Denmark is a community
situated in the midst of three counties--Independence, White and
Written by: Tracy L. Crain
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Sunday, February 4, 2001
Duane Cross and his wife, Peggy describe their hometown of
Denmark as "kind of colonized" because it's the only dry town in
a wet county.
Located a half mile to three quarters of a mile in radius, the
community, positioned off of U.S. 167 North on Arkansas 87
South, is hardy enough and perhaps colonized enough to have
sustained everything from the loss of commerce to some odd road
One reason is that there's a lot of community spirit here and
there are some fascinating stories about the folks who lived
here...the kind of stories that make a person appreciate the
value of life in a place like this.
Duane Cross, a local barber, has some good memories about
Denmark and knows a little about the town's beginnings. "I
believe the area was founded in the 1800s," he said. "We used to
have a cotton gin, hotel, blacksmith, and a post office that
also served as a store. Elmer Hodge was postmaster back then.
Years ago, we also had a school."
He remembers when he was a student. "We had a thing around here
that if the boys went up to Pleasant Plains, or if the Pleasant
Plains' boys came to Denmark, the fight would be on," Duane
said. "That was our form of entertainment, besides playing an
occasional game of baseball."
He continues, "Don't think just because we had a few fights that
it's not a decent area. There have been a lot of good people
raised here, including some of the state's best heart surgeons,
such as John and C.E. Ransom. Smokey the Bear's boss, F. Dale
Robertson, former director of the forestry commission is also
from this town."
Peggy Cross, a school director in Bald Knob and native of
Denmark, said the area was also known for cotton and
strawberries. "In 1952-1954, we didn't have any rain, and it put
a lot of the farmers out of business," she said. "They ended up
leaving to work in the industrial areas. We're just a rural town
now. We have about 25 to 30 families, roughly 100 people left."
Peggy and Duane have raised three children here and seem happy.
The say the area is somewhat of a "step-child," because it's
divided between three areas and they don't know who to call when
they need help.
That description, in part, comes from the recent road
construction along Arkansas 87.
"When the state took the road back up, the Highway Department
removed this section from their roster, and it reverted back to
the county," Duane said. "The west part of the road is
considered part of White County and the east side is considered
part of Jackson County. When they moved the road, we lost all
the heavy traffic that was coming through the area."
Changes in highway construction, Peggy said, made it so
residents could walk and ride their bicycles along the road
"It is a great place to live, and most everyone is related to
everyone," she said. "We are also centrally located. Newport is
27 miles, Batesville is 28 miles and Searcy is only 24 miles
away. That makes us unique, because we are located right in the
middle of three county seats, and we also have three choices
about which school we want our children to attend."
Denton Davis, a well-liked, friendly type described lovingly by
his neighbors as a foreigner to the area since he has only lived
here for roughly 30 years, enjoys living in Denmark because it's
nice and quiet.
"We don't have any stores or community activities, but if the
neighbors need something, they will call you up," he said.
"There's not many of us, but we're close and there are not any
problems that I'm aware of and the kids in town always seem to
have something to do. My grandson plays basketball in Desha all
Davis continued, "It's really interesting to live where I do. My
mailbox is in White County, but my driveway is in Jackson
Along with its peculiar geographic boundaries, Denmark has a
rather unique tourist attraction. "We have a natural spring here
that is owned by a doctor, where people can get water for
drinking," Davis said. "My wife and I just started going down
there because we have city water, but people come from all over
to visit that spring."
When it comes to the naming of this rural community, Davis said
little is known. A few theories point to a school or early
postmaster, but these reports are difficult to confirm. What is
known, however, is that Denmark, located in the heart of three
counties, is a quiet, country area with a close knit community,
two cemeteries and a Baptist church.
Duane Cross seems to summarize it best, "We have all the
advantages of living in the country, including our privacy, but
are close enough that we can access what we need in town."
(Denmark is an excerpt from Road Trips; a weekly feature of
small towns in Arkansas written by Tracy Crain and published by
the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.)