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Holiday Island is a planned retirement community in northwestern Carroll County, a few miles north of Eureka Springs (Carroll County) near the Missouri state line. Located along a portion of Table Rock Lake, which is part of the White River, Holiday Island consists of roughly 4,500 acres and has a population of more than 2,000.
Northern Arkansas was long considered the hunting land of the Osage, who lived to the north in what is now Missouri. By 1825, the Osage had been removed west to what is now Oklahoma, and settlers began attempting to farm the forested rocky slopes of the Ozark Mountains. Hugh Bandy acquired land along the White River at the state line in 1861; the area was generally known as Bandy’s Bend. With the development of Eureka Springs late in the nineteenth century, more people began to explore the remoter parts of Carroll County. Reportedly, a man named Banach purchased land near the White River and built a house that included facilities for his employees to use as a vacation spot.
The U.S. Congress approved funding for dams on the White River in Arkansas and Missouri in 1941, but World War II and then other projects following the war delayed construction of Table Rock Dam until the 1950s. Construction of the dam began in 1954, and the lake—most of which is in Missouri—was completed by 1958. Electricity is generated by water moving through the dam, and the lake is known for providing fishing, boating, and other recreational activities. Tourism became the primary industry of the area, and developers began looking for land to purchase.
Robert McColloch (who is most famous for purchasing the London Bridge, dismantling it, and reassembling it in Arizona) was the principal developer of Holiday Island. Lemuel H. Tull, Lee R. Reddick, and August Damon applied for the formation of the Holiday Island Suburban District and were named commissioners of the district in July 1970.
The developers donated one acre of land to Grace Lutheran Church, which was formed in 1972 by twenty-six Lutherans. A Presbyterian church was formed in Holiday Island in the 1990s. There are also two Baptist churches and a community church. In addition to building homes, the developers created two golf courses, a marina, a shopping center with more than forty businesses and services, and a recreation center. As of 2014, plans were being made to build an industrial park in Holiday Island. The area also has two assisted living facilities, a campground, and several motels and rental properties.
Holiday Island is served by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department but has its own fire department with three fire stations. There are more than a dozen restaurants and several organizations, including an Elks lodge, fishing clubs, golfing groups, a Red Hat society, and a genealogy club. Two newspapers were created in the community: the Holiday Islander, which began publishing in 1984, and the Holiday Island Regional News, which began in 1996. The Islander was sold and ceased publishing around 1998.
For additional information:The History and Families of Carroll County, Arkansas. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company, 2003.
Holiday Island, Arkansas. http://www.holidayisland.com/ (accessed May 3, 2014).
Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District. http://holidayisland.us/ (accessed May 3, 2014).
Lair, Jim. An Outlander’s History of Carroll County, Arkansas, 1830–1983. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing Company, 1983.
Steven Teske Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Last Updated 6/4/2014
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