Residents of Pfeiffer in Independence County encompass the heart, soul of area
Written by: Tracy Crain
January 21, 2001

Sometimes the smallest towns hold the greatest treasures. The community of Pfeiffer, located along U.S. 167 North, is that kind of place.

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much more than a historical marker, a grocery and fuel store, a church and a salvage yard. One might think that’s about all there is, but they would be mistaken.

There’s actually an abundance of rural treasures. The traveler need only know where to look.

If one were to visit, it would be best to stop in at the local grocery and fuel store, first. That’s where a traveler can find one of the best treasures of all--the townspeople. The grocery and fuel store is a not so common place, where townsfolk gather regularly.

Described as a hardy bunch--they’re quick with comments, a wink and a tale. Within minutes of listening to their conversation, it’s easy to see that there’s no place quite like this one.

Allen Brokaw is one of the regular patrons. He recalls his childhood in Pfeiffer with both laughter and pride. “I had a lot of fun growing up in this little community. We didn’t have any bad habits back then and everybody looked out after everyone,” he said.

Brokaw seems to know most of the residents here, where the population is estimated to be around 150. He is charismatic and the folks at the local grocery and fuel store like to listen to him.

Loretta Cogar is a resident of Pfeiffer and the store cashier. She describes the people in the town as hardworking folks, good at storytelling. “The best way I can describe this place is to tell you that everybody here gets along very well,” she said. “The crime rate is very low. One thing’s for sure, a person will never meet a stranger here. We are all very friendly.”

Local treeman, Ed Dixson, is standing next to her. A resident of Pfeiffer who is highly regarded, he is a comedian of sorts. Quick with a comment, he describes Pfeiffer as no place like anywhere a person has ever been. “The people around here just tickle me pink,” he says jokingly.

Joining in the conversation is Doil Wallis, a truck stop owner and resident. Wallis is known around town for his ability to “fix anything but a broken heart.” He says Pfeiffer is the only place to live.

“Even people in Batesville don’t know about us, but living here is like having a drink of water. It’s addictive. You take a drink and you have to have more,” he said. “I’d say that living here is better than being on drugs. I really love the area. Even though it’s changed a lot over the years, you couldn’t ask for a better hometown.”

Some of the changes, as Brokaw described, occurred when the stockyard closed. “There used to be a stockyard here where we’d sell cattle, hogs and horses,” he said. “Pfeiffer was a thriving community at that time. When it closed, a lot of things changed, but not the people. They are still great.”

Aside from the townsfolk, who are sure to touch your heart and brighten your day, other treasures exist as well, such as marble.
To learn more about that, it would require a visit to one of the historical markers, although residents are sure to know as much about the town mines.

It’s reported that mining has been conducted here since 1836. Marble extracted from the mines has been utilized not only in the construction of the Arkansas State Capitol, but in projects throughout the United States.

The community, said to be named for the Pfeiffer family, originated in the early 1900s. At one time, it was known as a railhead with wagons coming from many points, just to pick up freight.

“We don’t have a post office or a restaurant here, but this community is better than the city because it’s peaceful and serene. I think what we really need is a star on the map for Pfeiffer. It definitely deserves one,” Brokaw said.

Great people, world class marble mines, and a rich history of livestock farming are just a few of the great treasures one can find here. There’s sure to be other surprises, too, for those inclined to find them.

Of all the things that one could find here, residents, who meet every morning at the quick mart for a cup of coffee and a round of storytelling, perhaps deserve the most attention.

There are few communities where neighbors share as much laughter and camaraderie. That is, without doubt, perhaps one of the best treasures a town could have.

(This article has been recently revised for historical archiving and is an excerpt from Road Trips; a weekly feature of small towns in Arkansas, which was written by Tracy Crain and published by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in 2000.)