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Welcome to Piggott, a small town located near the northern tip of Crowley’s Ridge in Northeast Arkansas. Although I grew up only an hour away, (in the South distance is described in time rather than miles), it took me fifty years to discover Piggott. Now it’s the place I return each year to feed my soul, restore balance, and remember.
Piggott is a history lesson, a slice of Americana complete with a train rumbling through town providing a nearly constant reminder of yesteryear. The town’s
Mayberry-like charm is sometimes just what I need.
Piggott is best known for its connection to American writer, Ernest Hemingway. In 1927, Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer, daughter of prominent Piggott businessman, Paul Pfeiffer. During their thirteen-year marriage, Ernest and Pauline made frequent, lengthy trips to Piggott. The Pfeiffer barn became Hemingway’s writing studio and the place where a portion of A Farewell to Arms was penned.
Arkansas State University purchased and renovated the home and barn studio, and in 1982, the property was named to the National Historic Register. Take a tour. Learn about literature of the 1930s, world events, Northeast Arkansas agriculture and lifestyle during the Depression and New Deal eras. Next door, the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum hosts a large collection of local Native American artifacts and over 1,400 mineral specimens and geodes, including several Arkansas diamonds.
This historic site is an Arkansas treasure not to be missed. Check the schedule for writer and reading retreats, author events and other special functions hosted by the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center.
A few miles east of town, the St. Francis River cuts through Crowley’s Ridge forming the boundary between Arkansas and Missouri. Hidden among the trees along the riverbank, Chalk Bluff Civil War Battlefield was a major crossing point for raids between the two states. Today the battlefield is a designated Arkansas Natural Area with hiking trails, picnic tables, and access to the river for fishing. The shady trails provide places for meditation and reflection or bird watching with no sounds other than nature. There is a sense of importance in this quiet spot.
Each June, Chalk Bluff hosts an annual Civil War Weekend featuring a reenactment of the Skirmish at Chalk Bluff.
Spend time strolling around the historic square. Study the charm of old buildings. The Piggott Post Office includes one of twenty-one Arkansas murals commissioned for public buildings as part of the New Deal Public Works of Art Project. This program successfully put artists back to work after the Great Depression. The artwork subject matter related to the American scene.
The Piggott Tourist Information Center (original train depot) displays an original photograph of the P-47 Thunderbolt. By selling war bonds, the citizens of Piggott raised enough money to purchase a new fighter plane. With the words “The town of Piggott, Arkansas” painted on the side, the plane served as a bomber escort on bombing runs into enemy territory over Europe.
Fifteen minutes away in Holcomb, Missouri, Strawberries offers THE best barbecue in the entire delta region. People drive to this place from three states to order the center cut pork steak. Fork tender and as big as a china dinner plate, you will count your blessings to be dining in the South.
The Inn at Piggott, located in the original Piggott State Bank building, is a comfortable home-away-from-home decorated with antiques and details from yesterday. Enjoy a huge breakfast each morning in the communal dining room where you will visit with the friendly, knowledgeable owners and other guests.
Come to Piggott ready for a change of pace. Leave rejuvenated. The trip will be well worth your time.
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