Saline

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Entries - Entry Category: Saline

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 …

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 …

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 …

Benton (Saline County)

Benton is on the Southwest Trail, an old Indian trail that was part of the National Road leading from Missouri through Jackson and Lawrence counties to Little Rock (Pulaski County), then south to the Red River. Benton is accessible by Interstate 30, the Union Pacific Railroad, and the state’s commercial airport. Thirteen properties, including a mound site and a bridge, are on the National Register of Historic Places. Though the aluminum industry was located in nearby Bauxite, Benton served as an employee, a service sector, and a medical and entertainment base for Reynolds Metals and Alcoa Inc. Pre-European Exploration It is thought that Hernando de Soto and his band traveled down the North Fork of the Saline River in 1541 …

Bryant (Saline County)

Bryant (Saline County) is a small city that is currently growing and developing into an extension of the Little Rock (Pulaski County) metropolitan area. It has a long history of local and regional significance, although it has had few residents for most of its history. The Geographical Center of Arkansas marker is located within Bryant city limits. From the early days of the railroad in central Arkansas to the construction of an interstate, Bryant has been at the forefront of transportation in the state. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Bryant’s earliest inhabitants of European descent settled along Hurricane Creek in the early part of the nineteenth century. Local legend holds that these pioneers were traveling to Texas when they came upon …

Collegeville (Saline County)

Collegeville is one of Arkansas’s oldest unincorporated communities and the oldest in Saline County. The area was first settled by a group of planters led by Major Ezra Owen in an area between present-day Bryant (Saline County) and Alexander (Pulaski and Saline counties) in 1824, when Arkansas was still a frontier territory. In the twenty-first century, the community of Collegeville lies alongside State Highway 5 and Interstate 30, less than twenty miles from Little Rock (Pulaski County). Ezra Owen was born in Halifax County, Virginia, on March 17, 1770. He served with distinction in the War of 1812 with the Illinois Rangers before he moved to what was then Arkansas Territory. He supposedly served with frontiersman Daniel Boone in the Indian …

Congo (Saline County)

Congo is an unincorporated community in Salem Township located approximately six miles north of Benton (Saline County). Primarily a rural community, it is best known for the Congo Mercantile store that served as the heart of the community for decades beginning in the 1920s. Some of the earliest settlers of the Congo area were William and Jesse Wills, Joseph Scott, Willis Pipkin, William Duncan, and Isaac Ally, who arrived in the 1830s. Prior to the Civil War, the McCray, Goodwin, and Vandergrift families settled in the area. Residents of the community farmed the rich soil, raised cattle and hogs, and hunted and fished along the Saline River. Other than agriculture, no other major industries developed in the sparsely settled area …

Gravel Hill (Saline County)

aka: Ralph Bunche Community (Saline County)
aka: Southside (Saline County)
aka: Jack Rhinehart Community (Saline County)
aka: Hardscramble (Saline County)
The community first called Gravel Hill is one of the oldest historically African-American neighborhoods in Saline County. Its roots were planted when the Rhinehart and Canady families from Bauxite (Saline County) moved there in 1894. Gravel Hill later changed its name to Southside Community, and then, in 2002, the community was renamed again, this time in honor of Ralph J. Bunche, the first African American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The community’s boundaries include Willow Street on the north, Hillside Drive on the south, Neeley Street on the east, and Market Street on the west. Additions that make-up the community include the Cloud, D. S. Moore, Gingles, Gravel Hill, Houston, South Hill, Stewart Heights, and Wilkerson. Notable residents …

Haskell (Saline County)

  Haskell is a city on Highway 67 in Saline County, about seven miles south of the county seat of Benton. Once recognized as a railroad town, located between the Missouri Pacific and the Rock Island tracks, Haskell is best known in the twenty-first century as the home of the Harmony Grove School District. Southern Saline County, watered by creeks that flow into the Saline River, was a rugged wooded area when Arkansas became a state in 1836. One of the first to receive a land grant for the area that would become Haskell was Mabel Gilbert, who received land grants dated 1837 and 1838. Other early settlers included Thomas Montgomery and William Washington White. Following the Civil War, railroads began …

Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline Counties)

