Wishing Spring Ranch
A short history of the southern most boundary of old Bella Vista
as originally published in the Bella Vista Vista, January, 2013 
by Xyta Lucas
The building in which Wishing Spring Gallery is housed, at Highway 71 and County Road 40, is over 70 years old...
it is housed in a barn that was made into a dairy barn in 1941 by C.A. Linebarger, who, with his brothers, had opened the Lake Bella Vista summer resort in 1917.  
Originally the land in that area was one piece of property that straddled Highway 100 (now Highway 71).   The old route was just east of the current highway, with a pond sitting in what would now be the middle of Highway 71.  The pond was removed when Highway 100 was relocated a short distance to the west. 
Up on the hill to the west above the 71/CR 40 intersection (next to the land for sale above Lowe’s), an old barn stands alone, but with a spring just north of it,
over which Linebarger constructed a spring house.  It was used for food storage, and he also piped water from it down the hill and over to a concrete tank in the Wishing Spring dairy barn.   Those pipes were torn up and that all stopped, however, when Highway 100 was relocated. 
How Linebarger decided on the name Wishing Spring is unknown, but when
he decided to build the dairy barn across the road in 1941, he named it Wishing Spring since its’ water source was the spring up on the hill across the road.
In 1952, the Linebarger Brothers sold the Lake Bella Vista resort to E. L. Keith, and a few years later, Keith also bought the Wishing Spring dairy farm from C.A. Linebarger.   Linebarger kept the farm up on the hill, first naming it the “112 Ranch,” since it was located on Highway 100 and he had 12 head of cattle on it, but later he changed the name to the “Wishing Spring Ranch.” 
When John Cooper, Sr., decided to built a vacation retirement village in the area and began buying up farms in the early 1960’s, he bought the Wishing Spring dairy farm from Keith.  In 1971, Linebarger gave the Wishing Spring Ranch across the highway to Andy Davis, E. L. Keith’s nephew who had moved to Arkansas with Keith, and Andy willed it to his son D.A., who still owns it. 
The Wishing Spring dairy farm was also known as “Buffalo Flats” because a friend of John Cooper Sr. had given Cooper a pair of buffalo in 1966, and before long, the pair evolved into a herd.
 But by the late 1970’s the buffalo were gone and the barn was abandoned.
The Village Art Club was looking for a place to exhibit their members’ works of art and arranged with Cooper Communities to lease the barn.   After two years of hard work cleaning up and remodeling the barn, they op
ened the gallery in the fall of 1984.  Fifteen years later, in 1999, Cooper donated the building and the surrounding five acres to the Village Art Club, stating it was to be used for arts and crafts related purposes for the next ten years, and if that ceased, the property would revert to Cooper.  Once the ten years passed, the property became permanently owned by the Village Art Club.   At some point, the legal description of the property was changed to Wishing Springs, but the gallery still bears the original name of Wishing Spring.

C.A. Linebarger built the Wishing Spring Dairy in 1941.

Water was piped from this spring house up on the hill across the road to the Wishing Spring Dairy. 

This sign stood between limestone pillars at the entry of the Wishing Spring Ranch
across the road from the Wishing Spring Dairy.    Today it resides at the Bella Vista Museum.
Wishing Spring Dairy in 1941

Wishing Spring Gallery in 2011

Also sharing the old dairy property on the N.E. corner of  71 hwy and hwy 40
is Wal-Greens.  Lowes is on the S.W. corner and the old red barn on the hill
across from Lowes on the N.W. Corner was part of Wishing Spring Ranch.



"A Multi -Talented Bella Vistian"
A short history of Bella Vista resident, cartoonist, Henry Anderson,
as originally published in the Bella Vista Vista, January, 2013 
by Xyta Lucas


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 with all proceeds benefiting the Historical Society.



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