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Salesville (Baxter County)


Latitude and Longitude:

36°14'43"N 092°15'55"W


676 feet


4.464 square miles (2010 Census)


450 (2010 Census)

Incorporation Date:

January 25, 1968

Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:





























































Salesville is a city in Baxter County that remained a small unincorporated settlement until construction of the Norfork Dam. The city is located a few miles north of the city of Norfork (Baxter County) on State Highway 5. Salesville was incorporated in 1968.

Salesville is named for John Sales, who moved to Arkansas from South Carolina before 1860. His first land grant was received in May 1860. He built a house near the Old Salt Trail, a road used to transport salt and other staples that had been shipped by steamboat to the Jacob Wolf House on the White River and were on their way north to customers in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. John’s wife, Peggy, made and sold yellow cheese and a medicinal salve, both of which were highly regarded in the area.

The community slowly grew around the property of John and Peggy Sales, and it was known locally as Spencer or simply Sales in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Nenives Patterson, the first blacksmith to settle in the area, was given free land by John Sales. A two-room schoolhouse was built around 1900. A post office was established in Sales in 1941 but was given the name Ellis. It closed in 1953.

The post office likely served temporary workers who began construction of Norfork Dam on the White River in 1941. Norfork Lake began to fill in February 1943 and quickly became a haven for fishers and tourists. Businesses related to tourism were created in and near Sales. After the school district was consolidated into the Norfork school system, the school building in Sales became a community center in 1952. Creation of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery in 1957 provided more jobs to local workers and also drew more tourists into the area.

The residents of Sales voted to incorporate as the city of Salesville in 1968. Leo Pitchford was elected the first mayor of Salesville. The community center became the city hall of Salesville in 1972. Five years later, a volunteer fire department was formed, using the former city hall to store its trucks and equipment. A new city hall was built in 1991, with a four-bay city garage added to it in 2001. The Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary sponsors a holiday breakfast and auction every December to help fund the department.

In the twenty-first century, the city’s businesses include a trout fishing resort, rental cabins, a grocery store, a liquor store—one of the few in northern Arkansas that is open on Sundays—and a business that supplies scuba equipment. The population of Salesville in 2010 was 450, including twenty Hispanic residents.

For additional information:
History & Families, Baxter County, Arkansas. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company, 2003.

Messnick, Mary Ann. History of Baxter County, Centennial Edition, 1873–1973. Mountain Home: Mountain Home Chamber of Congress, 1973.

———. “Salesville, Arkansas, the Rest of the Story.” Baxter County History 23 (October/December 1997): 112–115.

Steven Teske
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

Last Updated 1/24/2017

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