Entries - Entry Type: Place - Starting with B

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 …

Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge

The Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) consists of 14,800 acres of forest wetlands and croplands lying along the Little Red River in White County. The refuge provides a habitat for migratory waterfowl and other birds and various endangered species, as well as recreational and environmental educational opportunities. The refuge is located approximately two miles south of Bald Knob (White County). The Bald Knob refuge was acquired as part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan in 1993. Most of the land consists of a rice farm that had been owned by John Hancock Insurance Company. Unlike many wildlife refuges, Bald Knob NWR includes cropland that continues to be farmed, but much of the crop is left unharvested to feed …

Band Museum

The Band Museum in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) housed an extensive collection of wind instruments and offered a history of the American band movement. Beginning as the personal collection of its founder, the museum grew to approximately 1,500 antique instruments and was, before its closure, the only museum in the United States devoted entirely to the history of band music and instruments. Jerry Horne, founder of the Band Museum and a member of the American Musical Instrument Society, began collecting unusual instruments when he purchased the Wallick Music Company in 1970. His first was an old helicon (similar to a sousaphone), made by the C. G. CONN Company in 1925, which he found in the Wallick family’s garage. Soon, he began scouring …

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 …

Barber (Logan County)

Barber is an unincorporated community located in southwestern Logan County; it was originally in Scott County, until the county boundaries were changed in 1903. The community was established north of the Petit Jean River along Washburn Creek. Agriculture and the railroad have historically contributed to the economy and way of life in Barber. The community was likely named after a member of the Barber family who lived in the area. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Barber was wilderness. Several species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Numerous archaeological sites and burial mounds can be found along the banks of prominent waterways such as the Petit Jean …

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 …

Barringer (Clark County)

Barringer is a community located in southern Clark County about one mile northwest of Whelen Springs (Clark County) and about four miles south of Gurdon (Clark County). The community is located along Arkansas Highway 53 north of the intersection with Arkansas Highway 51. The earliest mention of the settlement appears in 1885 when John A. Barringer opened a sawmill in the area. The opening of the Gurdon and Camden Branch Railroad from Camden (Ouachita County) to Gurdon made the shipment of timber in the area lucrative. In 1888, the company cut and shipped 2,000,000 board feet of timber. By the 1920s, the mill annually produced between eight and ten million board feet. During this period, the mill employed between forty-five …

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 …

Bathhouse Row

Bathhouse Row Historic District extends along the foot of the mountain that gives rise to the thermal springs in Hot Springs National Park. Located in downtown Hot Springs (Garland County), the scene is dominated by the most recent of a succession of bathing buildings dating back to 1830. Bathhouse Row includes eight surviving bathhouses: the Hale, Maurice, Buckstaff, Fordyce, Superior, Quapaw, Ozark, and Lamar. The landscape features sculptured fountains, water displays, and the Grand Promenade. Bathhouse Row has become the architectural core for downtown Hot Springs. History The first structures in the area to take advantage of the thermal springs were likely the sweat lodges of local Native Americans, which were followed by an unplanned conglomeration of buildings subject to …

Batteries A, B, C, and D (Battle of Helena)

Batteries A, B, C, and D are fortifications used by the Federal army during the Civil War to protect the city of Helena (Phillips County) from enemy attack. Along with Fort Curtis, these fortifications formed the core of the Helena defenses, most notably during the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena. When the Army of the Southwest arrived in Helena after the Battle of Pea Ridge, Major General Samuel Ryan Curtis immediately began to fortify the approaches to the city. As Helena was deep in Confederate territory, the forts were necessary to prevent the destruction of the Union army in the town. The batteries were named A, B, C, and D, with A at the northern edge of the line …

Battle Mound Site

The Battle Mound site is a Caddo site located along the Red River in Lafayette County. The Red River landscape is an ecologically diverse region with numerous channel scars, oxbow lakes, and back swamps. With agriculturally productive soil deposits and a web of linked navigable waterways, the region has numerous prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, many being sites left by the ancestors of the Caddo Indians who lived in this area from at least as early as circa AD 900 and as late as the early nineteenth century. The most prominent feature at Battle Mound is a large north-south-aligned earthen mound with at least three platforms. The mound is the largest in the Caddo area and one of the largest …

