Benton

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Bella Vista (Benton County)

Bella Vista was originally planned as a summer recreation resort. Half a century later, the resort began transforming into a graduated retirement community. In 2006, citizens voted to incorporate, setting the stage for the next transformation for Bella Vista. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodBella Vista sits in the Ozark Plateau geographical region where many native groups, including the Osage, Caddo, and Quapaw, lived. The 1808 and 1809 treaties between the United States and the Great and Little Osage in Missouri and the Osage residing on the Arkansas River transferred 30 million acres of Native American land titles to the government. A portion of this land, once the heartland of the Osage, eventually became Bella Vista. Early Twentieth CenturyWilliam S. Baker, …

Bentonville (Benton County)

Bentonville, the Benton County seat, has grown from a farming community to the home of the world’s largest retailer. Sam Walton, who started with a small store on the town square, built a retail giant but kept the Walmart Inc. headquarters in Bentonville. Bentonville is now one of the fastest-growing towns in the nation, largely because of the influx of Walmart Inc. suppliers. Some parts of the city are changing quickly, but preserved and restored buildings on the square and in adjoining neighborhoods help to maintain the look and feel of the historic town. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first white settlers in what is now Bentonville arrived just a few years before the town was established in 1837. …

Bethel Heights (Benton County)

Bethel Heights is a city in southern Benton County, situated on Business Highway 71 between Lowell (Benton County) and Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) just east of Interstate 49. Although the community has existed since the 1870s, it was not incorporated until 1967. Benton County had long been inhabited before European exploration and before the Louisiana Purchase added the area to the United States. Osage from the north hunted in Benton County even after the Louisiana Purchase, until a treaty with the U.S. government moved the tribe west to what is now Oklahoma. The first white settler to claim land in the area that would become Bethel Heights was Nelson Hewitt, who arrived in 1856. He was joined by John …

Cave Springs (Benton County)

The city of Cave Springs, nestled in the hills of northwest Arkansas, Benton County, is known more for recreational opportunities than for its role in industry or agriculture. Incorporated in 1910, the second-class city stands on Highways 112 and 264 and is often the first community seen by visitors to Arkansas who arrive at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. Cave Springs is named for two caves and for the water source that flows from the northernmost of those caves. The north cave, which has been closed to the public since the 1980s, is said to consist of several rooms and to contain two beautiful waterfalls. It is home to many bats and to the largest known population of the rare …

Centerton (Benton County)

The city of Centerton, named for its location at the center of Benton County, was first established as a railroad stop and as a processing center for Benton County’s apple industry. The city declined in size by the middle of the twentieth century due to earlier troubles in the apple and railroad industries, but the rapid growth of Benton County brought about by the poultry industry and by Walmart Inc. has made Centerton a successful city in the twenty-first century. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Northwest Arkansas was claimed as hunting territory by the Osage, who lived in Missouri, at the time of the Louisiana Purchase. Local historians believe that the Osage regularly visited the McKissick Spring, an early landmark …

Decatur (Benton County)

Decatur is a second-class city in Benton County, not far from the northwestern corner of Arkansas. About fifteen miles west of Rogers (Benton County), Decatur is in the Ozark hills about halfway between Sulphur Springs (Benton County) and Siloam Springs (Benton County) on State Highway 59. The first known white settler on the land that would become Decatur was William F. Burrow, who was farming in the area before Arkansas became a state in 1836. Burrow chose the land because of its proximity to a fresh-water spring, later given the name St. Elmo Spring. He received a formal deed to his forty acres of land from the U.S. government in 1854. Burrow and his neighbors grew various crops, including tobacco …

Elm Springs (Washington and Benton Counties)

  The city of Elm Springs straddles the county line of Washington and Benton counties. At one time, it was one of the principal cities of Washington County, but more recently it has been overshadowed by the growth of its neighbor, Springdale (Washington County). Recent efforts to revitalize the community have featured businesses specializing in home decorations and furniture restoration. A grove of large elm trees and natural springs strong enough to power a mill inspired the name Elm Springs. Thomas McClain (or McLain) is said to have homesteaded in the area as early as 1831, but his name does not appear on land records. The earliest documented land owners include John Ingram, John Hamilton, William Barrington, and Jacob Pearson. …

Garfield (Benton County)

  Garfield is a town in Benton County, located just east of the Pea Ridge National Military Park. Named for James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, the community first rose to prominence as a railroad depot used for shipping water and fruit. After years of decline following the Depression, the town revitalized in the late twentieth century with the growing population of the county. The earliest settler at the location that would become Garfield was James Jackson, who arrived around 1839. Other families that settled in the area before the Civil War include those of Benjamin Mahurian, Joshua Brotcher, and Archibald Blansett. The Battle of Pea Ridge, fought March 7–8, 1862, near the present location of Garfield, was …

Gateway (Benton County)

