I learn something new everyday! A few days ago, friends of mine sent me photos of Mauney’s House in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. At first glance, this house just looks like one of the many abandoned places in Arkansas. However, it has a deep history.
Murfreesboro is famous for the Crater of Diamonds State Park. It is the only public diamond mine in the world.
Yes, you can actually go there to dig for diamonds. And you get to keep what you find.
What I didn’t know was what happened before the Crater of Diamonds State Park opened.
In the early 1900s, there was a man named Millard M. Mauney.
Mr. Mauney was a smart man. Here in Arkansas, we would say he kept his ear to the ground.
See, his neighbor John Wesley Huddleston had discovered diamonds on his property. He soon learned that his land and the surrounding area was rich in diamonds.
This is where Mr. Mauney comes in.
He apparently had heard about the interesting findings on his neighbor’s land and decided to turn this into a great money-making opportunity for himself.
Mr. Mauney had 40 acres of land next to Mr. Huddleston. So, he and his family decided to turn their land into a public diamond mine.
They cleared it and plowed it so that the diamonds would come to the surface and it would be easier to dig in. Then, they started charging visitors a small fee of only $0.50 to come dig for diamonds.
They told visitors that they could keep anything they found.
The idea was that people would come in droves to dig for diamonds and they would make some serious money just $0.50 at a time.
It proved to work well for a short time.
There were even reports that an over 8 carat diamond was found at Mauney’s diamond mine.
Visitors to the mine would use an old cabin on Mauney’s land as a gathering place. Can’t you just picture folks sitting on the porch and chatting while taking a mining break?
The walls are painted with murals depicting, among other things, John Wesley Huddleston finding the first diamond in the area. An unfinished oak tree trunk stands as a central column from the ground to the ceiling of the first story. It’s an eccentric little place, and it is easy to peek in the first floor windows and peek at the elaborate murals on the walls.source
Because of the lack of infrastructure in the Murfreesboro area, this tourist attraction and money-making venture closed up shop one year later.
Today, you will find the Crater of Diamonds State Park in the same area where Mr. Huddleston had his land.
Mr. Mauney’s rules apply here: pay a small fee and keep what you find.
Read more here: Ancient Volcano in Arkansas: Crater of Diamonds State Park
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