Located in central Howard County in southwestern Arkansas, Dierks (pop. 1,230) is a town with origins linked to the emergence of the state’s lumber industry. It was named after a German family that immigrated to Iowa in the mid-1800s and later, led by Peter Henry Dierks, migrated south. The family established several prosperous sawmill and lumber businesses in Arkansas and Oklahoma in the early 1900s, including a major sawmill at an Arkansas community then known as Hardscrabble. When it incorporated in 1907, the settlement took the Dierks’ name.
In 1969, Weyerhaeuser Company purchased most of the Dierks family’s holdings. With a workforce of approximately 600 people, Weyerhaeuser’s manufacturing facilities at Dierks remain the area’s largest employer. Poultry, swine, and cattle production are also important sectors of the local economy.
Located five miles northwest of Dierks and surrounded by mixed pine and hardwood forests, the 1,360-acre Dierks Lake provides opportunities for fishing, boating, water-skiing, camping, picnicking and sightseeing. Three Corps’ recreation areas on the lake offer boat ramps, swimming areas and a total of more than 100 campsites. Among anglers, the lake is best known for its crappie and largemouth bass, but fishing for bream and catfish is also good.
For more than 30 years, the Pine Tree Festival has been the town’s signature annual event. Held in City Park on the first Friday and Saturday of each August, the festival recalls the town’s lumber-industry origins and carries on a tradition of forest festivals that were popular particularly in southern Arkansas from the 1920s through the early 1950s. The festival’s Saturday evening country music concert usually features a rising country star and has in the past showcased artists such as Reba McEntire and Hank Williams Jr. Other festival activities include a barbecue cook-off, craft and food vendors, and car, tractor and heavy equipment shows. Festival admission is free except for the concert.
No public lodging facilities are available in Dierks, but accommodations are available in nearby De Queen and Nashville. For additional Dierks information, visit the Dierks Chamber of Commerce’s Web site or phone (870) 286-2911.