From Boardwalks To Bank Robberies, Cave Springs Has A Colorful History
Cave Springs Colorful History by Billie Jines (1985) Newspaper of publication unknown
The Cave Springs Homecoming next weekend, Aug. 10-11, not only will be the regular every-five-years event, but it will be a Diamond Jubilee for the town. It was 75 years ago, on March 8, 1910, that Cave Springs was incorporated and signed into effect by County Judge W.E. Hill.
City records indicate that the first city mayor was John Hartman and first city recorder was H. Leonard Stroud (not the same man as H. L. Stroud of Strouds of Rogers). Others whose names as mayor were found affixed to ordinances included C. E. Bezanson, J. P. Lackey, Thurman Bohart, J. E. Smith, J. P. Flanagan, Wallace Venters, Howard A. Deason, W. G. Boyd, Carl Shores, E. E. Fagala, Sherman Buell, Loy Yount, Ed Curtis and present mayor, Darrel Marsh.
The town "sauntered " up from the area of the dual springs and its impounded waters. That area earlier was known as Cannon, honoring a miller named Martin A. Fincannon. Residents received their mail at the Elm Springs Post Office until the Cannon Post Office was established in 1888 with John H. Farrar as postmaster. He was followed by these postmasters: J. B. Willis, 1889, Martin A. Fincannon, 1890; George W. Gambill, 1894; Joseph B. Willis, 1895; Altaon A. Bartlett, 1896; Elijah L. Allen, later in 1896; and Wilton M. Bartlett, 1898. The Cannon Post Office ceased to exist in 1906.
On March 2, 1908, the Cave Springs Post Office was established with Hugh C. Stroud as postmaster, followed by Isaac W. Chastain, 1914; John P. Allison, 1919; Cyril Flack, 1920; George A. Stroud, 1925; Benjamin H. Fagala, 1926; Mrs. Delia Fagala, 1961: and the present postmaster, Martha L. Rakes, 1962.
The name "Cave Springs" had come into usage before the post office, through. Deed records show that in 1879 E. L. and Ellen A. Allen had, for $12, deeded a tract of land in what today is near the heart of Cave Springs to "School District No. 68." It was called Cave Springs School long before a post office by that name existed. Later, a much larger schoolhouse was erected a few blocks south, and came to include elementary and high school before it was consolidated with the Bentonville School District. All Cave Springs students now attend school in Bentonville, if they are in public schools.
View of Main St. in Cave Springs
The beautiful springs gushing from twin caves were, of course, what first attracted early settlers. The late Reba Highfill Oakley once wrote that E. L. Allen was the first to dam up these waters and establish a grist mill there. He came there in 1878, but there no record as to when that first dam was built to form a much smaller lake than today's. The dam washed out in time, and later the Barletts, A. A. or his son, W. M., acquired the springs and built a concrete dam downstream.
One of several mills that were located by the spring
It broke in 1912, and for a time there was no lake, just a return to the stream. A fine new dam was built in 1914, and the lake renamed "Loch Lono" in honor of W. M.'s daughter. The present dam, still further downstream, was built by E. L. Keith, who renamed the impoundment "Lake Keith." The dam serves as part of the roadbed for Arkansas Highway 112, which runs through Cave Springs from Bentonville to Fayetteville.
An image of the early dam built in 1914 show in this scene. A few years ago, the lake was drained and the whole dam was to be seen for the first time in years. As you drive by the lake, the top of this dam can still be seen.
For years now, Barron Collier has been the owner of the springs, lake and adjoining land and developments, which include a trout hatchery. The Cave Springs caves, however, have recently been purchased by The Nature Conservancy and the Arkansas Natural Heritage and Cultural Commission to ensure protection of endangered gray bats and cavefish dwelling there.
The several million gallons of water flowing daily from the caves once supplied the town of Cave Springs, through contract between the city and Keith. In more recent years the city contracted to buy Beaver Lake water.
In capsule form, here are a few of the pages and chapters from the town's heritage that may creep into the conversations of those attending this year's homecoming:
The boardwalks still remembered by Lucille Coberly, and the move to Cave in 1905, recalled in a letter once written by her brother, the late Arland Stroud. And to homefolks, the town is usually referred to as "Cave," rather than "Cave Springs."
There was the Fagala Sorghum Mill started in 1902 by W. M. Fagala and his son, Luther. Moving from the power of horses to that of gasoline and on to electricity, it served the community 40 years and hit one all-time high production year by turning out 5000 gallons of molasses.
The old apple evaporator, managed by a Mr. Beard, furnished work for local folks in the era when King Apple ruled Benton County. Its location was taken over in time by the blacksmith shop operator Frank Rozar, and today is the site of the Lakeview Baptist Church.
One of many orchard found in the Cave Springs area
When the apple industry gave way to the poultry industry, the innovation in the Cave Springs area was led by Arland Stroud and the Glover family. Sitting in his picture-book lovely home in the heart of Cave the other day, Lester Glover recalled how his sister, Edith Bagby, first involved their family when she started hatching chicks in the small home brooder, and how his father, John J. Glover, led the turn to poultry, followed, followed by Lester, himself, in the buying and marketing of the poultry.
And then, there was the Bank of Cave Springs. Like so many banks in the Depression, it went out and never came back, but it left behind on of the more colorful sagas of the town's history: the locally-famous bank robbery. There still are residents and former residents who remember the sack of silver that fell off the robber's horse and how the wrong route out of town led to a field where farmers were at work and how one white-haired lady ran out into the street and shamed the robbers and told them to take the money right back where they got it.
Cave Springs as a railroad center might be hard for the present generation to imagine, but the old rights-of-way are evident still along some of the routes. Started in 1905 and into operation in 1908, the Arkansas, Oklahoma and Western (AO&W) went from Rogers to Siloam Springs with stops at Hazelwood, Cave Springs, Springtown and Highfill before making connection with the Kansas City Southern; and turning Cave into an exchange was a branch line from Cave Springs terminating at the old fairgrounds in Fayetteville with stops in Elm Springs and Tontitown.
The train depot at Cave Springs early 1900's
And there's more: The day 3,000 persons attended a baptism of 65 people in the lake.
This is an image of the below noted event
And there's more: The day 3,000 persons attended a baptism for 65 people at the lake; the oldest business in town, Shores Hardware and Propane, that goes far back of the 1930 date that it was purchased by the parents of the present owners, even back to a time no one can remember - back before Sherman Buell or L.J. Haire or Mr. Mitchelll or Mr. Ferguson or Roscoe Hobbs; and the Cave Springs Band playing near the springs on summer Sundays and impromptu gathering of townspeople to the spot.
Reminiscing will be a factor in the Sunday afternoon "birthday party" to be held at 2 p.m. at the Cave Springs Community Building, with Eddie Shores leading a sing-along and the American Legion handling the flag ceremony. But first there will be Saturday, with a parade at 10 a.m., the barbecuing of 800 chickens and two pigs at City Park, with the firemen starting the serving at $2.50 a plate at 11:30 and continuing on as long as anyone's hungry, and then the afternoon antics of the firemen as they entertain the public with a "Firemen's Muster." More chicken, more pork may still be available.
Making up the planning committee are Eddie Shores, Pat Simpson, Iris Ford, Darrell Marsh, Darrell Wright and Mrs. Bob Reams. They and all the others helping put the homecoming together hope all you former residents and other friends of Cave Springs will come out to join in on this 75th birthday homecoming for their town.