Entries - Entry Type: Place - Starting with W

Wilmar (Drew County)

  The city of Wilmar, in western Drew County, was once home to a school known as Beauvoir College. A center of the southern Arkansas timber industry, Wilmar flourished in the early part of the twentieth century but is now mostly a suburb of Monticello (Drew County), the county seat. The history of Wilmar is generally said to begin with James Thomas Dionysius Anderson, who bought 700 acres of land in Drew County for a dollar an acre in 1859. Earlier landowners in the area were Andrew Govan, who purchased his land in 1848, and Collins Hemingway, a landowner since 1856. Anderson cleared five acres of land and planted corn, which was tended by five slaves: Simon and Lizza Taylor, …

Wilmot (Ashley County)

  Although it was not incorporated until 1898, Wilmot is one of the older settlements in eastern Ashley County. Situated just east of Lake Enterprise, which was once part of Bayou Bartholomew, Wilmot was a steamboat stop long before the railroad came through, built a depot, and renamed the community. Twenty-first-century Wilmot is located on Highway 165 between Parkdale (Ashley County) and the Louisiana state line. Evidence of prehistoric habitation of the area includes a mound north of Lake Enterprise that was excavated by the Arkansas Archeological Survey in 1997. The mound is thought to have been built around 1500 BC, possibly making it the oldest mound in Arkansas. Much of the dirt and many of the stone tool fragments found by the …

Wilson (Mississippi County)

Wilson is located on U.S. Highway 61 in southeastern Mississippi County. It was founded as a company town around the sawmill and logging camp of Robert E. Lee Wilson, for whom it is named, and his father-in-law, Socrates Beall. It is an unusually attractive town with its entire downtown commercial district constructed in the English Revival, or Tudor, style and its streets all lined with large cottonwood trees. R. E. Lee Wilson was a Mississippi County native who, after being orphaned at the age of thirteen in Memphis, returned to Arkansas at fifteen to work as a wage laborer on a farm near Bassett (Mississippi County). He began farming a portion of his late father’s land a year later. By …

Wilton (Little River County)

  Like many of the cities of southwestern Arkansas, Wilton was created alongside railroad development. Although the city was at one time a candidate for the county seat of Little River County, Wilton’s current condition is exemplified by its four properties on the National Register of Historic Places: a strip of highway, an abandoned store, a railroad depot, and a cemetery. Allen Scott was the first owner of the land where Wilton would be established, but Scott sold his land to Paschal S. Kinsworthy prior to the arrival of the railroad. Sergent Smith Prentiss Mills, a Sevier County farmer, was also investing in Little River County land. Mills owned a hotel, a store, and a newspaper in Richmond (Little River County) …

Winchester (Drew County)

Winchester is a town in northeastern Drew County, near U.S. Highway 65. Winchester is most notable as the home of Robert L. Hill, the African-American founder of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. Drew County is crossed by the Bayou Bartholomew, which was long a principal transportation route of southeastern Arkansas. John Martin Taylor, a wealthy physician and farmer, purchased land near the bayou in 1848 and built a plantation house. In 1860, Winston J. Davie purchased farmland to the east of Taylor’s plantation, near the present location of Winchester. In the late 1870s, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad built a line that crossed Drew County near Davie’s farm. The railroad depot and post office …

Winfield (Scott County) [Northeast]

The Winfield community located northeast of Waldron (Scott County) is a historical town in central Scott County. Very little structural evidence of the town remains. Agriculture was likely important in the area, which was settled in the late 1830s. For a time, Winfield also served as the county seat. It is one of two communities to bear that name in Scott County. The area’s first inhabitants included natives from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Archaeological discoveries have provided evidence that suggest natives of the Caddo tribe made their homes along the East Fork of the Poteau River and other prominent waterways in the area. Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French trappers and traders traveling west from the Arkansas Post likely traversed the Poteau River …

Winfield (Scott County) [West]

