Landers (Hot Spring County)
Located about seven miles southeast of Malvern (Hot Spring County) and four miles northwest of Lono (Hot Spring County), the unincorporated community of Landers stands on Arkansas Highway 9. The community is centered on the intersection of Landers Road and Highway 9. The community formerly included a crossing of the Malvern and Camden Railroad.
Early land patents issued in the area included forty acres acquired by Zachariah Staggs and John Jester in 1854. Robert Gray obtained forty acres in the area later the same year and was living on the land with his wife and children by the time of the 1860 census. That year, he obtained an additional forty acres to the east, with another forty acquired the following year.
James Johnson acquired 120 acres of land in the area in 1893. Johnson lived with his wife, Julia, and children on the land, according to the 1900 census. Operating small farms in the Landers area, settlers grew crops, raised cattle, and harvested timber.
Early settlers in the area were served by the post office in Rockport (Hot Spring County), and an office operated in nearby Lono from 1878 to 1928. The area is currently served by the office in Malvern. Commercial business was conducted in Lono and Malvern, as a store did not operate in the community.
The Damascus Cemetery is located to the northwest of the community and includes marked graves dating to 1903. Early settler James Johnson is buried in the cemetery along with Julia Johnson and several of the couple’s children. A church and school were located at the site in the early twentieth century, but the exact dates of school operations are unknown. The Damascus Missionary Baptist Church continues to be active in the twenty-first century. The Cunningham Cemetery, located to the east of the community, contains graves dating to 1876. The L’Eau Fraiz United Methodist Church still conducts services southwest of the community and includes a cemetery with marked graves dating to 1883.
A school never operated in the Landers community; students attended the school in Lono. Some students also likely attended the Fairview School located to the north of the community. The area is served in the twenty-first century by the Malvern School District.
In 1980, the community appeared in a Hot Spring County publication as a so-called ghost town. The area remains rural with several homes and no businesses. Never a large settlement, Landers remains an agricultural community with timber continuing to be an important crop in the area. Landers serves as a bedroom community for Malvern and other nearby communities.
For additional information:
Frances House-Greiss, “Ghost Towns of Hot Spring County.” The Heritage 7 (1980): 115–118.
Henderson State University
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