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Highfill (Benton County)

Latitude and Longitude:

36°15'41"N 094°21'28"W

Elevation:

1,352 feet

Area:

18.167 square miles (2010 Census)

Population:

583 (2010 Census)

Incorporation Date:

July 17, 1958

Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:

1810

1820

1830

1840

1850

1860

1870

1880

1890

1900

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

-

-

-

-

-

92

80

92

84

379

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

583

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highfill is a town in Benton County that has been shaped by the area’s changing transportation needs. It emerged due to railroad construction in the early twentieth century and is now home to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.

Jason Woodward and Silas Gorden acquired land shortly before the Civil War in the area that would become Highfill. The town was named for Hezekiah Highfill, a Civil War veteran who bought land near Woodward’s and Gorden’s tracts of land in 1885. All three families established apple orchards on their land.

A community called Hoover—reportedly named for Stanford University student Herbert Hoover, the future U.S. president, who surveyed the area in the early 1890s—existed a mile or two south of Highfill’s orchard. Construction of the Rogers Southwestern Railroad, linking Rogers (Benton County) to Siloam Springs (Benton County), bypassed Hoover, and the population moved to the town platted on Highfill’s land adjacent to the railroad.

The community of Highfill was platted on March 30, 1906, and received a post office in 1907. A railroad depot was built with loading yards for shipping apples. The new community also had a general store, a hardware store, a grocery, and a blacksmith shop. A Methodist church was built in 1908, and a Baptist congregation was established in 1910.

The railroad was acquired by the Arkansas, Oklahoma and Western Railroad. Nearby schools included a school at Hoover and one at Pleasant Hill (also known as the Douglas School). These were replaced by a public school built in Highfill in 1911. A two-story hotel was built around the same time. The community was described as a booming center of commerce, but Highfill declined quickly after the railroad went bankrupt in 1914. The rails had been removed by 1918. The post office was closed in 1943, and the Highfill School District was consolidated into the school district of Gentry (Benton County) in 1948.

In 1958, the eighty residents of Highfill voted to incorporate as a town. This enabled the community to receive natural gas service from Arkansas Western Gas. The Methodist church was destroyed by fire in 1970, but a new building was completed later the same year. In 1979, a volunteer fire department was established in the town of Highfill.

In the early 1990s, as plans were developing for a regional airport, the town government annexed 7,000 acres east of the original town of 1,000 acres. Ground was broken for the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport on August 10, 1995, and the airport was dedicated in 1998.

With the establishment of the airport, Highfill grew to nearly 600 residents. Police, water and waste water, and streets and maintenance departments were created, and a children’s shelter—funded by donations from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation—was opened in Highfill. The abandoned school building was converted into a community center.

In 2015, Highfill had two restaurants located in the airport and a grill in the older part of town, as well as an automobile business, a gas station, and a construction firm on state Highway 12 in Highfill. Because the post office has not been reopened, residences and businesses in Highfill have addresses listed as Bentonville (Benton County).

For additional information:
Black, J. Dickson. History of Benton County, 1836–1936. Little Rock: International Graphics Industries, 1975.

Blankenship, Clara. “Highfill Baptist Church.” Benton County Pioneer 39 (Fall 1994): 50–52.

Elliott, Cassie. “Highfill: Apple Orchards to XNA.” Benton County Pioneer 47 (Third Quarter 2002): 11–13.

Highfill, Arkansas. http://www.highfillar.net (accessed May 15, 2015).

“History of the United Methodist Church, Highfill, Arkansas.” Benton County Pioneer 16 (Spring 1971): 33.

Jines, Billie. Benton County Schools That Were. Vol. 5. Ozark, MO: Dogwood Printing, 1996.

Steven Teske
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

Last Updated 12/19/2016

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