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 Statehood The Jacob Wolf House in Liberty (now Norfork) was the territorial seat of government from 1828 …

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. 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, and their purpose remains uncertain. Local legend holds that the mounds were sacred burial grounds and give …

Bayou Bartholomew

Located in southeast Arkansas, Bayou Bartholomew was, until the construction of railroad lines in the area in 1890, the most important stream for transportation in the interior Delta. While the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers served their adjoining areas, it was the bayou that provided a transportation route into an otherwise landlocked area. This route allowed the development of one of the richest timber and agricultural tracts in the Delta. Bayou Bartholomew has the distinction of being the longest bayou in the United States, beginning its meandering 359 miles in Jefferson County and passing through Lincoln, Desha, Drew, Chicot, and Ashley counties before proceeding into Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, where it eventually empties into the Ouachita River near Sterlington. The present bayou …

Bayou Meto

Bayou Meto is a slow-moving stream that originates in northern Pulaski County at the confluence of several creeks west of Little Rock Air Force Base and travels 150 miles south and east through Lonoke, Arkansas, and Jefferson counties before emptying into the Arkansas River a few miles southwest of Gillett (Arkansas County); it forms parts of the boundary lines between Lonoke and Prairie counties and Arkansas and Jefferson counties. The bayou has lent its name to different communities along its path, a Civil War action in Pulaski County, and the first wildlife management agency (WMA) established by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). The origins of the bayou’s name are a matter of debate. Some early French documents dub …

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 …

Beaton (Hot Spring County)

Beaton (Hot Spring County) is an unincorporated community located in western Hot Spring County on the north shore of DeGray Lake about six miles west of Bismarck (Hot Spring County). In the twenty-first century, the community consists of a number of scattered homes and churches. The community is located within the Sixteenth Section of the township, land set aside to fund public schools in the township. The land became available for purchase around 1848. Jonathan Diffee moved with his family to the area that year and established a farm. At that time, the area was located in Clark County, and Diffee petitioned the Clark County Court in 1850 to establish a new township on the east bank of the Caddo …

Beauchamp (Scott County)

Beauchamp is an unincorporated community located in southwestern Scott County. Named for the family who settled in the area, Beauchamp was established in 1901 along Black Fork Creek three miles west of Blansett (Scott County). The agricultural and timber industries have contributed to the economy and way of life in Beauchamp. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Beauchamp was an explored wilderness. Several species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Numerous archaeological sites and burial mounds are located along the banks of prominent waterways such as the Fourche La Fave River. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. …

Beauvoir College

In 1897, John Jefferson Lee Spence established the Drew Normal Institute in the town of Wilmar (Drew County). On May 27, 1903, the school was “chartered with the privilege of conferring degrees” by the Arkansas Board of Education. Subsequently, the college was renamed Beauvoir College, after the Mississippi estate where Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy, retired. The college was initially a success, but Spence, founder and the institution’s only president, was forced to close the college in 1907. Despite the brevity of its existence, Beauvoir College signaled a new trend in higher education, as the institution sought to meet the higher-educational needs of southeast Arkansas’s working-class and rural population. Educated at the University of Mississippi, Spence came …

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 …

Beaver Dam and Lake

Beaver Lake was created by Beaver Dam in Carroll County. The lake—technically a reservoir since it was created by a manmade dam in order to store water—is located on the White River in the Ozark Highlands region of northwest Arkansas. Approximately seventy-three miles long and a maximum of two miles wide, the lake reaches from Eureka Springs (Carroll County) roughly to Fayetteville (Washington County). About 450 miles of shoreline extend through three counties: Benton, Carroll and Washington. The multi-purpose project provides flood control, hydroelectric generation, water supply, and recreation. While the possibility of a dam on the upper White River was examined as early as 1911, the first feasibility studies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for constructing such …

Beebe (White County)

Beebe started out as the intersection of the railroad and Des Arc Road (now Highway 31). As of 2010, Beebe’s official population stands at 7,315, a significant growth since 2000. Beebe is also the home of Arkansas State University–Beebe. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age Roswell Beebe was president of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company, which became part of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad Company. This was the company that built the railroad through White County. In 1872, the first train stopped at Des Arc Road. This intersection was designated Beebe Station in honor of Roswell Beebe. The train stopped there to take on wood and water to power the steam engine. Many of the new residents …

