A Brief History of Rogers, Arkansas

Rogers street scene ca. 1910. Photo courtesy of Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

Rogers is a city in Benton County, Arkansas. It is located in the Ozarks and is part of the Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Area, one of the fastest growing metro areas in the United States. Settlers began to arrive in the vicinity of what is today Rogers around 1830. Most came from the Upper South states, especially Tennessee. The foundation of the local economy in the mid-1800s was subsistence farming, with tobacco as the main cash crop. The many streams in the region provided power for grist and lumber mills, and abundant timber allowed early industrialist Peter Van Winkle to establish a lumber empire near the hamlet of War Eagle, east of what is today Rogers. Rogers celebrates May 10, 1881, as its birthday, the day the first train pulled into town to be greeted by an enthusiastic crowd. The town with an estimated population at incorporation of 600 people was named for Captain Charles Warrington Rogers, general manager of the Frisco. The railroad advertised the Rogers area across the Midwest, and as newcomers from states such as Iowa and Illinois arrived, Rogers began to grow. The town owed its growth to the fact that it was both a local trade center and a major shipping point for apples and apple products. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, orchards surrounded Rogers. Along the railroad tracks were produce houses, apple evaporators where apples were sliced and dried, and an enormous apple cider vinegar plant. Poultry growing and processing became important in the 1930s and remain so today. In 1962, Sam Walton opened his very first Walmart Inc. store in Rogers, and today many residents work for Walmart Inc. or for one of the many Walmart Inc. vendors with offices in northwest Arkansas (Bland, 2018). 


Citation

Bland, Gaye. (2018, Nov. 16). Rogers (Benton County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas. net.