Learn About The History Of Rogers AR


The City of Rogers AR is located in Benton County with a population of 55,964 according to the 2010 census. Located within Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metropolitan area, it’s rated as one of the fastest-growing areas in the US.

History Named after Captain Charles W. Rogers

The town was founded in 1881 which is the same year the Frisco railway line arrived. Charles Rogers was appointed the Vice President and General Manager of St. Louis – San Francisco Railway or Frisco. As one of the most important officials in the town, residents decided to honor Charles Rogers by naming the city after him. If you visit the Centennial Park at Rogers Historic District downtown, you will come across Frisco’s caboose which is an important symbol of the city’s railroad history.

Establishment of War Eagle Mill

Before the railway line arrived in Rogers AR, the Blackburn family had already established themselves. If you are not familiar with Sylvanus and Catherine Blackburn, they built the first mill – War Eagle Mill. He built it in 1832 having chosen its present location so as to use War Eagle Creek to power the mill. After completing the first mill, Sylvanus Blackburn sent for his wife, Catherine. They built a home on a hill which stands till today.

The first mill was washed away by heavy rains 16 years after they built it while the second mill was burned down in 1862 during the American Civil War. This was followed by the burning down of the third mill in 1924. Before that, the third mill consisted of a gristmill and a sawmill. Woodcut in the sawmill was used to build the majority of Fayetteville in Arkansas. This includes the Old Main located on the University of Arkansas campus.

The fourth mill was built by Mr. Jewel Medlin in 1973. He and his wife searched for the blueprints of the third mill which they used to build the fourth mill. Slight modifications were made such as the addition of the undershot waterwheel which was used by Sylvanus himself 100 years before. Today, it is still powered by an 18-foot cypress waterwheel. Currently, the mill is owned by the Roenigks and continues to educate visitors about its rich history as they enjoy its famous soups, beans, and cornbread. At the end of the visit, visitors can take home organic grain, cereal, and flour.

The First Business in Rogers AR

The first store was opened by the Stroud family – Allen B. Stroud and son – in 1879. It was located in Pea Ridge, Arkansas. At the time, Stroud served as the postmaster at Pea Ridge. After 5 years, Allen Stroud’s son sold his interest in the business and went to establish a storefront close to the north side of the 100 block of Walnut Street.

In 1899

Allen Stroud built the first brick building located at 114 – 116 Walnut Street. This allowed Stroud to serve the larger community. The establishment continued to prosper becoming one of the largest businesses in Rogers AR.

In 1912

The city council of Rogers AR held a meeting that led to the formation of a commission. The commission was composed of local business persons who formulated plans to help uplift the city. The first project was the paving of downtown Rogers AR. It began in 1924 after several delays. Concrete was first used and then overlaid with bricks. This resulted in the basket weave pattern. Paving was completed in December 1924.

The Birth of Wal-Mart

Sam Walton – the founder of Wal-Mart – established his first store in 1962 after working several years in retail management. The store was located seven blocks from Stroud’s business. Sam Walton merged retail centers that included aged downtown malls and shopping centers. This eroded Stroud’s customer base resulting in the closure of his business in 1993. The store had been in existence for 109 years.

Present Day Rogers

Today, the City of Rogers AR is home to historical museums, two shopping malls, and numerous landmarks registered on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also home to five of the largest sports parks, twelve neighborhood parks, 26 athletic fields, two lakes, and the largest cavern system in Arkansas. The largest state park in Arkansas, the only mill in Arkansas, and a historical Civil war battlefield can be found in Rogers AR too. Visit the City of Rogers AR portal to learn about places to visit.