Beedeville (Jackson County)

Beedeville is a town in southeastern Jackson County. It is located on State Highway 37 near the Cache River. Sawmills built in Beedeville early in the twentieth century attracted the interest of railroad investors, but the line that included Beedeville in its name was never completed to the town. The Cache River served as a transportation corridor both before and after European explorers entered Arkansas. The actual river valley, prone to flooding, remained sparsely settled even after Arkansas became a state. William H. Beede, who arrived around 1866, was probably the first settler to occupy the current site of Beedeville. He helped to organize the first public school in the area in 1880. A Church of Christ was established near …

Beirne (Clark County)

The small community of Beirne is located twenty-one miles southwest of the Clark County seat of Arkadelphia. It was founded by Illinois native and steamboat captain James Lewis Beirne in 1880. Originally named York, the community was later renamed for Beirne. The community, like many surrounding it, grew out of the timber industry, and it was once considered one of the premier shipping locations along the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad. Like many of its neighboring communities, it too fell victim to waning timber production in the early 1900s. Today, Beirne is home to one of the largest producers of hardwood material in the world. Quickly after the community’s establishment, Captain Beirne built a sawmill and Methodist church, …

Belfast (Grant County)

Belfast is an unincorporated community in Dekalb Township in northern Grant County. It is located along Arkansas Highway 35, seven miles north of Sheridan (Grant County) and ten miles south of Bauxite (Saline County). Belfast was an early pioneer settlement located in what was then southern Saline County, becoming part of Grant County in 1869. The community later relocated approximately four miles east, to be near the newly established railroad, and is often referred to as New Belfast or simply, Belfast. The original community of Belfast is now commonly referred to as Old Belfast, although no physical evidence of it remains. The earliest settlers, arriving before 1840, established a small village situated near an excellent spring. Later, a two-story log …

Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area

When Lake Conway was completed in 1951 in the Palarm Creek bottoms of southern Faulkner County, land for the development of the lake was left over, some of it being government surplus as part of Camp Joseph T. Robinson. Because the area was home to a wide variety of wildlife—deer, squirrels, and migrating ducks especially—the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), which had overseen the creation of Lake Conway, created Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which encompasses Grassy Lake. Bell Slough WMA covers 2,040 acres and is a mix of moist-soil wetlands, bottomland hardwood forest, prairie, and upland hardwood and pine forest. The wetlands are managed as a waterfowl resting area, with water-control structures that allow the AGFC to …

Bella Vista (Benton County)

Bella Vista was originally planned as a summer recreation resort. Half a century later, the resort began transforming into a graduated retirement community. In 2006, citizens voted to incorporate, setting the stage for the next transformation for Bella Vista. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Bella Vista sits in the Ozark Plateau geographical region where many native groups, including the Osage, Caddo, and Quapaw, lived. The 1808 and 1809 treaties between the United States and the Great and Little Osage in Missouri and the Osage residing on the Arkansas River transferred 30 million acres of Native American land titles to the government. A portion of this land, once the heartland of the Osage, eventually became Bella Vista. Early Twentieth Century William …

Bellaire Court Historic District

The Bellaire Court Historic District is a tourist court in Hot Springs (Garland County). Constructed in 1936, the court consists of eight Craftsman bungalow-style cottages and a manager’s office. The district is also known as the Bellaire Apartments, as it was converted to apartments in the 1970s. Located at 637 Park Avenue, the court is laid out in an L shape. The manager’s office faces Park Avenue, and five units are attached to the rear of the office, perpendicular to the street. The remaining three units are part of a separate building, facing Magnolia Avenue at the rear of the property. An asphalt driveway connects the property to Park Avenue. Little is known about the construction of the court. Located …

Belle Grove Historic District

The Belle Grove Historic District in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) is located northwest of the city’s downtown commercial district and contains twenty-two square blocks. It is bounded by North H Street on the north, halfway between North B and C streets on the south, the alley between North 8th Street and North 9th Street on the east, and the alley between North 4th Street and North 5th Street on the west. The Belle Grove Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1973, for its significance in architecture, education, politics, and social/humanitarian influences. On September 3, 1974, the neighborhood was established as a historic district by local ordinance. It is the oldest residential neighborhood …

