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The Arkansas landscape is dotted with small towns that were at one time area commercial centers. Many, such as the Pope County town of Famous, have long since disappeared. Little remains of this once thriving unincorporated settlement, which was located approximately six miles west of Dover (Pope County) near present-day State Highway 333. By the 1920s, the name had been changed to Mooretown.
John Thomas Moore moved his family to the area in the late 1800s, building the first house in what would eventually become Famous. He was also the first merchant, establishing the first general store. In time, the Moore family would dominate the commercial activity in the area. In 1897, a U.S. post office was established in the Moore store.
The growth of the settlement was mainly due to the business initiatives of the Moore family. By the early 1900s, the Moore family had added a cotton gin and grist mill. People from miles around brought their cotton and grain to be processed. By this time, several houses had been constructed, and a Baptist congregation was holding services.
In the 1920s, the Moores again expanded their business operations. The store was enlarged, and a sawmill and a planer were constructed. The family employed many local residents in their large farming operation and commercial enterprises. It is believed that the population numbered about forty at the time.
When the family opened a store in nearby Dover, a sister was left to run the Famous business. The growth of Dover, located on a busy highway, eventually hastened the demise of the small town. By the 1940s, the cotton gin, sawmill, and grist mill were all moved to the more prosperous Dover. Not long afterward, the store was closed, ending the commercial history of Famous.
No records have been discovered that relate the origin of the settlement’s name. By the 1920s, long after the post office had been discontinued in 1905, the name had become Mooretown.
Today, there are few indications that Famous ever existed. The Moore house is long gone, and all that remains is physical evidence of the foundations of some of the commercial buildings.
For additional information:History of Pope County, Arkansas. 2 vols. Topeka, KS: Josten’s Publishing Company, 1979, 1981.
Trower, Kathy. “Famous Served as an Early Pope County Business Hub.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 22, 2002, p. 8R.
Mike PolstonEncyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
Last Updated 3/14/2012
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