All 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.
By 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.
Today 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!
© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2014.