History of Hico / Siloam Springs Originally titled "Indians Preceded White Men In Settling Siloam Springs" By J. Dickson Black - The Benton County Democrat January 8, 1975, now the NWA Democrat Gazette.
The Indians were the first people to make their home at the springs, around which the town of Siloam Springs has grown up.
Simon Sager was the first white to live near the springs. He came in 1835 and built his log cabin one mile west on what is now called Sager Creek. As soon as he had his house up, he started the Methodist Church. This was the first church in the western part of the county. He preached regularly in his home until he was killed in 1864.
In 1844 C. D. Gunter moved here from Tennessee and bought a large farm laying on both side of Sager Creek and near the springs. He later started a general store. At that time the Hico post office was two miles away but it was moved to his store in time, and the town of Hico started.
When the war came along, Gunter and his family left and the town died out for a few years. He came back and restarted the community in about 1865. Then until 1879 Hico was a small village and a good trading place and had a good mill.
In 1879 John V. Hartgrove who owned the land around the springs had the land surveyed and layed out a town. It was to be a health resort and he named it Siloam City. He gave many of the streets the Biblical names they still bear today.
John D. Hartgroves opened a general store as soon as the town was layed out. There was a big boom and by the spring of 1881 Siloam City was made a second class city and had a population of over 3,000 people. It didn't make the grade as a health resort, and when the railroad didn't come in as they had planned, people started leaving fast. Soon there were less than 1,000 people living in town.
This is a photo of the Simon Sager's cabin from Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.
The first newspaper, "The Sun", was started in 1880. From then on there was always a paper but it changed hands and names many times. Today Siloam Springs is the only town in Northwest Arkansas with two weekly newspapers.
The name had soon been changed from Siloam City to Siloam Springs, and the post office in Hico was moved there.
The town made very little growth after the boom was over until 1894. Then the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf railroad was built through the town. In the next two years the population doubled.
The first church to be built in town was the Congregational Church. Soon there was a dozen or more churches of various faiths.
The first school started as soon as the town did. It was a free three month school held in vacant store buildings. The Congregational Academy was started in the 1880's; and the Siloam Springs Academy began just after that. In 1898 the Arkansas Conference College was founded. Out of these grew the Siloam Springs public school system.
This is a postcard of the Arkansas Conference College in Siloam Springs
Siloam Springs was located in a very good place and the town has grown over the years. They have many industries, as well as a good number of stores and businesses.
In 1920 the John Brown University was opened and it too has grown and is now a leading parochial school.