Highland (Sharp County)

Latitude and Longitude: 36º16’33″N 091º31’27″W
Elevation: 610 feet
Area: 8.74 square miles (2020 Census)
Population: 982 (2020 Census)
Incorporation Date: September 28, 1998

Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:


























When the school districts of Ash Flat (Sharp County) and Hardy (Sharp County) consolidated in 1962, they chose to build a new high school halfway between the cities. That location is now the second-class city of Highland.

When Sharp County was created in 1868, much of it consisted of heavily forested hillsides. The first official landowners in what would become Highland were Thomas Irvie, who bought his land in 1889, and Thomas J. Harris, who bought his land in 1895. By this time, the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway had been built through Hardy, facilitating shipping of the timber that was being cut in Sharp County and the crops grown on the cleared land. Already the area was being called Highland, presumably because it consists of a ridge between two lower areas. A post office was established in Highland in 1878, but it closed in 1901 because the area was so sparsely settled. The settlement’s postmaster, W. W. Hill, served a term as county surveyor and studied the natural features of Sharp County. The early history of the area is also remembered for the residency of the Porter family, who established a Baptist mission in which two-hour sermons were standard fare.

U.S. Highway 62 was built through the area in the 1920s and bisects the current city of Highland. Cherokee Village (Sharp and Fulton counties), a retirement community, was established north of Highland in 1955. Until the consolidation of Ash Flat and Hardy schools, few residents could have predicted the emergence of a city at Highland.

Ash Flat and Hardy both maintained elementary schools through sixth grade, with older students attending the new high school at Highland, which was completed in 1964. Growth of the surrounding communities soon necessitated an additional elementary school, Cherokee Elementary, which opened in 1971 in Highland. Seven years later, a middle school also was built in Highland.

Because of its proximity to Highway 62 and the expanding retirement community of Cherokee Village, many restaurants and stores were built in Highland. Eventually, citizens of the community elected to incorporate as a second-class city, which they accomplished in 1998.

On February 5, 2008, a tornado tore through Sharp County, devastating Highland and other nearby communities. Although no lives were lost, many homes and businesses were destroyed. Some were rebuilt, but difficult economic times prevented complete recovery. Even in sections along the highway untouched by the storm, many of the former businesses remain closed as of 2013.

In the 2010 census, 1,045 residents were reported in Highland. More than 1,000 of them are white. As of 2011,  enrollment figures for the school district report approximately 630 high school students, 400 middle school students, and 600 elementary school students. Three Baptist churches, an Assembly of God church, and an Abundant Life church are located in Highland.

For additional information:
Moore, Caruth Shaver. Early History of Sharp County. Evening Shade, AR: 1979.

“History.” Highland School District. https://www.highlandrebels.k12.ar.us/page/history (accessed June 4, 2022).

Steven Teske
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies


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