Caddo Gap, some history

(originally posted Sep 2008)

This is a little piece I found on the web with some history of the town of Caddo Gap, formerely named Centerville.

Caddo Gap: Caddo Gap was first named Centerville. The area was first settled by Tula Indians and there is a statue here built by the WPA in 1936 recalling the most westward point DeSoto [sic] reached in the States in 1543. Note the feather is missing.The plaque on the base of the statue reads “DESOTO 1541 -A.D. Here Desoto reached his most westward point in the Untied [sic] States. Here was the capitol of the warlike Tula tribe of Indians who fought Desoto and his men. Relics found in this vicinity suggest the romance of past centuries about which history will ever be meager and incomplete. Arkansas State Historical Commission.”
The actual “gap” for the Caddo River occurs just above the Arkansas 240 bridge where the river passes through a narrow opening between the ridges, and so does Arkansas 8 and the railroad. The Caddo River is a good “family outing” float stream and the most popular float is the six-mile journey from Caddo Gap to Glenwood.


Another photo of
statue with
feather. without


In 1851 Balaam Strawn built a grist mil [sic] at the lower narrows on the Caddo River. Adjacent to this was a two story store, a trading store for furs, a blacksmith, a Methodist church and the Centerville post office post. John Shipp was the first postmaster. After the Civil War the name was changed and the post office was moved one half mile west due to the possibility of flooding. Middleton Reynolds had a grist mill here. David Bassinger built a log store, which was also a post office and the New Hope Masonic Lodge No. 42 met on the second floor, beside his large two story house. His daughter was Susan Shuffield and her daughters were Belle and Lue. William A. Hopper moved into the county from TN in 1851 and settled near Buttermilk Springs, later brought 160 acres in the Manfred community then a large bottom farm on the South Fork, later know as Gibbs farm and then the Ira West farm. He built a large house, a grist mill, cotton gin and a small store. After Bassinger died Hopper purchased the store. Reference: Extracted from an article written by the late
Julia Biggers, a former teacher for the Caddo Gap School, for the Glenwood Herald, Aug 19, 1971 and includes a photo courtesy of late Clarence Hopper of the Bassinger store.
Today the pine log Bassinger store built about 1855 is still standing but was moved to its present location in 1910.


Place names–Caddo Gap – Arkansas Gazette p.5F June 29, 1980
Towns vanish, memories cling: Caddo Gap, 1851 to 1906 by Biggers, Julia –
Record (Garland County Historical Society) 26:24-28a 1985 – history and families
Caddo Gap to have a niche in history Arkansas Gazette p.1C June 5, 1966
Picturesque Caddo Gap by Osra Cobb – Arkansas Gazette Magazine p.1 ; p.3 May 19, ; May 26, 1935
Highways and byways – Arkansas Democrat Magazine p.10 Sept 9, 1962
Caddo Gap, Ark.  Small-town basketball – Arkansas Democrat p.1E Dec 7, 1958 – Caddo Gap
The toll bridge on the Caddo by Otto Ernest Rayburn. Arkansas Historical Quarterly 13(2):160-163 Sum 1954. M. M. Chandler and the Narrows; 1870-1884, Chandler built and ran toll bridge at Caddo Gap.

Accessed at on 2008-09-14

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