Batesville, Arkansas

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Josephine Street in the fall

Lyon College

Batesville is the largest city in and the county seat of Independence County, Arkansas, United States,[1] 80 miles (183 km) northeast of Little Rock, the state capital. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 9,556.[2] The city serves as a regional manufacturing and distribution hub for the Ozark Mountain region and northeast Arkansas.



Batesville is the second oldest municipality in the state of Arkansas, after Georgetown. It was named for James Woodson Bates who settled in the town and was the first territorial delegate from Arkansas to the Congress of the United States. The town has also gone by the names of Napoleon and Polk Bayou.

In early days, Batesville was an important port on the White River and served as an entry point to the interior of northern Arkansas. Batesville played a large role in the settling of the Ozark Mountains region and served as the central land office for northern Arkansas.

The first known settlement of the Batesville area was in 1810 near the mouth of Polk Bayou, and by 1819 the town had a ferry across the White River and about a dozen houses. The town was partially laid out in early 1821, and on March 3, 1822 a bill of assurrance was recorded and executed and the town's plat was laid out. Batesville became the county seat in 1821. In January 1822, Judge Richard Searcy opened the town's first state circuit court. The town's first post office was established in 1822, and in 1830 became the home of a county court. On 25 September 1836, shortly after Arkansas was granted its statehood, Governor Conway incorporated Batesville Academy, the state's first academy. In the past, the area in and around the city had extensive quarries of manganese ore, phosphate rock, sandstone, limestone, and marble.

Batesville currently has only one high school within the city limits, Batesville High School. Also, Batesville is the home of Lyon College, a top-tier private liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and noted for the annual Arkansas Scottish Festival each spring. In addition, the city is home to the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville(UACCB), and NASCAR driver Mark Martin. It contains three National Register Historic Districts and many properties separately listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was listed in Norman Crampton's 1992 book The 100 Best Small Towns in America, ranking at #74.

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