Traveling the historic Crowley's Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway – Jonesboro Sun


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Mixed clouds and sun this morning. Scattered thunderstorms developing this afternoon. High 81F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%..
Isolated thunderstorms early, then partly cloudy after midnight. Low 68F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Updated: September 10, 2022 @ 10:40 am
The home of Paul and Mary Pfeiffer stands picturesque on Thursday morning at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott. The Arkansas State University Heritage Site includes a barn behind the home that the Pfeiffers converted into a studio for their son-in-law, Ernest Hemingway, so that he could have privacy to write during his visits.
The Midway Garden Sprite looks across the gardens peacefully on Thursday morning at the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott. The sculpture is a full scale reproduction of an original sculpture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and created by Alfonso Inanelli in 1913.
The Petrified Trees Display stands strong on Thursday morning on the courthouse lawn in front of the Clay County Courthouse in Piggott. The ancient petrified tree trunks once were so common around Piggott that the locals used them as grave markers.
Paragould War Memorial-Lady Liberty memorialize Arkansans who served in World War I as she stands tall in front of the Greene County Historic Courthouse on Thursday morning at the corner of Third Street and West Court Street in Paragould.
Yet another Statue of Liberty replica graces the yard of the Greene County Museum on Thursday morning in Paragould.
These are a couple of the historic 1890-1930 structures that line The West Washington Avenue Historic District on Friday morning between 500 to 626 West Washington Avenue in Jonesboro.
This stone angel watches over the historic Pine Hill Cemetery on Friday morning at Craighead Forest Road and Lincoln Drive in Jonesboro.
The magnificent molding, which was uncovered during reconstruction in the historic courtroom, was breathtaking on Thursday afternoon at the Poinsett County Courthouse in Harrisburg. Built in 1917, the new structure cost $200,000 to build at the time.
This mural peaked out of the wall behind the fence of little park in the Harrisburg Commercial Historic District. This district represents the 1888-1959 commercial core of the Poinsett County government seat.

The home of Paul and Mary Pfeiffer stands picturesque on Thursday morning at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott. The Arkansas State University Heritage Site includes a barn behind the home that the Pfeiffers converted into a studio for their son-in-law, Ernest Hemingway, so that he could have privacy to write during his visits.
The Midway Garden Sprite looks across the gardens peacefully on Thursday morning at the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott. The sculpture is a full scale reproduction of an original sculpture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and created by Alfonso Inanelli in 1913.
The Petrified Trees Display stands strong on Thursday morning on the courthouse lawn in front of the Clay County Courthouse in Piggott. The ancient petrified tree trunks once were so common around Piggott that the locals used them as grave markers.
Paragould War Memorial-Lady Liberty memorialize Arkansans who served in World War I as she stands tall in front of the Greene County Historic Courthouse on Thursday morning at the corner of Third Street and West Court Street in Paragould.
Yet another Statue of Liberty replica graces the yard of the Greene County Museum on Thursday morning in Paragould.
These are a couple of the historic 1890-1930 structures that line The West Washington Avenue Historic District on Friday morning between 500 to 626 West Washington Avenue in Jonesboro.
This stone angel watches over the historic Pine Hill Cemetery on Friday morning at Craighead Forest Road and Lincoln Drive in Jonesboro.
The magnificent molding, which was uncovered during reconstruction in the historic courtroom, was breathtaking on Thursday afternoon at the Poinsett County Courthouse in Harrisburg. Built in 1917, the new structure cost $200,000 to build at the time.
This mural peaked out of the wall behind the fence of little park in the Harrisburg Commercial Historic District. This district represents the 1888-1959 commercial core of the Poinsett County government seat.
Travelers from all over come to Northeast Arkansas to checkout the scenic beauty and historical significance of the Crowley’s Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway, which traverses the rising ridge of the otherwise flat Delta region.
Travel Writer for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Kim Williams said on Thursday that Crowley’s Ridge was formed over a 50-million-year period when the ancestral Mississippi and Ohio rivers eroded away the land on each side and deposits of wind-blown soils added height to the remnant ridge.
Williams, who has been a travel writer for Arkansas Tourism since 2006, is also the Division of Arkansas Tourism’s Director of the Arkansas’s Great River Road, which is an All-American Road.
