SPRINGDALE ARKANSAS


Goodspeed's History of Arkansas states that the settlement of Springdale (Shiloh) began around 1838 and it was "due to religious purposes" with the immediate reason being "the noble spring near a tree across the road".

The government began surveying the Arkansas Territory in 1831 and established the township and section lines that define the area still today. When the area around Shiloh was surveyed in 1834, surveyors notes indicated 6 farms and 100 acres under cultivation. Only one name was recorded, James Fitzgerald. Three log cabins were shown along the section line along which Maple Street today runs.

John Fitzgerald, father of James, said he came to the area in 1825, before it was legal for white people to settle there. The area at that time was under treaty to the Osage tribe as part of Lovely County. But the land was populated by Osage, Cherokees and obviously some white settlers.

Befitting the statement of being founded due to religious purposes, the Regular Baptist Church at Shiloh was started in 1840 and became known as the Primitive Baptist Church. This building burned during the Civil War and the Shiloh Church was rebuilt in 1868. In 1894, graves near the Shiloh Church were moved to Bluff Cemetery. Many other churches were established in the community as it grew and a number started meetings in the old Shiloh Church building.

Before 1839, John and Mary Fitzgerald established an inn near what is now the intersection of Old Wire Road and Old Missouri Road. In 1839 a group of Cherokees, fleeing their ancestral homes in the southeastern U.S., stopped overnight at Fitzgerald's and purchased supplies from John. Later the inn would become a regular stop for the Butterfield Stage. A barn built by Butterfield still stands today. Nearby the Lynch's Prairie Post Office became the first to serve the community.

A land grant for 80 acres along Spring Creek was donated by William Davidson Quinton in hopes that a church would be built. But it took the arrival of John Holcombe and building of a log church in 1843 at what was called briefly Holcombe Springs but later Shiloh. The name Shiloh stood until 1878 when the town of Springdale was incorporated by Washington County and Joseph Holcombe, son of John, became first mayor.

Springdale continued to flourish with development of roads and railroads following the Civil War. These roads furnished the routes for development of a trucking industry starting with Harvey Jones and his Jones Truck Lines. Jones' success in trucking was followed by such names as Willis Shaw, Joe Robinson and J B Hunt, though these operated out of nearby towns rather than Springdale.

Agriculture provided the local industry with apple and peach orchards abounding in the area. Cherries, grapes and strawberries became major crops as well as other fruits such as blackberries, and vegetables. A processing industry grew out of some of these with canning factories springing up, including Steele Canning founded by Joe M Steele.

Crop damage from insects caused fruit growers to look to poultry as another means of income. Jeff Brown started the Springdale Hatchery in 1929 and became the first to raise chickens on a large scale. Brown later developed egg hatcheries and other chicken hatcheries in the area. C L George and his sons, began hauling live chickens to Kansas City and St Louis in 1929 and expanded into the chicken feed business in 1939. John Tyson began his business with a single truck, driving from his home in Missouri to northwest Arkansas to purchase produce. He saw a potential market for the chickens being grown in this area and took a gamble with one load which he took to Chicago and sold for $235. He soon moved to this area and began what is today one of the largest meat producing companies in the Nation.

Bibliography:
Springdale, The Courage of Shiloh by Velda Brotherton



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