played football. In 1951, he married Beverly Ann Holt from nearby Earle (Crittenden County). The couple had four daughters: Cheryl, Cathy, Lisa, and Rebecca. Accepting a …

Carpenter, Preston

Preston Carpenter played football in high school, in college, and in the National Football League (NFL). He played for the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 1952–1955 seasons and went on to play for several teams in a twelve-year professional career. His older brother, Lewis Carpenter, preceded him as a Razorback, and they once played for the same professional team. Verba Preston Carpenter was born in Hayti, Missouri, on January 24, 1934, to Verba Glen Carpenter and Edna Earl Pullam Carpenter. He spent most of his early years in West Memphis (Crittenden County) but graduated from high school in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he was an all-state high school football player. A gifted athlete, Carpenter also played baseball in high school years, when …

Carr, Bill

aka: William Arthur Carr
William Arthur (Bill) Carr was the first Arkansan to win two gold medals in the same Olympic games, setting new records for track and field in the 1932 Los Angeles, California, Olympics. At the age of twenty-one, he set an Olympic record of 46.2 seconds in the 400-meter sprint, which stood until 1948, when it was tied. In 1954, he was named to Sports Illustrated’s All-Time Olympic Team. Bill Carr was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on October 24, 1909, the younger of William L. and Ann Holmes Carr’s two sons. In the fall of 1925, Carr entered Pine Bluff High School, searching for an organized team sport that would accept him. At the strained height of 5’6″, if …

Carroll, Joe Barry

Joe Barry Carroll had an eleven-year career with the National Basketball Association (NBA), playing on the NBA All-Star team. Joe Barry Carroll was born on July 24, 1958, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), the tenth of thirteen children. He and his family stayed there until he was thirteen, when they moved to Denver, Colorado. Attending Denver East High School, he became a basketball star who caught the attention of college recruiters. He accepted a scholarship to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and played there from 1976 to 1980. During his tenure there, the seven-foot-tall Carroll became the only Purdue player to earn a “triple-double,” with sixteen points, sixteen rebounds, and eleven blocked shots. During his junior year, he helped …

Centennial Celebration

Arkansas’s centennial preparations launched early, expanded rapidly to a galaxy committee, descended into financial uncertainties, burst into various celebrations crisscrossing the state, and finally rested on the laurels of an improved, culturally positive image. Officially held on June 15, 1936, the celebration commemorated the date President Andrew Jackson signed legislation making Arkansas the twenty-fifth state in the Union. Observances before and after the formal day included the composition of an official song and poem, the designation of a centennial flower, the issuance of a stamp, the crowning of a centennial queen, and the minting of two coins. There were also plays, parades, pageants, floats, contests, and exhibits, as well as a football championship, a visit by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, …

Central Arkansas Radio Emergency Network (CAREN)

The Central Arkansas Radio Emergency Net (CAREN) is the oldest of several amateur radio clubs in the central Arkansas area. CAREN’s focus is on providing public service event support and emergency communications. To facilitate these services, CAREN operates VHF/UHF radio repeater sites throughout the central region of the state. Ham radio operators are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 97 (Amateur Radio Service), after passing an examination for one of several classes of license. The Amateur Radio Service has five main purposes: 1) providing emergency communications as a noncommercial service, 2) advancing the radio art, 3) advancing communications and technical skills, 4) expanding a pool of trained operators, …

Charity Games of Football (1931)

By 1931, the Great Depression had produced hardship and suffering in all areas of Arkansas. Unemployment, grinding poverty, and the devastating Drought of 1930–1931 had produced myriad challenges for the state and its residents. Still, Arkansans loved their sports, in particular football. Harvey C. Couch, founder of Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L) and member of the Arkansas Advisory Committee of the President’s Organization on Unemployment Relief, saw an opportunity to raise funds with charity football games. On November 9, 1931, Couch met with representatives from six Arkansas colleges at the Marion Hotel in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The meeting produced a plan that called for a series of college football games to be played during the first week of December …

Chi Omega

Chi Omega, the largest women’s fraternal organization in the world, was founded at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) on April 5, 1895. As of 2012, more than 300,000 women have been initiated into Chi Omega. The national headquarters are in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2011, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), UA, and Arkansas State University (ASU) had Chi Omega chapters, and there were sixteen alumnae chapters in Arkansas. Contrary to popular usage, Chi Omega has always referred to itself as a fraternity rather than a sorority. The first members, referred to as the Five Founders, included Ina May Boles, Jobelle Holcombe, Alice Simonds, Jean Vincenheller, and Dr. Charles Richardson, a Fayetteville dentist and a …

