“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Walnut Ridge in Lawrence County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)

Beatles Park

Beatles Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
1. Beatles Park Marker
A quiet night in 1964 was interrupted by the unusual sound of an airliner approaching Walnut Ridge Airport. Its arrival sparked enough interest that three local teens went to investigate, only to discover John, Paul, Ringo and George walking from the plane. The Beatles, the biggest rock band in the world, had arrived at Walnut Ridge.

After performing in Dallas on that Friday evening, Sept. 18th, the Beatles were headed to a weekend vacation at Pigman Ranch, a dude ranch near Alton Mo. The ranch was owned by Reed Pigman, Sr. who operated the charter airline on which they flew.

Walnut Ridge had the closest airport that could accommodate such a large plane, so plans were for the group to land there secretly. But the secret didn't last.

Word spread quickly around town, especially among teens who, like the rest of the country, were in the throes of Beatle-mania. A crowd of several hundred was gathered at the airport by Sunday morning, Sept. 20th, to greet the Beatles. Sure enough, they arrived, John and Ringo in a small plane and Paul and George in A GMC Surburban from Pigman Ranch.

There were a few hands shaken and autographs given as the Fab Four walked through the Walnut Ridge crowd, and the
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Beatles settled into there seats for the flight to New York City, where the would conclude their first American Tour.

The stopover at Walnut Ridge was but a footnote in the history of the legendary band, but it was much more than that for the community that had a surprise encounter with the one and only Beatles. Lasting memories were made in that brief visit. Photographs, treasured stories, and this sculpture are among the ways we remember a very exciting day, and pay tribute to a truly great band.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & SpaceArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment. In addition, it is included in the The Beatles series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 18, 1964.
Location. 36° 4.136′ N, 90° 57.437′ W. Marker is in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, in Lawrence County. Marker is on Southwest 2nd Street just south of West Main Street (U.S. 412), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 110 SW 2nd St, Walnut Ridge AR 72476, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Washboard Sam (here, next to this marker); When The Beatles Came to Town (here, next to this marker); The Legacy of John A. Rhea (within shouting distance of this marker); We the residents of Lawrence Co. (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Walnut Ridge, Arkansas (about 600 feet away);
Beatles Park Tablets image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Thomas Smith, April 4, 2021
2. Beatles Park Tablets
The tablet on the left lists items hidden in the sculpture’s detail and invites the viewer to find them.
Valor (about 600 feet away); Sonny Burgess (about 600 feet away); Dedicated to all Veterans who Served their Country (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Walnut Ridge.
Also see . . .
1. Beatles Park. Downtown Walnut Ridge website entry:
The sculpture features life-size silhouettes of The Beatles made from heavy carbon steel plate, and the backdrop of Abbey Road is hand ground on ¼″ thick aircraft aluminum plates. The entire street scene is featured, along with more than 30 hidden references to Beatles song titles, and album names. There are also a few hidden surprises that were added in by the artist, that will are unique to our city, and tie the whole sculpture to our town. As lighting changes throughout the day, the hidden details in the sculpture reveal themselves to the observer, and at night, under the powerful lighting, the scene takes on a surreal quality, and more secrets can be seen.
(Submitted on September 10, 2021.) 

2. The Beatles at Walnut Ridge. Beatles at the Ridge Festival website entry (Submitted on May 8, 2023, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
Beatles Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
3. Beatles Park Marker
“The British Invasion of the Rock ’N’ Roll Highway,” by Danny West image. Click for full size.
2011 sculpture by Danny West. Photographed by Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
4. “The British Invasion of the Rock ’N’ Roll Highway,” by Danny West
It is 10 feet high by 20 feet wide.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 8, 2023. It was originally submitted on April 10, 2021, by Thomas Smith of Waterloo, Ill. This page has been viewed 466 times since then and 114 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week September 12, 2021. Photos:   1. submitted on April 13, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.   2. submitted on April 10, 2021, by Thomas Smith of Waterloo, Ill.   3, 4. submitted on April 13, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 1, 2023