According to the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism website, Arkansas’s Great River Road is part of the 10-state national scenic byway that runs along the Mississippi River.
“Historically it was used by Native Americans and settlers to escape the floods in the Arkansas Delta,” Williams said. “Environmentally, the natural vegetation is quite important … many of the trees that make up the forest on Crowley’s Ridge are similar to those found in the western Appalachian Mountains. The ridge is covered with a lush mixed forest including oak and hickory and uncommon hardwood trees such as American beech, sugar maple and the tulip tree or yellow poplar.”
According to Williams, there are six state parks along the Crowley’s Ridge Byway, including Crowley’s Ridge State Park, Lake Frierson State Park, Lake Poinsett State Park, Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park, Parkin Archeological State Park and Village Creek State Park.
So, what is the importance of the designation of the scenic byway? Well Williams said that, according to Wikipedia, a National Scenic Byway is a road recognized by the United States Department of Transportation for one or more of six “intrinsic qualities” including archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic.
The byway program was established by Congress in 1991 to preserve and protect the nation’s scenic but often less-traveled roads and promote tourism and economic development.
She also noted that the most scenic byways are designated All-American Roads, which must meet two out of the six intrinsic qualities, therefore the designation means they have features that do not exist elsewhere in the United States and are unique and important enough to be tourist destinations unto themselves.
Williams also noted that the Arkansas’s section of the Great River Road received the All-American Road designation in February 2021.
“From my standpoint, Arkansas’s national scenic byways offer visitors to see some of the state’s most beautiful areas,” Williams stated.
According to the Arkansas Delta Byways website, the unusual landform actually begins in just below Cape Girardeau, Mo., crosses into Arkansas at the St. Francis River near Piggott and forms the crescent-shaped byway that ends at Helena-West Helena.
Basically the Arkansas portion runs south along US 62 from the Arkansas and Missouri border at the St. Francis River to Piggott; then travels on to historic Downtown Paragould, Jonesboro, Harrisburg, Wynne, Forrest City, Marianna, through the St. Francis National Forest towards Helena, and finally departs the St. Francis National Forest via SH 242 south and then travels east on US 49 B into Helena – West Helena, where the byway ends at the Arkansas-Mississippi Bridge.
A complete list of detailed driving directions can be found on the Arkansas Delta Byways website as well as a complete Arkansas Delta Byways Travel Guide, which lists a huge number of things to do along the scenic byway including scenic vistas, wild flowers, forests and farms, old-fashioned country stores, antique shops and stands for home-grown fruits and vegetables, plus recreational opportunities along the route that offer everything from fishing, boating, swimming, picnicking, hiking, wildlife and bird watching, to tennis, photography, hunting, camping and golf.
It also lists numerous museums, Native American sites, historic districts, cemeteries, Civil War battlefields, African American heritage sites, galleries, cultural centers and festivals as well.
Of the many historic sites on the Arkansas Delta Byways Travel Guide, the following sites are listed by city and county (from north to south) to give a brief glimpse of the ridge beauty and historical heritage in Northeast Arkansas:
The County Home Cemetery, which is located within Heritage Park at 3010 Heritage Park Road and marked by a stone monument and a memorial bench, is a historic cemetery that contains about 60 unmarked graves. It is all that remains of the Clay County Home that provided for the poor and destitute, which is where the last Civil War veteran from Clay County lived and died.
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum & Educational Center, which is located at 1021 West Cherry Street, is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site. It includes the home of Paul and Mary Pfeiffer, whose daughter Pauline was the second wife of legendary American-author Ernest Hemingway from 1927-1940, and Hemingway’s Studio, which was a barn that the converted into a studio to give Hemingway privacy to write during his visits at the Pfeiffers’ home. Both the house and barn are furnished as they appeared when the Hemingways were frequent visitors.
The Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum, which is located at 1071 Heritage Park Drive, is an early 1930s home on 11 acres of natural gardens and houses the Matilda Pfeiffer gem and mineral collection from around the world, Native American artifacts, and an extensive library.
The Petrified Trees Display, which is located on the courthouse lawn in front of the Clay County Court House at 151 S 2nd Ave, is a collection of ancient petrified tree trunks, which once were so common around Piggott that the locals used them as grave markers.
