Edgemont was once known for its lumber community and Sunday rabbit hunts
Written by: Tracy Crain
Sunday, September 3, 2000

There is an interesting, nostalgic photograph hanging on the wall of the Edgemont Post Office. Town residents say it is a “pretty good” historical snapshot of the community.

The black and white photograph highlights a railroad car that is full of timber. Beside it, there sits a railroad track and a train depot station, where several people are engaged in conversation.

One look and it’s easy to see that Edgemont, nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, was once a bustling lumber community.
Where all that lumber business went is not certain as the Edgemont Post Office, founded in 1904, seems to be about the only place in business these days.

Hints of what once was are still visible, though. Not only was this a bustling lumber and railroad community in its day, it was also home to some rather interesting rabbit hunts. Most everyone who lived in the community participated in them.

Evalena Berry in her book, Time and the River: A History of Cleburne County, states that Edgemont residents would often go rabbit hunting on Sunday “for sport.”

Back then, she states, it was against tradition to shoot a gun on Sunday.

For that reason, when a young farm hand saw a rabbit, he would club it using a piece of hickory sapling.
There are only a mere 200 people who reside in Edgemont today, which is located off of Arkansas 110 and Arkansas 16.

A look throughout the population records and it’s revealed that Edgemont experienced it’s greatest population boom when the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad rolled into town. With its inception, both trade and tourism opportunities increased dramatically.

The Chamber of Commerce in Greers Ferry describes Edgemont as “rich in heritage and character.” Because of that, they have documented quite of few the town’s most notable residents.

For instance, there is the story of Anna, who used to cut and haul ties for the railroad.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, she lived in the Devil’s Fork area, located across the lake from Edgemont. The interesting thing about Anna, as they notate, is that she would frequently come into town on a cable ferry, located between Edgemont and Higden, to sell railroad ties.

Since her load was usually piled higher than the others, she would frequently sit on the top of it, cracking a very long whip, all the while yelling at the four mulls that were pulling her wagon.

Railroad ties are not the only thing that made Anna famous. So did her clothes. Interesting enough, she was known as the only woman around who wore men’s britches.

It’s reported that the boys in town used to love to listen to her give the tie graders’ a good cussin’ if they downgraded one of her cuts.
History reveals that the railroad was as much a part of this community’s foundation and livelihood, as the lumber company.
Janice Cotton, owner of what could be considered a tourism attraction in Edgemont, is proud to note that the railroad used to run across her property.

She moved to Edgemont with her husband Harold because “they love the area so much.”

“There are a lot of people who will travel through this town on their way to Fairfield Bay,” Janice said. “This town is the kind of place that a person will miss if they blink while driving. That’s another reason we enjoy living here.”

She continued, “There are not any problems, and there is no crime in this community. We do have a hard time finding workers here, though. Most people commute into the city.”

Another interesting notation about the community is that it offers convenient access to Greers Ferry Lake and is home to a lot of trees.
“We have a variety of trees in this town. I know there are a lot of oak, hickory, and dogwood trees here,” she said.

Janice says the city of Edgemont has changed dramatically in her time. Surprisingly enough, she attributes it to the weather.
“We lost a bridge here due to a tornado and Edgemont was almost destroyed when it flooded in 1960. Everything about the town changed after the flood,” she said.

Although they remain in recovery, for the most part, the folks in Edgemont seem rather content in this rural haven.
Wanda Stubbs, a part time postmaster in Edgemont, describes the area as, “a friendly, retired town.”

“It’s so quiet and pleasant here. We never see or hear of troubles,” she said. “The older people in town love to gather for lunch at the area lodge and do stuff like that. They are all really nice.”

(Edgemont, located in Cleburne County, is an excerpt from Road Trips; a weekly of small towns in Arkansas, written by Tracy Crain and published by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.)