Crater of Diamonds State Park History

9/21/1906 
Local farmer, John Wesley Huddleston, finds the first diamond at what is now Crater of Diamonds State Park.

7/15/1952 
“Millar’s Crater of Diamonds”, a commercial enterprise, officially opens.

12/10/1971 
Commission action to create park

3/13/1972 
Initial land acquired for the park.

4/16/1973 
Act 859 signed to create the park.

1975 
Business was a bit slow at the park until 1975, when Mr. W. W. Johnson found a 16 1/3-carat white diamond on the surface of the field. It was cut to 7 ½ carats and named the “Amarillo Starlight”.

9/1976 
State applies for Diamond Park grant. Grant that will be matched by the state. Plans call for the construction of 50 – 100 “class A” campsites, a new entrance road to be built between Presley’s Rock shop and the Prairie Creek Bridge; a new VIC and extension of water and sewer lines to Murfreesboro.

9/30/1976 
The earth at the Crater of Diamonds is being bull dozed and plowed. Jim Cannon states “I really don’t know what it will do; this is the first time the soil has been turned to this extent. I have hopes it will improve the diamond hunting over a period of time”. Friday, a county bull dozer, operating on state funds, turned over the first few feet of top soil. After the field is “dozed”, plows will turn more of the soil.

1977 
The Kahn Canary diamond was found. It was bought and named by Stan Kahn of Kahn Jewelers in Pine Bluff, AR. It has been lent to Hilary Rodham Clinton to wear at her husband’s inaugurals, both as Governor of Arkansas and as President of the U.S.

5/1978 
The Crater of Diamonds State Park hires a new interpretive geologist, Harry Harnish, and will begin guided tours of Arkansas's diamond site.

5/2/1978 
Sulphur Springs, TX man finds 5-carat silver cape diamond valued @ $5,000 - $10,000. L. C. Hawkins

6/1978 
Record breaking month – 97 diamonds found

7/1978 
History of Crater of Diamonds program to begin – 1 hour program

7/4/1978 
4th of July has over 3700 visitors. Largest diamond was a 3.30 carat white by Don Mayes

8/1978 
Betty Lamle of Hitchock, OK found a 8.61 carat brown diamond. Lamle Diamond is 2nd largest since the state purchased Crater of Diamonds State Park in 1972.

3/1979 
Crater of Diamonds State Park named outstanding park of Arkansas State Parks' Class III parks for 1978. Approximately 120,000 visitors enjoyed the park that year.

5/24/1979 
Visitor Information Center dedicated. The project was formally dedicated Thursday afternoon. Orville Richolson of Newport, chairman of the State Parks and Tourism Commission, made the dedication speech before about 100 guests, state and local dignitaries, and visitors. Other improvements include 60 new campsites, a public laundry, additional parking facilities, a short order café, picnic areas, and new bathhouses and restrooms.

6/7/1979 
James Williamson of Arizona was the first tourist to purchase a ticket at the new VIC early Saturday. He was also the first to register a diamond find – a 5.08 carat brown diamond.

1/1980 
First “gems from the diamond mine” by Harry Harnish. Biweekly.

3/1980 
Crater receives outstanding park of the year for 1979

5/1980 
Since deep plow of three feet by heavy equipment, visitors have been finding diamonds at rate of two per day. Within a few days of the furrowing project, a 4.25-carat yellow diamond was found by Paul June of Houston TX.

6/1980 
James Archer of Nashville, AR uncovers his 241st gem at the CODSP. 3.27 carat silver cape diamond.

7/1980 
Joe Trombello new ranger at Crater of Diamonds State Park

10/1980 
Sam Barkley of N. Little Rock found a 5.15 carat white diamond on Monday after 30 minutes of searching. Surface hunting.

2/1981 
– 2 large diamonds found at the crater. Charles Newman of Little Rock, AR found a 6.25 carat white and Martin Griffin of Carmi, IL found a 5.90 carat brown.

4/9/1981 
Anaconda Mining Company of Denver Colorado is attempting to obtain lease rights for diamond mining operations at the CODSP. Governor Frank White is interested in at least considering commercial mining on the park land.

4/23/1981 
Tourism Commission rejects mining offer at crater. The state parks and tourism commission Thursday rejected a sizeable offer by anaconda mining company to lease the crate for a mining operation. The vote was 11 to 1 to turn down the offer of $500,000 annually until actual production began at which time they would pay the state 15% of the net profit of all diamonds they found.

