Entry Category: Cities and Towns

Arlberg (Stone County)

Arlberg is a remote and sparsely populated community in Red River Township of Stone County on the west side of the middle fork of the Little Red River near the Van Buren County line. Arlberg is located two miles off Arkansas 110 in southwestern Stone County at the bottom of Angora Mountain. The Arlberg Arch, also known as Rainbow Rock, is a prominent natural monument in the area, located near the settlement on private property with limited access. In the twenty-first century, the area is mainly of historic interest and a place for hunting, fishing, and swimming. In the region where Arlberg was later built, Civil War guerrilla and outlaw Bill Dark terrorized the hill people until early 1863, when …

Ash Flat (Sharp County)

  The northeastern Arkansas town of Ash Flat is a significant agricultural, medical, and retail district serving the needs of Sharp County since 1856. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodThe area that would become Ash Flat was first settled by farmers in the 1820s, when Arkansas was still a territory. After the state was admitted to the Union in 1836, the Ash Flat area was located within Lawrence County. The community emerged as an important agricultural trading center, and in 1856, the town of Ash Flat was founded when a U.S. post office was built. A group of local residents, led by postmaster James McCord, chose the name Ash Flat because of a nearby grove of ash trees. Civil War through …

Ashdown (Little River County)

Ashdown is located in the far southwestern corner of Arkansas, about nineteen miles north of Texarkana (Miller County). The town lies among rich, fertile land, ideal for growing cotton, soybeans, rice, corn, wheat, and other crops. However, its greatest industry is timber. Ashdown is a part of Little River County, which was carved out of parts of Sevier and Hempstead counties in 1867. An election held in 1906 moved the county seat from Foreman (Little River County) to Ashdown. A new courthouse was built in Ashdown in 1907. Through the years, this courthouse has undergone many renovations and restorations. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. During the Christmas season, the courthouse is covered with …

Atkins (Pope County)

Atkins has long been identified as the pickle capital of Arkansas, although the pickle industry is only a part of its heritage now. The city grew up along the railroad, served as a center for river traffic, and is now situated along a major interstate. Nearby Lake Atkins is a popular fishing destination. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age Following the Civil War, Arkansas underwent a brief period of industrialization as capitalists, mostly from the North, took advantage of the opportunities to foster commercial growth in the devastated Southern states. One of these ventures was the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad. As the surveyed route followed the northern side of the Arkansas River from Little Rock (Pulaski County) toward points …

Aubrey (Lee County)

  The town of Aubrey stretches along State Highway 121 in western Lee County. Formed early in the twentieth century when the railroad came through the area, the town was not incorporated until 1966. Although Lee County’s population is predominately African American, Aubrey remains more than two-thirds white. Lee County was sparsely populated when it was first formed in 1873. Most of the county land consisted of cotton plantations—converted from slave labor to tenant farmer labor after the Civil War—and oft-flooded lowlands. The construction of railroads changed the county’s character early in the twentieth century. The Missouri and North Arkansas (M&NA) Railroad, linking Joplin, Missouri, to Helena (Phillips County) on the Mississippi River, brought much commercial traffic through the county. The refueling stop that became …

Augusta (Woodruff County)

Augusta, located on the east bank of the White River, has been the county seat of two counties, first Jackson and then Woodruff, and is the oldest settlement in Woodruff County. The town’s placement at a natural river landing brought prosperity during the era of steamboats. Boats from Memphis, Tennessee, hauling a wide variety of goods landed weekly at Augusta year round, and boats from New Orleans, Louisiana, made regular stops. Augusta is still a part of the river trade as barges haul farm crops from large grain storage facilities on the banks of the White River. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Local tradition holds that, long before white men set foot in what is now Arkansas, Chickasaw Indians built …

Austin (Lonoke County)

Austin is a second-class city situated in northern Lonoke County. The railroad was responsible for moving the settlement of Old Austin (Lonoke County) a mile to the northwest of its original location; in the twenty-first century, many of Austin’s residents work in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Old Austin had been established before the Civil War and included a wool carding factory, a hotel, three doctors’ offices, three saloons, and a number of stores. No major Civil War confrontations took place in the area, but Camp Nelson was established as a Confederate winter camp and became also a Confederate cemetery during the war. The community revived after the war but was bypassed by the building of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain …

Auvergne (Jackson County)

Auvergne of Jackson County is a small unincorporated community located about ten miles southeast of Newport (Jackson County) on land that was home to some of the area’s first settlers. Though occupied by the 1830s, no settlement began to emerge until the 1870s. During its heyday in the late nineteenth century, the community, positioned on a ridge between the White and Cache river bottoms, was home to a thriving timber trade and ample farming. James T. Henderson, sometimes called the “father of Auvergne,” moved from Tennessee and settled in the area with twenty-five slaves in 1860. Establishing a large farm and orchard, he built his house just west of where the settlement would be. Local history records that it was …

Avilla (Saline County)

Founded by German settlers, the unincorporated community of Avilla lies in northern Saline County seven miles north of Benton (Saline County) on Congo-Ferndale Road. Centered around a Lutheran church and school, the mostly rural settlement also has a Baptist church and two stores. The first white settlers in the area were farmers who gained land grants from the federal government before the Civil War. These settlers include Henry Fletcher, who arrived in 1834; Thomas Keesee, who arrived in 1839; and George Brown, who arrived in 1857. Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, railroad companies, including the Iron Mountain Railroad, advertised the quality of Arkansas life in Germany and other parts of Europe. Among those who responded to these ads were …

Avoca (Benton County)

Avoca is a town on U.S. Highway 62 in Benton County, located between Rogers (Benton County) and Pea Ridge National Military Park. Since its incorporation in 1966, it has benefited from the general growth in population that northwestern Arkansas has experienced. In the early years of the Arkansas Territory, the Osage were frequent visitors to the forested hills of northwestern Arkansas. Three treaties moved the Osage farther west, and the area began to be developed for white settlement as Lovely County. Later, the region was renamed Washington County, and in 1836—the year Arkansas became a state—Benton County was separated from Washington County. Settlement remained sparse in the Avoca area, however, until after the Civil War. The Butterfield Overland Mail Company …

Aydelott (Independence County)

Aydelott is a historic community in Independence County located on Highway 14 between Oil Trough (Independence County) and Macks (Jackson County) in Oil Trough Township. The name derives from the Aydelott family from Cleveland County, North Carolina. The White River bottoms in what became known as Pleasant Island, and later Oil Trough, first became a popular area for bear hunting by the French before the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The rich alluvial soil beckoned farmers who grew cotton and corn in the early days of settlement, tolerating the frequent floods. The corn was also used to make moonshine, which proved almost as profitable as trading bear oil down the river. Alfred Paisley Aydelott first journeyed to Little Rock (Pulaski County) …

Bald Knob (White County)

Located on the southern edge of the Ozarks, White County’s Bald Knob was named for a large outcropping of layered stone that was a natural landmark, especially if approached from the White River and Little Red River floodplains east and south of town. The completion of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern Railroad in 1872 triggered economic development in the region. Liberty Valley, south of Bald Knob, is the site of prehistoric salt extraction. Some scholars hypothesize that this is the site of Palisima, a Native American village mentioned in documents from the Hernando de Soto expedition. During the Civil War, workers extracted about two bushels of salt a day by boiling the water in large kettles. In the …

Banks (Bradley County)

  Banks is one of only three incorporated communities in Bradley County. Once known for its relationship to the railroads and the timber industry, the town is now chiefly considered a center for hunters in the southern Arkansas forests. Caddo lived in the region where Banks is located as much as 5,000 years ago. Eventually, European and American explorers and settlers arrived in what is now Arkansas, and the Caddo were moved farther west. Among the first landowners in the area were John McFarlin (who obtained his land grant in 1856), John Evans, and Pleasant D. Morgan—the latter two claiming their land in 1860. Before the Civil War, some land was cleared in the area for the construction of the Mississippi, Ouachita …

Banner (Cleburne County)

Banner is located on Highway 87 (also called Floral Road) less than two miles from the point at which Floral Road joins Highway 25 N (Heber Springs Road) in Concord (Cleburne County). Floral (Independence County) is nearby. Until Cleburne County was formed on February 20, 1883, Banner was in Independence County; the community has close ties with both counties. A colorful pioneer of Banner was Elijah (Lige) Collard, a Kentuckian who blazed a trail to Healing Springs Township (then in Independence County) between 1845 and 1850. Collard supposedly spent time with Native Americans around the mineral springs in what is today Heber Springs (Cleburne County). One day in the 1850s, he was confronted on his trek to the springs by …

Baring Cross (Pulaski County)

West of Pike Avenue in North Little Rock (Pulaski County)—across from the Union Pacific Railway shops—Baring Cross was a Pulaski County town consisting primarily of middle-class railroad workers. It took its name from the first steel bridge to span the Arkansas River in 1873. From 1896 to 1905, the municipality of Baring Cross encompassed a smaller area than it does today. North Little Rock annexed the town, which became the city’s Fifth Ward and home to several mayors and aldermen, in 1905. Following national trends, Baring Cross decayed economically in the 1960s and 1970s. Urban Renewal did little to reverse the decline, but reinvestment through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program as well as private investment spurred revitalization in 2010. The …

Barling (Sebastian County)

Barling (Sebastian County) is located between one of Arkansas’s major cities, Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and an important twentieth-century army post, Fort Chaffee. The town, originally named Spring Hill, saw its greatest growth to date occur largely because of the founding of Fort Chaffee in 1941. Barling was established by Aaron Barling, a former soldier stationed at Fort Smith in 1817. He purchased land about eight miles east of Fort Smith on Little Rock Road in November 1830. His farm—and the surrounding area—became known as Spring Hill because of some springs located on his farm at the foot of a hill travelers used as a campsite. The town experienced little growth early on, with only one log structure used for …

Barringer (Clark County)

Barringer is a community located in southern Clark County about one mile northwest of Whelen Springs (Clark County) and about four miles south of Gurdon (Clark County). The community is located along Arkansas Highway 53 north of the intersection with Arkansas Highway 51. The earliest mention of the settlement appears in 1885 when John A. Barringer opened a sawmill in the area. The opening of the Gurdon and Camden Branch Railroad from Camden (Ouachita County) to Gurdon made the shipment of timber in the area lucrative. In 1888, the company cut and shipped 2,000,000 board feet of timber. By the 1920s, the mill annually produced between eight and ten million board feet. During this period, the mill employed between forty-five …

Bassett (Mississippi County)

The town of Bassett is located on Highway 61 in southern Mississippi County. It is about halfway between Wilson (Mississippi County) and Joiner (Mississippi County). Bassett sits on higher ground that, for most of recorded history, was surrounded by swampland and hardwood forests. Artifacts unearthed in the area indicate that the knoll has been inhabited for many centuries. Mississippi County historian Mabel Edrington wrote in 1962 that a 100-acre Native American cemetery had existed at the site. Several Indian nations have been associated with northeastern Arkansas, but over time, they all signed treaties with the federal government and moved west to Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma. The first construction in Bassett that was not done by Indians is …

Bates (Scott County)

Bates is an unincorporated community in western Scott County. It is located along Highway 28 west, between the junction of Shadley Creek and East Shadley Creek just north of the Poteau River. Bates was established in 1907 and named after the Bates family who settled in the area. Agriculture, timber, and coal mining have historically been important industries in Bates. Prior to European exploration, Bates was a wilderness lush with native vegetation and numerous species of wildlife, some of which no longer inhabit the area. Early inhabitants of the area were present during the Woodland, Archaic, and Mississippian periods. There are numerous archaeological sites located along the Poteau River south of Bates. This evidence indicates that the people of the …

Batesville (Independence County)

Geographically, Batesville was destined to exist. It stands at the point where waters of the White River exit from the sedimentary stone of the Ozarks. River traffic was forced to stop at the shoals to offload cargo, regardless of the direction of travel. Warehouses, supply stores, and buyers of furs and produce naturally congregated there. The town became one of the major cultural centers of the region. In the nineteenth century, its leaders, many of whom moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), exercised influence on the political development of Arkansas far beyond what its modest size promised. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first Euro-American settlers, French fur-traders who were in the valley possibly as early as the mid-eighteenth century, left …

Bauxite (Saline County)

The story of Bauxite (Saline County) is largely the story of the bauxite mining industry. Bauxite, the ore from which the town derives its name, and which is a key component in the production of aluminum, was discovered in great abundance in this area of central Arkansas in 1887. The company that became Alcoa, which mined the ore, not only provided plants and mills but also provided a community for its workers to live in. As the company cared for its workers, the town was able to exceed all expectations and produce enough ore to supply the United States military during two world wars. With the end of World War II, however, the company found it more profitable to mine …

Bay (Craighead County)

Bay (Craighead County) is located in northeast Arkansas between Trumann (Poinsett County) and Jonesboro (Craighead County) and has long been known as a farming community. Once populated with long-time generational residents, it is now occupied largely by younger adults who migrated from larger cities. The first settlers arrived in the early 1800s, and although Native Americans had already left the area, their remnants have been discovered. Michigamea Indians inhabited the area just a few miles east of present-day Bay in the seventeenth century. Indian mounds can be found on Bay’s north side. Originally, three such mounds existed, but only two remain. These mounds were investigated in 1883 for the Bureau of American Ethnology. The mounds have never been fully investigated, …

Bear (Garland County)

Bear of Garland County was a boom town of the 1880s whose phenomenal growth was fueled by rumors that gold, silver, and other precious metals could be found in the nearby Ouachita Mountains. One enterprising fraud claimed to have found the legendary Lost Louisiana Mine. However, all such rumors ultimately proved false, and the town diminished as quickly as it had grown. Before the gold rush, people had homesteaded in the area around Bear Mountain—the mountain from which the town later took its name. One early settler was Melson Larkin. The first post office was established in 1882. As early as 1884, rumors of gold in the area began to spread. That year, the first plat of Bear was filed. A …

Bearden (Ouachita County)

Bearden, originally founded as a railroad town, has been an important center for the timber industry in Arkansas. It is home to the annual Gazebo Festival. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age Bearden was founded as one of many whistle-stop communities along the Cotton Belt Railway Line during the steam engine years. The city limits for the town of Bearden were set in 1882 by the Southwest Improvement Association, an agency of the Railway Land Office. This office was part of what would become the Cotton Belt Railway Line. Bearden was named after one of the lawyers for the agency, Judge John T. Bearden. Among the first settlers were the Byars, Clemmons, Hollingsworth, and Shaddock families. The small town soon …

Beauchamp (Scott County)

Beauchamp is an unincorporated community located in southwestern Scott County. Named for the family who settled in the area, Beauchamp was established in 1901 along Black Fork Creek three miles west of Blansett (Scott County). The agricultural and timber industries have contributed to the economy and way of life in Beauchamp. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Beauchamp was an explored wilderness. Several species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Numerous archaeological sites and burial mounds are located along the banks of prominent waterways such as the Fourche La Fave River. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. …

Beaver (Carroll County)

Named for early settler Wilson Ashbury Beaver, the Carroll County town of Beaver is on State Highway 187 about seven miles north of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Osage hunted and fished in the Ozark Mountains when European and American explorers first entered the region. White settlers gradually displaced the Osage presence. John and Sarah Williams received title to the land that would become Beaver in 1852, although their house had been built on that land around 1836. They sold this house and land to Wilson Ashbury Beaver in 1857. Beaver established several businesses on his land, including a 350-acre farm, a grist mill, a trading post, a ferry across the White River, and an inn, all of which bore the …

Beebe (White County)

Beebe started out as the intersection of the railroad and Des Arc Road (now Highway 31). As of 2010, Beebe’s official population stands at 7,315, a significant growth since 2000. Beebe is also the home of Arkansas State University–Beebe. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age Roswell Beebe was president of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company, which became part of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad Company. This was the company that built the railroad through White County. In 1872, the first train stopped at Des Arc Road. This intersection was designated Beebe Station in honor of Roswell Beebe. The train stopped there to take on wood and water to power the steam engine. Many of the new residents …

Beedeville (Jackson County)

Beedeville is a town in southeastern Jackson County. It is located on State Highway 37 near the Cache River. Sawmills built in Beedeville early in the twentieth century attracted the interest of railroad investors, but the line that included Beedeville in its name was never completed to the town. The Cache River served as a transportation corridor both before and after European explorers entered Arkansas. The actual river valley, prone to flooding, remained sparsely settled even after Arkansas became a state. William H. Beede, who arrived around 1866, was probably the first settler to occupy the current site of Beedeville. He helped to organize the first public school in the area in 1880. A Church of Christ was established near …

Beirne (Clark County)

The small community of Beirne is located twenty-one miles southwest of the Clark County seat of Arkadelphia. It was founded by Illinois native and steamboat captain James Lewis Beirne in 1880. Originally named York, the community was later renamed for Beirne. The community, like many surrounding it, grew out of the timber industry, and it was once considered one of the premier shipping locations along the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad. Like many of its neighboring communities, it too fell victim to waning timber production in the early 1900s. Today, Beirne is home to one of the largest producers of hardwood material in the world. Quickly after the community’s establishment, Captain Beirne built a sawmill and Methodist church, …

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 Statehood Bella 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 Century William …

Bellefonte (Boone County)

Bellefonte is a town in Boone County on U.S. Highway 62/65 a few miles southeast of Harrison (Boone County). Bellefonte served as the first temporary county seat of Boone County and was nearly chosen as the permanent county seat, but Harrison surpassed it by a few votes. The first white settler at the site that would become Bellefonte was John Simms, who purchased eighty acres of land from the U.S. government in 1854. The land included a productive spring of fresh water. Simms was later joined by the Freeland, Laffoon, and Williams families. Two stores and a saloon were built, and reportedly the men of the community chose to name their settlement for the spring. One of them supposedly said …

Belleville (Yell County)

Located on State Highway 10 four miles northwest of Danville (Yell County), the second-class city of Belleville was once the second-largest city in Yell County. The city is near Spring Lake, a popular recreational site on the edge of the Ozark National Forest, and is on the highway that leads to Mount Magazine State Park. The settlement of Monrovia (Yell County), now abandoned, existed in the area before the Civil War and was used as a temporary prison by Federal troops during the war. The first settler of what is now Belleville was William Fergeson, who established a sawmill and store in 1872 and later became the first postmaster of what then was called Fergeson Mills. The next year, a …

Ben Lomond (Sevier County)

Ben Lomond is a small town in Sevier County. It is slightly east of U.S. Highway 59 and a few miles north of the Little River near where the river widens into Millwood Lake. While the region now called Sevier County has been home for thousands of years to humans who hunted, fished, and gathered food, the region has always been sparsely populated. Some white settlers claimed land in the Little River valley as early as 1810; however, between 1820 and 1825, the Choctaw were settled on land in the area before being moved by treaty farther west into Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma). The site of Ben Lomond remained unclaimed until the middle of the nineteenth century, …