Entry Category: Cities and Towns - Starting with L

Laconia Circle Levee

The Laconia Circle Levee is situated in the southeast corner of Mississippi Township in Desha County. The levee’s circular construction is so unique that Believe it or Not, a syndicated newspaper publication for the unusual, featured the levee in one of its 1970s publications. The levee encircled Laconia Circle, which consisted of 18,000 acres of Delta land located in Desha County, for protection against potential flooding from the Mississippi and White rivers. It was the first levee in the Arkansas Delta to be affected by the Flood of 1927. Before the Civil War, fourteen plantation homes were protected by the levee. The levee and the township were named after the Laconia Landing, one of the most active steamboat landings on …

LaCrosse (Izard County)

The community of LaCrosse in the twenty-first century is practically a ghost town, with only a few occupied houses remaining. This is a striking contrast to earlier decades, when it was a bustling small town, with the LaCrosse Collegiate Institute having a statewide reputation. Located in rolling prairie land, that area of Izard County was first settled in 1845 by three brothers: William Frederick Watkins, James Davis Watkins, and Dr. Owen Thomas Watkins, a graduate of the Medical College at Louisville, Kentucky. The brothers were natives of Tennessee. Land patent records reveal their far-reaching land acquisitions, which extended into Fulton, Sharp, and Independence counties. Their farming ventures included cotton, cattle, blooded horses, hogs, and cotton ginning. Dr. Owen Watkins’s practice extended …

Lafe (Greene County)

Lafe is a town situated on Crowley’s Ridge in northern Greene County. Much like similar communities on the Grand Prairie farther south, Lafe was founded by German-American settlers, and the community has remained centered around the Lutheran church. No settlers had made a home in the area that was to become Lafe before German immigrant Herman Toelkin arrived in 1886. Toelkin had previously settled in Franklin County, Missouri, and his family was still there when he arrived in Greene County by train. Toelkin took a job with the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad, harvesting trees and making railroad ties. When he had saved forty dollars from his earnings, he bought forty acres of land, constructed a log cabin, and …

LaGrange (Lee County)

  LaGrange is a town in southern Lee County, between Marianna (Lee County) and Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). It is near the St. Francis National Forest’s lands that include the southern portion of Crowley’s Ridge. LaGrange appears to be one of the earliest settlements in the area; its French name translates as “the farm.” Settlers were already present when the first government land grant was given to Jonathan Howell in 1820. New Hope Baptist Church was founded at LaGrange in 1848, and a Methodist church also was built before the Civil War. A U.S. post office was established in 1852. At this time, LaGrange was in Phillips County, as Lee County was not created until 1873. By the time of the Civil …

Lake City (Craighead County)

Lake City is located in eastern Craighead County near the St. Francis River, in the northeast corner of the state. Along with Jonesboro (Craighead County) in the western side of the county, Lake City acts as one of two county seats, serving the Eastern District of Craighead County. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Nineteenth-century records indicate that a settlement was established at the approximate location of Lake City in the late 1830s. Situated on the St. Francis River at the site of a former Native American camp, it was originally called “Old Town.” A trader and trapper named Jesse Morgan was probably the first white man to settle at the current location of the town. The 1848 field notes of …

Lake View (Phillips County)

  Lake View is one of two cities in Arkansas (and one of three incorporated communities in Arkansas) where African Americans make up more than ninety percent of the population. Established during the Great Depression as part of a rural resettlement program, Lake View is best known for its part in reshaping education funding in Arkansas through court cases in the 1990s. When Phillips County was established in 1820, its southern portion was dominated by swamplands and hardwood forests. Near Old Town Lake, an oxbow lake that had once been part of the Mississippi River, some small plantations were established, although they were less prosperous than the region’s larger cotton plantations. After the Civil War, freed slaves continued to work on the …

Lake Village (Chicot County)

Lake Village is located in the extreme southeastern part of the state in Chicot County. While Lake Village is the smallest incorporated town, by square miles, in the county, it has served as the county seat since 1857. The hub of commercial activity for Chicot County, Lake Village prides itself on its rich agricultural background. European Exploration and Settlement While Lake Village was not incorporated as a town until 1898, the history of the area starts much earlier, beginning with the arrival of the Spanish in 1541. One local story claims that Hernando de Soto and his men came upon a friendly Native American tribe ruled by Chief Chicot, who had their village on the banks of the Mississippi River …

Lakeview (Baxter County)

