Entry Type: Place - Starting with D

Decatur (Benton County)

Decatur is a second-class city in Benton County, not far from the northwestern corner of Arkansas. About fifteen miles west of Rogers (Benton County), Decatur is in the Ozark hills about halfway between Sulphur Springs (Benton County) and Siloam Springs (Benton County) on State Highway 59. The first known white settler on the land that would become Decatur was William F. Burrow, who was farming in the area before Arkansas became a state in 1836. Burrow chose the land because of its proximity to a fresh-water spring, later given the name St. Elmo Spring. He received a formal deed to his forty acres of land from the U.S. government in 1854. Burrow and his neighbors grew various crops, including tobacco …

DeGray Dam and Lake

DeGray Dam, located about eight miles northwest of Arkadelphia (Clark County), impounds the 13,400-acre DeGray Lake on the Caddo River. It was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for purposes of electricity generation and flood control, as well as establishing a drinking water supply for Arkadelphia, and is the first “pump back capable impoundment” in the Corps’s history. A reregulation dam forms a 400-acre impoundment below the main lake, providing a supply of water that can be pumped back into DeGray Lake during times of drought and used again for hydropower generation and to provide a steady flow of water on the Caddo River. The site where DeGray Dam stands had been considered for a dam since …

DeGray Lake Resort State Park

DeGray Lake Resort State Park, located in southwest Arkansas, features a ninety-four-room lodge, an eighteen-hole championship golf course, a full service marina, a convention center, tennis courts, and a pool. It is the state’s only resort state park. While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was constructing DeGray Lake (1963–1972) by damming the Caddo River, support grew within the State Parks Division and surrounding communities for developing along the 13,400-acre lake a state park to rival resort state parks in neighboring Oklahoma and Texas. The Corps and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism reached an agreement in November 1971 for the construction and management of a resort and recreation area on the lake’s north shore. Effective May 1, 1972, …

Delaplaine (Greene County)

Delaplaine is a town in the northwestern corner of Greene County. State Highways 34, 90, and 304 intersect in Delaplaine, and several drainage ditches flow through the town to empty into the nearby Cache River. Delaplaine was formed by the railroad and the lumber industry, but agriculture, hunting, and fishing are the mainstays of the town’s economy in the twenty-first century. The area had been inhabited for centuries before Euro-American settlement, with nearby Indian mounds containing artifacts such as stone tools, pottery pieces, bones, and charcoal from campfires. The Osage hunted and camped in the region prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and some local historians believe that a French trading post and mission were established where Delaplaine stands …

Delight (Pike County)

  Delight is located in the southeast corner of Pike County. It was a center for the timber industry in the early twentieth century. White settlers began moving into the area near the end of the eighteenth century, settling along Wolf Creek, which flows from northwest of Delight in a southeasterly direction. The settlement became known as Wolf Creek and was granted a post office on January 18, 1832, and became a mail stop between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and the Hempstead County Courthouse, then at Washington. Samuel Hasley purchased about forty-three acres of land from the United States for $1.25 an acre. This acreage is now the town of Delight. Hasley later sold the property to Abner Hancock for …

Dell (Mississippi County)

Dell is a town in Mississippi County, a few miles southwest of Blytheville (Mississippi County). State Highways 18 and 181 pass through Dell. When Arkansas became a state, the region around Dell was swampy and forested. Pemiscot Bayou runs into the Little River near Dell, so travelers passed through the area by flatboat and by steamboat. The first landowner in what would become Dell was Thomas J. Blackmore, who acquired about 160 acres of swampland in 1855 through the Swamp Land Act of 1850. Blackmore may not have even visited the land before he sold it, as the land went through several absentee owners until it was purchased by W. B. Sizemore in 1878. During the Civil War, a skirmish …

Delta Cultural Center

The Delta Cultural Center in historic downtown Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) is a museum dedicated to the history of the Arkansas Delta. The center, a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, opened in 1990 with the mission of preserving, interpreting, and presenting the cultural heritage of a twenty-seven-county region. The Delta Cultural Center was created by the Arkansas legislature via Act 109 of 1989, which specified that the Delta Cultural Center would be an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. At the time, no facility existed to interpret the agricultural, ethnic, and cultural history of the Delta region. The stated goals were to preserve the region’s history and to promote tourism there. The center features two museum locations—the …

Delta Heritage Trail State Park

The Delta Heritage Trail State Park is being developed in phases along seventy-three miles of abandoned Union Pacific Railroad right of way through Phillips, Arkansas, and Desha counties in eastern Arkansas. The trail project starts one mile south of Lexa (Phillips County) and goes to Arkansas City (Desha County). In early 1991, as part of the “rails-to-trails” provision of the National Trails System Act, which preserves rail corridors by reclaiming land along abandoned railroads for recreational use, the Union Pacific Railroad notified the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism of the potential track abandonment. Under the act, which is funded by the Department of the Interior, railroad companies can transfer all rights and liabilities connected to a rail corridor to …

Denieville (Independence County)

The historic community of Denieville was located on Spring Creek less than a mile from Limedale (Independence County) on Limedale Road. It was about five miles west-northwest of the county seat, Batesville (Independence County). The White River and the Missouri Pacific railroad tracks run about two miles south of Denieville. Following the Civil War, mining interests in the eastern United States attempted to develop the white lime deposits of Independence County for commercial use, establishing kilns near Batesville. (Quick lime is used for a number of purposes, including mortar, plaster, and the manufacture of paper.) The production of lime in Independence County began in earnest in 1887, emerging on a small scale at Denieville on the Cushman (Independence County) branch …

