Word reached us recently that Dean Filppula of Shreveport found a 2.01-carat diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Here at Plum Street, we love getting updates from Park Interpreter Waymon Cox. What other state in the union can supply updates of diamond finds to our RSS feed?
Mr. Filppula's diamond may be the largest diamond find of 2015 but it is by no means the first. Found in the west drain of the search area, the diamond is wedge-shaped and about the size of an English pea. (Like any good Southern boy, he immediately named the diamond after his mama.) The largest diamond ever found at the crater measured 40.35 carats, discovered in 1924 when the area was privately mined. Roughly the size of a walnut, it would have been hard to miss!
When interviewed about Mr. Filppula's find, Cox, noting recent rains and plowing, commented, "Conditions are perfect for diamond hunting right now." The same could be said for the many other treasures we have here in The Natural State. Yes, we have diamonds, which makes Arkansas pretty unique, but we also have:
- Prehistoric relics. The Sloan site in Greene County occupies an ice age sand dune and ancient burial ground more than 10,000 years old. The Nashville Sauropod Trackway is believed to be the largest path of preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. And dinosaur bones were discovered in Sevier County by—who else?—a gentleman named Joe Friday.
- Natural springs. Did you know that Blanchard Spring's waterfall flows at the rate of 1,200 gallons a minute? And that NASA used spring water from Hot Springs to keep moon rocks free of bacteria while it studied them for signs of life?
- Caves. And plenty of them—about 2,000, by most estimates. Lost Valley Trail Cave houses a waterfall 35 feet high, and Mystic Cavern's crystal dome is eight stories high. And the Mormon Tabernacle has nothing on the acoustics of the annual Caroling in the Caverns event at Blanchard Springs.
- Minerals. Our soil and rocks yield at least 300 unique minerals. There are more than 100 of them in Magnet Cave alone!
- Watermelons. Bill Clinton first caught Hillary Rodham's notice when she overheard him bragging about the 200-pound watermelons grown in his hometown of Hope. It not for our record-breaking produce, who knows that course history might have taken?
Beyond our abundance of natural resources, Arkansas has plenty of other treasures. To name just a few:
- Boundary busters. We have the oldest standing state capitol building west of the Mississippi, the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi, and musicians who pioneered ragtime, rockabilly, bluegrass, and the blues.
- Bling. Arkansas has produced Oscar winners (Broncho Billy Anderson, Lisa Blount, Mary Steenburgen, Billy Bob Thornton), Pulitzer Prize winners (Harry Ashmore, John Gould Fletcher, Paul Greenberg), and more Baseball Hall of Famers and Grammy winners than we can name here. And in a category all her own: force of nature Maya Angelou, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freeman.
- Brilliance. Charles Portis. Dee Brown. Johnny Cash. Bill Clinton. Each has produced an astonishing body of work with a unique stamp.
- Bigwigs. Arkansas has produced leaders of every stripe—from Quapaw chiefs to business titans to generals to politicans. Oh, and POTUS 42.
There really must be something in the water!
At Plum Street Publishers, our job is to serve as your tour guide so you can discover the treasure in your back yard. The first step is to connect our writers with our readers. We make the introductions, get the right book in the reader's hands, and step out of the way.
We agree with Waymon Cox: conditions are perfect for treasure hunting, indeed. Fasten your harness and join us for the ride.