Claybrook Tigers Baseball Team

A black semi-professional baseball team located in eastern Arkansas during the 1930s, the Claybrook Tigers played and often beat some of the best Negro League teams around. The small Delta town known as Claybrook, in the southern part of Crittenden County, was an unlikely home for a competitive baseball team. It no longer exists today, but then it was the farming and logging operation of John C. Claybrook, a hard-working and enterprising man who became one of the most successful African-American businessmen in the region. Reportedly, Claybrook formed the team to entice his sports-loving son not to leave the farm for the city life he desired. By the early 1930s, Claybrook had built a stadium on the farm and formed …

Clayton, Alonzo “Lonnie”

Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton reached stardom at age fifteen as the youngest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. An African American, Clayton went on to become one of the highest-salaried riders on the East Coast circuit during the 1890s. He lived in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), where his earnings enabled him to build a Queen Anne–style home that the Arkansas Gazette described as the “finest house on the North Side” in early 1895. Surviving as the historic Engelberger House at 2105 Maple Street, the property (named for Swiss immigrant Joseph Engelberger, who bought it in 1912) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Born in 1876 in Kansas City, Kansas, to Robert and Evaline Clayton, Lonnie …

Clinton Birthplace

aka: President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site
aka: Bill Clinton Birthplace
William Jefferson Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States, lived the first four years of his life in his grandparents’ home at 117 South Hervey Street in Hope (Hempstead County). Since June 1997, known as the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site, has been open to the public as a museum. The house was built in 1917 for Dr. H. S. Garrett, who evidently designed the house to imitate his previous dwelling in France. The two-and-a-half-story, 2,100-square-foot building contains six rooms, including a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and the nursery where Clinton slept. The house was purchased in 1938 by Eldridge Cassidy and Edith Grisham Cassidy, Clinton’s grandparents. Their daughter, Virginia Cassidy Blythe, made her home …

Coleman, Walter Carpenter (Walt), III

Walt Coleman is a longtime football official who began serving as a National Football League (NFL) referee in 1995. While the 2018 season marked his thirtieth as an NFL official, making him only the seventh NFL official to achieve that milestone, he is best known for his call in the 2002 American Football Conference (AFC) game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders in which he invoked the “Tuck Rule” resulting in an apparent fumble by New England quarterback Tom Brady being ruled an incomplete pass and keeping the Patriots on the road to an eventual Super Bowl victory. Walter Carpenter (Walt) Coleman III was born on January 16, 1952, to W. C. Coleman Jr. and Robbye Cooper …

Colley, Chad

aka: Ralph C. Colley Jr.
Chad Colley, a veteran of the Vietnam War, was a pilot, businessman, and advocate for disabled Americans. Colley lost both legs and the use of an arm in an explosion in Vietnam. He won two gold medals in the 1992 Paralympics and was recognized by Ronald Reagan for his efforts on behalf of Americans with disabilities. Colley was also active in Republican Party presidential campaigns. Chad Colley was born Ralph C. Colley Jr. on May 13, 1944, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). His parents were Ralph C. Colley, a native of Arkansas, and Catherine Colley, a native of Oklahoma. His father served in three wars—World War II, Korea, and Vietnam—and was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and Bronze Star. …

Community Theatre

The Community Theatre in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) is one of the oldest one-screen, nickelodeon-type theaters in Arkansas, complete with a soundproof room where mothers could take their crying children and continue to watch the movie. The renovated structure is now owned and operated by a local non-profit agency and was used for part of the Pine Bluff Film Festival. Pine Bluff’s Community Theatre first opened its doors in 1922 in what was once known as the Breckinridge Building. The building was completed in 1889 and owned by local congressman and minister to Russia Clifton Rodes Breckinridge. Contractor William I. Hilliard built the Breckinridge Building, as well as the Jefferson County Courthouse (1890). S & H Kress & Co., a …

Conley, Michael Alex

Michael Alex Conley is a former basketball player and track and field athlete for the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). One of the most successful combination long and triple jumpers in history, he achieved career long jump bests of 8.46 meters outdoors (1996) and 8.31 meters indoors (1986), and triple jump bests of 17.87 meters outdoors (1987) and 17.76 meters indoors (1987). The latter stood as the world record until 1994. Ranked among the world’s top ten triple jumpers from 1983 to 1996, Conley claimed number one in 1984, 1986, 1989, 1992, 1993, and 1994. He ranked second in the world in the long jump in 1985. In all, Conley won thirty-three national and international horizontal jump …

Conway Cemetery State Park

Conway Cemetery State Park, near Walnut Hill (Lafayette County) in southwest Arkansas, preserves a half-acre cemetery containing the grave of the state’s first governor, James Sevier Conway. It is the second-smallest Arkansas state park. Conway was governor of Arkansas from 1836 to 1840 and a member of “The Family,” a powerful dynasty that dominated early Arkansas politics. During his tenure in office, he was responsible for a budget surplus and many of the state’s initial institutions, including roads, a prison system, and a state bank. An advocate of education, he unsuccessfully requested that the Arkansas General Assembly use the budget surplus to create a public school system and state university. The economic depression of 1837 collapsed the banking system and …