The Piggott Commercial Historic District, which is roughly bounded by W. Cherry, W. Court, S. Throgmorton and Clay Streets, contains the original plat of the town’s commercial and government center as laid out in 1887 near the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad line.
The Piggott WPA Post Office Mural by Iowan Dan Rhodes, which is located at the Piggott Post Office at 119 North Third Street, is one of 21 Arkansas post offices that had murals installed in their lobbies between 1939 and 1942 as part of a New Deal art project.
The Collins Theatre, which is located at 120 W. Emerson Street, was originally the 1925 Capitol Theatre that hosted vaudeville and other live stage entertainment in addition to movies. The Art Deco building was later renamed the Collins Theatre is home to the Eastern Arkansas Ballet, live theater, musical theater, concerts, and various other events.
The Paragould War Memorial – Lady Liberty, which is located at Junction of 3rd and Court Streets on the lawn of the Greene County Historic Courthouse, is a bronze Statue of Liberty replica associated with the post-World War I movement to memorialize Arkansans who served in the war. It was one of eight sculptures erected across the state in the 10 to 15 years following the end of the war in 1919.
The Paragould Downtown Historic Commercial District, which is bordered by 3rd Avenue, Kingshighway, 3 1/2 Street, and W. Highland Streets, contains 1882 – 1953 structures that reflect such architectural styles as Twentieth Century Commercial, Classical Revival and Minimal Traditional. The city’s name combines the last names of competing railroad magnates J. W. Paramore and Jay Gould, whose railroads intersected here in 1882.
The Greene County Museum, which is located at 130 South 14th Street, is located in the renovated home of former Arkansas Governor J. Marion Futrell. The house, which was built in 1908, has 14 rooms that are filled with treasured, unique, and irreplaceable artifacts and heirlooms.
The Greene County Historic Courthouse, which is located on the corner of Third Street and West Court Street, on the old courthouse square in Paragould, was erected in 1888 and then renovation in 1918. In 1996, the old beauty was replaced as the county’s courthouse when the current Greene County Courthouse was constructed just to the west, across the street from this one.
The West Washington Avenue Historic District, which is located between 500 to 626 West Washington Avenue, contains 1890-1930 structures including American Foursquare, Queen Anne Classical Revival, Tudor Revival and Spanish Revival styles.
The Foundation of Arts – The Forum Theatre, which is located at 115 E Monroe Ave., hosts theatrical productions, concerts and other events. The Forum Theater was built in 1926 and formerly served at The Strand Theater for decades until eventually being sold to the City of Jonesboro in the 1970s and undergoing a renovation. The Foundation of Arts still maintains the 650 seat theater.
The Oaklawn Cemetery, which is located at 2349 W. Matthews Avenue Lane, contains the graves on many prominent residents such as first female elected to the United States Senate in the 1930s, U.S. Senator Hattie Caraway, and her husband, U.S. Senator Thaddeus Caraway; as well as U.S. Congressman William Henderson Cate, Arkansas governor Francis Adams Cherry and a well known drummer named Sammy Lee Creason that had worked with artists including Tony Joe White, Sonny Burgess, Bob Dylan, and many more.
The Pine Hill Cemetery, which is located on Craighead Forrest Road and Lincoln Drive, was established in 1859 and many Civil War veterans are buried in this cemetery, along with first mayor of Jonesboro Aden Lynch. Notable burials also include Bobby Lee Trammell, who was born in Jonesboro and became known nationally playing “rockabilly” music that peaked in the late 1950s and early 1960s with performers such as Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.
The Poinsett County Courthouse, which is located at 401 Market St, was constructed beginning in 1918, after the original Poinsett County Courthouse burned on May 4, 1917. The county’s residents desired to build an imposing structure that would be representative of the county’s prosperity and the the new structure cost $200,000 to build. The main entrances were highlighted with grand, full-height, pedimented Corinthian porticos.
The Harrisburg Commercial Historic District, which is roughly bounded by Jackson, Water, South and Gould Streets, represents the 1888-1959 commercial core of the Poinsett County government seat.
Most of the place are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well.
For more information on the Crowley’s Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway visit the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism website at www.arkansas.com or the Arkansas Delta Byways website at www.deltabyways.com.
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