Lakeview of Baxter County is one of several cities that came into being as a result of Bull Shoals dam, which was constructed on the White River in northern Arkansas beginning in 1947 and impounds Bull Shoals Lake. Situated on Highway 178 on the southern shore of the lake, Lakeview is adjacent to the Bull Shoals-White River State Park, which, directly and indirectly, provides many of the jobs held by citizens of Lakeview. The earliest settlers in the region were William J. Trimble and his family. Trimble acquired land patents from the land office in Batesville (Independence County) in 1856 and in 1860. Later relatives (whether sons or nephews is unclear) James I. Trimble, John N. Trimble, and William H. …

Lamar (Johnson County)

  Lamar is a second-class city in the Arkansas River Valley and the Interstate 40 corridor. Located a few miles east of Clarksville (Johnson County), Lamar is notable for its schools and for being the home of two acting governors of Arkansas. The region that would become Lamar first entered recorded history during the Trail of Tears, when Lieutenant Joseph Whipple Harris led a party of 125 Cherokee across Arkansas to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). Harris led the group on a trail that passed through Johnson County, camping on a ridge near the present site of Lamar on May 2, 1834. Later parties traveling to Indian Territory followed the same route. A segment of road believed to be the route used …

Lamartine (Columbia County)

Lamartine was a small community founded in present-day northwest Columbia County sometime before 1840. Some sources credit it as being the county’s oldest community. During the Civil War, Thomas Pleasant Dockery, son of one of the earliest settlers, rose to the rank of Confederate Brigadier General. Long before white settlers, the area was home to large numbers of Caddo. Due to the Caddo movement and trade, the area was crossed by a number of trails. These trails and eventually roads, including a military road constructed in the 1830s by the federal government, made movement by white settlers into the area easier. These roads also connected the area to the Ouachita and Red rivers. By the 1840s, a white settlement began …

Landmark (Pulaski County)

Landmark is an unincorporated community on State Highway 367 in southern Pulaski County. It includes the older communities of Parkers and Iron Springs. Union Township was formed in southwestern Pulaski County in 1859. At that time, the township was home to about 400 residents, including residents of East End, which was added to Saline County in 1873. Enoch Davis was the only landowner in the immediate vicinity of what is now Landmark when the township was created; he acquired his land patent in 1843. In 1860, Sampson Brewer also obtained land in the area. Other land patents claimed after the Civil War include those of Eli Cockman (1873), Joel Bunch (1873), William McAlister (1876), William Bunch (1882), Thomas Brewer (1883), …

Lavaca (Sebastian County)

  Located near Arkansas Highways 22 and 96 in Sebastian County, Lavaca can trace its beginnings to the need for a stop for soldiers traveling along the Arkansas River. From its start as a landing in new and undiscovered territory, Lavaca has become a bedroom community of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), the second-largest city in Arkansas. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In 1817, Fort Smith became the first U.S. military installation in the Southwest. Soldiers would travel from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Fort Smith when they could, but shallow water and jutting bedrock halted boat travel at points, forcing them to travel by land. In 1821, Major Benjamin Moore, a former Virginia resident, and William and Ben Moore Jr. …

Leachville (Mississippi County)

Leachville of Mississippi County was once known as “The Cleanest Town on Buffalo Island, Where Agriculture and Industry Meet.” Established about 1896, Leachville is thirty miles east of Jonesboro (Craighead County) and twenty-eight miles west of Blytheville (Mississippi County). Leachville’s founding fathers were James Wiseman Honnoll, Joshua Gilbert Leach, and Sam McNamee of Holly Springs, Mississippi. Leach and Honnoll incorporated the Leach-McNamee Land Development Company on March 15, 1898. Honnoll named the town in honor of Leach. Although founded in 1896, the town was not incorporated until February 2, 1916. The Gilded Age through Early Twentieth CenturyThe late nineteenth century brought business and industry to the settlement. In 1898, the Cannon family, which had moved to Leachville early on, started …

Lead Hill (Boone County)

As its name indicates, Lead Hill began as a mining town on the upper White River shortly after the end of the Civil War. In the middle of the twentieth century, the community had to be relocated due to the creation of Bull Shoals Lake. Since that time, the town has relied largely on the tourist industry, especially with the start of the Ozark Medieval Fortress, a twenty-year project that began in 2010. At the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the area that would become northern Arkansas was hunting ground for the Osage, who lived farther north at the time. The land was ceded to the United States by a series of treaties, but the Ozark Plateau did …

