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Old 08-15-2014, 11:44 AM
 
Location: The Natural State
849 posts, read 786,515 times
Reputation: 613

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Today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Charles "Bud" Pelsor has bought the 400 acre Dogpatch property for $2M and plans to turn the site "into an ecotourism "village" complete with artisans, a restaurant, and a creek stocked with trout and fresh-water pearl mussels." For those who came in late, from 1968 to 1993 Dogpatch was a very popular theme park based on the old Al Capp "Li'l Abner" comic strip.
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas via ATX
1,008 posts, read 959,338 times
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That's a cool idea and another attraction near the Buffalo National River for hippies and hikers like us.
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:26 PM
 
3,028 posts, read 6,082,925 times
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Very cool. I took the family to Dogpatch USA a couple of years before it closed. Really, it was kinda sad even then since it wasn't crowded and things were starting to look a little tired.
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:59 PM
 
3,780 posts, read 4,687,995 times
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Wonder if he bought the cute little A-frame houses also? I hope he gets rid of those crappy apartments, if they're still there....or fixes them up.

That is a beautiful spot...I'm so glad someone is going to make something out of it again.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:57 PM
 
Location: The Natural State
849 posts, read 786,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luvvarkansas View Post
Wonder if he bought the cute little A-frame houses also? I hope he gets rid of those crappy apartments, if they're still there....or fixes them up.

That is a beautiful spot...I'm so glad someone is going to make something out of it again.
The report implied, though didn't go into detail, he bought the whole thing and will start from scratch. I hope so.

I don't do "social media", but some of you who do may see if there is anything about it and post it here.

Last edited by Old Fossil; 08-15-2014 at 07:00 PM.. Reason: More info
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:42 AM
 
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
64 posts, read 115,325 times
Reputation: 63
I never came up with the couple million to buy the place out like I wanted but I'm so glad someone has! Here's an article with a video of the new owner talking about his plans. I didn't mention in my post last fall that it's just a stone's throw from Mystic Caverns, which is not part of the property (in fact I think it's actually right over the county line north) but a worthwhile destination of its own which will perfectly complement the new theme.

A reclaimed eco-park, near a cavern with a 30+ foot stalactite pipe organ, an artsy lodge, a motorcycle park, chalets, and PLENTY of parking... my cup runneth over.

New Life Ahead for Abandoned Dogpatch Theme Park - Local News, Weather, Sports, and Community for Central Arkansas

Quote:
Originally Posted by mother mammal View Post
There's two places near me, which I haven't stayed in myself but they're worth a look. They are both in Marble Falls (formerly called the town of Dogpatch) which is on Route 7, south of Harrison and north of Jasper.

Both of these are on the former parking lot of the Dogpatch amusement park, which was a family theme park based on the Lil' Abner comic strip.

Back when the park was still operational, they tried to expand it to include a ski resort. Not a terribly practical idea, since it doesn't stay THAT cold in Arkansas for most of the winter! So that idea didn't work out, and the amusement park closed about 20 years ago, with its buildings falling into dilapidation and the property caught up in legal fiascos.

However, there are still intact portions of the ski resort which have been repurposed (the parking lot area north of the former amusement park and up the hill from it). There are cute little ski chalets lining the hill above the 7 Spur, which are occupied as apartments. (I'm not aware of any of them being rented out by the night, though I talked to a couple who rents one out as an apartment, and there is a perpetual For Sale sign by them... I would love to live in one but a chalet wouldn't fit my family.) There's even a little doghouse built to look like a miniature chalet outside one of them, you can see it as you drive up the hill from the highway.

Down the hill from the chalets there used to be an apartment complex called the Overlook Apartments, which overlooked Route 7 and was rather striking to look up and see as you drove down the highway. Unfortunately the Overlook Apartments burned down a couple years ago.

