Fox is an unincorporated community in Stone County, Arkansas, United States. Fox is located along Arkansas Highway 263, 21 miles (34 km) west-southwest of Mountain View. Fox has a post office with ZIP code 72051.
|Elevation||1,414 ft (431 m)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||76969|
History and geographyEdit
The town was officially established in 1905, when the post office was named Fox. However, early settlers to the area were in the community by the mid-1800s, with passage of the Homestead Act in 1861 making the area attractive to those who had the fortitude to survive as subsistence farmers on the hilly, rocky, heavily wooded terrain. Early settlers farmed at Meadowcreek or along the Little Red River, five to six miles away, before several families moved up the mountain to Fox.
The town was roused to defend the existence of its post office in 2011 when the USPS announced proposed closings. The community launched an all out campaign to save the post office, producing a YouTube video with locals telling their story. The town's campaign to keep their post office was featured in Seattle-based Equal Voice Newspaper, which led to a New York Times feature article in December 2011. The USPS public meeting to gather public input was one of the best attended in Arkansas, with almost 200 residents present and representatives from Senator Boozman's and Congressman Crawford's offices present. After public pressure from rural residents around the country to their congressional delegation, the USPS proposed a compromise in May 2012 to leave all post offices open with reduced hours and non-career employees in most cases.
Fox is the home to Rural Special School, a part of the Mountain View School District, although the school is located 2 miles (3.2 km) away from the town center at 13237 Highway 263. The school serves a number of small communities on the isolated mountain including Fox, Meadowcreek, Mozart, Parma, Rushing, Sunnyland, and Turkey Creek. The K-12th grade school has between 200-220 students. The school's small size made it subject to Act 60 which required annexation or consolidation in July 2004 of all school districts in Arkansas with fewer than 350 students.
Today the school is part of the Mountain View district but maintains its separate campus. Local residents have been champions of the school from its beginning in 1946 to the present. Much of the original campus was built by volunteer labor. Historic Old Main which is listed on the National Historic Register was built from materials collected by local veterans who helped dismantle structures at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. The Turkey Creek Schoolhouse, built in 1925 and used until Rural Special School came into existence in 1946, is also listed on the National Register of Historic places. Today supporters fill the gym at ballgames, volunteer for projects, donate to fundraisers, and rally for the school when called to action. Students routinely perform high on standardized academic performance tests. The school hosts events for the community including a Senior Citizens Thanksgiving Dinner, that celebrated its 40th year in 2012, and an annual program to honor veterans. Students also provide musical performances at a Christmas Concert and at a Spring Variety Show. The school has an active Parent Teacher Organization that raises funds for programs of the school through an annual Fall Festival. Extracurricular activities of the school include BETA, FBLA, FFA, FCCLA, Spanish Club, Art Club, Quiz Bowl, Yearbook, basketball, baseball, softball, track, and golf. Starting in August 2013, Rural Educational Heritage Inc. began operating Little Fox Trotter Academy, an Arkansas Better Chance preschool for three- and four-year-old students in the Fox area.
Rural Educational Heritage, Inc., a nonprofit organization formed to support Rural Special School and the community, was established in 2008. The organization raised $100,000 towards building a preschool and technology center with construction completed in October 2013. A Fox community website chronicles some of the events and history of Fox, Arkansas.
Fox is one of thirteen north central Arkansas communities included in Ozark Byways, which seeks to promote small towns in the region.
Music and notable alumni/residents in entertainmentEdit
Branson comedian and singer Paul Harris is a graduate of Rural Special School. He visits his alma mater with some sage advice(mostly humorous) for students and donates a concert each year to raise money for scholarships for Stone County students. Music is an important part of the school and community. Most likely this began as the chief source of entertainment for residents of the isolated community. Folk musician Dave Smith moved to Fox in 1979 and learned old-time music from fiddler Fate Morrison at weekly jam sessions at the Lonnie Lee residence. Smith, together with Robert and Mary Gillihan comprise the folk band Harmony. Shape-note singing was also taught at singing schools in the community from the early 1900s through the 1960s. Today the school has a music roots program with Dave Smith teaching lessons on fiddle, guitar, and mandolin. Students also enjoy traditional music classes and choir. John Taylor, a former resident of the area is a fiddler and has a family band called Sons of the Ozarks.
Several artisans call Fox their home. Tom & Sage Holland are internationally respected glass beadmakers; Joe Bruhin produces beautiful ceramics with his Japanese-style woodfired kiln. At Bear Pen Leathers Dave Smith crafts custom leather items such as knife sheaths for some of the best knife makers in the country. He also makes cowboy gear. Bladesmith Shawn Ellis is a graduate of Rural Special High School at Fox and in August 2017 was featured on the History Channel's "Forged in Fire" competition. Ellis won the competition and a $10,000 prize. http://stonecountyleader.com/ellis-wins-forged-in-fire/
The Fox Country Store is open seven days a week and run by proprietors Tangie & Ronnie Callahan. Fox Flower & Gift is operated by Selena Linville. Numu Coffee is a wholesale distributor of fresh roasted specialty coffees, owned and operated by Robert Huckleberry and his wife Susan. Auctioneers hailing from Fox mountain include Travis Linville, David Lock, and Josh Linville.
There are a number of churches in the Fox area: Fox Assembly of God, Skyland Baptist, Zion Baptist, Fox United Pentecostal, Trinity Pentecostal at Turkey Creek, Fox Church of Christ, Bethlehem General Baptist, Parma Full Gospel, and Antioch General Baptist at Rushing. Fox was the home of the first Catholic church in Stone County but the church since moved to the population center of the county at Mountain View. <3> In recent years Fox area churches organized a joint revival with each night hosted at a different church and sermon delivered by a pastor of another local church. Local churches also produced a joint Christmas program in 2011. The Antioch Outreach Center at Rushing provides a food pantry distribution on the third Saturday of each month and hosts a blood drive every other month.
Park & Community CenterEdit
The Fox Community Center is located a few blocks north of Fox. The former American Legion building has a large meeting room, kitchen, and bathrooms. Photos of over 200 area veterans surround the walls of the community center. The building may be rented for private celebrations, family reunions, etc. The Fox Park features playground equipment, basketball court, pavilion with picnic tables, bathrooms, softball/baseball field, and a paved walking track that circles the park. Since Fox is unincorporated, the two properties are owned by the county but managed by the Fox Community Services Committee.
The altitude of Fox Mountain makes it attractive for tower locations. The first tower in the area was a fire tower erected by the Arkansas Forestry Commission at Rushing, on the hill near the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 263. It is no longer in use and is privately owned. Within yards of that structure is a radio tower for KFFB whose station is located at Fairfield Bay. About a mile north of Fox at Mozart is a TV tower for AETN, Arkansas' public television station.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Fox, Arkansas
- "ZIP Code Lookup". Zipinfo.com. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- [Fox Arkansas, 1905-2005, published 2005 by the Fox Community Services Book Committee]
- "ConsolidationAnnex_from_1983.xls." Arkansas Department of Education. Retrieved on May 23, 2018.
- [A History of Rural Special School, 1947-2010, Third Edition]