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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Roadside Prayer Station

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Arkansas River Valley Business Directory

By Jack James
You may have passed it a hundred times and not paid any attention to it, but there is a landmark just west of the crossroads of Highways 96 and 22 near Lavaca.  This area was once known as Diamond Grove before the government planned the new military training base of Camp Chaffee.
It’s a simple white, square, native rock building that stands on the side of Highway 22.  This building was built by Ike Waggoner in the early 1950s.  The Waggoner family lived just behind the structure. Ike built the building as a roadside fruit stand to sell his apples and peaches, but the building soon turned into something much greater.
Mr. Waggoner was a devote Christian who was recognized as a member of the Assembly of God/Pentecostal faith. He turned the fruit stand into a roadside Prayer Room.  Benches were built and tables set up to hold Bibles and religious literature. Highway 22 was a major route in those days.  Cars, trucks and other vehicles used it well before the Interstate was thought of. Truckers would stop and rest.  Some came and took the opportunity to pray and find the Lord.  His nephew, Daniel Waggoner remembers his uncle fondly as a deeply religious, Christian fellow.  After a while, a woman (whose name escapes the people I have talked to) ran the Prayer Station for Waggoner for a time. J. D. Jeffcoat remembers attending services there.
The unassuming little white rock building finally became a store room again for fruits and vegetables as the cross-country traffic began using the newly constructed interstate highways. Today, the building is a store room for the new families that live on the property.  But the building has had an interesting and wonderful past in local history.

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