According to local historian Donette Smith in her book
Valley Springs Arkansas: Through the Years, the area now
known as Valley Springs was settled by the Rowland
family from Tennessee around 1830. Attracted by “three springs of flowing water, lush prairies, forests, and rich farming land,” the Rowlands settled on 160 acres and built a large two-story log home. They were eventually joined by other settlers, the springs being the place where residents got their fresh water and travelers on the main east-west route through the area (now Rally Hill Road) stopped to refresh themselves.
In its heyday in the early 1900’s, Valley Springs had a Post Office, general store, barber shop, doctor, drug store, canning factory, mill, blacksmith shop, a used car dealership, gas station, and garage.
The coming of the automobile and the construction of Highway 65 between Little Rock and the Missouri line made travel easier, and economic activity began consolidating in the larger towns. Most of the local businesses died out, leaving only a post office, gas station, a few churches, city offices, a fire station, a city park (where the original Rowland Family cemetery is located), and the Valley Springs School.
One thing the community of Valley Springs has done very well for nearly a century and a half is education.
Soon after the Civil War, three learning academies were established in Boone County, at Bellefonte, Rally Hill, and Valley Springs (all, incidentally, within the present-day boundaries of the Valley Springs School District). Around the turn of the century, Valley Springs emerged as the leader of the three, and in 1912 the Methodist Church established the Valley Springs Training School. In 1922 the first organized high school was started as a cooperative boarding school, where students did campus chores and worked a 160 acre farm to pay expenses. Students were paid 15 cents an hour for their labor. At the end of each month, expenses were pro-rated and students rarely had to pay more than $12 a month.
The school grew and evolved over time so that now its pre-K through 12th grade campus, with a mixture of modern and historic buildings, houses one of the highest performing academic programs in the state.
The town itself remains a small, close-knit farming community that loves its school and proudly supports its Valley Springs Tigers.
Click here for the website of Valley Springs’ award-winning school