A Brief History of Gentry, Arkansas

Packing peaches at Gentry, Arkansas, ca. 1900. Photo courtesy of Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System.

Gentry began as a rural Ozark agricultural community in Benton County, Arkansas. The name of the town was changed from Gentry to Orchard City on November 1, 1897, but was changed back to Gentry on April 1, 1900 (Journal, 1897; Journal, 1935). Located in western Benton County, it was known for its apple orchards and other produce. The town began to grow when the Kansas City Southern Railroad was constructed through the town. The railroad proved important to Gentry (Wikipedia, 2019) and in 1904, the city of Gentry shipped twenty railroad cars of strawberries to buyers throughout the country. Other growers from Siloam Springs, Decatur, and Gravette brought the total shipments to fifty railroad cars, netting the area $50,000 of income from strawberries (Democrat, 1904). During the 1930s, the fruit industry began to decline and Gentry, as well as many other areas of northwest Arkansas, shifted its economy towards poultry industries. In 1937, Highway 59 was built, running through the city north and south. It remains the main highway through the city, linking Gentry with other west Benton County communities (Lancaster, 2012).

(Journal, 1897)


(1897, Oct. 1). Gentry City is No More. The Journal-Advance, p. 2.

(1904, May 26). $50,000 Income for Berries, Splendid Report at Close of the Season in Gentry District. Arkansas Democrat, p. 2.

(1935, Jan. 3). 40 Years for The Journal-Advance. The Journal-Advance, p. 1.

Lancaster, Guy. (2012, May 16). Gentry (Benton County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas.net.

Wikipedia. (2019, Jul. 9). Gentry, Arkansas. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org.

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