Washington

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Entries - Entry Category: Washington

Cane Hill (Washington County)

Cane Hill, settled by Europeans in 1827, was the earliest settlement in Washington County. It was known as an educational center because the first college in Arkansas to admit women was in Cane Hill. In addition, it had the state’s first public school, library, and Sunday school. Several of the oldest houses in northwest Arkansas still stand in Cane Hill. It was also the site of an all-day skirmish in the days before the Battle of Prairie Grove (December 7, 1862). Most of the early settlers came from the Crystal Hill–Little Rock area (Pulaski County), attracted by the rich soil, plentiful freshwater springs, and the canebrakes in the temperate mountain climate. In addition, many Cherokee had recently been removed from …

Elkins (Washington County)

Washington County’s community of Elkins (comprising the former Harris and Hood communities) borders Arkansas Highway 16, the entrance to the “Pig Trail,” a scenic drive in the Ozarks. Two tributaries of the White River flow through the town, providing excellent canoeing, fishing, and swimming. Nearby are the Ozark National Forest and the Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail. Elkins has numerous antebellum homes and the one-lane bridge on Mount Olive Road that was a centerpiece of the 1982 television miniseries The Blue and the Gray. There is evidence of prehistoric settlement in the area, most notably in a mound complex commonly dubbed the Elkins Mounds. This Mississippian Period complex likely consisted of five mounds originally, though one has since been destroyed. …

Elm Springs (Washington and Benton Counties)

  The city of Elm Springs straddles the county line of Washington and Benton counties. At one time, it was one of the principal cities of Washington County, but more recently it has been overshadowed by the growth of its neighbor, Springdale (Washington County). Recent efforts to revitalize the community have featured businesses specializing in home decorations and furniture restoration. A grove of large elm trees and natural springs strong enough to power a mill inspired the name Elm Springs. Thomas McClain (or McLain) is said to have homesteaded in the area as early as 1831, but his name does not appear on land records. The earliest documented land owners include John Ingram, John Hamilton, William Barrington, and Jacob Pearson. …

Farmington (Washington County)

For more than a century, Farmington, one of the early settlements in northwest Arkansas, was a small village five miles west of Fayetteville (Washington County). The rapid growth of this section of the state has affected the area in and around Farmington profoundly. In 1940, its population was about 200, but as of the 2010 census, 5,974 people resided there. This population expansion mirrors the phenomenal growth of northwest Arkansas in recent years. Territorial Period to Early Statehood In 1828, settlers arrived early in the wide valley that flows west from Fayetteville, and it was truly frontier country. The federal government moved the Cherokee and Osage tribes westward into what is now Oklahoma. They took their wars along with them, …

Fayetteville (Washington County)

Fayetteville, one of the largest cities in the state, is located in the Ozark Mountains and has been the seat of county government since formation by the state legislature. From the early pioneers to modern-day residents, Fayetteville’s citizens have been dedicated to the enhancement of the cultural, educational, and economic growth of the area and state. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first settlers in Fayetteville were George McGarrah and his sons James, John, and William. Around 1828, they settled near the spring in an area that was to become the Masonic Addition to Fayetteville, the eastern part of which is at the base of Mount Sequoyah. James Leeper, a Revolutionary War veteran, was the second settler in Fayetteville. His …

Goshen (Washington County)

  The city of Goshen is a residential community in Washington County, ten miles east of Fayetteville (Washington County) on Highway 45. Although the community was named and settled early in the nineteenth century, Goshen did not incorporate as a city until 1982. Eastern Washington County was known for farmland, timber, and game when white settlers first came in the nineteenth century. James Caldwell and John Neill both owned land near the site of Goshen before the Civil War. Some sources claim that Goshen was settled in the late 1820s, but Caldwell’s land grant was not approved until 1843 and Neill’s in 1854. According to some sources, a road named Oxford Bend may have extended from Fayetteville to the settlement …

Greenland (Washington County)

  Greenland is a second-class city in Washington County adjacent to Drake Field, a small airport that serves the Fayetteville (Washington County) area. Situated on U.S. Highway 71 and crossed by Interstate 49, Greenland is largely a residential community tied closely to the Fayetteville economy. The land on which Greenland stands was once hunting ground for the Osage, who traveled from Missouri to hunt. The same land was claimed at one time by Lovely County and was offered by the U.S. government to the Cherokee, who were later moved to Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma). The first recognized white landowners in the Greenland region were Sutherland Mayfield (1839), Alexander Scott (1839), and Jacob Yoes (1839). During the Civil War, …

Johnson (Washington County)

