Piggot, Arkansas, a town of just under 4,000 residents, is an attractive town with beautiful homes and scenery. But Piggot is an out-of-the-way town, and one doesn't just stop there while on the way someplace else.
Piggot, Arkansas is a town of just under 4000 residents. Piggot is an attractive town, with beautiful homes, and beautiful scenery, but it’s an out-of-the-way town, and one doesn’t just stop at Piggot while on the way someplace else. It’s not off any major interstate, and Piggot doesn’t even have a Wal-Mart store!
But Piggot, Arkansas does have a major attraction, and people from all parts of the country flock there on purpose. What is this major attraction, you ask? Well, have you ever heard of Ernest Hemingway? Yes, that Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. He used to spend considerable time in Piggot, Arkansas between the years of 1927 through 1940, the years he was married to his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, who hailed from Piggot.
Pauline, daughter of Piggot residents Paul and Mary, graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1918, and was working with the Paris Bureau of Vogue Magazine when she met Ernest at a party. They lived in Paris for the first year of their marriage, then moved to Key West from where they made regular trips to Piggot.
Their marriage lasted 13 years and produced 2 sons, years during which time Hemingway rose to fame, in a large part due to the financial support provided by the Pfeiffer family. Pauline’s uncle Gustavus Pfeiffer presented the couple with a car, a home in Key West, and financed their African Safari that provided material and security for Hemingway. But it is said that folks in Piggot characterized Ernest as a freeloader, showing up in Piggot to mooch off his in-laws after squandering his earnings from his books on high living and extravagant travel. No, folks who worked for a living back in the 30s, weren’t really impressed by Hemingway, even after he won the Pulitzer Prize, and he in turn, considered the locals, bumpkins.
Nevertheless, Piggot is now an important slice of the life of Ernest Hemingway, and recently, the Pfeiffer house was turned into The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center.
The museum preserves the family home of Paul and Mary Pfeiffer and the barn studio where Hemingway wrote portions of “A Farewell to Arms,” and other works. The house and barn studio along with a majority of the furnishings were sold to Tom and Beatrice James in 1950. The James’ son, Bruce, who lived there until recently, remembers finding things like a zebra pelt in the Old Barn, and he said the family found a stack of autographed first editions in a closet, which they eventually donated to various libraries. It seems the Pfeiffers had left them behind, the inference being that after Pauline and Ernest were divorced, there was no love lost between Hemingway and his former in-laws.
This museum gives visitors a peek at a life that had been chronicled in Hemingways own writings. No other place can one find such a clear glimpse of the writer during this period.
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum also serves as an official visitor center for the Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, a State of Arkansas National Scenic Byway. It is located at 1021 W. Cherry St, in Piggot, Arkansas. Visitors hours are 9 Am. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. If you’re a Hemingway fan, you won’t want to miss visiting it!