In 1870 a town site was laid out by the
Cairo & Fulton Railroad. This site was named Malvern, after
Malvern Hills Virginia. On October 15, 1878, Malvern officially
become the county seat of Hot Spring County. Before that date the
neighboring community of Rockport had been the center of the
county government. Original inhabitants of the county were Native
Americans, trappers, hunters, farmers and a few criminals who had
escaped across the Mississippi River.
Hot Spring County was formed in 1829
and encompassed many natural hot springs. With the formation of
Garland County, Hot Spring County was left with one spring
located in the Magnet Cove area.
During this period people traveled by
stagecoach, covered wagons, ox teams, and horses. When the
railroad was in working order, merchants began to move near the
modern transportation. The "Diamond Jo" railroad, built
by Joseph Reynolds, a Chicago industrialist, transported
travelers to and from Hot Springs, Arkansas. This was the only
railroad into Hot Springs for 15 years.
Some of the first businesses were dry
good stores, a ten-cent store, and a saloon. Later more
businesses and saloons were opened. Due to the saloon's
"shoot-up" episodes, Malvern held a reputation of being
one of the roughest areas in Arkansas. Despite this reputation
and the loss of the hot springs, Malvern and Hot Spring County
were still able to grow with the prosperity of diary, livestock,
timber, mining and manufacturing.
Some historic moments in Malvern and
Hot Spring County:
The first river bridge in
Arkansas, which was built in 1846 where the Military Road crosses
Ouachita River in Rockport. The bridge, however, washed out the
first governor of Arkansas, James Sevier Conway (1836-1840), lived in Magnet
U.S. Navy named a World War II ship the USS Malvern, Arkansas.
Visit the Boyle House
Museum for many displays and exhibits that tell the history of
Much of the above information was
supplied by a press release from the city of Malvern.