Entry Type: Place - Starting with O

Oil Trough (Independence County)

The town of Oil Trough is located twelve miles southeast of Batesville (Independence County) in the southeastern part of Independence County. It is located southwest of the White River, in a rich area of bottomlands known as the Oil Trough Bottoms. Above the bottoms is the Oil Trough Ridge, composed of black limestone that the Goodspeed history of the area (1889) described as “capable of a superior polish.” Beginning around 1800, the area was a favorite hunting ground for French frontiersmen. The large stands of cane along the river were a perfect hiding place for game, including bear; the limestone cliffs nearby provided the bears with a perfect place for their dens. Indeed, legend has it that the area was …

Okay (Howard County)

Until the late 1980s, the town of Okay (Howard County) was home to a major limestone mining operation located on a peninsula on the east side of Millwood Lake. Most of what remained of the once-thriving company town, founded in the late 1920s, had almost disappeared by the end of the twentieth century. In 1926, Charles Boettcher, founder of Ideal Cement Company, based in Denver, Colorado, dispatched Tom Dodson and Joe Hargis from a branch plant in Oklahoma to scout out a potential Arkansas plant site after learning of the growing movement in Arkansas to improve roads and bridges. A remote site in Howard County was chosen due to its rich deposits of limestone and chalk. A railroad spur necessary …

Okolona (Clark County)

Okolona is a small town located in southwestern Clark County, near the Little Missouri River. Okolona served as a regional agricultural and transportation hub in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries before slowly fading into obscurity. The earliest known inhabitants of the area were Caddo Indians, who constructed a mound that is today located near Main Street. The first white settlers arrived in the Okolona area in the early 1830s. They named their new community after their hometown in Mississippi. In 1858, a post office was established in the town, and by the 1860s several general stores had been opened in the area. The earliest settlers founded schools in the area, and education would continue to play an important …

Ola (Yell County)

Ola is the third-largest city in Yell County. It was originally known as Petit Jean, but its name was changed to Ola on December 10, 1880. On March 20, 1900, it was incorporated as a second-class city. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The area that became Ola was part of the Ward Township, Section 3, Township 4 North, Range 21 West. The 1850 Census shows twenty-two families residing within the Ward Township and includes a store and scattered, outlying homesteads. Postal service was established in 1848. Early settlers came from North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee, attracted to the area by its cheap land and commercial possibilities. Civil War through the Gilded Age The first house was completed in 1860 …

Old Austin (Lonoke County)

Settled in the early 1820s, what is now called Old Austin, located about thirty miles northeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County), was one of central Arkansas’s early settlements. Local folklore holds that Old Austin narrowly missed being the state capital. Once a thriving town, it experienced a decline after being bypassed by the railroad in the late 1800s. Today, it serves as a bedroom community of Cabot (Lonoke County) and nearby towns. The first settlers, among them James Erwin, came to the area in 1822. Before the founding of a town, the settlement at various times was called Oakland Grove, Oakland, Saundersville, and Atlanta. In 1848, Isaac Dunaway and Colbert Moore built the settlement’s first store. Growth was enhanced by …

Old Benton-Sardis Road Bridge

Located in Bauxite (Saline County), the Old Benton-Sardis Road Bridge stands as an example of the county’s earliest bridges designed specifically for vehicular use. Although it is no longer accessible by road, it is considered a beloved local landmark by the people of Saline County, much like the Old River Bridge in Benton. The bridge was built in 1919 to connect the communities of Benton (Saline County), Bauxite, and Sardis (Saline County). Settlements around the Old Benton-Sardis Road Bridge reached their peak after the towns of Benton, Bauxite, and Sardis began developing in the early 1900s. In the 1910s, new and improved roads were needed to aid in the transportation of bauxite ore from the nearby strip mines to Alcoa …

Old Hickory (Conway County)

Old Hickory in Conway County is just one of the many rural, unincorporated Arkansas communities that once served as area commercial centers and have since disappeared. Located about fifteen miles northwest of Morrilton (Conway County), the community was perhaps best known for a general store that closed in 1983. The first documented white settler, John H. Jones, was drawn to the area in 1849 by cheap land. On September 22, 1858, a post office was established with Abihu Arnn as its first postmaster. It is said that the long-lost original name for the post office was rejected due to its being too long. One story states that Julius Mackie Washington Masingill, an early settler, then suggested naming the office after the hickory …

Old Independence Regional Museum

The Old Independence Regional Museum, 380 S. 9th Street, was established in Batesville (Independence County) in 1998 to serve the twelve-county region of northeast Arkansas that was included in Independence County in 1820. Detailed maps describe the region’s historic sites and museums, leading visitors to continue their journey into the other counties in the region, which include all or part of Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff counties. Organization of the museum began in the fall of 1991, when the Independence County Historical Society formed a museum-planning committee of sixteen people. The committee learned from museum operations experts; drafted planning documents; and created a statement of purpose, a mission statement, goals, and a set …

Old Jackson (Randolph County)

Jackson was a town once located in Lawrence County, approximately two miles northeast of the current town of Imboden (Lawrence County) and several miles west of the Eleven Point River. The town was centered on the Old Jackson and Union roads. Jackson, one of the few towns located on the Southwest Trail, served as the county seat for Lawrence County from 1829 to 1837. It was also an important location on the Trail of Tears due to its placement along the Fort Smith to Jackson Road. After boundaries were redefined in 1861, the town was located in Randolph County. By the 1880s, little was left of the town, which had become known as Old Jackson. Many sources show 1830 or …

Old Jail Museum Complex

The 1892 Sebastian County Jail is one of the oldest buildings in Greenwood (Sebastian County), as well as one of the few buildings to survive the 1968 tornado that destroyed much of the city’s business district. In 1966, the South Sebastian County Historical Society repurposed the “Old Jail” as a repository for historical artifacts of Greenwood and surrounding communities. On December 1, 1994, the jail was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The jail now serves as the centerpiece of the Old Jail Museum Complex, which is dedicated to the history of southern Sebastian County. The jail was constructed in 1892 by mason Isaac Kunkel, son Henry Oliver Kunkel, and son-in-law George Williamson, using stone quarried from Backbone …

Old Kia Kima

Old Kia Kima is a restored former Boy Scout camp owned and operated by the Old Kia Kima Preservation Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Old Kia Kima is located on a bluff overlooking a pristine riverfront on the South Fork of the Spring River in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains near Hardy (Sharp County). In 2000, it began offering camping facilities to qualified youth groups at no charge. The camp traces its origins to 1916 when the Memphis, Tennessee, area Boy Scout Council opened Kia Kima as its summer camp. The name chosen for the camp was “Kia Kima,” which was said to mean “nest of eagles” in the Chickasaw language. The original camp operated as a Boy Scout …

Old Mill

Famous for its appearance in the opening credits of the 1939 classic movie Gone with the Wind, the Old Mill in the five-acre T. R. Pugh Memorial Park in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) contains the work of noted Mexican sculptor Dionicio Rodriguez, who perfected the folk art style known as faux bois (fake wood) by crafting reinforced concrete to resemble petrified logs. Justin Matthews, the developer of the town’s Park Hill and Lakewood subdivisions, hired Rodriguez in 1932 to create a tourist attraction for his new suburban development. Formally named Pugh’s Mill in honor of Matthews’s lifelong friend Thomas R. Pugh, the mill features a two-story stone building, bridges, benches, and other examples of Rodriguez’s art, all designed to …