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Entries - Entry Category: Montgomery

Black Springs (Montgomery County)

Black Springs is a town on State Highway 8 in Montgomery County. Surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, Black Springs had the potential to be one of the larger communities in the county until the planned railroad failed to be built through the town. Members of the Caddo Nation were living along the Caddo River when white settlers first arrived in the area. The springs for which the town was named were surrounded by black rocks—perhaps an ore of manganese or iron, or both. Also, a family named Black camped by the springs for a while. Either may have been the source of the name. A road connecting Hot Springs (Garland County) to Dallas (Polk County) ran east and west …

Caddo Gap (Montgomery County)

Caddo Gap is an unincorporated community located along the Caddo River in Montgomery County approximately fifteen miles south of the county seat, Mount Ida. In the twenty-first century, Caddo Gap is a very small community of fewer than 100 people, although it has a long history of Native American habitation, Spanish exploration, and white settlement. According to Arkansas Archeological Survey findings, Native Americans inhabited areas near Caddo Gap dating back to the Dalton culture. In the thirteen, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, Caddo Indians lived and farmed in Caddo Gap. For many years, historians believed that Hernando de Soto’s expedition in 1541 encountered and fought the Tula tribe near present-day Caddo Gap. The Arkansas History Commission erected a monument in 1936 …

Mauldin (Montgomery County)

The former town of Mauldin, in Montgomery County, is located between Pencil Bluff (Montgomery County) and the county seat, Mount Ida. Fueled by the logging industry, Mauldin was once the largest town in the county, although twenty-first-century Mauldin is a ghost town, with little physical evidence remaining. The Caddo River Lumber Company established Mauldin around 1922 where company logging railroads in Montgomery County crossed land purchased from William Mauldin, a local homesteader. The easily accessible landscape and proximity to vast reserves of timber in the northern portion of the county created an ideal location for a logging town. Timber was easily transported by rail to the large mills at Glenwood (Pike County) or Rosboro (Pike County). There, on William Mauldin’s …

Mount Ida (Montgomery County)

Mount Ida is near the center of the Ouachita National Forest, the South’s oldest and largest national forest. Nearby Lake Ouachita and many rivers and streams make it a favorite of nature lovers. For rock collectors, a layer of topsoil hides countless tons of clear quartz crystals. Early Statehood The first name given to the county seat of Montgomery County was Montgomery. Robert McConnell, who homesteaded the land, which later became city lots, was appointed commissioner to superintend the erection of a “log building” to accommodate the holding of court. The “County House,” as the courthouse was then called, was built in 1846 on the present courthouse square. The first post office in the area was established on June 28, …

Norman (Montgomery County)

Norman, known as Womble until 1925, is located on the Caddo River in southern Montgomery County. It was created as a result of the building of the Gurdon and Fort Smith Railroad and grew because of the lumber mills that sprang up along its right of way. It was once the home of the Presbyterian Church’s Caddo Valley Academy. In 1905, plans were announced to extend the Gurdon and Fort Smith line from Glenwood (Pike County), then its terminus, to Black Springs (Montgomery County). This announcement brought a large number of land speculators, including Walter E. Womble Sr., into the area. However, in 1907, a dispute over rights of way halted the project near the Caddo River, several miles short …

Oden (Montgomery County)

Oden, a rural community in northwest Montgomery County, is on the north bank of the Ouachita River eight miles west of Mount Ida, the county seat. Oden’s population in 2010 was 232. In 1849, Henry Beshears settled where Oden now stands, his journey to Arkansas perhaps occasioned by the California gold rush. He wrote to his old neighbors in Mississippi about the wonderful country he had found—the Ouachita bottomlands and the abundant game. In the spring of 1848, a group left Tippah County, Mississippi, in thirteen ox-drawn wagons and arrived in Oden in January 1849. Hunting parties found game plentiful. Liking the land they saw, they cleared some ground and planted corn. A third wagon train came along and also …

Pencil Bluff (Montgomery County)

Pencil Bluff is an unincorporated community located in Montgomery County, nine miles west of the county seat, Mount Ida (Montgomery County). Today, Pencil Bluff encompasses the two former area communities of White Town and Sock City. White Town grew along Highway 6, which ran from Mount Ida to Fort Smith (Sebastian County). In the early 1920s, a car repair workshop and small store served White Town, followed some years later by a café. In 1930, Highway 6 became U.S. Highway 270 when it was improved and relocated around White Town. Two differing accounts exist documenting how Sock City received its name. According to one, the area’s men hid money in their socks when they met to play poker. The second …

Pine Ridge (Montgomery County)

Pine Ridge of Montgomery County was originally the community of Waters. The name was changed in 1936 in honor of Lum and Abner, a popular radio show set in a fictional town of Pine Ridge, which was largely based on the people and characteristics of Waters. Henry M. Waters, a local businessman who also operated a sawmill and a gin, established a post office in his small store in 1886 and named the farming and logging community Waters. From the 1880s to the early 1900s, the town’s school and church operated in the same building. In 1904, A. A. McKinzie built a general store. In 1909, James Richard (Dick) Huddleston built the Huddleston General Store, which housed the post office …