Lenox (Clark County)

Lenox (sometimes spelled Lennox) was a small community in Clark County, located about four miles northeast of Fendley (Clark County), near DeGray Lake. The origin of the community’s name is unknown—while a Lenox family did reside in Clark County at the beginning of the twentieth century, they did not reside near the community. The earliest settlers in the area arrived in 1860 when Benjamin Easley obtained 280 acres of land from the Federal Land Patent Office. Boley Matlock obtained eighty acres in the area the same year. After the Civil War, more families slowly moved into the area. Asa Holcomb and his family arrived in 1871. In 1913, his grandson obtained forty acres of land in the Lenox area. John …

Leola (Grant County)

  Formerly known as Sandy Springs, the town of Leola in Grant County was formed early in the twentieth century as a timber town served by the Rock Island Railroad. Although it struggled during the years of the Depression, Leola was revitalized in the middle of the twentieth century and remains a producer of timber in the twenty-first century. Among the earliest white settlers in the area were John Guest, Thomas Toler, William Dyer, and Mary Dyer, who established land claims between 1843 and 1857. Most of the residents were farmers, benefiting from the rich land along the Saline River, which flooded in some years, providing a short-term inconvenience but also enriching the farmland with fresh deposits of rich soil. The …

Lepanto (Poinsett County)

A product of the timber industry and the railroads, the city of Lepanto grew through the twentieth century from a western-style logging community into an agricultural center for Poinsett County. Today, the city is most famous for its annual Terrapin Derby and for its appearance in the movie A Painted House. Civil War through the Gilded AgeLepanto is located within the sunken lands of northeast Arkansas. Prior to the construction of levees and drainage ditches, it was merely a high spot in the cane-break swamp, though the area was also heavily forested. The first known settler in the area was George Nichols, who moved to Arkansas from Dunklin County, Missouri, around 1858. More settlers came into the area in the …

Leslie (Searcy County)

Leslie is situated in southeastern Searcy County amid the rugged Boston Mountains region of the Ozark Plateau. It was once a booming railroad and lumber city and one of the centers of industry in the Ozark region of Arkansas. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The city was originally named Wiley’s Cove. According to some sources, this was in honor of Chief Wiley, said to be a Cherokee resident of Searcy County; however, it likely derived its name from one of the numerous whites named Wiley, Wilie, or Wily who were squatting in northern and central Arkansas in the early nineteenth century. The first post office in the county was established in 1842. In the 1850s, settlers Henry Begley and his …

Letona (White County)

  Letona is a town in White County, nearly ten miles north of Searcy (White County) on Highway 310. First rising to prosperity as a stop on the Missouri and North Arkansas (M&NA) Railroad, Letona became a center of the timber industry and of agriculture, primarily fruit. The first white settlers in White County, John and Nancy Magness, arrived in the area of what would become Letona in 1815. The area remained sparsely settled, with some farms separated by large wooded areas, throughout the nineteenth century. A Civil War skirmish, known as the Skirmish at Big Indian Creek, was fought in the area on May 27, 1862. Company A of the Thirty-second Arkansas Infantry (CS) attacked a forage train that was …

Levy (Pulaski County)

Levy, which is now a part of North Little Rock (Pulaski County), was named for a prominent Jewish merchant. The community originated as a campground for farmers and drovers traveling the Fort Smith (Sebastian County) road to markets in Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1892, Levy founder Ernest Stanley opened a general store near the campground north of Argenta. A settlement of industrious working-class people emerged with the opening of Camp Pike in 1917. War preparations at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in 1940 further fueled Levy’s growth, and the Levy Day political rally put it on the map in the 1950s. A municipality from 1917 to 1946, Levy has retained its identity into the twenty-first century. Today, a growing Latino population, plus …

Lewisburg (Conway County)

Lewisburg is a former town in Conway County. It was a vibrant community from 1831 until 1883, when it ceased being the county seat of Conway County, replaced by Morrilton. An important town on the Arkansas River, Lewisburg played a significant role in the Civil War. But following the war, the town was bypassed by the railroad, which favored the development of Morrilton. Lewisburg was founded as a trading post and steamboat landing along the Arkansas River in 1825 by early settlers Major William Lewis and his son, Stephen D. Lewis—hence the name Lewisburg. The town was a stagecoach stop between Pottsville (Pope County) and Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and played a part in the Indian Removal along the Trail …

