Oak Bower (Hot Spring County)

Oak Bower is an unincorporated community in Hot Spring County. Located about two miles south of Bismarck (Hot Spring County) and twelve miles northwest of Arkadelphia (Clark County), the community is closely associated with Bismarck and DeGray Lake.

Early settlers in the area included Peter Prince, who obtained 320 acres as a federal land patent in 1859. The land was in Clark County at the time and became part of Hot Spring County in 1873. The Alabama native married Mary Williams in 1855, and the couple had at least four children.

Other early settlers included Dougal Johnson, who obtained 160 acres south of the Prince settlement in 1860. The final land patent issued for the area went to George Magby in 1904 when he obtained 160 acres. A native of Hot Spring County, he farmed the land with wife Joyce and son Earnest.

The small community is served by the post office located in Bismarck. The short distance to Bismarck led to many residents of Oak Bower to travel to the nearby larger settlement for business. In fact, the relationship with Bismarck is complicated, as the main settlement of Bismarck is located north of Oak Bower, including the post office and school, but the Bismarck fire department and at least one business are located south of Oak Bower. As Bismarck grew, it took over much of the area that was known as Oak Bower. Given that neither community is incorporated, determining their respective boundaries is quite difficult.

The creation of DeGray Lake to the west in the 1970s had a major impact on the community. Recreation areas on the lake began to attract tourists, and several camps were established nearby, including a Boy Scout reservation. Large portions of land in the area are owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other large landowners include several timber companies and foundations.

Several businesses are located near Oak Bower. Two churches are located in the area, including the Oak Bower Church of Christ. Arlie Moore Recreation Area and the Ross-Rhodes Reservation are located on nearby DeGray Lake, offering camping and other outdoor activities. Children in the area attend school in the Bismarck School District. Many of the residents work in Bismarck, Hot Springs (Garland County), or other nearby cities. Oak Bower Cemetery also serves the residents of the community.

For additional information:
“Oak Bower Church of Christ Cemetery.” Heritage 2 (1971): 58–59.

Prince, Ron. “The Prince Family of Hot Spring County.” The Heritage 28 (2001): 15–20.

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 02/10/2020

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