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Entries - Entry Category: Sharp

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 …

Calamine (Sharp County)

Calamine, home to some of the earliest settlers in what is now Sharp County, was the site of the state’s first commercial zinc mining operation. The boomtown experienced periods of rapid growth in the 1850s and 1870s but today consists only of a few homes. The town is most likely named after the pink mineral calamine; however, a local tradition claims that the name originated from a female mine owner named Callie, thus “Callie mine.” Long before white settlers moved to the area, the Osage used the region for hunting. The first white settlers entered by the early 1830s, many by way of the recently completed military road connecting the area to the Black River. A small settlement began to …

Cave City (Sharp and Independence Counties)

Cave City is a small community that straddles the northern Independence and southern Sharp County border in north-central Arkansas, having ended up there when a three-mile strip of Independence County was transferred to Sharp County in 1879. For administrative purposes, the town belongs to Sharp County, but it hosts voting stations for townships in both Independence and Sharp counties. The town takes its name from the large multi-room Crystal River Cave, which is located directly beneath the city. The cave has played a pivotal role in the history of the entire community. For thousands of years, it has served as a temporary shelter, source of water, and a fascinating place to visit. Settlers in the nineteenth century also used the …

Cherokee Village (Sharp and Fulton Counties)

A retirement community in northeastern Arkansas, Cherokee Village was founded in 1954. Started as a 2,400-acre summer resort in the vein of the Wahpeton Inn at Hardy (Sharp County), Cherokee Village became the state’s leading retirement community by the early 1960s. In 1948, West Memphis (Crittenden County) developer John A. Cooper Sr. purchased 400 acres along the south bank of the Spring River near the mouth of Otter Creek. Christening the property Otter Creek Ranch, Cooper used the land as a family summer retreat for several years. After purchasing additional land, Cooper formed the Cherokee Village Development Company in 1953, divided the property into lots, and constructed individual homes. When the property was formally opened in June 1955, Governor Orval …

Evening Shade (Sharp County)

Evening Shade, located on U.S. Highway 167 in northern Arkansas, served as the seat of Sharp County for approximately ninety-five years. The once thriving community saw a slow decline in importance after the seat of government was removed in 1963. Today, it is best known as the setting for the 1990s sitcom Evening Shade. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodUntil about 1850, the small settlement was known as Shanty. It is believed that the present name was derived from the afternoon shade provided by a small stand of tall pine trees overlooking the post office. At least for a short period of time, it was known as Hook Rum. Several versions of a local story say that, in about 1851, a …

Hardy (Sharp County)

Located in northern Arkansas on the Spring River, Hardy (Sharp County) was established in 1883 as a result of the construction of the Kansas City, Springfield, and Memphis Railroad. The town emerged in the twentieth century as a popular tourist destination for Mid-southerners seeking the natural beauty of the Ozark foothills. The Arkansas General Assembly’s 1867 decision to pay companies $10,000 for every mile of track laid led to a statewide boom in railway construction. The Kansas City, Springfield, and Memphis Railroad through Arkansas was built, at least in part, because of this incentive. Named for railroad contractor James A. Hardy of Batesville (Independence County), the town was developed on 600 acres of land by early settler Walker Clayton in …

Highland (Sharp County)

When the school districts of Ash Flat (Sharp County) and Hardy (Sharp County) consolidated in 1962, they chose to build a new high school halfway between the cities. That location is now the second-class city of Highland. When Sharp County was created in 1868, much of it consisted of heavily forested hillsides. The first official landowners in what would become Highland were Thomas Irvie, who bought his land in 1889, and Thomas J. Harris, who bought his land in 1895. By this time, the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway had been built through Hardy, facilitating shipping of the timber that was being cut in Sharp County and the crops grown on the cleared land. Already the area was being called Highland, …

Poke Bayou (Sharp County)

Poke Bayou creek begins near Sidney (Sharp County) at Big Spring in Izard County, flows through Sandtown (Independence County), and empties into the White River just above the bridge at Batesville (Independence County). Izard County historian Denny Elrod stated the following about the area’s history: “It was to this creek many of the early settlers came. Across the White River from Poke Bayou is Wolf Bayou which hosted an Indian camp and trading-post. The creek is picturesque near Sandtown as it flows along the foot of overhanging bluffs.” The original settlement at Batesville dates back to at least an 1814 trading post. When the first post office was established on the confluence of the bayou and the White River on …

Sidney (Sharp County)

Sidney is a small farming community located in southwest Sharp County. While the area was settled in the 1840s, the town was not incorporated until May 11, 1935, and was believed to have been named in honor of Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston. The town has never been home to more than 300 citizens. Prior to 1844, John Martin settled at the confluence of the branches of what is now Sidney Creek near the present town. Within a few years, the families of George Hodges and Addison Harvey Nunn settled in the area, the former on land that would eventually become the town. Nunn, who owned the largest number of slaves in the area, was elected county and probate judge. …

Williford (Sharp County)

Williford is a small community located in the eastern part of Sharp County near the Spring River, one of Arkansas’s most popular streams for recreational floating. During the early twentieth century, it was one of the county’s largest and fastest-growing towns, but since then it has experienced a steady decline resulting in an almost nonexistent business district and a population of fewer than eighty citizens. While the earliest inhabitants of the area were Native Americans, the first white settler, Jeremiah Pitt Baird, established his homestead on the banks of the Spring River in 1841. Shortly after he settled his family on the opposite side of the river of the present-day town, others began to move into the area. Among those …

Wirth (Sharp County)

Wirth is a small, isolated community located on an approximately fifteen-mile-long north-south plateau rising from the Spring River in northern Sharp County. At its peak, the community was a commercial and social center that attracted a number of German settlers. The first non–Native American settlers to the area may have come as early as the 1700s, with one source reporting a Spanish family by the name of Munz settling there. More likely, the first to settle were Buck Baldridge and Dee Arnold, who established themselves by 1848. No significant settlement occurred until the 1880s, when a substantial number of German immigrants were enticed to move to the area. Apparently, many people read glowing accounts published by railroad companies in German-language …