History of Beaver, Arkansas

Golden Gate of the Ozarks Bridge and the train trestle

Beaver was occupied by several tribes of the Choctaw Indian Nation prior to 1847. It appears that a Choctaw certificate in the name of Ho-Yo-Ubbe for 320 acres of land, issued by the Secretary of War in pursuance to an Act of Congress on the 23rd of August 1842. The said land was surrendered by Joseph L. Dickson in full satisfaction for 320 acres and returned to the General Land Office by the Surveyor General.

Beaver traces its roots to 1847 when it was known as Rectors Place. Early in 1850, Wilson A. Beaver arrived from Tennessee and built a log cabin for his family, a grit mill, a ferry to cross the White River along with a Stagecoach Inn. For many years Beaver was known as Beaver Ferry. During the Civil War, Squire Beaver's house became known as the "Confederate House". He housed and fed Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Pea Ridge. Beaver Ferry became known as Beaver and was established four years before Eureka Springs. A Post Office was established and Squire Beaver was appointed as the first Postmaster on September 22, 1879, 20-years before the one in Eureka Springs.

A local quarry supplied stone for the major buildings in Eureka Springs, i.e. the Crescent Hotel, the Basin Park Hotel, and was used on the bridge at Fort Smith that crossed the Arkansas River, bridges across the Mississippi River at St. Louis and Memphis. There were some 400 employees who worked the Quarry.

Before building the railroad bridge at the Narrows, the Stagecoach and many horses and wagons had to be ferried across the river on their way to Missouri and points west. The Stagecoach stopped at the Riverview Hotel that was built and operated by Rome Swope. Squire Beaver sold the Beaver Ferry to Mr. Wilson who operated it for many years.

During the building of the railroad there was another town that sprung up across the river at the Narrows that became known as Brooklyn. There were some 30 Saloons and other buildings that housed some of the Quarry employees. The first train to cross the railroad bridge at Beaver was 1882.

The ferry continued until 1926, when a concrete bridge was built by the Carroll County road crew. This bridge stood until it was destroyed by flood in 1943. The present suspension bridge, now known as the "Little Golden Gate", was submitted for bid by the Carroll County Court in 1944. The contract was let to Pioneer Construction Company of Malvern Arkansas to construct the present suspension bridge on December 19, 1947, for a total cost of $107,785.93. At the same time, the Table Rock Dam was being built. The Corps of Engineers informed the Contractor that it was necessary to raise the construction some 40 feet; therefore the bridge was not completed until 1949. The bridge is now on the National Register for Historical Places.

In 1949, a Township was formed. The Township property line ran north to the Missouri line then ran West 50 feet, then along the White River South to the County Road. This Township stood until Beaver was incorporated in 1981. A new city limits was established within Section 19, and the former Township was de-annexed. Elections were held to elect a Mayor and Council. A Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1980 in order to protect the local citizens. The Fire Department was built by local members of the Fire Department to house the fire truck.

In 1981, the Corps of Engineers had intentions of closing the Beaver Recreational Park. It was felt by the Town Council that the Park would be an asset for the Town to support the Volunteer Fire Department. Beaver leased the Park from the Corps for one year to see if the Town was able to operate the Park at a profit. The Council felt that the Park would be an asset for the Town and the lease was renewed for another five years.

For many years, the Town depended on volunteers to fulfill the desires and needs of the Community by adding to the present Fire Station, built a new Post Office that would accommodate the handicapped, naming and building better streets and adding street lights. Built a City Office to secure City records and designating the Fire Station as a Community Building for Community activities.

In 2003, it became necessary to transfer the responsibility of the Town of Beaver Volunteer Fire Department, for lack of volunteers, to the Holiday Island Rural Fire Department to insure proper fire protection for the Community. The Town of Beaver transferred their trucks and equipment to the Holiday Island Rural Fire Department, although the Fire Station is not part of the transfer, it serves as a multiple purpose building as a Community Center and to house the Fire trucks and equipment.

History furnished by John Ratliff, Resident and former Mayor

Even More Beaver, Arkansas History

Located in NW Arkansas in the Western Carroll County on the White River, now known as Table Rock Lake, two miles from the Missouri State border, and eight miles north of historic Eureka Springs Arkansas.