Lewisville (Lafayette County)

Lewisville is the county seat of Lafayette County. Settled about the time that Arkansas became a state, but relocated by the building of railroads half a century later, Lewisville has weathered the storms of history with relative calm. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Lafayette County consisted of land claimed by the Caddo until a treaty of 1835 moved them west to what was then northern Mexico and Indian Territory (now Texas and Oklahoma). Settlers of European origin quickly arrived in the newly opened land. One of them, Lewis Barnes Fort, bought land on July 6, 1836, on the site where Lewisville would later be built. Records indicate that Fort and his family came to Arkansas from Virginia. The settlement came …

Lexa (Phillips County)

Lexa is a town in northern Phillips County, about halfway between Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) and Marianna (Lee County). Created as a result of the railroad, Lexa grew rapidly in the twentieth century before dwindling again around the onset of the Great Depression. The town of Lexa is surrounded by rich farmland, regularly supplied with new soil from the overflow of the Mississippi River. Plantations were established at the site of Lexa before the Civil War, one by Charles Royal Coolidge and another by John T. Jones, who was also a circuit court judge. After the war, the Society of Friends (or Quakers) established a school for African Americans in Helena, moving it two years later to a location about …

Limedale (Independence County)

Limedale is located on Limedale Road just before it connects to the north with Highway 69 (a.k.a. North Central Avenue). Limedale is approximately five miles northwest of Batesville, the county seat for Independence County, and about six miles southeast of Cushman (Independence County). Limedale is near Dry Run Creek (a.k.a. Spring Creek). Though the land around Cushman and Bethesda (Independence County) was noted for its white limestone rocks, the first mining company of importance to exploit this resource was located at Denieville (Independence County), which today is a ghost town. Denieville was named for the Denie Lime Company and was located on Spring Creek on what is today Limedale Road. The Arkansas Lime Company began in Ruddells (Izard County) in …

Lincoln (Washington County)

Lincoln is located in northwest Arkansas on Highway 62 halfway between Prairie Grove (Washington County) and the Oklahoma state line. Heavily influenced by the apple industry through most of its history, Lincoln has been home to the Arkansas Apple Festival since 1976. The Arkansas Country Doctor Museum (ACDM) is also located in Lincoln. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Washington County land records report that a man named Samuel Starr was appointed Osage Indian agent in about 1828 and established a presence near what would become North Street and West Avenue in Lincoln. North Street was the principal route to the Cherokee Nation at Tahlequah, the Creek (Muscogee) Nation just west of Fort Gibson, and the Arkansas River at Muskogee. The …

Little Africa (Polk County)

Little Africa was an all-black community that lay near Board Camp Creek in Polk County east of the county seat of Mena. For a few decades, it was home to many of the county’s African Americans, but the community did not survive the changing economy and growing racial hostility of the county’s white population. The name “Little Africa” was common among informally organized all-black communities in the state and nation. The first African American to stake out a homestead in the area that would become Little Africa appears to have been Nelson Ray in 1875. He was followed by others such as Thomas Moore (who filed for a homestead in 1884), Cicero Cole (1899), William Ray (1901), and Frank Hill …

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 …

Little Italy (Pulaski and Perry Counties)

Little Italy’s prominence in Arkansas history is attributed to its role in European immigration to Arkansas and, more importantly, its wine industry. The area boasted four wineries within a mile of one another and produced thousands of gallons of alcohol yearly. The wine-making Italians of Little Italy provided central Arkansans with a clean, reliable source of alcohol during Prohibition. Due to the community’s central location, it gained much attention as a place where alcohol could be purchased. The area also gained notoriety for the rough atmosphere the clientele who frequented its wineries afforded. Little Italy was founded in 1915 by a group of Italian immigrants who had originally settled in Chicago and Upper Peninsula Michigan at the turn of the …

Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Little Rock, Arkansas’s capital city, is situated on the south bank of the Arkansas River near the geographic center of the state, making it a natural hub for commerce. In addition, the state’s three major landforms join within the city limits: the foothills that rise northwest to the Ozark Plateau, the Delta lands that extend east to the bank of the Mississippi River, and the rolling plains that stretch southwest into Texas. This confluence makes Little Rock a natural political center. Pre-European Exploration The Arkansas River Valley, including the location of “the little rock,” was claimed by the Quapaw when Europeans first explored the region. The Quapaw, members of a group of Dhegiha-Siouan-speaking tribes which also includes the Osage, resided in …