Ghost Town Wednesday: Snowball, Arkansas

GhostTownWednesdayAll that remains today of the town of Snowball, Arkansas, besides abandoned buildings and storefronts, is a Masonic hall, a church and a few residents.  This town, originally known as Calf Creek, did thrive after being formally settled in the late nineteenth century, however.

The area was home to Cherokees led by chief Peter Cornstalk before white settlers began to arrive in the late 1830’s.  Even though the area was being settled, the town site didn’t start taking shape until the late 1800’s when in 1885 the Calf Creek Masonic Lodge was founded.

A lodge was built, serving as a church and school as well, and named after county sheriff Bill Snow.  Businesses started coming in and a post office was established in 1888.  The legend of how the town got the name of “Snowball” is that postal officials misread the application and gave it the name “Snowball” instead of “Snow Hall”.

A hotel and general store were built in 1890, and in 1912 the H.D. William Cooperage Mill (barrel manufacturer) opened nearby and many residents were employed there.  In 1938 the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built a new school, but by the 1970’s school enrollment had declined dramatically, down to about thirty students.  The school was later merged with another district.

Snowball1937By that time the town, which once boasted as many as five hundred residents, had dwindled to four families.  A resurgence of sorts occurred later in the 70’s when so-called “hippies” came to the area to “get back to the land”.  But like most fads of that era, interest waned and the hippies left.

A fire destroyed much of the business district in October of 1945, including the post office and three businesses.  The post office was rebuilt, but closed permanently in 1966.  According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, as of 2012 there were only a few residents living there, with several abandoned buildings storefronts.

SnowballToday the Masonic Lodge is still active, along with Snowball Baptist Church.  The town site is now referred to as an “unincorporated community” which is often synonymous with “ghost town”.  Calf Creek/Snowball was home to the subjects of yesterdays Tombstone Tuesday article, Isaac Lafayette and Arabazena Ottalee (Turney) Castleberry.  If you missed it, you can read it here.

While researching this story, I came across some other “snowball” stories – you’ll see those in upcoming Military History Monday articles.

Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!

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© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2014.

 

12 Comments

  1. I met a gentleman named Delno Taylor back in 1981, I worked with him in Russleville, at Arkansas nuclear one, I’ve never forgotten him , he was an Irish msn with fascinating stories and advice as an older man than me , I remember him always reminding me to take good care of myself, I’ve often though of him over the years , he would say “tell all your friends back in Mississippi that the Irishman from Snowball taught you that”. Hope you had a wonderful last 36 years Mr. DelnoTaylor. M.Pittman

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    • I do know Delno Taylor is still alive and doing pretty good. I am going to share this piece and hopefully his daughter will read this.

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    • And Delno is doing well. He lives in St Joe not far away. My family always considered Delno as one of our family members.

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  2. It was Ben Snow that Snowball was named after. 🙂 And Delno has moved back to Snowball from Texas where he worked for years. Thought you might like to know that, Mr. Pittman.

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  3. Great article on a little town I used to live in. I was one of the Hippies that moved into Snowball in the mid 70’s. We rented “the ranger house” just out of town. What a great area, I remember meeting a older men named Ebby, who was a medic in the army air corp in WW2. We used to swim in the Buffalo River on hot summer days. My friend and I would travel around the country painting vans with airbrush art and Snowball was home base for about a year.

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    • Awesome … sounds like a great place to live! Thanks for stopping by and thank you for your kindness in the way of a donation… much appreciated!

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      • Grandfather James Edward Fountain was from this area before moving to Texas. When I visited as a young boy, It was a ghost town in the 70’s. rocky roads took out my dads muffler.

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  4. In conversation with an elderly lady i had just met, discussion quickly turned toward where she grew up which was in or near snowball, Arkansas. During our brief encounter, she told of a cave on their property and that “giant” skeletons were found. She said authorities were notified and “government officials” came to investigate, taking the skeletons with them. She went on to say her family called to inquire but they “never got no answers about them.” I don’t recall how we got to that topic but she didn’t come across as the type person to make something like that up. I’ve been intrigued ever since. If anyone has knowledge of this story, I’d like to hear it

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    • Would be interesting to know the time frame the discovery occurred. Might have been mentioned in newspapers.

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    • According to an article in the Arkansas Gazette on March 9, 1941 remains were excavated from the cave a few years earlier. The bones were thought to have been prehistoric and samples were being sent to the Smithsonian. Another article in 1991 stated the initial find in 1937 was thought to be that of a prehistoric woman. More bone fragments and pieces of utensils were also found. Colonel Howard (C.H.) Williams was in charge of the project.

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    • Wow! Would love to get the story behind that!

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      • Debbie, I will be featuring an updated version of this article in the February 2018 issue of my new venture, Digging History Magazine. I will be including info about the cave find (as much as I can find). That month’s theme is snow and snowballs with the lead article “Baby It Was Cold Outside: Historic United States Blizzards”.

        This site will be re-vamped very soon and most articles taken down and a new site (www.digginghistorymag.com) will be linked. If you’d like to be notified when the new site is up, simply provide your email address to subscribe to the blog. I hope you’ll stop by!

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