6/1981 
2nd largest diamond found since Crater became a state park. Carroll Blankenship of S’port, LA found a 8.82 carat white diamond. Has been visiting the mine for 5 years and has found 71 diamonds. Named Star of Shreveport.

9/1981 
Marcel Hanzlik – new ranger.

11/14/1981 
Ray Schall of Murfreesboro found a 6.7 carat flawless white diamond on November 14. Sixth largest diamond to be found since crater became a state park.

6/1982 
Tom Stolarz of Hammond, IN recently named Park Interpreter at CODSP

1/28/1983 
Film crew from Ripley’s Believe it or Not at the Crater. It will air on February 20.

1/8/2003 
James Archer, a longtime “regular” miner at Crater of Diamonds State Park, passes away at age 77.

10/28/2003 
The official release of the new Arkansas Quarter on October 28, 2003, at Crater of Diamonds State Park

4/25/2004 
Colorado resident Ray Baptista finds a 3.10-carat brown diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

5/29/2004 
Diamond Springs Aquatic Playground opens at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

9/3/2004 
Don Hing Lo and Cecilia Cheung, of Peekskill, New York, find a 2.68-carat white teardrop-shaped diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

11/8/2004 
Aneesah Rasheed, of Shreveport, Louisiana, hired as park interpreter at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

11/22/2004 
Crater of Diamonds State Park receives 2003-2004 Region IV Park of the Year Award.

5/20/2005 
Marshall Rieff, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, unearths the 25,000th diamond—a 19-point white—found since the Crater of Diamonds became a state park in 1972.

8/25/2005 
Crater of Diamonds State Park excavates a large trench on the east side of the diamond search area to open up new diamond-bearing ground.

9/13/2005 
99-year-old Alberta Rice, of Jetmore, Kansas, visits Crater of Diamonds State Park. She was born in 1906, the same year John Huddleston found the first diamonds in Pike County.

9/27/2005 
Crater of Diamonds State Park receives the 2004-2005 Park Maintenance Award.

9/29/2005 
Darrell Burkes, of West Helena, Arkansas, finds a 2.16-carat yellow diamond while surface hunting at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

12/19/2005 
Harold Lay, of Murfreesboro, Arkansas, finds a flawless, 3.36-carat yellow diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

3/12/2006 
Marvin Culver, an Oklahoma trooper, found a yellow, 4.21-carat diamond he named the Okie Dokie Diamond. This was his family's first visit to the Crater of Diamond State Park.

3/24/2006 
Jennifer Jones, of Derby, Kansas, and her son Jacob Ballard find a 2.12-carat yellow diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

3/26/2006 
Brian and Cheryl Sanderford, of Rudy, Arkansas, find a 2.30-carat brown diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

7/23/2006 
Mike Ellison, of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, finds the 2.18-carat Moonshine Diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

9/16/2006 
Crater of Diamonds State Park excavates a large trench on the west side of the diamond search area to open up new diamond-bearing ground.

9/23/2006 
Donald and Brenda Roden, of Point, Texas, find the 6.35-carat brown Roden Diamond, the 8th-largest diamond found since the Crater of Diamonds became a state park in 1972.

10/14/2006 
Bob Wehle, of Ripon, Wisconsin, finds the 5.47-carat yellow Sunshine Diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

10/24/2006 
Crater of Diamonds State Park receives the 2005-2006 Region IV Park of the Year Award.

12/31/2006 
Gary Dunlap, of Jefferson, Arkansas, finds the 2.37-carat Star of Thelma at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

7/29/2010 
Angela Vickers of Winnsboro, Texas, finds a 2.93-carat yellow diamond she names the God's Blessing diamond.

7/31/2013 
Twelve-year-old Michael Dettlaff of Apex, North Carolina, finds a honey brown, 5.16-carat diamond in less than 10 minutes of searching at the Crater of Diamonds. He named his stone the God's Glory Diamond.

10/19/2013 
Fourteen-year-old Tana Clymer of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, finds a yellow, 3.85-carat diamond she names the God's Jewel diamond. Tana later sells her gem for $20,000 to go toward's her future college education.

6/24/2015 
Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado, finds a white, 8.52-carat diamond she names the Esperanza Diamond for her niece's name and the Spanish word for "hope." She found her gem in only 30 minutes of searching.