Why not visit Bella Vista

Historical Museum?

We have a little gem in Bella Vista not a lot of people know about even though it’s in plain sight on U.S. 71. It’s the Bella Vista Historical Museum.

Whether you are a brand new resident or have lived here for over 20 years, there’s a lot of interesting history you can learn about Bella Vista by visiting the museum. If you work during the week, stop by on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon between noon and 4 p.m. If you have time during the week, the museum is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons also. Admission is free and there are all kinds of exhibits representing the past 100 years.

The summer resort around Lake Bella Vista was opened on June 20, 1917, by the Linebarger Brothers, who then sold it to Mr. Elzy Lloyd Keith in 1952. Everything north, east and west of the lake continued to be a farming community until Mr. John A. Cooper Sr. arrived in the early 1960s to buy up the farms, buy the lake and resort, and start a retirement village, which then became a city 10 years ago.

The museum has been totally remodeled in the past 4-5 years with a new room added and more exhibits. It’s amazing what a couple dozen volunteers (no paid staff) have done with this museum, yet some afternoons, the docent for the day will have no visitors at all. So if you have said to yourself “One of these days I’m going to stop in there, but it’s always closed when I go by,” remember it’s closed only on Monday and Tuesday. You have another five afternoons to visit.

Through the end of June, we are running a contest to see which docent can have the most visitors, with the prize being a dinner for two for the docent who wins. Our docents range in age from 18 to 90, both men and women, and they are all hoping to win the contest. So we would really like to see everyone who has never visited the museum or hasn’t visited recently to stop in. We are right next door to the American Legion at the corner of 71 and Kingsland, one mile north of the Dairy Queen. You’ll make our docents very happy to be able to show you what we have in this museum of which we are so proud, and maybe you can help one of them win a dinner for two!


Bella Vista


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