Bellefonte (Boone County)

Bellefonte is a town in Boone County on U.S. Highway 62/65 a few miles southeast of Harrison (Boone County). Bellefonte served as the first temporary county seat of Boone County and was nearly chosen as the permanent county seat, but Harrison surpassed it by a few votes. The first white settler at the site that would become Bellefonte was John Simms, who purchased eighty acres of land from the U.S. government in 1854. The land included a productive spring of fresh water. Simms was later joined by the Freeland, Laffoon, and Williams families. Two stores and a saloon were built, and reportedly the men of the community chose to name their settlement for the spring. One of them supposedly said …

Belleville (Yell County)

Located on State Highway 10 four miles northwest of Danville (Yell County), the second-class city of Belleville was once the second-largest city in Yell County. The city is near Spring Lake, a popular recreational site on the edge of the Ozark National Forest, and is on the highway that leads to Mount Magazine State Park. The settlement of Monrovia (Yell County), now abandoned, existed in the area before the Civil War and was used as a temporary prison by Federal troops during the war. The first settler of what is now Belleville was William Fergeson, who established a sawmill and store in 1872 and later became the first postmaster of what then was called Fergeson Mills. The next year, a …

Ben Lomond (Sevier County)

Ben Lomond is a small town in Sevier County. It is slightly east of U.S. Highway 59 and a few miles north of the Little River near where the river widens into Millwood Lake. While the region now called Sevier County has been home for thousands of years to humans who hunted, fished, and gathered food, the region has always been sparsely populated. Some white settlers claimed land in the Little River valley as early as 1810; however, between 1820 and 1825, the Choctaw were settled on land in the area before being moved by treaty farther west into Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma). The site of Ben Lomond remained unclaimed until the middle of the nineteenth century, …

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 …

Benton Commercial Historic District

The Benton Commercial Historic District consists of fifty-three buildings located in the heart of downtown Benton (Saline County). Its buildings cover a long span of the county’s history from the early 1900s to the 1990s. It contains several properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Among its most historic buildings are the Royal Theatre, the Saline County Courthouse, the Odd Fellows Building, the Benton Masonic Lodge, the Ashby Building, and the H. J. Gingles Building. The district encompasses 10.79 acres of land and contains Benton’s most used commercial buildings. Only three buildings in the Benton Commercial Historic District were built after 1958. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 2008. What …

Benton County

Located in the northwest corner of Arkansas, Benton County borders Missouri and Oklahoma and is part of the Ozark Plateau. The county has grown from a Native American hunting ground and a timberland and fruit resource to one of the fastest-growing and most economically vibrant counties in the country. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Osage Indians in Missouri made forays into the area for seasonal hunting. After the Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. government obtained major land cessions from the Osage, especially by an 1808 treaty. Cherokee agent Major William Lovely negotiated the cession of more Osage land in 1816 (renegotiated in an 1818 treaty), and all Osage land in the region …

Bentonville (Benton County)

  Bentonville, the Benton County seat, has grown from a farming community to the home of the world’s largest retailer. Sam Walton, who started with a small store on the town square, built a retail giant but kept the Walmart Inc. headquarters in Bentonville. Bentonville is now one of the fastest-growing towns in the nation, largely because of the influx of Walmart Inc. suppliers. Some parts of the city are changing quickly, but preserved and restored buildings on the square and in adjoining neighborhoods help to maintain the look and feel of the historic town. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first white settlers in what is now Bentonville arrived just a few years before the town was established in …

Bentonville College

On March 15, 1894, what was described as a “mass meeting” of new subscribers to Bentonville College met in the county judge’s room of the Benton County Courthouse. The total number present was not recorded, but subscribers were private citizens. Lodges and civic clubs contributed to the college fund as well. Fifteen men formed the board of trustees. With a quorum present at the March 15 meeting, presiding officer James A. Rice presented articles of association, which were adopted. A corporation was formed under the name “The Bentonville College,” and the trustees were instructed to establish and maintain for a period of ninety-nine years a non-sectarian school for both sexes. The trustees were also charged with contracting for land, constructing …

Bergman (Boone County)

