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Do you have any other unique Arkansas facts to share?

If you had asked me before I began working with real estate agent Paulia Kennedy of Hot Springs, Arkansas if I really knew anything more about her home state other than the fact that former President Clinton grew up there, I’d say you were correct.  I just hadn’t thought about Arkansas even though I was a good geography student and had traveled throughout the US as a software trainer in my early years.  It wasn’t that I had anything against the state; rather I never had any reason to really make it a topic of conversation.  Since coming on board with The Kennedy Team, I’ve learned so much about “The Natural State’ and feel foolish that I never really knew how special this place really was.  But I am making progress…

From the beautiful listing photos Paulia takes I see lakes and mountains and turn of the century architecture that is prominent in travel magazines and postcard racks but is the norm on her website.  I’ve been to the library and read about the state's very diverse history and the many, many famous folks who are true Arkansans.  So now, when I hear the word ‘Arkansas’ my interest is piqued as I am almost certain something I hear or read will indeed surprise me. This is what happened the other evening when I was watching a PBS program called, “History Detectives”.

This show consists of 4 detectives from varying backgrounds…one is a professor of sociology, another is an appraiser, another is an auctioneer, and the last is a professor of architecture.  Viewers send in artifacts that they would like the detective team to investigate and they do so primarily through traversing to archives, traveling to libraries and booking interviews with learned folks and experts.  The History Detective Team digs up information on the object, which makes for outstanding and rather interesting stories. (I used to yawn at PBS programming but it has taken a 360 degree turn for the better and is now one of my ‘favorites’ on the TV remote control!)

This particular episode, 'Mystery Crystal Cross' featured the chief of the Apalachee Tribe in Florida who possessed a crystal cross that was discovered at an archeological dig at an old Spanish mission. He wanted to know if it could possibly have been made centuries ago by his own ancestors.  So Tokufu, the name of one of the History Detectives (professor of sociology) takes the crystal cross to a geologist, Stephen, who places the artifact under a microscope and a light source to see if the cross would illuminate.  Apparently, if the cross was real quartz, the piece would glow under light while man-made glass would not do so.

Once the experiment was completed and the cross was deemed to be true crystal, which by-the-way was a near perfect piece of rather large quartz, the mystery was eventually solved. The crystal was indeed sculpted by an Apalachee Indian. 

A partial show transcript read as follows:

“Tukufu: Wow, I see it illuminating.

Stephen: You see it’s illuminated, and then it goes dark. And also notice it goes dark not exactly along the axis of the cross but at a slight angle. That means that the crystal from which this was cut was actually larger than the cross that we see. Probably, uh, much larger than a regular banana.

Tukufu: So it’s crystal quartz; what else can you tell me about it?

Stephen: Well, it’s very clear with only a few flaws. By shining a laser on this piece of quartz, we can see sparkles that represent imperfections. Not so with our cross. When I shine them through the cross, it’s very clear.

Tukufu: Wow. So this is a pretty unique piece of crystal.

Stephen: Something of this clarity and size could only come from a few locations: France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, and the hot springs area of Arkansas.

Tukufu: But not Florida.”

Did you read that?  Stephen the geologist indicated that this quality of crystal could only come from a few places and one of those places was the Hot Springs area of Arkansas.  (There are other places in the US where crystal quartz can be found but this quality just cannot be matched.)  And, the fact that the cross was sculpted from a piece of fine quartz the size of a banana amazed me!

It just seemed so surreal that only one place in the US could provide such a unique treasure and it was in Arkansas, my new favorite state!  It’s the equivalent in my mind to the panda bears which are uniquely found only in China or going to Philadelphia and asking for a real Philly Cheesesteak sandwich (Genos or Pats?).  There are no substitutes to be found. I’m interested in little known facts which make only that place unique. 

Do you have any other unique Arkansas facts to share?

Here are some great Arkansas places to search for quartz:

Arrowhead Crystal Mine http://www.arrowheadcrystals.com/

                                    Atlantis Found http://www.atlantisfound.com/

                                    Bear Mountain Mine http://www.fiddlersridgecrystals.com/

                                    Starfire Mines http://www.starfirecrystals.com/

Janine Gregor
Real Estate Virtual Assistant to Paulia Kennedy



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