Coles Purchase Historic Piggott Building

Thursday, August 1, 2013
Joe Cole (left) was presented with an Arkansas Traveler Certificate by State Senator Robert Thompson of Paragould Saturday, during the open house at the Inn at Piggott. Also on hand was Joe's wife, and partner in the local inn, Tracy.

Earlier this year local natives Joe and Tracy Cole purchased the bed and breakfast known as The Downtown Inn from George Forrest. He had purchased the building, which housed Piggott State Bank up until December of 1974, in the mid-1990's and had operated an antique shop on the lower level of the historic structure. The building also housed the equipment for Piggott's first internet service, as ISA was also one of Forrest's projects.

Upon completing the purchase of the local business the Coles renamed it "Inn at Piggott."

The Coles also began an extensive renovation project. "We took possession on April 1, and immediately began to renovate the apartment downstairs," Joe noted of the project. "We are also planning to expand the dining room area upstairs, with the idea of being able to hosts conferences, meetings and such."

Tracy, the former Tracy Wheeler, added there are other efforts also in the works. "We'll be redecorating the rooms, many of them with a theme," she explained. "We have dedicated the room Patricia Neal stayed in during her visit to Piggott in 2007 to "A Face in the Crowd" plus there will be a safari room in honor of Ernest Hemingway among others."

The Coles have also been joined in the effort by another local native, as Beverly Scott has been hired to manage the inn.

Saturday, July 27 the couple opened the doors to the public for an open house, and a large crowd turned out for the event. Over 125 attended and were treated to guided tours, refreshments and the chance to hear of future renovation plans.

Prior to the open house State Senator Robert Thompson, of Paragould, presented Cole with an Arkansas Traveler certificate in recognition of his return from living and practicing law in the Memphis area. First created in 1941 by the Arkansas General Assembly, the certificates are given to visitors and special guests of the state. One of the earliest was given to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Joe, who is known as a local history buff, also took the time to share details on special events packages which will be offered in the coming months.

"We'll be having a veteran's celebration Nov. 12 to 14, which will include a special breakfast event and dinner presentations on what it was like in Piggott during World War II," he noted. "We'll talk about the story of the P-47 named "The Town of Piggott, Arkansas," and the Arkansas native which flew the plane in the European theater--plus, we'll have stories about Ernest Hemingway's experiences during World War II and hear about Piggott personalities that had an impact on the war, like Alva Lasswell, the Piggott soldier who helped crack the Japanese code prior to the Battle of Midway and local war hero Marshall Sneed."

The inn will also offer a special Hemingway-Pfeiffer two-night package several times during the coming months. The package includes a visit to the museum, special rates and extra meals and lectures on Hemingway and the Pfeiffer family.

Piggott's favorite movie package will be another special offered several times in the months to come. The package includes a tour of filming locations from the 1957 movie, "A Face in the Crowd"; a lecture on the writing of Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" and its world premier in Piggott and special screenings of both films.

A special time in Piggott history will be remembered with Christmas at the Inn, to be held Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7. A special guest reception is set for Friday evening, followed by a walk around the square to enjoy the Christmas pageantry. Saturday will include a visit to the downtown Christmas Fest, and at 2 p.m. a special lecture will be presented at the band stand. The presentation will center on the story of what was happening in Piggott the fateful day of Dec. 7, 1941. Afterward, the annual Piggott Christmas Parade will be held.

Those taking part in the event will also visit the local museums for special Christmas presentations.

The Inn at Piggott is located at 193 West Main Street, on the northeast corner of the downtown square. Those wanting more information about the inn, or the special event packages, may visit them online at or call 870 598-8888.

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