Winfield is an unincorporated community in west-central Scott County located along Highway 248. Winfield was established in 1882 near the junction of Jones Creek and Ross Creek. Agriculture has traditionally been an important part of Winfield’s culture and economy. It is one of two communities in Scott County to have the name of Winfield. The area’s first inhabitants included natives from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Archaeological evidence suggests that natives of the Caddo tribe made their homes along the Poteau River and other prominent waterways in the area. Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French trappers and explorers traveled west from the Arkansas Post along the Arkansas River. From there, they began traversing smaller tributaries such as the Fourche …

Wingmead

Wingmead, a farming operation south of DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) on State Highway 33, has long been recognized as one of the nation’s foremost duck-hunting clubs. Wingmead was established in 1937 by Edgar Monsanto Queeny, son of John Francis Queeny, who founded Monsanto Chemical Co. Wingmead is a word of Scottish origin that means “meadow of wings.” Edgar Queeny served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and then earned a chemistry degree from Cornell University in 1919. He married Ethel Schneider after graduation and began working for Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri. He became a vice president of the company in 1924 and Monsanto’s president in 1928. By the time Queeny retired from Monsanto in 1960, it had …

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 Southern 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 northwestern Arkansas. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The stage lines became an …

Winthrop (Little River County)

Winthrop is located in Little River County, in the extreme southwestern portion of the state of Arkansas. It is situated on Highway 234, approximately eight miles north of Foreman (Little River County) and fifteen miles northwest of Ashdown (Little River County). Winthrop does not lie on any main traffic route, since most traffic passes through on Highway 71 to the east and Highway 41 to the west. Winthrop is perhaps best known as the 1964 and 1966 kick-off headquarters for Winthrop Rockefeller’s campaigns to serve as governor of Arkansas. In April 1860, Kinion Whittington obtained a patent from the United States for the area that would later become the central portion of the town of Winthrop. Early records indicate that …

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 …

Witherspoon (Hot Spring County)

Witherspoon is an unincorporated community in southwestern Hot Spring County. Located about four miles west of Brown Springs (Hot Spring County) and six miles southwest of Donaldson (Hot Spring County), the community was founded as a railroad stop. Originally part of Clark County, the area became part of Hot Spring County when the county was created in 1829. One of the early settlers in the area was Archibald Brumbelow. In 1860, he received forty acres of land near the future location of Witherspoon and farmed it with his family. The opening of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad in 1873 led to the establishment of a railroad stop in the area. A post office opened in Witherspoon in 1875; it operated …

Withrow Springs State Park

Withrow Springs State Park is located approximately five miles north of Huntsville (Madison County) in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas. The park was created among scenic mountains and valleys in a wilderness that surrounds the site’s key feature, Withrow Spring. At first, the park was also called Withrow Spring State Park—that name appears in literature from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism as late as the mid-1970s—but common usage has made the name Withrow Springs State Park. The spring, which has a constant temperature of fifty-four degrees, served as a common watering place for area settlers and travelers in the 1800s. No archaeological information reveals whether the spring was used prior to this time. It is named for …

Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center

The Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, whose mission is introducing the public to the importance of conservation education in Arkansas, is the fourth nature center established by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). The center opened on December 17, 2008, and is funded by the Amendment 75 Conservation Sales Tax, allowing the center to provide free admission. Covering almost three and a half acres of land within the Julius Breckling Riverfront Park in the River Market District in Little Rock (Pulaski County), it is located along the Arkansas River Trail between the First Security Amphitheater and the Interstate 30 Arkansas River bridge. Permanent exhibits include large indoor aquariums filled with native fish from several of Arkansas’s natural …

Wittsburg (Cross County)

Located on the eastern slope of Crowley’s Ridge in the St. Francis River watershed, Wittsburg developed near the intersection of the roads on Crowley’s Ridge, the St. Francis River, and the Congressional (Military) Road from Memphis, Tennessee, to Little Rock (Pulaski County). Incorporated in 1848, the town functioned as the Cross County seat from 1862 to 1865 and again from 1868 to 1884. Rebounding after the Civil War and surviving a major fire in 1874, the town grew due to the trade in cotton and dry goods. Wittsburg began to fade after being bypassed by two railroad lines in 1882 and 1887 that drew trade to the west side of Crowley’s Ridge and Wynne (Cross County). European Exploration and Settlement Due …

