Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville is a historic city that sits on top of the Ozark Plateau of Northwest Arkansas. Founded in 1836 and re-chartered in 1867, the town grew along the foothills of the Boston Mountain Range. During its early days, the city served as the transportation hub between the urban centers to the east ( Memphis, TN and St. Louis, MO) and the unruly expanses to the west. However, the city is best remembered as the scene of bloody fighting during the Civil War.

Fayetteville was already an important business city long before Wal-Mart transformed the area into one of the fastest-growing in the country. For over 180 years, the city has shown remarkable growth rate in areas of commerce, education, and culture that it has been routinely named as one of the best US cities to live, play, to do business, receive education, or even retire.

The city is part of the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The MSA covers four counties: Washington, Madison, Benton, and McDonald. Fayetteville is nestled in Washington County. In fact, the place was called Washington until the name was changed to Fayetteville (after heroic French General Marquis de Lafayette) in 1829. Fayetteville now serves as the county seat of Washington County. The college town is also the seat of the University of Arkansas.

Fayetteville is a great place to live in. There are intriquing options in entertainment, education, affordable living and many other benefits the city offers its residents. The city is known for its ambient social atmosphere and its lively residents.

Fayetteville History

On October 17, 1828, Fayetteville was founded on lands that were previously inhabited by Western Cherokees, who relocate to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. The county, which was then called Washington, was already populated by English settlers. That same day, the construction of the county's first courthouse began. Andrew Larkin was appointed postmaster by President Andrew Jackson. A year later, the name of the county was changed to Fayetteville to avoid confusion with another Arkansas town by the same name and the name that till today is used to indicate this region. Councilmen chose the name Fayetteville because two commissioners were from Fayetteville, TN, a city named after General Lafayette.

Over the next ten years, Fayetteville grew in number of residents and establishments. It became the home to at least two general stores, three churches, a lodge, a school, and a bank. By 1840, the Fayetteville population had grown to 425 residents. A year later, the town was officially incorporated.

In 1858, the Butterfly Overland Mail Co. began its daily mail run from Missouri to California, making a stop in Fayetteville. At around this time, Fayetteville was already running telegraph services. The next year, Fayetteville was granted a city charter.

The year 1861-1865 was a dark period in the history of the city. During this period, Fayetteville became a scene of heavy fighting and hardship. In 1862, all stores, vacant houses, and buildings were burned down by Confederate forces when Confederate General Benjamin McCulloch heard the Union forces were approaching. The city witnessed several more fighting in the months to follow. One was the Battle of Pea Ridge on March 7-8, 1862, which took place just northeast of Fayetteville. The site where more than 3,000 men from both Confederate and Union forces lost their lives is now a national park. The Battle of Prairie Grove took place about 12 miles away from Fayetteville on December 7, 1862, and on April 18, 1863, Fayetteville was attacked by Confederate forces. The historic event was called the Battle of Fayetteville.

The years following the Civil War witnessed the city rebuilding itself. The Arkansas Industrial University (later renamed as University of Arkansas) and the Fayetteville Schools District was founded. By the beginning of the 20th century, Fayetteville had railroad lines and train services, paved streets, and gas station. Its population had grown to 5,000 permanent residents. Fayetteville continued to grow in leaps and bounds in the years to come.

About Fayetteville, Arkansas

The city of Fayetteville mixes college town personality with thriving business community. This scenic town is also a retreat for outdoor and cultural/art lovers.

The city is closely associated with the University of Arkansas, as its economy, culture, and citizens' education have been strongly influenced by the latter. In the fall and spring, thousands of students and their parents flock to the city, dramatically re-creating the city's people landscape.

Another highlight of the city is the town square, where a Farmer's Market is held three days a week beginning in spring (April) and ending in early autumn (November). Just a few blocks away is Dickson Street, Fayetteville's entertainment district. This hip and colorful street has restaurants, galleries, pubs, and boutiques. Its great dining and entertainment spots draw people of all ages. Also on Dickson Street is the Walton Arts Center, Arkansas' premier entertainment venue. It brings drama, dance, musicals, Broadway shows, and even community and educational events to the entertainment scene throughout the year.

A city of history and heritage, Fayetteville is also rich in historic sites. One of the most visited attractions is the Headquarters House, a classic example Greek antebellum design. It is valued not only for its esthetics, but also because it played a key role in the Battle of Fayetteville in 1863. The house was used as headquarter by both Confederate and Union forces. The Headquarters House is now owned by the Washington County Historical Society. East of the downtown area is the Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery and Grove. The cemetery holds the graves of some 500 Confederate soldiers from Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. The Clinton House Museum on Clinton Boulevard was the first home of Bill and Hillary Clinton as a married couple. The house displays photographs and memorabilia that provide insight into the life and times of the Clintons in Fayetteville.

There are various heritage trails that run through the city as well. On Ark. 62 is the Trail of Tears, the path that Native Americans used following the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Butterfly Trails Village, on the other hand, reflects the era of the Butterfly Express Stagecoach, which ran from 1858 to 1861. During that period, Fayetteville served as major stop on the grueling 2812-mile stagecoach journey from the Mississippi River to California. The stagecoach transported mails, supplies, and people, and so played a great part in the settlement and growth of Arkansas before the Civil War.

Fayetteville is also known for its mountains and scenery. The beautiful Ozarks region provides outdoor enthusiasts with plenty of opportunities for biking, hiking, horseback riding, camping, and spelunking. Three rivers - White, Mulberry, and Kings - are frequented by anglers.

About Washington County, Arkansas

Washington County is nestled in the Ozark Mountains of the northwest corner of Arkansas and is a part of the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area. Washington County was formed from Lovely County, a Cherokee Territory, on October 17, 1828. The area was named for President George Washington. Originally settled by a small number of farmers and orchard growers, Washington County is now one of the most prosperous and livable counties in the state of Arkansas. The county seat is Fayetteville, Arkansas.

History: The area that would become Washington County was once a Cherokee land. Both Osage and Cherokee Indians hunted the area in the early 19th century, but did not make permanent residences there as the land was hardly arable. In 1817, William Lovely purchased the land from the Osage and named it Lovely County. The next year, Washington County was split from Lovely County, after the Cherokee Indians were made to relocate to Oklahoma to open the area for white settlement. History records list Alexander, Simpson, and McGarrah families as some of the first pioneers. The earliest settlements were in Cane Hill, Shiloh, and Fayetteville.

Washington County experienced some of the bloodiest battles in US history during the Civil War. The Battle of Pea Ridge (1862), the Battle of Prairie Grove (1862), and the Battle of Fayetteville (1863) took place in the county.

Economy: What was once a land that could not support extensive agriculture because of its poor soil conditions became a top producer of fruits in the early 19th century. The people behind this transformation were the farmers who settled the land; they cleared and cultivated the lands.

Apples were Washington County's top produce. By 1830s, thousands of acres of apple orchards were growing thousands of tons of apples. By 1852, Washington County farmers were sending "striped Bens" to towns and cities across the Boston Mountains. The establishment of railroad lines in the 1880s boosted Washington County's agriculture further. Washington County farmers have also created several apple varieties. The most notable are Wilson June, Ben Davis, and Shannon Pippin. The fruit business waned in the 1930s, as the quality of soil became poor again due to extensive farming practices. Today, Washington County continues to produce commercial output of fruits (apple, grapes, strawberry), but its economy now also gets boost from education and poultry industries.