Edgemont (Cleburne County)
Edgemont is an unincorporated community in northern Cleburne County. It is located on the northern side of the Edgemont Bridge, which spans a segment of Greers Ferry Lake. Old Edgemont is located beneath the lake.
Prior to 1808, most of the inhabitants of the area that would become Cleburne County were Osage. They controlled most of northern Arkansas and used the area that includes modern Cleburne County as hunting grounds. In 1808, the United States purchased the land from the Osage, and the first Euro-American settlers entered the area. In 1817, the United States established a treaty with the Cherokee, who were given the land between the White and Arkansas rivers west of a line stretching from near Morrilton (Conway County) to a point on the White River west of Batesville (Independence County). This line became known as the Old Cherokee Boundary Line, still seen on land descriptions in Cleburne County.
The community that is known today as Edgemont originated as the Kinderhook settlement slightly to the east of present-day Edgemont. The first settlers in Kinderhook arrived in the 1840s and 1850s. Those who settled in the flat, fertile land along the Little Red River were able to grow large amounts of cotton. Meanwhile, those who settled on the rocky hills found that corn was the only crop that could grow consistently.
The community’s post office was established on September 19, 1908. It was the first post office in the area and served many surrounding communities. This was also the first recorded mention of the name change from Kinderhook to Edgemont.
In the early 1900s, Edgemont had three churches, a Masonic lodge, and a school that offered a high school diploma. Edgemont was also home to a 500-foot swinging bridge across the Little Red River that had been constructed by citizens who had grown tired of fording the river. On October 8, 1908, the Edgemont Bank was incorporated with $10,000 in capital stock. No definite date of closure is known for the bank, but the last record of it with the State Bank Department was in 1913. The years between 1908 and the early 1940s were prosperous for the small community, which was served by the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad. While the railroad fueled industry in the town, Edgemont was home to three sawmills, a cotton gin, several restaurants, a drugstore, and the Globe Cooperage and Lumber Company. When the tracks went out of commission in the 1940s, Edgemont experienced a sharp decline in both industry and population.
In the 1950s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had a community meeting and informed residents that, upon completion of the Greers Ferry Dam, the town of Edgemont would be covered with sixty to eighty feet of water. In response, the community was moved roughly one mile north to its current location. Today, the remains of old Edgemont can still be found beneath the lake.
However, this move marked the beginning of a new era for Edgemont. Due to its location along the shores of Greers Ferry Lake and its position between the resort towns of Fairfield Bay (Cleburne and Van Buren counties) and Greers Ferry (Cleburne County), Edgemont’s businesses are now aimed at catering to the vacationers and retirees who frequent the area.
For additional information:
Barger, Carl J. Cleburne County and Its People. Vol. 2. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2008.
Berry, Evalena. Time and the River: A History of Cleburne County. Little Rock: Rose Publishing Company, 1982.
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