Booneville, located in the foothills of Mount Magazine, is a city in Logan County, Arkansas. The area that is now Booneville was originally inhabited by the Osage Indians with the first white settlers arriving in the area in the early 1820s. Walter Cauthron, an early explorer, built a cabin and a store, and the town was born. By the 1885 census, there were several small communities in the area. These include Barber, Blaine, Blocker, Booneville with a population of 275, Briar Creek, British, Caulksville, Chismville, Creole, Driggs, Dublin, Ellsworth, Hobart, Idel, Ione, Magazine, Morrison Bluff, Paris, Prairie View, Revilee, Roberson Landing, Shoal Creek, Sugar Grove, Titsworth Landing, and Trouble Hill.
There is equal consensus on whom the city was named after. Daniel Boone was a friend and kinsman of Colonel Logan, the Father of Logan County, and some believe the city is named after Daniel Boone in honor of that relationship. Others believe the town was initially called Bonneville by Walter Cauthron, the city’s founding father, in honor of his friend Captain Benjamin Bonneville, then stationed in Fort Smith, with the name and spelling being officially changed at a later date..
The town grew rapidly in the late 19th century, thanks to the arrival of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad in 1887, later sold to Rock Island Railroad, which provided easy transportation for goods and passengers until the line was officially shut down in 1980. In 1938 President Franklin Roosevelt visited Booneville by train as part of the Arkansas Centennial Celebration and the President’s Whistle Stop Campaign.
Booneville fast became an important center for agriculture, with cotton and corn being the primary crops. The town also had a thriving timber industry, with several sawmills in operation. In later years the city saw a growth in factory production, being home to Ace Comb Factory and many others.
Booneville became a county seat in 1833, and in 1837, the Petit Jean Post Office was established. The first courthouse was built in the early 1900s, and in August of 1909, the first patient was admitted to the Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium. The Sanatorium housed TB patients through 1971.
During the early 20th century, Booneville suffered from the decline of the cotton industry and the Great Depression. Many of the state parks surrounding Booneville were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. These parks are still maintained, and continue to provide enjoyment and recreation to Logan County residents. Today, Booneville is a small but thriving community with a population of around 4,000 people.
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