This land lies along the eastern shore of the West Fork of the White River, where the river flows north on a collision course with Mount Sequoyah and then swings around the north side of Dead Horse Mountain and onward to enter the White River immediately north of and downstream from the Lake Sequoyah Dam. The combined streams flow into Beaver Lake.
Human beings have been on this land for thousands of years. We commonly find stone artifacts dating back to 5,000 B.C. These tools include stone hoes and grinding stones that show how people have valued this land for its agricultural qualities since the beginning of agriculture in America. The combination of water from the river, several springs and creeks, and large expanses of loamy deep soil with very few rocks is a rarity in the area.
In the days before bridges were built, a main road passed through the farm to cross the river at a natural ford, where the old road grade can still be seen close to where once stood a boarding house for travelers. Later, the farm was crossed by the St. Paul Railroad during the time of logging the old growth forest. The steam-powered trains carried wood from Pettigrew until every marketable tree had been cut, and the old railroad was abandoned. In winter when snow begins to melt you can see phantom images of the old railroad ties.
Fayetteville once took its water from the long pool which runs along the west side of the farm and was also used as a public pool.
When my great grandparents, Walter and Angie Pettigrew, bought the farm, they used it to expand the dairy operation they had established at Double Springs near Farmington. They grew grain for feed, and milked their cattle. They sold fresh milk delivered fresh daily, and sold their feed, milk, butter, eggs, and ice out of their building in downtown Fayetteville.
Today, we raise beef cattle, organic blueberries and an assortment of other fruit and vegetables.
The farm is also home to abundant wildlife. A colony of beavers lives in the big spring-fed pond that occasionally supplies my family with fresh fish. A herd of about 16 deer can be glimpsed in the wooded areas. Ducks, geese, and great blue herons frequent the wetland areas, and the evenings are almost loud with the chorus of frogs.
A portion of the acreage is subject to a conditional sale to a developer who has planned a large-scale development of dense residential sites that would involve dredging and filling wetland and flood plain along the southeastern shore of the West Fork of the White River near Dead Horse Mountain.
The developer is seeking the support of both Washington County and Fayetteville city government to have the land annexed by Fayetteville and rezoned from agricultural to allow the development.
The project may involve the construction of a new bridge across the West Fork, and an outlet through an existing subdivision to provide multiple access points.
Also, a significant portion of the land would require a dredge and fill permit from the US Corps of Engineers plus approval by the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the state Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies.