Counties, Cities, and Towns

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Abbott (Scott County)

Abbott is an unincorporated community located in northern Scott County along Highway 71. Established in 1899 near the town of Mansfield (Scott and Sebastian counties), Abbott was likely named after certain members of the Abbott family who lived in the area during the late nineteenth century. The agricultural, mining, and natural gas industries have traditionally been important economic resources in Abbott and the surrounding area. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Abbott was a wilderness. Species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Additional evidence has indicated that the Caddo tribe had …

Adona (Perry County)

  Adona is a city located on Highway 10 in northern Perry County. It began as a railroad town, prospered due to the timber industry, and is sustained by tourism in the twenty-first century. Adona is sometimes humorously described as “the first city in Arkansas” because of its place in the alphabetical order of communities and because of its zip code (72001). Franklin Russell was the first owner of the land that became Adona, establishing a claim to the land in 1849. However, Russell never lived on this land, eventually selling it to John Howell, who became the first permanent resident. As a small community developed, residents named it Cypress Valley, since it was watered by Cypress Creek. A Methodist congregation began to …

Akron (Independence County)

Drivers heading south from Newark (Independence County) on Highway 122 will see an isolated cemetery marker at the dividing line between a wooded area and a farm field. The sign reads “Akron Cemetery” and marks the only remains of a once vibrant community. The community was at one time called Big Bottom for the rich and extensive bottom land on the north side of White River and the west side of Black River. The stage route from Batesville (Independence County) to Jacksonport (Jackson County) ran through Big Bottom/Akron. The Akron Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 2002. The oldest recorded grave in the cemetery is from 1829, making this perhaps the oldest cemetery …

Alco (Stone County)

Alco is an unincorporated community in Locust Grove Township on Highway 66 between Timbo (Stone County) and Leslie (Searcy County), about fourteen miles west of Mountain View (Stone County), the county seat. At the invitation of the Cherokee in 1817, Shawnee from the Ohio River Valley entered the Ozark Mountains and settled west of the White River on Crooked Creek, with their main settlement at Shawneetown, what is today Yellville (Marion County). The Cherokee may have expected the Shawnee to aid them against the Osage. Shawnee villages could also be found in the Livingston and Sylamore Creek valleys along the White River and along Bear Creek in Searcy County. The role played by the Shawnee Cornstalk family in Searcy County …

Alexander (Pulaski and Saline Counties)

The city of Alexander is located northeast of Benton (Saline County) on the line dividing Pulaski and Saline counties. It was a railroad construction camp before it incorporated on December 2, 1887. The first settlers, who came in 1878, were Jacob Ash and W. N. Slack. Within two months, seventy people had settled in the area, including German immigrants. The town had two stores, a drugstore, a sawmill, and a physician, and the people raised money for a church and a school. In 1884, Alexander had three churches: a Methodist church, a Baptist church, and a German Lutheran church. It now has four churches: two Baptist churches, Collegeville Church of the Nazarene, and Immanuel Lutheran Church. It also has a …

Alicia (Lawrence County)

Alicia is on the segment of U.S. Highway 67 that has been dubbed Rock ’n’ Roll Highway 67. In addition, the length from Alicia to Hoxie (Lawrence County) is one of five sections of the Old U.S. Highway 67 listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built as a railroad stop, the town was once the southernmost passenger stop on the Iron Mountain railroad in Lawrence County. The Osage once hunted in northern Arkansas, although they lived farther north and left few archaeological remains in the area that would become Alicia. After treaties removed the Osage and other Native Americans from the area, the land was opened for settlement, but much of the land around Alicia remained unclaimed for many …

Allen Chapel (Independence County)

Allen Chapel is a small community in Independence County on Highway 14 between Ramsey Mountain and Salado (Independence County). Once located upon a spur called the Allen Chapel Road, it is now on the main road from the county seat of Batesville (Independence County) to Oil Trough (Independence County). Today, the Allen Chapel Free Will Baptist Church (and the associated cemetery) is the only landmark for the community. At one time, a country general store, the Dewey Lusk Grocery, was located near the church. In the early twenty-first century, the only remaining business is the Time Bandit, which sells electric cargo-strap winders. Several businesses, including  two banks and a motel, are located nearby on Ramsey Mountain. In 1827, at age …

Allport (Lonoke County)

Allport is a town on Highway 165 in southern Lonoke County located two miles west of Humnoke (Lonoke County). Allport is largely populated by African Americans, although Lonoke County’s population is nearly ninety percent white. Southern Lonoke County has rich alluvial soil that attracted cotton farmers who created large plantations operated with slave labor. When the Civil War ended the practice of slavery in Arkansas and other Southern states, many freed slaves became tenant farmers. Others were able to purchase land; African Americans often were sold the lower land, more prone to flooding, while white farmers retained possession of the higher agricultural land. An African-American community developed along Crooked Creek in southern Lonoke County; by 1878, the community had a …

Alma (Crawford County)

Alma has been Crawford County’s second-largest town since the town’s establishment around 1872. It is known nationally as the “Spinach Capital of the World” for its spinach-processing facility and has attracted national attention through the actions of outlaws Bonnie and Clyde and fundamentalist pastor Tony Alamo. Before Alma became a settlement, Armstead “Ira” Smoot bought the land from the government on August 3, 1836. It was used mainly as farmland until Colonel Mathias F. Locke bought it in 1872. Locke built his house and a cotton gin on ten acres next to W. W. Smith’s drugstore and Smoot’s cabin. J. D. James kept a livery stable and a stage stand. In 1870, Alex W. Griffin had the first store and …

Almond (Cleburne County)

Almond lies in the northeastern corner of Cleburne County. The community historically had close family and commercial ties to Concord and Banner in Cleburne County to the southwest and Locust Grove (Independence County) to the northeast. Almond was in Independence County until February 20, 1883, when the last county in Arkansas, Cleburne County, was created. Brock Mountain, towering over 1,200 feet, separates Almond from Independence County and its county seat, Batesville. The community of Almond in the twenty-first century is virtually a ghost town with one abandoned store building. It is not known for sure how Almond received its name, because almonds do not grow naturally in Arkansas. It is suspected that an Almond family lived in the area when …

Almyra (Arkansas County)

Located half-way between Stuttgart (Arkansas County) and DeWitt (Arkansas County) on state Highway 130, the town of Almyra has a history similar to its larger neighbors. Sparked by railroad construction and fueled by the farms of Arkansas County, Almyra has diminished in size but has maintained its identity as an eastern Arkansas community. When Arkansas was first settled, the Grand Prairie seemed untamable to cotton farmers who preferred the rich soils of the Delta region or new land claimed by clearing away the forests. Following the Civil War, though, newcomers to the state made their home on the Grand Prairie, and rice farming succeeded where other kinds of agriculture had seemed unpromising. The Stuttgart and Arkansas River Railroad (later part …

Alpena (Boone and Carroll Counties)

Alpena is a town located predominately in western Boone County, although the town has, since the 2000 census, recorded some of its population also living across the county line in Carroll County. Created by the railroad early in the twentieth century, Alpena is on U.S. Highway 62 and is home to about twenty small businesses. The area was originally part of Carroll County when white settlers began claiming land in the Ozark Mountains. The fertile land along Long Creek attracted John Boyd, who received a land grant in 1849. He was joined by William J. Estes in 1860 and Bailey Stone in 1861. As Carrollton (Carroll County), then the county seat, was only a few miles away, the residents could …

Alpine (Clark County)

Alpine, one of the oldest settlements in Clark County, is an unincorporated community located in the northwestern part of the county. The community is located twenty-two miles northwest of the county seat, Arkadelphia, and is best known as the childhood home of noted actor and director Billy Bob Thornton. William Glover and his family, the first settlers of the area, arrived in 1848 in what would become Alpine, followed by several other families. It is most commonly thought that the settlement received its name due to its location on the highest point of the county. However, several folktales also relay the origin of the name. The original settlement was located a mile east of the present community and comprised little …

Altheimer (Jefferson County)

Altheimer is a second-class city in Jefferson County, located roughly halfway between Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Stuttgart (Arkansas County). Founded as a railroad town and named for the Jewish family who encouraged the building of the railroad, it quickly became a center for the shipping of cotton, surpassing older cities in eastern Arkansas. Located in the Arkansas River Valley, the site of Altheimer was originally flood-prone forestland. Doctor Samuel Johnson Jones was the first resident of what would become Altheimer. He acquired and cleared 500 acres of timberland and moved to Arkansas from Mississippi in 1857, bringing his family and 150 slaves with him. His mansion, the Elms (which is now on the National Register of Historic Places), was …

Altus (Franklin County)

Altus (Franklin County) was incorporated on August 31, 1888. Railroad authorities had named their railhead Altus, from the Latin for “high,” because it was the highest point on the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad. The town is known today as the center of wine making in Arkansas. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood A Frenchman named Jean Baptiste Dardenne had a claim made on his behalf in June 1814 for 640 arpents (approximately 544.45 acres) in the area. In 1819, the U.S. government ordered the white settlers out of the area, giving the Cherokee exclusive title to the territory lying between the White and Arkansas rivers. However, a treaty in 1828 removed the Arkansas Cherokee to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). …

Amagon (Jackson County)

Amagon is a town in southern Jackson County on Highway 14. It is best known as the birthplace of Mike Beebe, Arkansas’s forty-fifth governor. About 600 archaeological sites in Jackson County indicate that the land has been populated for around 10,000 years. However, the area around Amagon was only sparsely populated until the twentieth century. In 1900, Will Pennington owned the land where Amagon stands. He granted some land to the Bonnerville and Southwestern Railroad (also called at one time the Bonnerville and Southern), which was built in 1905 to link Bonnerville—now Bono (Craighead County)—to Estico (Jackson County). The line was later extended through Amagon to Algoa (Jackson County). The railroad, which soon became part of the St. Louis–San Francisco …

Amity (Clark County)

Amity traces its beginnings to the arrival of a group of pioneer families, under the leadership of Deacon William F. Browning, Clark County surveyor (1846–1850, 1852–1854), who settled along the old Caddo Cove Road just north of the Caddo River late in 1847. An abundance of water and rich bottomland drew them to the area. Soon after his arrival, Browning built a large two-story log house just west of Caney Creek. It soon became the center of an expanding community. According to Laura Scott, an early Clark County historian, Browning named his settlement “Amity” because he hoped to find in it “peace and brotherhood.” In August 1848, Browning and a group of local citizens formed what would become the Bethel …

Anderson (Scott County)

Located between Highway 80 and Highway 71 along Sweet Gum Lane, Anderson is an unincorporated community in central Scott County one mile northwest of Waldron (Scott County). The agricultural industry was vital to area settlers and later residents. The area’s first inhabitants included natives from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Archaeological discoveries suggest that natives of the Caddo Nation made their homes along the Poteau River and other prominent waterways in the area. Thousands of archaeological sites can be found along the Fourche La Fave River and Poteau River valleys nearby. Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French hunters and tradesmen traveled west from Arkansas Post along the Arkansas River. From there, they began traversing smaller tributaries …

Anthonyville (Crittenden County)

Anthonyville is a town located on State Highway 147 in southern Crittenden County. The town has never had a post office, a school, or a railroad depot; it exists largely as a bedroom community for the greater Memphis, Tennessee, area. The population is largely African-American. The rich soil of Crittenden County, replenished by Mississippi River flooding, has long drawn people to the area. Ancient artifacts have been unearthed in the county as reminders of its long history of human habitation. Both Spain and France held ownership of the land for a time, and some Spanish settlers had already established plantations in the county before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 made the land part of the United States. Afterward, American settlers …

Antoine (Pike County)

Antoine is located in the southeastern corner of Pike County on Highway 26, between Murfreesboro (Pike County) and Arkadelphia (Clark County). It was one of the first settlements in what is now Pike County. The town sits on a hill with an elevation of 300 feet above sea level. The Antoine River, which is thirty-five miles long, rises from multiple streams in the Ouachita Mountains and flows by Antoine, running into the Little Missouri River near Okolona (Clark County). Native Americans and French trappers operated on the land around Antoine during the 1700s. The town was reportedly named for one of the French trappers. He was found dead at his camp, near the road, and the only identification to be …

Arkadelphia (Clark County)

Serving as Clark County’s seat of government since 1842, Arkadelphia has served as a farm market and trading center thanks to reliable water-, then rail-, then automotive-borne transportation from its perch adjacent to the Ouachita River at the edge of the Ouachita Mountains. It has a history of light industry, covering the gamut from salt extraction to lumber and aluminum, as well as recreational opportunities afforded by the nearby Ouachita and Caddo rivers and the Caddo’s impoundment, DeGray Lake. Arkadelphia’s greatest asset has been an enduring commitment to education that began with general private and denominational efforts, as well as the Arkansas School for the Blind prior to the Civil War, and blossomed with public education, a business college, and …

Arkansas City (Desha County)

Arkansas City is a small town with a population of fewer than 400 people, as of the 2010 Census. Located in southeast Arkansas, it is nestled against a levee that protects it from the Mississippi River. However, before the Flood of 1927, Arkansas City was a major trade and cultural center and was one of the most important ports on the Mississippi River. European Exploration and Settlement At the time of the Marquette-Joliet Expedition, there were four Quapaw villages along the lower Arkansas River and the Mississippi River. Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet spent two days in these villages around 1673. They were the first recorded Europeans in the area. In 1682, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Henri …

Arkansas County

  Arkansas County, located in southeast Arkansas, has two county seats—DeWitt and Stuttgart. It is one of the state’s original counties and lies in the Delta. Arkansas County is an agricultural county; rice and soybeans are the main crops. European Exploration and SettlementSpanish explorer Hernando de Soto traveled the Mississippi River from 1541 to 1543. At one point, he and his party reached Anilco, a village on the Arkansas River that may have included the Menard-Hodges Site in the southeast corner of Arkansas County. On the same river were the villages of Cayas and Utiangue. In 1682, the La Salle expedition reached Kappa, the largest village of the Quapaw Indians; it stood on the west bank of the Mississippi River. …

Arkansas Post

Arkansas Post was the first and most significant European establishment in Arkansas. In the colonial and early national periods, from 1686 to 1821, it served as the local governmental, military, and trade headquarters for the French, the Spanish, and finally the United States. In return for serving in René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle’s 1682 expedition, Henri de Tonti, a French officer born of Italian parents, received land and a trading concession at the juncture of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. In the summer of 1686, he arranged with the local Quapaw for Jean Couture, Jacques Cardinal, and four other Frenchmen to establish a trading post, where they would exchange French goods for beaver furs. They founded this first Arkansas Post …

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 …

Ashley County

  Ashley County is located in southeast Arkansas and is part of both the Mississippi Alluvial and West Gulf Coastal plains. Soil in the eastern Delta region of the county is conducive to the cultivation of the great cash crops of the state: cotton, rice, and soybeans. The western part of the county, being mainly upland forests, developed into the city of Crossett in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, becoming home to one of the largest industrial enterprises in Arkansas: the Crossett Lumber Company, later to become Georgia-Pacific Corporation (GP). At its peak, GP owned some 800,000 acres in southeast Arkansas and northeast Louisiana, and Crossett billed itself as “The Forestry Capital of the South.” Ashley County—formed out …

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 …

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 …

Baxter County

  Governor Elisha Baxter formed Baxter County just prior to the Brooks-Baxter War. It is a county important to Arkansas history because of its flood control projects and its early educational institutions. Most of the land in Baxter County is hilly and rocky, typical of the Ozark Plateau on which it lies. Pre-European Exploration and Settlement Hundreds of prehistoric sites, representing various time periods and traditions, are found in Baxter County. By the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the Osage claimed control over the area, but they relinquished their claims in an 1808 treaty with the United States government. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodThe Jacob Wolf House in Liberty (now Norfork) was the territorial seat of government from 1828 to …

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 …

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 …