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Springdale City

Washington County, Arkansas

Springdale City Hall is located at 201 Spring Street, Springdale, AR 72764.
Phone: 479‑750‑8114.


Beginnings [1]

Springdale was first settled in the late 1830s, more than a decade after the legislature formed Washington County on October 17, 1828. Early residents, many of the Primitive Baptist faith, chose the site for its proximity to a large spring that supplied water to the community. To meet their religious needs, the devout organized Shiloh Church in 1840 and the small settlement soon became known as "Shiloh." By 1843 members had constructed a log church on land donated by William D. Quinton and named Reverend John Holcombe as their regular pastor. Holcombe constructed a home and maintained a wagon shop in Shiloh, but few other residences or businesses existed in the Shiloh community prior to the Civil War. When the threat of conflict arose, the reverend and his family fled to Texas, and all of Shiloh, including the church, was burned. However, Holcombe returned to Shiloh in 1868, rebuilt the church, and platted the town site for the first time. By 1872 the town boasted 28 families and five businesses, making it large enough to petition for a post office. However, it was discovered that there was another community in Arkansas named Shiloh, so another name had to be chosen. Sarah Reed Meek, wife of town leader James Meek, suggested a name inspired by the area's natural water supply: Springdale, short for "springs in the dale."

Springdale continued to grow throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century. On April 1, 1878, an order of the county court declared the incorporation of "the town of Springdale." By 1880, the community boasted a relatively modest population of 249, but this changed dramatically with the arrival of the railroad the following year. The St. Louis&San Francisco Railroad constructed a line through Springdale in 1881, transforming the town from a sleepy hamlet of Primitive Baptists to an agricultural and economic center. In a symbolic departure from the past, Springdale's downtown moved from its original location at what is now the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History to its current location around the railroad tracks on Emma Avenue. The 1890 United States Census showed that the town's population had more than quadrupled from the previous decade to 1,146.

Since perishable crops could now be delivered to market much faster, fruit cultivation became an important part of Springdale's economy. In 1886 a stock company of forty men founded a cannery in the town to process some of northwest Arkansas's bountiful fruit and produce harvest. Just two years after opening, the factory increased its production from 3,000 to 10,000 cans a day in order to keep pace with demand. Springdale also became home to some newly-formed agricultural associations. Among these was the Western Arkansas Fruit Growers' and Shippers' Co-operative Association, an organization dedicated to the development of fruit growing in the region, which established their headquarters in Springdale on June 30, 1888. By the turn of the century, Springdale was buzzing with economic activity generated by Washington and Benton counties' 3.2 million apple trees.

Springdale's fruit economy reached its peak around 1910 when Washington and Benton counties boasted 4.3 million apple trees, but this prosperity would not last. Ideal growing conditions gave way to insects, drought, and frigid weather during the 1920s, dealing a blow to the region's apple orchards from which they would never recover. By 1930, the number of apple trees in the two counties was just 1.8 million—less than half what it was the previous decade. Dejected and penniless, many apple growers gave up cultivation entirely and invested in the region's emerging poultry industry. While this transition was difficult for many of the area's farmers, it proved hugely beneficial to Springdale poultry men Jeff Brown and John Tyson.

  1. Springdale Poultry Industry Historic District, Springdale, Washington County, nomination document, 2011, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, www.arkansaspreservation.com, accessed January, 2013.

Nearby Towns: Bethel Heights Town • Cave Springs City • Lowell City •