Nestled in the heart of the Ozarks is the small town of Mountain View, long known for its love and preservation of folk music and a true sense of community. For those who have the privilege to live in Mountain View, it resembles a modern-day Mayberry. The heart of the town is the court square and from early spring to late fall, musicians and pickers gather to play folk music, enjoy fellowship and meet new friends.
Back in the 1950s, Mountain View was very isolated and the town’s people realized that something unique was needed to attract tourists to their little community, to keep it alive. The 1960s and early 1970s brought about paved roads, the first Arkansas Folk Festival in 1963 and the building of the Stone Amphitheater in the City Park.
While Mountain View still attracts thousands of visitors each year with their festivals, Blanchard Caverns and the Ozark Folk Center, the Stone Amphitheater is a treasure right in the heart of the city. Many do not even realize it exists. Tucked away in the rich forests of Ozarks, the builders truly chose a magnificent backdrop for the Stone Amphitheater.
Truthfully, I had visited the city park several years before I even stumbled upon the amphitheater. It is tucked just a short distance down a path next to the paved 1/2 mile walking track in the city park on Webb Street. A small stream gently meanders underneath a picture perfect arched stone bridge. If you are looking for a beautiful backdrop for photos with a natural setting, this is truly perfection.
Just under the bridge is a small waterfall gushing downstream. If you follow the creek you will find yourself at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. The creek separates the amphitheater into two parts, the grand stone stage and the beautiful stone seating area. I can only imagine what it was like when the first concerts or outdoor plays were given. In such a peaceful setting the music would have struck your inner core.
It is fitting that stones were used to build the walkways, seating, walls and stairs; this is Stone County after all. Looking at all the rock work, I can’t help but think of all the time and care that was invested to ensure each and every stone was placed perfectly.
The dedication sign reads:
“This beautiful location was dedicated to the workers of the Arkansas Farmers Union Green Thumb whose efforts made this park possible so that others might enjoy the beauty of the state of Arkansas.” January 1966 – December 1969 – Lewis Johnson, Jr. State Director
The amphitheater is truly a tranquil location that is a perfect backdrop for photos, an outdoor wedding, concerts or simply just enjoying nature. At the top of the stone staircase are stone benches and even a grill to stop, relax and enjoy a meal. If you make it to Mountain View, be sure to find your way deep into the city park and you might just hear the music the stones have to share.