Bergman is a town on State Highway 7 several miles northeast of Harrison (Boone County). Originally a stop on the White River line of the Iron Mountain Railroad, Bergman is best known in the twenty-first century for its role in the poultry industry of Arkansas. Before Bergman was established, a few homesteaders settled in the forested hills of what would become Boone County. The Fancher expedition, traveling west to Oregon Territory, camped in the area one night, and its campground was thereafter known locally as Oregon Flat. John Snyder was the first resident of the land where Bergman would be built to claim a patent for his land—he did so in 1877—but earlier residents included James Seals, Joseph Abraham York, …

Berryville (Carroll County)

Berryville, located in the Ozark Mountains, is one of the seats of Carroll County and is well known for its small-town quality. Throughout its history, Berryville has been a center for education, as with Clarke’s Academy, as well as agriculture, with farming and raising beef cattle prominent parts of the economy through the 1950s, when these were superseded by the poultry industry, now one of the leading employers. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Brothers Joel and William Plumlee are credited as the first white settlers in the area where the Berryville town square is now located, settling there in 1832. In 1848, Blackburn Henderson Berry moved to Carroll County from Gunter’s Landing in northern Alabama; in 1850, Berry purchased the …

Bertig (Greene County)

The unincorporated community of Bertig, named for Jewish Greene County businessmen Adolph and Saul Bertig, was located in the cypress swamps of the St. Francis River near the Missouri–Arkansas state line. It once served as the end of the Paragould Southeastern Railway and home to a profitable timber industry. In the early 1890s, Adolph Bertig and W. C. Hasty purchased a tramway that traveled east out of Paragould (Greene County). Later, they extended the line across the St. Francis River and established the town of Bertig. Multiple lumber businesses were drawn to Bertig because of the rich cypress forests that developed in the swampy waters of the St. Francis River. The initial success of the timber industry led to the …

Bethel (Clark County)

Bethel was a community in Clark County northeast of Okolona (Clark County). It was never a large settlement, and all that remains in the twenty-first century is a cemetery. Located near the community of Dobyville, Bethel was situated at the intersection of State Highway 51 and the Dobyville Road. The Smart family obtained the land where the community existed in 1854. The land was part of a land warrant issued to the heirs of William Smart, who served in the Second Seminole War. Smart moved to Clark County around 1844 and died in 1848. His wife, Polly, died the same year the family moved to Arkansas, and after William’s death, their children lived with William’s brother and sister, Thomas and …

Bethel Cemetery

aka: Old Bethel Cemetery
Bethel Cemetery, named after the nearby extinct Bethel Church, is located in the west-central area of Lawrence County, in the vicinity of the former rural town of Denton (Lawrence County). The cemetery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A with local significance for its association with the early exploration and settlement of that community. Denton, a now-defunct town located six miles west of Powhatan (Lawrence County) on State Highway 117, is one of several communities that experienced a slow decline after railroad companies built tracks through eastern Lawrence County. Situated in the Flat Creek valley, Denton sprang up at the crossroads of the Military Road and the Powhatan-Smithville Road. Settlers began arriving about 1850. Some would …

Bethel Heights (Benton County)

Bethel Heights was a city in southern Benton County, situated on Business Highway 71 between Lowell (Benton County) and Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) just east of Interstate 49. Although the community existed since the 1870s, it was not incorporated until 1967. In 2020, it was annexed by Springdale following a vote in both communities. Benton County had long been inhabited before European exploration and before the Louisiana Purchase added the area to the United States. Osage from the north hunted in Benton County even after the Louisiana Purchase, until a treaty with the U.S. government moved the tribe west to what is now Oklahoma. The first white settler to claim land in the area that would become Bethel Heights …

Bethesda (Independence County)

Although there were settlers in what became Bethesda (it was originally called Washington) in the early days of statehood, the community was officially established with the opening of a post office in 1888. The name of the community is believed to have been derived from the biblical Bethesda healing pool in Jerusalem, the word meaning “house of grace” or “house of mercy.” Bethesda is located along Highway 106, about three miles south-southeast of Cushman (Independence County) and about eight miles west-northwest of the county seat of Batesville (Independence County). The White River is about four miles to the south, where Lock and Dam No. 2 is located. The Union Pacific Railroad follows the White River bank south of Bethesda. The …