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History Tuesday – The Ghost Town of Rush Arkansas
March 22, 2022
A ruined fieldstone wall appears from the forest in a notable curve of the access road leading to Rush Landing, a popular place for paddlers on the Buffalo River in north‐central Arkansas. The stairs emerge from the undergrowth, making us wonder, “What was this place?” (Not for sale)
Well, it was the ten‐acre Hicks place. Located in the Rush Historic District of Arkansas, a ghost town on the banks of the Buffalo River in an Ozark mountain valley, the Hicks property has long been taken over by nature. Once a thriving community, today the decrepit stone walls of the former general store, along with some concrete and pebbles from flower beds, are all that remain.
Rush was a zinc mining town whose population reached 3,000 during World War I. In 1903, the Hicks family settled in Rush to become one of the most prominent families in town, founding a livery service, stone general store and a hotel. They even landscaped their establishments with a stone wall and decorative flower beds.
By the time the late 1920s rolled around, however, most of the mining companies had left the area forcing the Hicks businesses to shut their doors. Although a few members of the Hicks family, along with several die-hard miners, continued to live in Rush through the Depression, by the 1940s Rush was empty. The post office was closed, and homes and businesses were dismantled for salvage.
During the 1950s Marion County began promoting Rush as a ghost town tourist spot. Things went from bad to worse, however, when the the former Hicks hotel was destroyed by fire in the late 1950s, and the abandoned two-story stone mercantile store was altered significantly when it was converted as a single‐story residence. Sadly, Rush continued to deteriorate to its current ghost town state.
There is a bright side, though. Rush was put on the National Register of Historic Places, and the mines and buildings that still remain are part of the Buffalo National River managed by the National Park Service. Visitors can hike the no-cost walking trails or take a driving tour with interpretive signs along the way.