Wolf Bayou (Cleburne County)

Wolf Bayou is located on the Wolf Bayou Cutoff Road (Highway 90) near Concord (Cleburne County) and Drasco (Cleburne County). According to local historian Louie Clark, French explorers called the local runoff-fed creek a “bayou,” and when the post office was established in 1851 the word “wolf” was added because the timberland along the creek was the home of many wolves. The area was sparsely populated by a few hunters and trappers by 1818. Even with the coming of the post office, not many lived in the area, and only gradually did the region increase in population. The creek later became popular with kayakers. The Old Cherokee Boundary Line goes through the northwestern part of Wolf Bayou and runs diagonally across …

Women’s Intentional Communities

aka: Women's Land Communities
Women’s intentional communities emerged in the context of the second wave of the women’s movement, encompassing feminist values and environmentalism, as well as the back-to-the-land, hippie, and anti-war movements. The intentional women’s land communities discussed here were located in northwest Arkansas. There may have been others in the state, but their presence has not been documented. (There is no consensus regarding the definition and meaning of “intentional communities.” For the purpose of this entry, women’s intentional communities are defined as including a variety of communal living arrangements based on a shared set of explicit values. Intentional communities are often property based and include land trusts among other types of collective living. In the broader context of individualism, intentional communities are …

Wonderland Cave

Wonderland Cave is a natural underground cavern in Bella Vista (Benton County) about a mile east of U.S. 71 up Dartmoor Road, near Cooper Elementary School. Clarence Andrew (C. A.) Linebarger, general manager of the resort of Bella Vista, developed it as a tourist attraction and place for local entertainment, opening it on March 1, 1930. The cave was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 1, 1988. About 300 feet into the cave from the entrance is a large, naturally vaulted chamber with a concrete floor. That is where dances were held for decades, with an alcove for a ten- to twelve-piece band, a thirty-foot bar at the opposite end, and wooden and stone booths around …

Woodruff County

Woodruff County, a level, fertile plain watered and drained by the White and Cache rivers, was once home to many Native Americans who inhabited the area when the first white men arrived. Little is known about the early inhabitants, but the mounds they built for worship, burial, and living can be found in many areas of the county, particularly near Cotton Plant and McCrory, though farming operations have leveled most of the sites. The White River forms most of the western boundary of Woodruff County. The Cache River and Bayou DeView, confluents of the White River, also cut through the county. The five incorporated towns in Woodruff County are Augusta, the county seat, with a population of 2,199; McCrory, population …

Woodson (Pulaski County)

Woodson is a community in southern Pulaski County, north of Hensley (Pulaski County) and east of Interstate 530. Although it was incorporated on January 17, 1882, as a timber town and a stop on the Little Rock, Mississippi River and Texas Railroad, Woodson continued to operate as an unincorporated area, leading to confusion eighty years later. William D. Pennington acquired land in the area that would become Woodson in 1843. His son, William Q. Pennington, established a post office called Pennington’s Mills in 1855. In 1860, James Jones and John Little also purchased land in the area. The Civil War had little direct impact upon the area during the course of the fighting, but the conclusion of the war reshaped the …

Woolly Hollow State Park

Woolly Hollow State Park, located near Greenbrier (Faulkner County), is unique among Arkansas’s fifty-two state parks because it began as the first scientific study in North America of soil and silt erosion with a specific watershed. Originally built in 1935, the lake and the surrounding area opened as a state park on November 2, 1973. The refurbished Woolly Cabin, the homestead of the family after whom the park is named, still stands in the park about three-quarters of a mile from its original location. Woolly Hollow remains one of Arkansas’s most popular state parks and hosts a number of activities for children and adults each year. In 1851, William Riley Woolly and his family left Waynesboro, Tennessee, to homestead in …

