JOHNSON
3906 Main Street

Johnson AR 72741

      


It is said that the mill in Johnson existed before the Civil War, was burned and rebuilt after the war. Jacob Q Johnson and William Mayes, former Union soldiers, built or rebuilt a "large sawmill, with grist mill and flouring mill attached". Oliver tells that the overshot water wheel drove the mill until 1898 when it was converted to turbine, likely run by steam. Today the mill has been converted and added on to, making a first class hotel. J Q Johnson's two story brick house built just east of the mill in 1879 that still stands. The mill/hotel and Johnson house are located just east of the Johnson exit on I-540.

Goodspeed reports the post office was first opened in March 1887. Rothrock tells of a number of stores built near the post office which was located about a mile east of the mill.

A major business in Johnson was started as the Ozark White Lime Company that began as the Crescent White Lime Company in 1897. In 1902 Ozark White Lime purchased Crescent and another lime operation forming the new company. The lime produced was used to treat or "sweeten" acidic soils in the area, as well as for road building and sewer applications. Ozark White Lime continued operation until the 1940's when it was sold and an rock crushing plant put in for a few years. In 1955 Zero Mountain Inc. was established to use the quarries and caves where limestone had been removed as cold storage facilities for the poultry industry primarily. After years of struggling to make the large caverns into effective freezer facilities, Zero Mountain became a success and remains one of the largest facilities of its type.

Johnson today lies sandwiched between Fayetteville and Springdale and is a thriving community.

Bibliography:
Goodspeed's History of Washington County 1889
The Story of Johnson by Thomas Rothrock Flashback November 1954
Washington County History Shiloh Museum 1989
Old Mills of the Ozarks by M E Oliver 1971
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas - Zero Mountain by Erika Sutherland



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