Johnson is a bedroom community situated between Fayetteville (Washington County) and Springdale (Washington County). Though Johnson was incorporated in 1961, its history spans a much longer time. The known history of Johnson begins in 1830–1834 when John Trusdale purchased a mill site west of present-day Johnson from a “widow Sutton.” In 1835, he built a gristmill utilizing the water flow from a number of springs north of the property. The mill was burned during the Civil War in 1864. Following the Civil War, Jacob Queener (J. Q.) Johnson and William Mays purchased the site and rebuilt the mill in 1865. In about 1884, Mayes sold his share of the mill to B. F. Johnson, brother of J. Q. Johnson. The …

Lincoln (Washington County)

Lincoln is located in northwest Arkansas on Highway 62 halfway between Prairie Grove (Washington County) and the Oklahoma state line. Heavily influenced by the apple industry through most of its history, Lincoln has been home to the Arkansas Apple Festival since 1976. The Arkansas Country Doctor Museum (ACDM) is also located in Lincoln. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Washington County land records report that a man named Samuel Starr was appointed Osage Indian agent in about 1828 and established a presence near what would become North Street and West Avenue in Lincoln. North Street was the principal route to the Cherokee Nation at Tahlequah, the Creek (Muscogee) Nation just west of Fort Gibson, and the Arkansas River at Muskogee. The …

Maguiretown (Washington County)

The historic community referred to as Maguiretown or Maguire’s Store was established in the 1840s and existed until the early twentieth century near present-day Elkins (Washington County). In 1836, Owen Maguire purchased land in Richland Township at the site of a ford crossing the White River. Prior to 1840, he built a one and a half–story single-pen log house fronting on the Huntsville Road. The general store, a log school that doubled as a church, and the blacksmith shop he established at this site were referred to as Maguire’s Store. Thomas Towler manufactured plug tobacco here in the 1840s and 1850s. After Maguire’s death in 1846, his sons, Green and Hosea, were proprietors of the store. On October 8, 1853, …

Prairie Grove (Washington County)

Prairie Grove is best known for the Civil War battle that occurred there in 1862, but it also has been an important agricultural community in northwest Arkansas, with its rich prairie land watered by the Illinois River. Throughout its history, Prairie Grove has been a dynamic small town offering unique amenities such as a state park, a family-owned local telephone company, and an aquatic park. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood About 1829, a hunter named Tom Wagnon claimed some land around a spring in present-day Mock Park in Prairie Grove. Soon after Wagnon began clearing the land, another newcomer, Reverend Andrew “Uncle Buck” Buchanan, arranged a deal in which Wagnon gave Buchanan the acreage in return for two good sermons. …

Springdale (Washington and Benton Counties)

Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) is a major industrial center in northwest Arkansas with a population that almost doubled between 1980 and 2000 and is still on the increase; as of 2010, the population is 69,797. The area is the birthplace of seven major trucking companies and a center for the poultry industry in the state. Nearly 700 people moved to the Springdale metropolitan area each month in 2003. In that same year, Forbes magazine rated it third best in the nation for business and career opportunities. Pre-European Exploration through Early Statehood People have lived in the area now called Springdale for about 12,000 years. Early settlers came and stayed because of abundant natural resources, just as later European settlers …

Tontitown (Washington County)

Tontitown was founded in 1898 by a group of Italian Catholic immigrants led by their priest, Father Pietro Bandini. The town is named in honor of Henri de Tonti, the Italian who helped René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle explore the Mississippi River and later founded Arkansas Post in 1686. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The Tontitown Italians began their lives in America as tenant farmers on the south Arkansas plantation of Sunnyside (Chicot County). Groups from northern and central Italy arrived there in 1895 and 1897 and soon found themselves battling poor sanitation, disease, unfamiliar farming methods, language barriers, and contract disputes. In early 1898, some forty families chose to follow Father Bandini, the plantation’s resident priest, to …

West Fork (Washington County)

West Fork is a small community in Washington County lying south of Fayetteville along Interstate 49, Highway 71, and the White River. It functions primarily as a suburb of Fayetteville, with local churches, businesses, and a school system that serves many square miles of rural property. Established with the arrival of the railroad in 1885, West Fork has maintained a small-town existence without a significant role in Arkansas history. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodThe name West Fork applied to at least two early settlements along the spring-fed headwaters of the west fork of the White River. Settlers arrived by 1828, creating self-sufficient homesteads farmed by extended family groups. The 1850 census for West Fork Township listed ninety-six households with trades including …

Winslow (Washington County)

Winslow (Washington County) was reported to be the highest railroad pass on the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway line between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The elevation helped make Winslow a popular summer resort area for decades. Pre-European Exploration though Louisiana Purchase South Washington County has been inhabited for roughly 12,000 years. In the 1700s, the Osage claimed the land from the Arkansas River north into what is now central Missouri. Their main villages were in Missouri, but they traveled to north Arkansas to hunt. In the early 1800s, settlers began to move north from the river and south from Missouri Territory into the mountains of what is now northwest Arkansas. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The stage lines became an …