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Decatur City

Benton County, Arkansas

Decatur City Hall is located at 310 Maple Avenue, Decatur, AR 72722.
Phone: 479‑752‑3912.


Decatur as described in 1909 [1]

Decatur is one of the numerous prosperous towns in Benton County and has about 450 inhabitants. It is 217 miles south of Kansas City and 62 miles from Joplin, MO, and in point of altitude, 1231 feet, is one of the more elevated towns on the Kansas City Southern Railway. It has been almost entirely rebuilt within the last three years and nearly all the frame buildings have been replaced by attractive brick and concrete structures. It is a compact little town, surrounded by some 300 farms and orchards within a radius of five miles. About two thousand acres are devoted to apple orchards and other fruits, berries and cannery stock and 5,000 to 6,000 acres to corn and general field crops. The principal business of the town is handling and shipping fruits and the manufacture of fruit products. The Holland-American Fruit Products Co. has one of the best equipped and most complete canning, evaporating and preserving plants in the state, and provides a good market for all products not shipped. The year 1909 was not a good fruit year, but the shipments from Decatur amounted to 18 car loads of apples, 1,800 crates of cantaloupes, 22,000 crates of strawberries, 4,000 crates of blackberries, 3,500 pounds of miscellaneous truck, 26,000 pounds of poultry, 850 cases of eggs of 30 dozen each, 10 car loads of cattle and 15 car loads of hogs. Large quantities of fruits were consumed by the cannery and of these there is no record. Within three and one half miles of Decatur are 300,000 apple trees, 180,000 peach trees, and more than 600 acres of strawberries and blackberries. The country adjacent to Decatur is one of small farms intensely cultivated and the money returns obtained per acre are large, in some cases astonishing. The strawberry growers get an average of $100 per acre from their crops, but the exceptions are worthy of record.

Decatur has made a steady growth from year to year and now has a first class cannery, costing about $30,000, a bank with $35,000 to $50,000 deposits, an excellent graded school in a modern brick school building, costing $10,000, some fifteen or twenty mercantile establishments, housed in modern brick or concrete buildings, a large concrete shipper's warehouse, fruit packing houses, concrete block factory, waterworks, electric lights, etc., etc. During the year ending June 30, 1909, there were built 12 dwellings, costing $12,000; 14 mercantile buildings, costing $50,000; two factory buildings, $3,000; a new hotel, $1,500; park improvements, $800; street improvements, $600; new telephone improvements, $600. Two mercantile concerns with stocks aggregating $7,000 opened up for business.

Nine new farms were opened up on the adjacent lands and 75 acres of land were cleared, the improvements, including houses, fences, etc.; amounted to $6,000. In all 105 new people have settled on farms.

The country round about Decatur is undulating, and traversed by numerous small water courses fed by springs. The creek bottoms as a rule are small and narrow, but are highly fertile, the soil being splendidly adapted to the cultivation of potatoes, berries, commercial truck and all the field crops of the country. The red or chocolate-colored uplands are unexcelled for the production of fruits, berries, grapes, etc., and produce abundantly the domestic grasses which are sown for pasturage. It has been observed that the highest points are best suited for peaches, while the apple will do well on nearly all the lands. Loose gravel is found in some places, but this is considered an advantage, as it does not interfere with cultivation and tends to hasten the maturity of the crop.

Under proper cultivation these lands yield very good crops of corn and small grain. Nearly all the country in the vicinity of Decatur was originally covered with growth of hardwood timber, consisting of various kinds of oak, some walnut and other timber. There is a ready sale of this timber in various forms and the income derived is generally more than sufficient to pay the cost of clearing the land where this is necessary.

While general farming and stock-raising are carried on here profitably, as everywhere else in the Ozark region, the ready money crop is fruit of one kind or another. The "Big Red Apple" and the Strawberry generally buy the bank stock in this section, and as a commercial crop are as dependable as a source of continued income as any other crop. Apples are grown and handled as a commercial proposition and are usually sold long before the crop has matured. About fifty trees are grown to the acre, and a mature tree should readily produce an income of $2, or $100 per acre. Fruit which does not meet the market requirements as to form, size and color is either canned, evaporated or converted into cider or vinegar, and if the market is slow is placed in cold storage until the price is satisfactory.

About 500 acres are planted in strawberries and raspberries; blackberries, cherries, plums and peaches are grown more or less extensively and shipped with other fruits in car load lots. The peach acreage is large but the yield is more or less uncertain. About four crops are obtained in six years, but these crops are exceptionally valuable when they are obtained.

Highly improved lands in the immediate vicinity of Decatur are valued at prices ranging from $50 to $200 per acre, the higher price being for mature bearing orchards, with houses, barns and fences. Unimproved or partially improved lands range in price from $10 to $35 per acre. Where convenience for quick and easy hauling of fruits to the railway station is not the principal consideration and where general farming is preferred, unimproved lands can be had for $8 to $15 per acre.

  1. Kansas City Southern Railway Company, Benton County Arkansas, Kansas City, MO, 1905

Nearby Towns: Gentry City • Gravette City • Springtown Town •