Woolsey Farmstead Cemetery

The Woolsey Farmstead Cemetery is located in western Fayetteville (Washington County), near the Woolsey Wet Prairie Preserve. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 21, 2020. The small family cemetery, which covers less than one acre, is in the northeastern corner of an open field that was originally part of the farmstead of the Woolsey family, who were early settlers in the area of present-day Farmington (Washington County), arriving in 1830. There is a small grove of trees within the bounds of the cemetery, which causes it to stand out from the surrounding fields. The area around the cemetery that is not cultivated fields is densely wooded. Within the wrought-iron fence, there is a large …

Wooster (Faulkner County)

Wooster is a city in Faulkner County, seven miles north of Conway (Faulkner County) and four miles west of Greenbrier (Faulkner County). Although it was settled in the later years of the nineteenth century, it did not incorporate until 1958. Land grants were given to Frederick Campbell, Alexander Ferguson, John Lewis, and John Wiser in 1820 for the section of land where Wooster would be developed. Evidently, they farmed the land without developing a community, since the first recorded structure in the area was a store built by N. E. Adams around the middle of the nineteenth century. Adams also maintained a sawmill and a cotton gin. Adams sold his store to J. P. Wooster in 1881. The community was …

World War II Prisoner of War Camps

aka: Prisoner of War Camps (World War II)
aka: POW Camps (World War II)
During World War II, the United States established many prisoner of war (POW) camps on its soil for the first time since the Civil War. By 1943, Arkansas had received the first of 23,000 German and Italian prisoners of war, who would live and work at military installations and branch camps throughout the state. The presence of POW camps in the United States was due in part to a British request to alleviate the POW housing problems in Great Britain. Initially, the U.S. government resisted the idea of POW camps on its soil. The huge numbers of German and Italian POWs expected to occupy the camps created many problems for the federal government and the military. The military did not …

Wrightsville (Pulaski County)

  The city of Wrightsville, located on Highway 365 in southeastern Pulaski County, existed as an unincorporated settlement for more than a century before it was incorporated late in the twentieth century. Since 1981, it has been home to a major Arkansas Department of Correction facility, which is the principal employer in the city. The area that became Wrightsville was largely wetland, lying in the vicinity of the Arkansas River, when nearby cities such as Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) were developed in the nineteenth century. Although some plantations had been established to the north and west of the site, the actual location of Wrightsville remained unclaimed until construction of the Little Rock, Mississippi, and Texas Railroad …

Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (commonly called “the colony”) in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) was established in 1998 by author Crescent Dragonwagon and her husband, artist and historic preservationist Ned Shank. It has become a nonprofit residence for writers of all genres, as well as artists and composers, and serves as a center for writing-related workshops and events. The main house of the colony’s two side-by-side buildings is a small Ozark vernacular–style house that was opened as Dairy Hollow House, a bed-and-breakfast, in 1980 by Dragonwagon, Shank, and Little Rock (Pulaski County) musician Bill Haymes. It was the second bed-and-breakfast to be opened in Arkansas and became known nationally for its “Nouveau’Zarks” cuisine. In 1986, the inn expanded with …

Wynne (Cross County)

Wynne is located with the west slope of Crowley’s Ridge to the east and the L’Anguille River on the west side of town. Wynne started off as a small railroad town but soon became the county seat of Cross County. In the last 100 years, the city of Wynne has progressed and is now a great attraction for industry, recreation, and is becoming a popular place to reside. The newest attraction to Wynne is the twenty-seven-hole golf course at Village Creek State Park. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The town can date its history to 1882, when the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad laid tracks in the area. A train derailed and left behind a boxcar, which was turned …

Wynne Wholesale Commercial Historic District

The Wynne Wholesale Commercial Historic District is situated around what was considered the most vibrant part of Wynne (Cross County) in the early 1900s. The district consists of five structures—four of which are contributing to the historical significance of the district—and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 25, 2010. The current building for the Wynne Municipal Waterworks was originally constructed sometime between 1904 and 1908 and altered between 1945 and 1951. The one-story building has a simple rectangular plan with a gabled roof. Two metal vents are centered along the ridge of the roof, and a stepped parapet adorns both the front and back elevations. The building rests on a continuous concrete foundation, and the …