Gateway is a town in northeastern Benton County. The town’s northern boundary is the state line with Missouri. Gateway is located on U.S. Highway 62, and its existence is largely a result of the highway. Although some claim that the name of the town reflects its relationship to people entering Arkansas from Missouri, the town actually was named for an arch over the highway that read, “Gateway to Eureka Springs.” Prior to the arrival of European explorers and American settlers, the Ozark Mountains were inhabited, but only sparsely. By the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the primary human residents were occasional visitors, especially the Osage of Missouri who came south into the Ozarks to hunt and fish. American …

Gentry (Benton County)

The city of Gentry, located in Benton County, was created in 1894 along the line of what eventually became the Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCS), established by Arthur E. Stilwell and designed to connect Kansas City, Missouri, with Port Arthur, Texas. At the time, the area was undergoing an economic boom due to the cultivation of orchard fruits, primarily apples, and the railroad connection made Gentry an important shipping point for fruit; the town was even called Orchard at one point. The post office opened on May 21, 1894. A newspaper, the Gentry Journal, began printing in 1894, though it was soon renamed the Journal-Advance. The city formally incorporated on July 9, 1898, named for the president of the railroad. …

Gravette (Benton County)

Gravette, located in Benton County, is a tight-knit community whose motto is “The Heart of Hometown America.” It was once referred to as the “Gate Community,” presumably in reference to its being a gateway to northwest Arkansas from Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. Highway 71, now running through Bella Vista (Benton County), once passed through Gravette. Gravette, at the intersection of State Highways 59 and 72, is a conservative community with a population calculated at 2,325 in the 2010 census. The town has nineteen churches, three of which are over 100 years old. Nebo (now referred to as Old Town) in Chalk Valley was the original settlement of the community. The settlement was platted in the 1870s by Joseph P. Covey, who …

Highfill (Benton County)

Highfill is a town in Benton County that has been shaped by the area’s changing transportation needs. It emerged due to railroad construction in the early twentieth century and is now home to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. Jason Woodward and Silas Gorden acquired land shortly before the Civil War in the area that would become Highfill. The town was named for Hezekiah Highfill, a Civil War veteran who bought land near Woodward’s and Gorden’s tracts of land in 1885. All three families established apple orchards on their land. A community called Hoover—reportedly named for Stanford University student Herbert Hoover, the future U.S. president, who surveyed the area in the early 1890s—existed a mile or two south of Highfill’s orchard. …

Little Flock (Benton County)

  Little Flock is a residential community in northwestern Arkansas, Benton County, located north of Rogers (Benton County) and east of Bentonville (Benton County). Although it remained unincorporated until 1970, Little Flock was established in the 1840s. The city’s principal landmark is the Little Flock Primitive Baptist Church, which was organized in 1843. The Osage claimed northern Arkansas as hunting ground at the time of the Louisiana Purchase, but a series of treaties with the Osage and other tribes opened the land for white settlers. James Harvey Wight was one of the first to homestead in the area that is now Little Flock; his neighbors included Noah Hornbeck, Theopholus Wallace, Amos Osborn, and Benjamin Walker. In 1843, several families met in …

Lowell (Benton County)

The city of Lowell, located in Benton County, was originally a small settlement known as Robinson’s Cross Roads, settled in the 1840s along what was later called Old Wire Road. The original settlement consisted of about thirty homesteaders. The post office was established in 1847, though it later closed and reopened under the name of Bloomington. The road was well traveled and worn with deep ruts, and it became treacherous after rain. Thus, Bloomington became commonly known as “Mudtown” after a rider for the Butterfield Overland Mail Company reportedly got his stagecoach trapped in deep mud there. In 1864, guerillas attacked a train in Mudtown, but Union forces prevailed.Camp Benjamin, northeast of town at a site known as Cross Hollow, …

Maysville (Benton County)

Although it is unincorporated, Maysville is one of the oldest settlements in Benton County. Located on Arkansas Highway 43 near the Oklahoma state line, Maysville is the westernmost community in Arkansas. The Osage hunted and fished in northern Arkansas until they were removed farther west by a series of treaties. The first white resident of the land that would become Maysville was Adam Beatie, who arrived in 1828. The area became known as Beatie’s Prairie, which was the name of the post office from 1840 to 1850. John Martin May arrived in 1831. The community was named for him, and the post office changed its name to Maysville in 1850. A merchant named Hugh Tigret arrived in 1838; he is …

Monte Ne (Benton County)

Monte Ne (Benton County) was a resort town founded by William H. “Coin” Harvey in 1900. It had the world’s largest log hotels, designed by architect A. O. Clark, and attracted visitors from across the country for more than two decades. It was the site of Harvey’s nomination to the Liberty Party’s 1932 presidential ticket and the location for his planned monument to the future. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Located five miles southeast of Rogers (Benton County), Monte Ne began as the community of Silver Springs. Betty Blake Rogers, financial advisor and spouse to entertainer Will Rogers, was born here in 1879. Harvey, who had worked all over the country as a lawyer, silver …

Pea Ridge (Benton County)

