Hot Springs, Arkansas, has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century because of its natural hot springs. In fact, the area was designated as Hot Springs National Park in 1921, making it the oldest national park in the United States.
Lafayette County, located in southwestern Arkansas, has a rich and diverse history that spans back over centuries. The area was originally inhabited by various indigenous tribes, including the Caddo, Osage, and Quapaw, who relied on the region's fertile land and abundant resources.

European settlement in Lafayette County began in the early 1800s, with pioneers coming primarily from Louisiana and other parts of Arkansas. The county was officially established in 1827 and named after the Marquis de Lafayette, a French military hero who fought alongside American forces during the Revolutionary War.

During the 19th century, Lafayette County experienced significant growth and development. It became an important center of agriculture, with cotton being the predominant crop. Slavery was also prevalent in the area, and many large plantations were established.

The Civil War had a profound impact on Lafayette County. Although the county was predominantly pro-Union, it was occupied by Confederate forces for much of the war. The county also saw a number of skirmishes and battles, including the Battle of Pine Bluff in 1863. The end of the war brought significant changes to the area, including the emancipation of enslaved people and the decline of the plantation economy.

In the years following the Civil War, Lafayette County underwent a gradual shift towards a more diversified economy. Agriculture remained important, but other industries such as timber and oil also began to play a role. Today, Lafayette County continues to be a vibrant community, with a mix of agricultural, industrial, and recreational opportunities for its residents and visitors.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Lafayette County, Arkansas.

  • 1827 - Lafayette County is created by the Arkansas Territorial Legislature.
  • 1830 - The first settlement is established in the area that would become Lafayette County.
  • 1838 - The county government is organized.
  • 1861-1865 - Lafayette County experiences the effects of the American Civil War.
  • 1900 - The population of Lafayette County reaches its peak at around 11,000 residents.
  • 1930s - Lafayette County suffers from the effects of the Great Depression.
  • 1942 - Construction of Lake Erling begins as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project.
  • 1955 - Lake Erling is completed and becomes a popular recreational area.
  • 1960s - The population of Lafayette County begins to decline due to rural outmigration.
  • 1976 - Historic Washington State Park is opened, showcasing the area's rich history.
  • 2000 - The population of Lafayette County is recorded at around 9,900 residents.