Entry Type: Place - Starting with S

Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives (SARA)

The Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives (SARA) in Washington (Hempstead County) began as a local archival collection and is now a branch of the Arkansas State Archives (previous called the Arkansas History Commission). Its purpose is to preserve material relevant to the history of twelve southwestern Arkansas counties: Columbia, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Polk, Sevier, and Union. In 1975, the Washington (Arkansas) Bicentennial Celebration Committee began making plans for the town’s participation in the upcoming national festivities. To commemorate the event, the committee members decided to raise money to purchase research books for a local library. Mildred Smith, an educator in Washington, sought the advice of Dr. John L. Ferguson, director of the Arkansas State Archives, on …

Southwest Trail

The Southwest Trail is a general term referring to a network of routes connecting the mid-Mississippi River Valley (the St. Louis-St. Genevieve area of Missouri) to the Red River valley (northeast Texas) in the nineteenth century. Most of the trail crossed Arkansas from northeast to southwest, entering at Hix’s Ferry (later Pitman’s Ferry) across the Current River in Randolph County and exiting at several crossings of the Red River south and west of Washington (Hempstead County). It followed the edge of the eastern terminus of the Ozark Plateau in northeast Arkansas and of the Ouachita Mountains in central and southwest Arkansas. The trail avoided the swamps, which covered much of eastern Arkansas, while skirting the foothills of the Ozarks and …

Spadra (Johnson County)

When discussing Spadra, it is important to note that there are actually two locations to which the name applies: Spadra and New Spadra. Spadra, which was the earlier of the two towns, was the location of an Indian trading factory (a government-authorized trading post) and was the trading point for many settlers who moved into the area. It is the current location of the Spadra Marina, located on the Arkansas River. New Spadra was the location of the boom town that emerged many years later due to coal mining and the arrival of the railroad. The two can be difficult to separate in the historical record. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The U.S. government established the Indian trading factory program in 1796 …

Sparkman (Dallas County)

Sparkman, a small second-class city, is located on State Highway 7 approximately twenty-six miles west/northwest of the Dallas County seat of Fordyce. Once a thriving lumber town, it is today chiefly a farming community perhaps best known for a 1920s and 1930s girls’ basketball team known as the Sparkman Sparklers. Present-day Sparkman is located about a quarter of a mile southwest of the original settlement, which local residents today refer to as Old Sparkman. Lemil Pete Sparkman, who established a lumber mill near the seventeen-mile trunk line Ultima Thule, Arkadelphia and Mississippi Railway, founded the settlement in 1892. On September 19, 1893, a post office was opened with Sparkman as the postmaster. By 1899, the town was home to about …

Spring Hill (Hempstead County)

Spring Hill is an unincorporated community in Hempstead County located about six miles southwest of Hope (Hempstead County). The community is about seven miles from the Red River and was an important early settlement in southwestern Arkansas. A fertile farming area due to the location near the Red River, Spring Hill became a popular location for early settlers. Many land grants were made in the area beginning in 1837. Aquila Davis quickly became a significant landowner, with a total of 400 acres owned individually or jointly with others, all of the land having been acquired between April and August 1837. George Foster also obtained 120 acres in 1837. He appears in the 1850 census with three relatives and fifteen slaves. …

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 …

Springdale College

Civic leaders in Springdale (Washington County) established the Springdale College Company on June 22, 1895, by filing articles of incorporation in Washington County. Forty-eight people committed to purchase two shares each, at $25.00 per share, to create the initial capital for the venture. In November 1895, the corporation purchased a building and land from the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Springdale to provide a college facility. The building had previously housed a common school for six grades, operated initially by the Baptists from 1871 and from 1885 by the Lutherans. After organizational delays, October 4, 1897, was finally set for the opening of the college. However, the educator selected to lead the college—Professor Charles Parsons of Webster, South Dakota—failed to …

Springdale Poultry Industry Historic District

The Springdale Poultry Industry Historic District was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A with statewide significance and under Criteria Consideration G for properties that have achieved significance within the past fifty years. The period of significance for the nomination of the district ends in 1969 to reflect the year that Tyson Foods moved its main office from East Emma Ave. to Johnson Road and Jeff D. Brown and Company sold its hatchery building on East Emma Ave. The district consists of three buildings, located at 317 and 319 East Emma Ave. and 316 East Meadow Ave., and was added to the National Register on September 23, 2011. Jeff D. Brown and Company: 317 East Emma Ave. …

Springfield (Conway County)