Denning (Franklin County)

Denning is a town in southern Franklin County. Its northern border is the southern city limit of Altus (Franklin County). Denning was at one time the largest city in Franklin County, with six coal mines providing jobs for more than 1,000 miners. Osage used to come from the north to hunt and to fish in the Ozark Mountains. From 1819 to 1828, the area was part of a Cherokee reservation. Various treaties moved both nations farther west, opening the land to white settlement. In 1839, Samuel Davis acquired a land patent for part of the land where Denning would be established. Coal was discovered south of Altus around 1890, and the Western Coal and Mining Company, based in St. Louis, …

Dennison Heights (Independence County)

Dennison Heights of Independence County began as a housing development in the 1950s and 1960s on the bluffs overlooking the White River. It was named for the Dennison/Denison family (different branches of the family spelled the name differently) who had a large farm south of the White River and across the river from Eagle Mountain. Dennison Heights is located three miles south of Batesville (Independence County), the county seat. It sits atop Ramsey Mountain (a.k.a. Ramsey Hill), just off Highway 167, also called Batesville Boulevard. At the time of Dennison Heights’ formation, three roads made a triangle at the “top of the hill,” as the Dennison Heights area is commonly called: Highways 14 and 25 led to Desha (Independence County) …

Denton (Lawrence County)

In the mid-1830s, at the intersection of the Powhatan-Smithville Road and Military Road, one of Lawrence County’s earliest unincorporated communities developed. If it still existed today, Denton would be located about six miles west of Powhatan (Lawrence County) on State Highway 117. The nearby Black River and the fertile land of the Flat Creek valley attracted many settlers to the area prior to the Civil War. In about 1818, a Baptist church known as Bethel was organized as a missionary meeting house. Disagreements among the congregation resulted in a split. As a result, the New Hope Baptist Church was founded on July 22, 1844, with a building constructed in 1853. A new building was constructed in 1940. The church has …

Denton (Scott County)

Denton is an unincorporated community located in western Scott County. Established in 1877 near the confluence of Denton Creek and Ross Creek, the community is named after the Denton family, which settled in Scott County in the 1850s. The agriculture and timber industries have traditionally contributed to the economy and way of life in Denton. Before European contact, the area where Denton is located was a wilderness teeming with native vegetation and wildlife. The area’s first inhabitants included natives from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Archaeological discoveries suggest that natives of the Caddo tribe made their homes along the Fourche La Fave River near Denton and other prominent waterways in the area. Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth …

Departee (Independence County)

The historic community of Departee in Christian Township of Independence County is located on Blackland Road (Highway 157) near Departee Creek, about three and a half miles southwest of Oil Trough (Independence County) and two miles northwest of Thida (Independence County). Departee is close to Major Harris Mountain in the Oil Trough Bottoms near the Blackland community. The White River bottomland is a fertile area for farming, although cotton has been largely replaced by other crops such as soybeans and rice. Flooding, often disastrous, frequently occurs in the bottoms. The community was named for Departee Creek, a small bottomland creek that most likely received its name from the French who were in the area by the beginning of the nineteenth …

Dermott (Chicot County)

Dermott grew from a bayou settlement, which had its beginning in the early 1840s, to a thriving railroad town in the 1880s. With an economy based largely on agriculture and timber, it flourished until the Depression. While many other small Delta towns did not survive that period, Dermott prevailed. Although it never regained its former stature, it remains a substantial town populated by many descendants of early settlers. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first settlers chose the rich and heavily timbered land along the bayou. John Smith and his wife, Sarah Bowden, arrived in 1811 and opened the first settlement in the vicinity. The town was named after Dr. Charles McDermott, who first visited in 1834. He bought land …

DeRoche (Hot Spring County)

DeRoche is located in the area of Arkansas Highway 84 between state highways 128 and 7. Located just south of Jack Mountain, the township lies about fifteen miles south of Hot Springs (Garland County) and eight miles east of Bismarck (Hot Spring County). The DeRoche community is enclosed on three sides by the Caddo and Ouachita rivers. Although the DeRoche Creek name appeared on maps in 1806, development of the area did not begin for another twenty-five years. “De Roche” is French for “of rock,” a possible reference to the rocky bed of DeRoche Creek, for which the community was named. Squatting was the primary way to obtain land in the area. Some worked the land for many years but then moved …

Des Arc (Prairie County)

Des Arc is one of two county seats serving Prairie County. It was one of the earliest settlements in eastern Arkansas as well as an important shipping point for lumber and agricultural goods. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Des Arc was the earliest settlement in Prairie County, taking its name from the Bayou des Arc two miles north of city; the bayou’s name is derived from a French term meaning “bow” or “curve.” Francis Francure, a Frenchman, was reportedly one of the first settlers in the area, testifying, upon receipt of a Spanish land grant, that he had lived on the land since 1789. Goodspeed’s history of the area credits as the first residents two Creoles named Watts and East, …

Desha (Independence County)

Desha is located on State Highways 14 and 25 (a.k.a. Heber Springs Road) in Independence County about six miles southwest of Batesville, the county seat. Desha is closely associated with nearby Locust Grove (Independence County), Jamestown (Independence County), McHue (Independence County), and Southside (Independence County). The White River is about one mile to the north, and Ramsey Mountain (a.k.a. Ramsey Hill) lies about two miles to the east. There is evidence that Hernando de Soto and his men journeyed through the Greenbrier Bottoms (named for Greenbrier Creek—originally spelled Greenbriar) in October and November 1541. Dr. Julie Morrow of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County) began the process of archaeological study and research into the Native American city of Coliqua …