The History of Centerton, AR

The early 1900’s were a booming time for Centerton as it was the processing center for Benton County’s Apple industry. Distribution of apples was made easier when the Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad Company created a line from Rogers, AR to Grove, OK, with a stop at what is now McKissick Spring. The line was completed in 1898, and the city was laid out on January 8, 1900. When the community sought incorporation, citizens learned that the name Center Point was already being used by a city in Howard County, so the name was changed to Centerton. Even before the city was incorporated in 1914, it was growing rapidly. A branch of the Bank of Bentonville was established in 1905, and, by 1907, the city had four apple evaporators, a vinegar plant, and several apple storage sheds, as well as two general stores (our building!), a blacksmith, a drugstore, a lumberyard, and two doctors. The city rapidly added a cooperage shop producing white oak barrels for storing and shipping apples, two hotels, and a Masonic lodge. The log schoolhouse was replaced with a wood-frame school in 1911; about five years later, that building burned to the ground, but a brick schoolhouse was in place by 1917.

Centerton acquired the nickname “Apple Capital of the World” when its produce won prizes at the World’s Fair in Paris, France, in 1900. Four years later, at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, the Coffelt apple (named for the Centerton farmer who had developed the hybrid) won top honors. The Appleby factory in Centerton also built a cannery for tomatoes grown in the central part of Benton County.

Apple diseases led to a decline in the local crop even before the Depression caused a downturn for the city. The Bank of Bentonville branch closed in 1932, and the railroad ceased operating through the city. In 1936, Centerton was surviving as a small village. The economy gradually improved in the Centerton area during and after World War II. The success of the poultry industry in northwest Arkansas, along with the establishment of what is now Walmart in Bentonville in 1950, brought new jobs into the region.

The History of The Ravington

The Boon family added another building to the general store and over the years 293 Main Street was a grocery store on one side and a hardware store on the other. Centerton residents recall buying all of their days to day items including their Levi jeans at Boon Bros.  In the 70’s, the north building had large vats of dye were “lucky” rabbit’s feet were dyed to be made into kitchy keychains. After the rabbit factory, there was a hair salon, an auction house, a Methodist church, then Stubbs’ Main Street Treasures Antique store.

In September 2015 the building was purchased by High school sweethearts Eric and Amber originally from Northwest Arkansas. The Gustafsons spent 14 years in Los Angeles where Eric worked as a musician, finish carpenter and a builder of fine furniture. Amber founded Amber Events, an upscale wedding and event planning business that planned weddings all over the world.

The Gustafsons opened a new chapter in its long history. The Ravington is a unique, elegant, funky, fun, versatile, artistic, and dramatic location to celebrate a wedding, host a charity, have a fashion show, showcase talent, impress clients and vendors, and inspire team members.