Springfield (Conway County), once the county seat of Conway County, began as the intersection of the Old Cherokee Boundary Line and a principal route of the Western Cherokee in their relocation west of the Mississippi River. The National Road, from St. Genevieve, Missouri, was routed through the area, taking advantage of a large reliable artesian spring. These roads connected the area with developing population centers such as Batesville (Independence County), Clinton (Van Buren County), Lewisburg (Conway County), and Little Rock (Pulaski County). A small trading post was established that served the first settlers in the area, Cherokee who came in the early nineteenth century. They began clearing farmland plots and established cabins; some of the foundations remain. The trading post …

Springfield Male and Female Collegiate Institute

aka: Springfield College
During the latter part of the nineteenth century, many communities in Arkansas established small institutions of higher learning in an effort to attract and retain young citizens. The small community of Springfield in northeastern Conway County organized the establishment of the Springfield Male and Female Collegiate Institute in the fall of 1887. At the time, Springfield was a thriving community, located at the junction of three important roads. Professor William Beverley Toon, a graduate of Vanderbilt University, was hired as president of the institute. The initial faculty also included Thomas Murphy and a Mr. Trumbul. While the local population composed much of the student population, many “boarding students” came from across the region. While many early schools were affiliated with …

Springtown (Benton County)

Springtown is a small town in western Benton County, between Gentry (Benton County) and Highfill (Benton County), about eighteen miles southwest of Bentonville (Benton County). Named for a natural spring, the source of Flint Creek, the town has maintained a population of around 100 since its incorporation in 1909. The Osage hunted and fished in northern Arkansas until a series of treaties moved them to Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma). Settlers arrived in northwestern Arkansas almost as soon as Arkansas had become a state. Charles Kincheloe built the first house in what is now Springtown in 1841. Shortly thereafter, Isaac Dial built a house near the spring for which the town is named. Civil War activity around Bentonville …

St. Anthony’s Hospital

aka: CHI St. Vincent Morrilton
With a view of the Arkansas River to the south and mountains to the southwest, the original building of St. Anthony’s Hospital in Morrilton (Conway County) (which later became CHI St. Vincent Morrilton) is an imposing three-story Art Deco–inspired structure made of brick and stone. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 28, 1986. The Benedictine sisters at St. Scholastica Monastery established St. Anthony’s Hospital as a fourteen-bed facility on December 4, 1925, initially using a private home belonging to the Burrows family of Morrilton. During the following twelve years, they moved twice, first to a Harding College dormitory (when that school, now Harding University, was located in Morrilton), then to the Jones Hospital building …

St. Bernards Healthcare

St. Bernards Healthcare, based in Jonesboro (Craighead County), was founded by the Olivetan Benedictine sisters at Holy Angels Convent and is the largest employer in northeast Arkansas, with more than 2,200 employees. Its mission remains: “To provide Christ-like care to the community through education, treatment and health services.” Like many contemporary healthcare institutions, St. Bernards was begun in response to a crisis—a malaria fever epidemic that raged throughout northeast Arkansas in 1899. Civic leaders realized that the events of the 1890s had highlighted the need for a hospital, and as the twentieth century dawned, the idea was gaining momentum. A first challenge, and one that would be ongoing throughout the century, was to raise money necessary for a hospital. The …

St. Boniface Colony

aka: New Dixie (Perry County)
The St. Boniface Colony was the informal name for a successful German Catholic immigrant settlement established in 1880 in eastern Perry County. Over time, the colony became known as the community of New Dixie. Beginning in 1880, immigrants from Germany, Switzerland, and other German-speaking countries began arriving in the area near the small village of Dixie, located near the Arkansas River in eastern Perry County. Dixie had been settled in the mid-to-late 1870s and was named after the daughter of Hezekiah Lewis Trundle, a man who owned a large plantation on the banks of the Arkansas River. The Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad (LR&FS) held large swaths of land in Perry County, and although the railway often utilized its …

St. Charles (Arkansas County)

St. Charles, a town in Arkansas County, is located on a bluff over the White River. The most destructive single shot in the Civil War was fired at St. Charles. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Pierre Pertuis, fur trader, arrived after purchasing a 1797 Spanish land grant. By 1839, Charles W. Belknap owned the site, known briefly as Belknap’s Bluff. He built an adobe house, one of only a few found on the Arkansas frontier. The house served as a hospital for both sides in the Civil War and was a longtime landmark. The name St. Charles first appears with Belknap’s appointment as postmaster in 1850. He platted the town and began selling lots. St. Charles flourished during the 1850s …