History of Lavaca, Arkansas

Submitted by Deanie Osborne

Pictures courtesy of the Lavaca Museum, Jack James, curator

You can find another history of Lavaca HERE

Information taken from "THE KEY"

A Brief Record of the Founding of the City of Lavaca

The city of Lavaca, which is located on State Highways 96 and 255 in Sebastian County, was first known as MYERS LANDING but was changed to MILITARY GROVE in 1870 and was located one mile east of the present city on what was known as the Military road. The Military Road, built by a detachment of U. S. soldiers under the command of Captian Butler about the year of 1827, was the main transportation route between Little Rock and Fort Smith. Military Grove was one of the main stops between the two cities for people traveling this way. The village consisted of a general store and saloon combined, a blacksmith shop, post office and a cotton gin. In 1880 the community began to move to the present site of Lavaca, when J. M. Ingram built a small frame building where the Lavaca Clinic now stands, and became the first merchant of what was know as Oak Bower. A short time later, J. B. Harwood erected a larger store building nearby and became the first postmaster of Oak Bower in 1881. Perhaps the community recieved the name of Oak Bower because of the many oak trees there. Several of the great oaks of the period are still standing. So are some of the Civil War homes. Oak Bower's first railroad, which was completed in 1897, was built by the Arkansas Central Railroad Company. After it's completion the company had four trains running daily, which carried not only passengers and freight, but also brought the mail to Oak Bower on each train. The name Lavaca was derived from the spanish words Las Vaca meaning The Cow. There are conflictiong ideas when the name was changed to Lavaca. According to church bulletins prepared by Rev. Lynn Wade, Rev Elmus Brown and Rev. Lewis, fomer pastors of Lavaca Methodist Church, the name Oak Bower was changed in 1906. One page 91 in a Sebastian County Atlas, published in 1903, is a picture of Lavaca depot. On pages 705-707 of History of Arknasas 1889, Goodspeed Publishing Company, Chicago, the post offfices of Sebastian County are listed with the postmasters and date of appointment. MYERS LANDING: (Changed to Military Groave, 1870) MILITARY GROVE: (formerly Myers Landing) February, 1879 OAK BOWER (a mile from Military Grove) 1880-1881 LAVACA, (between 1881 and 1886)