Hot Springs Village, which stretches across the Garland–Saline County line, began as a developmental project and became a gated community. As the population grew, Hot Springs Village began to attract wealthy retired citizens. Its golf courses and trails also make the town a regional tourist destination. As of the 2010 census, the population is 12,807 (Garland County and Saline County populations combined). A frequently repeated claim that Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto traversed what is now Hot Springs Village accounts for the use of de Soto’s name for one of the lakes in the village and one of its main streets, as well as his image in the community logo. French trappers were probably the first Europeans to enter the …

Kentucky (Saline County)

The unincorporated community of Kentucky is approximately six miles northwest of Benton (Saline County) within Kentucky Township. Located on Arkansas State Highway 5, Kentucky was the third established community in Saline County following Saline Crossing and Collegeville in the early 1800s. A rural community since its inception, it is centered on Kentucky Baptist Church and the associated cemetery. The church was the first Missionary Baptist church established south of the Arkansas River in Arkansas, and is one of the oldest continuous Baptist church in Arkansas. In 1815, Caleb Lindsey Sr., Abijah Davis, Levi Spencer, Henry Louis Fletcher, and their respective families left Christian County, Kentucky, for Lawrence County, Arkansas Territory. Around 1824–25, they—along with the families of George James, Samuel Williams, …

Salem (Saline County)

The unincorporated community of Salem is approximately two and a half miles north of Benton (Saline County) within Salem Township. The community owes its existence to its association with the Salem United Methodist Church and the family of William Milton Scott. While there were early settlers in the vicinity of Salem, the community developed after 1833 with the migration of the Scott family from Alabama. In that year, William M. Scott and his family settled on the Military Road about three miles northeast of Benton. Being active in the Methodist denomination, he erected a brush arbor for a camp meeting as early as 1834. It was known locally as Scott’s Campground. Scott’s son, Patrick M. Scott, professed his faith at …

Sardis (Saline County)

Sardis is a small unincorporated community located roughly twelve miles east of Benton (Saline County). Sardis is one of two communities that make up Saline County’s Hurricane Township, the other being Fairview. For many years, Sardis had a unique and beloved landmark known as the Shoe Tree. Saline County was cut from Arkansas’s Pulaski County on November 2, 1835, by the Territorial Legislature. Afterward, the county was divided into townships, with the area around Hurricane Creek being named Hurricane Township. White settlers and farmers began to move into what are now Sardis and Fairview before statehood. In 1869, Sardis Methodist Church South was built on a parcel of land that had been donated by a woman called “Grandmother” Roark. Members …

Shannon Hills (Saline County)

  Shannon Hills is a city in northern Saline County, adjacent to the southern portions of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Incorporated in 1977, Shannon Hills is largely a bedroom community, with few businesses and no industry. The population of northern Saline County centered around communities such as Benton (Saline County) for much of the county’s history. The area that would become Shannon Hills remained unclaimed and undeveloped until after World War II. Around 1960, plans were announced to create a housing development at that location, and a dedication ceremony was held to mark the ground-breaking. Of the houses standing in Shannon Hills, almost none were built before 1960; roughly ten percent were built in the 1960s, thirty percent in the 1970s, …

Shaw (Saline County)

Located six miles south of present-day Benton (Saline County) on Highway 35, the unincorporated community of Shaw is one of Saline County’s oldest settlements. Shaw’s northern boundary follows Highway 35 to Peacock Hill. Its eastern boundary takes in the original post office, named for French explorer Henri de Tonti. Its western boundary is a heavily wooded area adjoining the town of Haskell (Saline County). To the south, Shaw’s borders include some of northern Grant County. The founder of the community, Hiram M. Shaw, was born on December 24, 1805, in what was then Walker County, Georgia. In 1857, he and his wife, Elizabeth Arnold Shaw, moved their family to Arkansas, becoming some of the first white settlers in what is …

Traskwood (Saline County)

  Traskwood is the southernmost community in Saline County. Located on State Highway 229 (and on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks) about halfway between Benton (Saline County) and Malvern (Hot Spring County), Traskwood is several miles from Interstate 30 and therefore does not have the commercial enterprises of its larger neighbors. Although the Saline River has been a means of transportation since prehistoric times, the land of southern Saline County remained unclaimed until after the Civil War. Among the first white settlers were Henry Taylor Collatt (1875), Joseph Reed (1875), Henry James (1877), John Tobin (1882), and John Benton (1883). By this time, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway had already completed a railroad through the region, establishing a …