So, up in the Dogpatch parking lot there have been various businesses that come and go (e.g. antique stores, not sure if there's one in business there at the moment), and there are several buildings vacant so it does have a bit of an air of a ghost town, but there are two different lodging accommodations still open there.

The first is called the Buffalo River Art and Nature Lodge. It's very nondescript on the outside, a blocky building in the middle of, well, a big asphalt parking lot. I saw the sign outside it and wondered "what's that?" I thought maybe they gave crafts classes or something. And then one night I saw the place lit up with a whole bunch of people inside, and then the next day they were gone. So that piqued my curiosity and I searched the name online, and found out it's a lodge for groups to stay in. There are pictures on the website of how it's furnished inside and it's really nice looking! Not at all what you'd expect seeing the place from the outside. Not sure if this counts as a "motel" since it is geared to groups, and it would be be fairly expensive for a single or couple to rent the whole place out for themselves, but VERY economical for a group of 10 or 18 people.

The second is The Hub, "Mid America's Motorcycle Resort" which is a motel and restaurant, and a convention center which can accommodate up to 1500 people! I haven't been inside, and from the outside honestly I am a tiny bit skeptical about fitting 1500 people in there, but that's what it says on their website. (I cracked up when I just looked at their website and saw them touting "lots of paved parking" because that's such an understatement. I don't know about fitting 1500 people inside, but you could fit several times that many cars in the parking lot.)

I didn't intend to write such a novel when I started writing this post, but I got carried away because today's Dogpatch is such a unique spot and it doesn't seem well known at all. The area just oozes with potential and I have had many daydreams of coming into a couple million dollars and buying up everything that's left of it and turning it into a vibrant little destination.

In the meantime, those two lodging facilities are open, and would be someplace Truly Different to stay while taking an outdoorsy-yet-sleep-indoors vacation to the Buffalo River, or as a stopover while traveling Route 7 on your way to Somewhere Else.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:46 PM
 
3,028 posts, read 6,082,925 times
Reputation: 3153
Quote:
Originally Posted by mother mammal View Post
I never came up with the couple million to buy the place out like I wanted but I'm so glad someone has! Here's an article with a video of the new owner talking about his plans. I didn't mention in my post last fall that it's just a stone's throw from Mystic Caverns, which is not part of the property (in fact I think it's actually right over the county line north) but a worthwhile destination of its own which will perfectly complement the new theme.

A reclaimed eco-park, near a cavern with a 30+ foot stalactite pipe organ, an artsy lodge, a motorcycle park, chalets, and PLENTY of parking... my cup runneth over.

New Life Ahead for Abandoned Dogpatch Theme Park - Local News, Weather, Sports, and Community for Central Arkansas
Isn't Mystic Caverns the caves where the former owner decided to mine the stalactites and stalagmites thinking he would make a fortune turning them into door knobs and such, only to find out that they were too brittle and wouldn't last?
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Old 08-29-2014, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
64 posts, read 115,325 times
Reputation: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by ETex2 View Post
Isn't Mystic Caverns the caves where the former owner decided to mine the stalactites and stalagmites thinking he would make a fortune turning them into door knobs and such, only to find out that they were too brittle and wouldn't last?
I hadn't heard that one, I'll have to ask around.
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:54 PM
 
7 posts, read 5,833 times
Reputation: 25
I ran across that place back in 2005 when I went to Branson from HS. It was ghost like with its abandoned buildings. I so wanted to explore it, but you could see that there was a fifth wheel that someone was living in that looked like a watchman. Glad to see it bought up. Its one of the most beautiful places on that road.
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Old 02-01-2017, 06:55 PM
 
Location: The Natural State
849 posts, read 786,515 times
Reputation: 613
The current ARKANSAS BUSINESS newspaper has a great report on the park and it's ups-and-downs. It states, in part, that Pelsors current "--- Plans include selling non-GMO cornmeal produced by the old Dogpatch grist mill --- also include a trout farm ---". Maybe, hopefully, it will stick this time.
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