Cordell, Carl Richey “Cotton”

Few figures were more recognized in the multi-billion dollar sportfishing industry than Arkansas native Carl Richey “Cotton” Cordell Jr., who built a fishing tackle empire based in Hot Springs (Garland County) that grew to be the largest in America. Carl Cordell Jr. was born in Benton (Saline County) on December 9, 1928, the only child of Carl R. and Alice J. (Barnes) Cordell. His father worked for Alcoa but moved the family in November 1945 to Lake Catherine near Hot Springs, where he had purchased a marina and resort. Cordell, nicknamed “Cotton” because of his light hair, spent most of his youth traversing the Arkansas outdoors for fish and game, becoming able to help his father at the marina in …

Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

The Cossatot River State Park–Natural Area conserves a twelve-and-one-half-mile stretch of the Cossatot River, a southwest Arkansas stream included by the legislature in the state’s Natural and Scenic Rivers System. The National Park Service has designated the Cossatot’s upper reaches as a National Wild and Scenic River. The upper Cossatot is free of impoundments, and its shoreline is largely primitive and undeveloped. Within the park, there are over thirty rare plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the Ouachita Mountains. The idea of establishing a natural area along the upper Cossatot surfaced in 1974, shortly after the Arkansas Environmental Preservation Commission was created. The panel was subsequently renamed the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. In October 1975, its …

Cotton States League

The Cotton States League was founded at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1902 and comprised teams from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas; there were occasional entries from Texas, Alabama, and Florida. In Arkansas, teams were established in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), El Dorado (Union County), Helena (Phillips County), and Hot Springs (Garland County). The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL), the administrative agency of minor league baseball from 1901 to the present, sanctioned the league. The league operated as a Class D league, typically the lowest level of professional competition, from 1902 to 1932, though it played no games in 1909 and suspended operations from the fall of 1913 to 1922. From 1936 to 1955 (with the exception of 1942–1946 when it …

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Located on State Highway 301 in Pike County, the Crater of Diamonds State Park contains the world’s only diamond mine that is open to the public. John Wesley Huddleston, a farmer and sometime prospector, first found diamonds on the site in 1906. Huddleston’s discovery sparked a diamond rush in Pike County. Diamond-bearing soil was also found on Millard M. Mauney’s property that was adjacent to Huddleston’s. Prospectors and fortune hunters rushed to the area, and soon the town of Kimberly developed to accommodate the influx of people. Within a few years of the discovery, all the land on top of Prairie Creek Pipe was in the hands of two rival companies, Arkansas Diamond Company and Ozark Diamond Mines Corporation. The …

Crescent Hotel

The Crescent Hotel was built in 1886 in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) by the Eureka Springs Investment Company, the president of which was former governor Powell Clayton. The organization purchased twenty-seven acres of wooded land for the site of the hotel and hired Isaac S. Taylor from St. Louis, Missouri, as architect for the project. The massive eighteen-inch-thick stones used for the body of the hotel were made of limestone, hand-carved from a quarry on the White River near Beaver (Carroll County) by a crew of Irish workers. These stones were hauled to the site of the hotel by trains and specially constructed wagons, and were placed in such a fashion that no mortar was needed. The hotel boasted every …

Crockett, Robert Paul (Bobby)

Bobby Crockett was a star wide receiver on the 1964 and 1965 University of Arkansas (UA) football teams, which rank among the school’s all-time great squads. As the team’s leading receiver, he earned All-American honors in 1965 before he embarked on a short-lived professional career with the Buffalo Bills. Robert Paul (Bobby) Crockett was born on April 3, 1943, in Briggsville (Yell County) to Robert Roy Crockett and Frances Annette Crockett. He attended Dermott High School, graduating in 1962. The 6’3″, 200-pound wide receiver then went on to UA in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he played a critical role in the best two-season run in the university’s history. At UA, Crockett was a three-year letter winner on the 1963, 1964, …

Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, National Scenic Byway

As Arkansas’s first National Scenic Byway, Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, merges six U.S. highways, nine Arkansas highways, and 11.5 miles of well-maintained gravel road through a national forest to track the crest of Crowley’s Ridge, the sole geographical phenomenon ridge formation in North America and one of only two similar geological ridge formations in the world (the other being in Siberia). The parkway stretches 198 miles over a half million acres in Arkansas, encompassing eight counties and eleven communities from St. Francis (Clay County) to Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). An additional 14.2 miles run through Missouri. As one of Arkansas’s three national byways—the other two being Talimena Scenic Byway and the Great River Road—Crowley’s Ridge Parkway is one of the 126 …