The influx of white settlers into the Pea Ridge area of Arkansas began during the decade prior to Arkansas statehood in 1836 and continued through the 1850s. Pea Ridge became one of the earlier college towns in Arkansas, offering business instruction, music education, and training teachers for early northwest Arkansas schools. Pea Ridge National Military Park, occupying the site of the 1862 Civil War Battle of Pea Ridge, is a major Arkansas tourist attraction. As part of the rapidly expanding economy of northwest Arkansas, Pea Ridge is poised for significant growth during the first decade of the twenty-first century. In fact, the city motto is “Anchored to the Past… Rising to the Future.” Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Pea Ridge …

Prairie Creek (Benton County)

Prairie Creek in Benton County began in the White River valley area as a small farming community made up of about three families. The creation of Beaver Lake in the 1960s transformed the region into a center of tourism. Now, it is a planned community development and is home to a number of retirees. Prairie Creek was established as a township in April 1859 through the efforts of John B. Putnam and fifty other citizens of the surrounding areas, including Sugar Creek, White River, and Big Spring. The township was created with land taken from these other townships. A three-mile stream fed by various other streams along the way ran through the area. This area continued as a small farming …

Rogers (Benton County)

Rogers was founded as a stop on the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (Frisco) and developed as a shipping point for apples and a trade center for the surrounding rural area. After World War II, agriculture remained important, but business leaders also embarked on a successful effort to recruit light industry. Rogers has several major industrial plants and retail centers and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Arkansas. Louisiana Purchase through Reconstruction Settlers began to arrive in the vicinity of what is today Rogers around 1830. Most came from the Upper South states, especially Tennessee. The foundation of the local economy in the mid-1800s was subsistence farming, with tobacco as the main cash crop. The many streams in the region …

Saline Crossing (Saline County)

aka: Saline Crossings
Saline Crossing was a community in Saline County that once vied for the position of county seat. During the late territorial period, in 1831, William Lockhart was granted the right to build a toll bridge there, although people could still ford the stream for free. This site was later used by Native American tribes during their removal through Arkansas until 1840. Every traveler following the Old Military Road or Southwest Trail from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Rockport (Hot Spring County) crossed the Saline River at that location. In the twenty-first century, the area that once hosted the historical community lies around the Old River Bridge at the end of River Street in Benton (Saline County). No physical remnants of …

Siloam Springs (Benton County)

Siloam Springs is on the western edge of Benton County in what could be called the “bootheel” of the county. “Siloam” refers to the healing waters of the Pool of Siloam in the New Testament (John 9:6), and health seekers were once important to the local economy. The town is known for the beauty of the parks lining Sager Creek and for the diversity of its industries, which include poultry processing, canning, and a variety of light manufacturing. Siloam Springs is also the home of John Brown University, a private non-denominational Christian school offering fifty-one bachelor’s degree programs and six master’s degree programs. Early Statehood By November 1839, Simon Sager and family were living in what is now Siloam Springs, …

Springdale (Washington and Benton Counties)

Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) is a major industrial center in northwest Arkansas with a population that almost doubled between 1980 and 2000 and is still on the increase; as of 2010, the population is 69,797. The area is the birthplace of seven major trucking companies and a center for the poultry industry in the state. Nearly 700 people moved to the Springdale metropolitan area each month in 2003. In that same year, Forbes magazine rated it third best in the nation for business and career opportunities. Pre-European Exploration through Early Statehood People have lived in the area now called Springdale for about 12,000 years. Early settlers came and stayed because of abundant natural resources, just as later European settlers …

Springtown (Benton County)

Springtown is a small town in western Benton County, between Gentry (Benton County) and Highfill (Benton County), about eighteen miles southwest of Bentonville (Benton County). Named for a natural spring, the source of Flint Creek, the town has maintained a population of around 100 since its incorporation in 1909. The Osage hunted and fished in northern Arkansas until a series of treaties moved them to Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma). Settlers arrived in northwestern Arkansas almost as soon as Arkansas had become a state. Charles Kincheloe built the first house in what is now Springtown in 1841. Shortly thereafter, Isaac Dial built a house near the spring for which the town is named. Civil War activity around Bentonville …

Sulphur Springs (Benton County)

Sulphur Springs in Benton County is only one of many communities in Arkansas that bear that name. Located near the Missouri and Oklahoma borders, it was an important spa and resort center in the late 1800s and early twentieth century as well as the location for a campus of what is now John Brown University (JBU) and facilities for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The original city site contained numerous natural mineral springs, including a rare lithium spring. The reported healing properties of these springs led to the creation of a small community; a post office was established on April 26, 1878, and the city was formally laid out in 1885. The first school opened later …

Twelve Corners (Benton County)

The community of Twelve Corners, which contains one of the oldest established Baptist churches in Benton County, was pivotal to Arkansas’s history. Located three and a half miles northeast of Pea Ridge (Benton County), Twelve Corners was notable for its location on the Bentonville Detour, the former bypass from Telegraph Road in Missouri to the county seat. It was also located close to the Arkansas–Missouri state line, the Pea Ridge Plateau, and Elkhorn Tavern, which made it a significant area for a Confederate camp during the Battle of Pea Ridge. Settlement in the northwest corner of Arkansas Territory began around 1828. In 1842, some of the earliest homesteaders in the area formed the Benton County Baptist Society in an upper …