Beaver was occupied by several tribes of the Choctaw Indian Nation prior to 1847. However, a Choctaw certificate in the name of Ho-Yo-Ubbe, issued by the Secretary of War in pursuance to an Act of Congress on the 23rd of August 1842, surrendered the said 320 acres of land which was returned to the General Land Office by the Surveyor General.

Beaver traces its roots to 1847 when it was known as Rectors Place. Early in 1850, Wilson A. Beaver arrived from Tennessee and built a log cabin for his family, a grit mill, a ferry to cross the White River, and a Stagecoach Inn.

The Beaver homestead was on high and level ground overlooking and including a picturesque arc of the White River where on the opposite banks of which rising sheer from the water's edge, are the famous Cedar Cliffs.

The dense green foliage of the graceful cedars appliquéd upon the limestone bluffs of dazzling white, forms a picture of striking and perpetual beauty - the same in winter and summer.

For many years Beaver was known as Beaver Ferry. In 1857, 40-wagons of the Alexander Fancher wagon train in route to California crossed the White River at Beaver. The train, containing more than 150 people, was attacked and the members massacred in southwest Utah in what became known as the Meadow Mountain Massacre.

During the Civil War, Squire Beaver's house became known as the "Confederate House" as he housed and fed Confederate soldiers who stopped seeking food and shelter. In 1862, with a remnant of his defeated army from the battle of Pea Ridge, Confederate General Sterling Price stopped at Beaver's home with their heavy artillery, ambulances, and wounded soldiers.

Upon the establishment of the stage coach line, probably soon after the Civil War, the Riverside Hotel was built and the Rector Log House was moved to the site and used as an annex to the Inn.

Before building the railroad bridge at the Narrows the stage coach, horses, and wagons had to be ferried across the river on their way to Missouri and points west. The stage coach stopped at the Riverview Hotel that was built and operated by Rome Swope.

Squire Beaver sold the Beaver Ferry to a Mr. Wilson who operated it for many years. Beaver Ferry subsequently became known as Beaver and was established four years before Eureka Springs.

A Post Office was established and Squire Beaver was appointed as the first Postmaster on September 22, 1879, 20-years before the one in Eureka Springs.

In 1883, the railroad opened with a run from Eureka Springs to Seligman, MO - a distance of 18.5 miles. Beaver was a stop on the route and became a fishing and picnic resort on the St. Louis and North Arkansas Railroad.

In the early 1900's, there were approximately 30 saloons operating across the river from Beaver in a small, short lived, town of Brooklyn. One of these saloons experienced a visit of the famous Carrie Nation (of Eureka Springs) who proceeded to destroy a significant portion of the saloon before being stopped.

In addition to the hotel, picnic and swimming areas, Beaver also had a floating dance floor for night entertainment. The ferry continued to operate until 1926, when a concrete bridge was built by the Carroll County road crew. This bridge stood until it was destroyed by flood in 1943. In 1949, the existing "swinging bridge" was built and serves the community to this day.

In the early 1960's, with the advent of Table Rock Dam and lake (which would make Beaver's White River into a lake) the Corps of Engineers developed the current public use area in a beautiful park overlooking the beaches of the lake, currently a Recreational Vehicle (RV) and camping park.

The town of Beaver has maintained and managed the park since 1981 and it currently has 33 RV sites, 10 tent sites, restrooms and showers, electricity, water, boat launches and swimming areas. The park is undergoing significant upgrading during the winter of 2005/2006 -- including 12 full hook-up's, updated water access and power amperage.

The park and Beaver area offers fantastic activities for families and outdoor lovers - including camping, boating (only a one day trip to Branson, MO by boat!), fishing, water sports, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, etc.

Hollywood has long recognized the history and beauty of the Beaver area. In 1982, the railroad bridge was featured in the movie Blue and Gray, a television movie about the Civil War. In 2005, the "swinging bridge" was featured in the Hollywood movie "Elizabeth Town".

It's a place you will never forget and hopefully return with family and friends.

Graphics of a Beaver