Crowley’s Ridge State Park

Crowley’s Ridge State Park in northeast Arkansas is a recreationally oriented park with a rich social and geological history. The park, situated on land that was homesteaded by nineteenth-century pioneer Benjamin F. Crowley, also preserves the structures built by young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s. Arriving on the scene in 1820, Crowley was the first prominent white settler in the region. He selected the site for his plantation home because of the upland terrain and a spring, which continues to flow today. Crowley, a veteran of the War of 1812, became an acknowledged leader in northeast Arkansas and strongly supported the creation of Greene County on November 5, 1833. He died in 1842 at age …

Daisy Outdoor Products

Daisy Outdoor Products is the world’s oldest and largest marketer of airguns and airgun accessories. With the town’s name stamped on every Daisy airgun made since 1958, Rogers (Benton County) is well known as the home of Daisy Outdoor Products. However, the company was not always located in Rogers, nor was it always in the airgun business. Daisy traces its history to the founding of the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company in Plymouth, Michigan. Windmills in use throughout the country had traditionally been made of wood. The idea of a steel windmill was conceived by Clarence J. Hamilton, a watch repairman working in the front window of a drug and jewelry store in Plymouth. Hamilton secured a patent, and the Plymouth …

Daisy State Park

Daisy State Park is situated on the northern shoreline of 7,000-acre Lake Greeson in southwest Arkansas. The clear water and Ouachita Mountains scenery make the park a favorite of campers seeking water sports and fishing. Daisy is the eighth state park established in Arkansas. Lake Greeson was created in 1950 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers placed a dam on the Little Missouri River some six miles north of Murfreesboro (Pike County). The lake was created for flood control and hydroelectric power generation. The land for Daisy State Park, consisting of 272 acres, was acquired by the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on March 22, 1955. Former state representative Pete Austin, a lifetime resident of Pike …

Daly, John Patrick

John Patrick Daly has been a professional golfer on the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour since 1990, having stunned the golf world by winning the PGA Championship as a rookie. He owns a golf course in his hometown of Dardanelle (Yell County), and he is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. John Daly was born the youngest of three children on April 28, 1966, in Carmichael, California, to Jim Daly, a construction worker on nuclear power facilities, and Lou Daly. Daly’s family moved to Dardanelle when he was five because his father took a job at Nuclear One in Russellville (Pope County), and he began playing golf soon after. The family moved several times as his father …

Davidsonville Historic State Park

Davidsonville Historic State Park is a 163-acre park located on the Black River in southern Randolph County. The park preserves the site of the town of Davidsonville, which housed the first postal stop, the first courthouse building and county seat of Lawrence County, and the first federal land office in what is now the state of Arkansas. The town was created from a few log cabins in 1815, when the Act of Lawrence County was written; it was briefly known as the town of Lawrence. Strangely, this town of “firsts” was also the first county seat to be bypassed by a major road connecting Missouri to the Great Southwest. By 1829, Davidsonville had lost the courthouse to Jackson and the …

Davis, William Delford (Willie)

Willie Davis was a millionaire business executive, civic leader, and former football standout who grew up in Miller County. Davis achieved athletic success in football at the high school, college, and professional levels. After retiring from a National Football League (NFL) career of twelve seasons (1958–1969), he moved into the business world, where he attained equal success. Davis was a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. William Delford (Willie) Davis was born on July 24, 1934, in Lisbon, Louisiana, to David and Nodie Davis. After his parents separated when he was eight, his mother moved the family to Texarkana (Miller County). His mother supported the family by working as a cook at the Texarkana Country Club. Willie Davis …

Davis, William Henry (Willie)

William Henry (Willie) Davis was a professional baseball player who spent eighteen years in the major leagues before retiring at the end of the 1979 season. Spending most of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Davis played a key role on the franchise’s 1963 and 1965 World Series championship teams, and, while he finished his career with the California Angels, Davis held a number of Los Angeles Dodgers batting records at the time of his retirement. Willie Davis was born on April 15, 1940, in Mineral Springs (Howard County), but he grew up in Los Angeles, California. A multi-sport athletic star at Theodore Roosevelt High School, Davis was a world-class performer in track and field, specializing in the 100-yard dash …

Day, Clyde “Pea Ridge”

Known as the “hog-calling pitcher” in a baseball career spanning the 1920s and early 1930s, Clyde Henry “Pea Ridge” Day transported his considerable talents, his hometown’s name, and a slice of the lively culture of the Arkansas hills onto the national scene. Day’s fun-loving showmanship and competitive spirit brought rare publicity to his hometown and home state. Clyde Henry Day was born on August 25, 1899, the second child of James (Jim) and Elizabeth Day. Day’s family lived on a farm and operated a steam-powered sawmill three miles north of Pea Ridge (Benton County), near the Missouri state line. His birthplace is taken to be Pea Ridge, although family members think the actual birth may have taken place in McDonald …