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Home / Browse / Briarcliff (Baxter County)
Latitude and Longitude:
1.8 square miles (2000 Census)
236 (2010 Census)
June 10, 1997
Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:
Briarcliff is a resort community located on Highway 5 between Mountain Home (Baxter County) and Norfork Lake. It is adjacent to the similar community of Salesville (Baxter County).
The first non–Native American family to live on the land that is now Briarcliff was the James Tracy family. They were descendants of a French veteran of the American Revolutionary War who had lived in both North Carolina and South Carolina before moving west to seek new farmland. Tracy arrived in northern Arkansas in the 1850s and purchased land in what was then eastern Marion County. According to family accounts, Tracy was murdered and his store pillaged by freed slaves during the Civil War. His son continued to farm the land after the war. Baxter County was created in 1873.
Norfork Dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, beginning in 1941 and continuing construction during World War II. The resulting 30,200-acre lake displaced many farms and a few small communities, but it created recreational opportunities including boating, swimming, and fishing. Developers began purchasing land near the lake and creating new communities and resorts. Briarcliff-by-the-Lake was developed in the 1970s as a retirement community. The development covers 1,200 acres and includes a park, a nature trail, and a small fishing lake stocked by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The city also owns and operates a clubhouse in the city hall complex with an adjacent community swimming pool and miniature golf course.
In 1997, the residents of Briarcliff-by-the-Lake voted to incorporate as the town of Briarcliff. In 2000, they voted to upgrade their incorporation status to that of a second-class city. This vote allowed them to establish a city council and to tax their property, funding a well and water system, a road maintenance department, and a parks and recreation commission. The city, which has a neighborhood watch program, hired a part-time marshal for ordinance enforcement and to supplement the protection provided by the Baxter County sheriff’s office. It is also within the protection area of the Tracy Area Fire Department.
Residents of Briarcliff patronize businesses in nearby Mountain Home and other cities of northern Arkansas. In the 2000 census, Briarcliff was reported to have 240 residents; in 2010, the number had dropped to 236, all of whom were white.
For additional information:History & Families, Baxter County, Arkansas. Mountain Home, AR: Baxter County Historical and Genealogical Society, 2003.
Wallis, Frank. “Briarcliff’s Beginnings Date Back to the 1970s.” Baxter Bulletin, June 9, 2009. Online at http://www.baxterbulletin.com/article/99999999/COMMUNITIES/80123012/Briarcliff (accessed May 5, 2012).
Steven TeskeButler Center for Arkansas Studies
Last Updated 7/6/2012
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