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Home / Browse / Pindall (Searcy County)
Latitude and Longitude:
2.808 square miles (2010 Census)
112 (2010 Census)
December 14, 1912
Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:
Named for the acting governor of Arkansas at the time, X. O. Pindall, the town of Pindall arose along the St. Louis and North Arkansas Railroad (later the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad) early in the twentieth century. Pindall is in the northwestern corner of Searcy County about halfway between Marshall (Searcy County) and Harrison (Boone County) on U.S. Highway 65.
When European exploration and settlement began in what would become the state of Arkansas, the northern hills of the future state were claimed as hunting and fishing land by the Osage, who lived to the north. Even after treaties removed the Osage from the land, white settlers were slow to come to the rugged hills of the Ozark Mountains. Isaac Tyler received a land patent for the site where Pindall would be established in 1898, and Rachel Keith received a patent to adjacent land the next year.
Around the beginning of the twentieth century, zinc deposits were discovered in Searcy County, and railroads were planned to transport the ore as well as to transport timber from the wooded hills. Between 1901 and 1903, the St. Louis and North Arkansas Railroad built a line through the county, and the Big Hurricane mine opened in 1903 two miles west of what was to become Pindall. A switch off the railroad was built and designated Hurricane Switch. A post office named Switch was established in 1904, but later that year, the name was changed to Kilborn, reportedly for the family that owned the land on which the switch had been built. Eastbound travelers on the railroad occasionally mistook the announcement of Kilborn for Gilbert (Searcy County), so in 1908 the name of the settlement was changed to Pindall to honor acting governor Xenaphon Overton Pindall. By this time, the community already had five or six stores, a grist mill, a school, and a hotel. Pindall was incorporated as a town in 1912.
The Big Hurricane mine operated from 1903 until 1905 and then was closed for a few years. When World War I created a higher demand for zinc, the mine was reopened in 1915 and operated steadily until 1918. Miners and shippers, as well as lumbermen and farmers, filled the town and made it a thriving center of commerce. After the mine was closed in 1918, a resort was established at the Hurricane River Cave, although the mine did operate again from 1942 to 1945 to supply the high demand for zinc during World War II.
During the Depression, Pindall continued to serve as a center for the timber market and also supported a canning factory that processed beans and tomatoes. Pindall also benefited from the construction of U.S. Highway 65. The town at the time had two general stores, a hotel, garages, machine shops, and several small industries. A new school building was completed in Pindall around 1935, and two churches were established at that time: a Full Gospel church and a Pentecostal church.
After World War II, improved transportation and urbanization led to the decline of many towns like Pindall. The Pindall School District was consolidated into that of St. Joe (Searcy County), which in turn was consolidated in 2004 into the Ozark Mountain School District. In 1982, the Pentecostal church constructed a new church building north of Pindall, where members still meet. J & H Custom Furniture on Highway 65 in Pindall manufactures furniture for churches, and the town also has a storage center and a mercantile establishment. There is also a café named for Hurricane River Cave. The cave continues to attract tourists, with guided “extreme” tours that bring customers into cave environments that are usually closed to the public.
One of the most prominent citizens of Pindall was Monroe Livingston, a farmer who was reported in 1935 to be the father of twenty-three children, born between 1901 and 1934. Livingston had remarried—to a woman named Hattie—after his first wife, Mary, died in 1916. Pindall was also home in 1935 to a blacksmith, Pink Daniel, who had refused to cut his hair between 1921 and 1933 when Republican presidents lived in the White House.
For additional information:Searcy County Retired Teachers Association. Searcy County Arkansas: A History of Searcy County Arkansas and its People. Marshall, AR: Searcy County Retired Teachers Association, 1987.
“Town of Pindall, Named for Governor, With XO Station Call, Survives Hard Times.” Arkansas Democrat, March 3, 1935, p. 13.
Steven Teske Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Last Updated 3/3/2017
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