Arkansas June 10, 2018
Most People Don’t Know There Used To Be Another Diamond Mine In Arkansas
Everyone knows and loves the Crater of Diamonds State Park, but most folks don’t know how the public diamond mine originated. The Mauney House was the first diamond mine for tourists in Arkansas. Let’s learn about John Wesley Huddleston, the “Diamond King,” and his neighbor, Millard M. Mauney.
The Crater of Diamonds State Park is that one tourist attraction that every Arkansan has a bit of a soft spot for, after all it is one-of-a-kind.
It's hard to resist going to the world's only "keep what you find" diamond site. It's located at 209 State Park Rd., Murfreesboro, AR 71958.
Nearly every Arkansan has been to the state park, but not everyone knows about the original diamond mine site.
It's hard to have the patience for a history lesson at the park when there's thousands diamonds just waiting to be discovered.
John Wesley Huddleston was the first to discover diamonds in the area back in 1906.
He made Arkansas famous when he became the first person outside of South Africa to find diamonds at a volcanic source.
Shortly after Huddleston's inspired diamond-mining frenzy, his neighbor also found diamonds.
Millard M. Mauney realized he also had diamond-rich soil. The two neighbors made very different decisions as to what should be done with their precious property.
Huddleston had quickly sold his land to investors in September 1906.
The contract included $360 cash upfront and $36,000 for his 243 acres to be paid over the next ten years.
Mauney went a different direction and began the first recreational diamond mine when he opened his land to tourists for 50¢ a visit.
Visitors began finding diamonds within the first month of the keep-what-you-find mine, but unfortunately the success didn't last long.
Mauney's public mine only lasted a year because of multiple issues.
Investors were no longer interested since they had Huddleston's land so infrastructure was never developed to accommodate the mass visitors. Tourism in the surrounding area also never caught on so Mauney closed the mine and sold shares of his land to corporations.
Huddleston's land became the site for two rivaling companies, Arkansas Diamond Company and Ozark Diamond Mines Corporation.
Although never very good at managing money, Huddleston became known as the "Diamond King," and stayed comfortable until his death in 1941.
The two companies eventually merged and after 40 years of mildly successful mining, the company opened a tourist attraction called the Crater of Diamonds in 1952.
The state bought the site in 1972 and became the state park that we know and love today.
It's a shame Mauney didn't get the chance to see his idea become successful but the Mauney House can still be visited nearby.
As you head to the state park, take Highway 301 south of Murfreesboro. You'll spot the house on the left side of the road just before the forest.
Did you know about the rich history of the Crater of Diamonds? Have you found a diamond at the site? Share with us in the comments below!
If you’d like to know more about the state park, you should read about what all is currently offered at
Crater of Diamonds.