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BELLA VISTA, ARKANSAS HISTORY CONT.

A HISTORY OF BELLA VISTA ARKANSAS THROUGH 
THE EYES OF THOSE WHO LIVED IT!

The idea for this page came from Karen Wilson, who's childhood visits to Bella Vista prompted her to share one of her fondest memories and some
 of her photos with us.  If you have any memories of Bella Vista that you'd like to share, or pictures from the earlier days, just email dustie@dustie.com!

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HISTORY PAGE 1, HISTORY PAGE 2, HISTORY PAGE 3

 
HORSE CRAZY
  by KAREN WILSON 
As a child, my family would go to visit our great great grandparents who lived on Cemetery Road in Rogers.  We made frequent trips to Bella Vista for horseback riding and swimming.   As a child, I was "horse crazy' (and still am) .  In the beginning, I always rode a sweet gray pony named Blue.  After several trail rides on Blue I was determined to ride a horse.  By this time the stable manager knew us well and he told my mom he had a nice little quarter horse I could ride.  As a very indignant and precocious  6 year old, I informed him that I did not want a 1/4 horse I wanted a whole horse. Thus was the beginning of my days of riding Sugarfoot ( my whole horse). 

There was  day when we arrived and Sugarfoot was available, but he was already saddled with an adult saddle.  The man whom I liked was not there and the other stable hand refused to take the time to change the saddles.  I was heartbroken, but I was much to small for the large saddle,  especially riding the hilly trails at BV.  We were driving out the lane when the "nice" man came up the road in his pick up.  He recognized our car and stopped to see what was going on.  After listening to our dilemma, he had us return to the barn where he changed Sugar foot's saddle and I had a wonderful ride.  He was my hero!

Karen on Blue, a Bella Vista pony

Karen and Joe on Sugarfoot,
a Bella Vista "Whole" Horse 

The "nice man" with Karen and Sugarfoot.  Could the nice man have been Andy Davis, the stable manager and trail guide during the "Keith" era? 

 
 

 Memories of the Early Cooper Bella Vista - by BILL MOORE 

I was born and grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and in September of 1968, we signed up for a free vacation offered by Bella Vista, Arkansas at our Oklahoma State Fair. Cooper had set up a booth in one of the Fair buildings and it sounded like a great deal. We could stay for 3 days and 2 nights with money to pay for gas for our car. If I remember correctly, Cooper offered something like $20 in gas money and all we had to do for all of this was take a tour - no strings attached. So we headed to Arkansas in the Fall and fell in love with Bella Vista. It was a kid's dream - free swimming, shuffleboard, miniature golf, admission to a real cave called Wonderland, and a picnic area called Blowing Springs. (There were no fees in those days and membership dues were less than $10 a month.)

We checked in at what we called the Big White House up on the hill overlooking the recreation area and the original lake. At that time, this was the only swimming pool and recreation area, but more were to come. Our home for the next three days was one of the new mobile homes Mr. Cooper had placed on the hillside opposite the Big White House, high above the old lake. We all played golf at the Country Club and I was barely the minimum age of 12 years old to play. This was another great dream in that we could play golf for free as well. Mom and Dad (Mary and Orval Moore) took the tour while my older brother, Rick, and I stayed in the recreation area and played. It didn't take long for Mom and Dad to find a lot they liked and signed the papers.

After that, Mom and Dad owned a travel trailer and each Summer we would spend a week or two camping at the Bella Vista campgrounds. I would bring my bicycle and ride to all of the fun activities - fishing at the trout farm, going to Wonderland Cave, hanging out at Blowing Springs or playing at the recreation center. That first Summer, my neighbor, Gaylon Thompson, came with me to enjoy it all as a guest and my Mom took lots of photos.
I cannot count all the trips we made to Bella Vista over the years. My Mom and Dad found a home for sale in 1983 and moved there full time. My wife and I made several trips with the kids over the years and they got to experience Bella Vista living like I did. I played every golf course and have been to all of the lakes and recreation areas. Mom and Dad played golf almost every day while living there and took advantage of all the social activities Bella Vista friends offered. In their later years, they moved back to Oklahoma City in 1996 to be near us. I have been back to Bella Vista a few times since then and am amazed at the growth in the Rogers and Bentonville area. It's nice to see the familiar Bella Vista when I head north on highway 71. Of course, the old recreation area is gone along with Hill 'N Dale, the Trout Farm and Wonderland Cave. But my memories are still fresh and I go back there many times in my thoughts. It was a great place and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Bill Moore
Oklahoma City

   
  Shuffle Board in Old Bella Vista  Old Bella Vista Swimming Pool 
  Old Bella Vista Trout Farm   

 

Buy the BOOK "From Vision to Reality; A History of Bella Vista Village from 1915 - 1993" brand new direct from the
Bella Vista History Museum being sold through Amazon.com with all proceeds benefiting the Historical Society.


HISTORY PAGE 1, HISTORY PAGE 2, HISTORY PAGE 3




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