Places To Go

A historic photo of Boxley Mill from 1959
The Boxley Historic District near Ponca, AR includes the historic Boxley Mill, which was a popular spot for families to gather while waiting for their flour.

Villines family, Newton County Arkansas

Throughout history, the waters of the Buffalo River Valley have supported agriculture, industry, and community. Boxley Grist Mill used the power of moving water to grind corn into meal and wheat into a flour, a service that was hard to come by in the rural Ozarks in the later 19th century. The Boxley Mill was owned by three generations of the Villines Family and in operation from the 1870s until the 1950’s when a major flood washed out a large portion of the millrace.

The Boxley Valley Historic District also includes the Villines cabins at the river near Ponca, AR. About 1850, William and Rebecca Villines established a farm near the Buffalo at what is now the junction of Hwy 43 & Hwy 74 near Ponca. An exhibit panel describes the farm.

Their son James A., born in 1854, grew up to be known as “Beaver Jim”. His farmstead is just up the hill across the low water Ponca bridge. The cabin and a variety of outbuildings remain, built by Beaver Jim or added or changed by succeeding owners. For instance, Beaver Jim had a stone and log cellar as early as 1898 that was used to store fruits and vegetables. The concrete version in place today replaced his cellar. The concrete outhouse, built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) replaced an earlier version.Exhibit panels describe the buildings and life on the farm.

 
The Parker-Hickman house and wooden fence in the fall
The Erbie road winds seven miles off Hwy 7 to reach the river and the Parker Hickman Farmstead.

(V. Jones) NPS

In the Jasper area of the park, take time to visit The Parker-Hickman Farmstead. Take Hwy 7 north of Jasper and turn at the sign for Erbie. The farmstead is a self-guided tour of an Ozark farm occupied for more than 100 years by 9 different owners. This is possibly the oldest home here within Buffalo National River, built in the 1840s by Alvin and Elizabeth Park and Greenberry Parker who moved here from Tennessee. It is now known as the Parker-Hickman home, because the Parkers were the builders of the home and the Hickman’s were the final owners before the park. The house reflects the changes that took place in the Ozarks over the years. Electricity and telephone arrived to the area in the 1940’s. Walls and ceilings were paneled in the 1960’s.

Several of the outbuildings were constructed after the Hickman’s bought this farm. The original outhouse was replaced in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Mr. Hickman said it was the only government assistance they received during the Great Depression.The exhibit panel maps the farm layout.

 
Collage of five photos, top left and bottom right are historic photos of miners and town residents, top right and bottom left are remnants of the town still standing, center left is the Rush Historic District sign
Rush enjoyed several boom times and endured just as many bust downturns.

NPS

Visit the "Ghost Town" of Rush near the Yellville/Buffalo Point area of the park.

The Rush Historic District is a 1300-acre historic mining district that includes the buildings, structures, roadways, and mines of the Rush mining area, active from the 1880s to the 1930s. During World War I it was the largest producer of zinc ore in Arkansas. Rush was a community into the 1960s. Ruins and sites can be found throughout the district and contribute to a wider understanding of community layout, mining processes, and construction techniques.

One of the ruins is the stone remains of the Hicks Property. Zinc was the only mineral actively mined. In 1985 the National Park Service restricted entrance to the mines because of concern over visitor safety. Steel mesh fencing and gates were erected around each accessible opening.Exhibit panels along the town trail provide a glimpse into the boom and bust life of a mining town. The Rush Valley trail map is available at the Buffalo Point Information station.

 
image of digital reconstruction of two buildings
Digital reconstruction of the Hicks Hotel and Store.

University of Arkansas

If Walls Could Talk: the Story of the Hicks Property

Click on the link below to check out the digital reconstruction of the Hicks property that The University of Arkansas has created. The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design created an outstanding website outlining the history associated with the Hicks family property that was established in Rush Valley in 1903. This interactive website includes photos, historical documents, and audio clips related to the store, hotel, and livery that the Hicks family operated.

http://cast.uark.edu/hicks.php
 
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    Last updated: October 3, 2021

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