The Chaffee Crossing Historic District
Connecting the Past to the Present
Chaffee Crossing’s historic district warmly embraces the region’s rich history with a variety of venues appealing to people of all ages and interests. Area educators are seeking to build schools, education and training facilities nearby. The combination of education and tourism in this district will also create a good environment for new businesses.
Chaffee Barbershop Museum
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Since its creation in 2008, the Chaffee Barbershop Museum where Elvis Presley received his famous first G.I. haircut has welcomed visitors from all over the world. A celebration on the 51st anniversary of Elvis’ haircut drew 250 guests from multiple states. News reporters and relatives of Elvis’ barber entertained the crowd by recalling the events of that fateful day.
Located in the heart of the Chaffee Crossing museum district, the barbershop has been restored to its condition in 1958 when thousands of U.S. Army enlistees received their signature army buzz cut. It also houses a historical museum with photos and artifacts documenting the 70-year history of Fort Chaffee. Items on display include memorabilia from the base that was used by the United States Army to house German prisoners of war, Cuban refugees and relocated Vietnamese citizens.
Also on hand, is memorabilia from the movies “Biloxi Blues”, “The Tuskegee Airmen” and “A Soldier’s Story” which were all filmed at Fort Chaffee.
The museum is open on Monday through Saturday from 9:00am-4:00pm, except on national holidays. There is no admission charge. If you need any additional information please contact Joey Chasteen, Museum Coordinator at 479-434-6774. For group tours, please call (479)783-8888. Directions to the Chaffee Barbershop Museum.
Renovation Tax Credits Available
There are approximately 45 buildings in the Chaffee Crossing Historic District, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings are available for sale and renovation. The federal rehabilitation tax credit allows up to 20% of approved expenses to be claimed on taxes for the restoration of historic buildings. It can be combined with a 25% state rehabilitation tax credit. Learn more about the tax credit and other preservation services provided by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program at ArkansasPreservation.com.
The Enchanted Wedding Chapel is an historic military chapel at Chaffee Crossing. It was built in 1942. Design features include a 20 ft. cathedral ceiling, entry room and pews that seat up to 250 people. The chapel is accented with pew bows, lighted trees, topiaries, greenery, flowers, and a unity candle stand. There is a separate bridal lounge now available that is newly renovated and very large. Every wedding couple receives the use of on-staff bridal consultants, music coordinator, designer, and has the opportunity to use the eccentric Reverend Steven Holyfield or personal minister of choice. Call (479) 478-0225 for more information.
Enchanted Doll Museum
This museum is unique to Chaffee Crossing. It is a privately owned collection of more than 5,000 dolls from all over the globe. Call (479) 478-0225 for museum hours.
Fort Chaffee Barracks Museum
Plans are underway to open a Chaffee Barracks Museum in the building where Elvis Presley slept during his tenure at Fort Chaffee. The museum will house exhibits dedicated to the people who have passed through Fort Chaffee including American soldiers, World War II German P.O.W.s, Cuban refugees and Vietnamese refugees.
Maness School House
The Maness School House, completed in February 1937, is the only building in the entire area that was not moved or destroyed when the Department of Defense acquired 72,000 acres to build Camp Chaffee. German POW's built the back porch in 1943. The school was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 2003.
Vietnam Veterans Museum
Local Vietnam Veterans have helped create this tribute to those who served in the Vietnam War. An Army personnel carrier and helicopter sit just outside the museum for the public to view up close. Tours are available by appointment only. Call (479) 478-0110 for more information.
Click here to see photos from the Chaffee Crossing Historical District.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture