Back To Our Roots: The History Of Glenwood, AR

Glenwood’s history is intertwined with that of the lumber industry. From the very beginning, Glenwood’s lifesource has been dependent on the success of lumber mills in the area. For this reason, we are proud to be apart of bringing this still thriving industry back to the area that put Arkansas on the industry map.


Early Beginnings

The town can trace its roots back to the early 1900s, when construction on the Gurdon and Ft. Smith railroad and the vast area of pine sparked interest in investors. Once the construction was under way, many lumber mills were built in the area. Caddo River Lumber Company, led by Mr. Thomas W. Rosborough, was built just a few miles north of Amity. The A.L. Clark Lumber Company and another lumber company from Louisiana also moved into the area.

Curt Hays and Will Fagan, two local businessmen, laid out a new town site that straddled the train depot, and the village of Glenwood was born. It was named for the beautiful scenery that surrounded it, and the name hasn’t been changed since.


Glenwood: And Overnight Boomtown

Growth in the community skyrocketed. By 1907, the Glenwood post office replaced the old office at Rock Creek and the population had reached 250 people. By the following spring, the village voted to become an incorporated town, and by 1910, the population had grown to almost 770 people.

Just fourteen years later, the Memphis, Dallas, and Gulf Railroad (MD&G) laid down new tracks between Glenwood and Hot Springs. This development made Glenwood one of the centers of the south Ouachita Mountains lumber industry, as well as a major railroad junction. This brought an economic boost to the town, leading to another population spike.

The next several years brought several churches, a number of new businesses and a telephone system to the town. By 1920, almost 900 citizens lived in the community. The A.L. Clark Lumber Company also aided in the growth of Glenwood. They built their own community surrounding its mill, adding many houses, a community building, and eventually the Glenwood Special School District. What is currently US 70 was paved between Glenwood and Hot Springs, increasing its importance as a transportation hub and a growing regional trade center.


Overcoming Disaster

The Great Depression brought hard times to Glenwood, almost deteriorating it as fast as it had grown. In 1922, the Caddo River Lumber Company bought the A.L. Clark Company mill and expanded it. In June of 1936, however, a lightning strike caused a massive fire that burned most of the mill complex. The company chose not to rebuild the mill, instead relocating to Oregon, taking many families with it.

Thankfully, many modest lumber operations were opened in the wake of the tragedy, keeping the town alive, but the population significantly declined.  

Glenwood saw the beginning of its first revival in 1940, when the Arkansas Slate Manufacturing Company built a large mill just north of the town. Around that time, a new manganese processing plant was opened west of town. These both gave the local economy the boost it needed to get the town back on its feet.

World War II brought another wave of people and businesses to Glenwood as extensive mining for Mercury began in the area. By the late 1940s, Bethel, Bonnerdale and Rosboro schools all consolidated with the Glenwood district, necessitating new facilities in the early 1950s.

Our Roots: The Curt Bean Lumber Company

Industrial growth really took off in Glenwood during the 1970s, bringing the population up to over fourteen hundred by the end of the decade. During this period, the Curt Bean Lumber Company, at the time one of the nation’s largest independently owned lumber producers, put down roots in Glenwood.

By the turn of the century, Glenwood had transformed into a thriving small town in Arkansas. The Glenwood Country Club opened, the Caddo River became one of the most popular canoeing streams in Arkansas, and the Glenwood School District consolidated with that of nearby Amity to form the Centerpoint School District, which is still a prominent school district in the area.

The Bean Lumber Mill became the heart of the town, providing many families with work and supporting the town’s expanding population and economic growth. It is that legacy that led us to reopen this iconic part of Glenwood’s past, transforming it into Caddo River Forest Products.

We hope that with the reopening of the mill, we can be the catalyst that brings families and economic growth back to Glenwood, just as the Bean Lumber Mill did during the 1990s. We are Caddo River Forest Products, and we are proud to have roots in Glenwoods past while helping it grow towards its future.

For more information about us, our history or how you can be apart of the Caddo River Forest Products team, please send us a message!