History of Sherwood

A Timeline History of the City of Sherwood, Arkansas (1820 to 2015)

by Darrell W. Brown

1820- Benjamin Kellogg, a blacksmith and farmer originally from Pennsylvania, and his family settle in the area known today as Sylvan Hills.

1840- Precious minerals, such as silver, lead, and zinc, are discovered on Kellogg's land along the creek that would later bear his name. After confirmation from officials with the Arkansas Geological Commission, Thomas Newton, Sr., President of the Southwest Arkansas Mining Company, leases Kellogg's land and begins mining operations. The City of Argenta, Arkansas, (now North Little Rock) would take its name from these silver mines as "argentum" is Latin for silver.

1861- Newton's mining operations are shut down as the Civil War begins, and Confederate forces take over the mines, using the lead to make bullets.

1863- In September, Union forces take over the Kellogg Mines and destroy the Confederates' operations there.

1866- One year after the end of the Civil War, mining operations resume at the Kellogg Mines.

1874- John Hampton Lea and Annabelle (Smith) Lea settle on 500 acres in the area. They build a log cabin in the vicinity of present-day Powell Drive. Although misspelled, Lee Avenue in Sherwood is named for this family. Their family cemetery is located near the corner of Essex Street and Coolhurst Street in Sherwood.

1881- Frank and Mary Calva settle a large portion of land which covers most of the western area known today as "Old Sherwood." The original Calva homestead is built where Sherwood Elementary School is now. Calva Road in Sherwood is later named for them.

Frank and Mary Calva, Members of the Calva Family That Settled the Area in the 1800s

Frank and Mary Calva
1912- Julius Koehler, Sr. and his wife, Pauline, purchase and farm land located in the southwestern part of early Sherwood, where Koehler Avenue is today. Koehler Avenue in Sherwood is named for them.

1922- Julius, Sr. and Pauline Koehler's son, Julius Jr., along with his wife, Josephine, and their two daughters, Lorene and Pauline, move to the area to help their parents farm the land and raise cattle. The family begins the Koehler Dairy.

1923- John Wirges, Sr. and Mary Wirges start a dairy farm in the area where West Kiehl Avenue is now. Their son, John, Jr. and his wife, Florene, would also help run the family business. Former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator, James Clarke, purchases the land where the Kellogg Mines were located, and mining operations begin, again. Sylvan Hills Community Church is built along State Highway 5 (now Highway 107), on property donated by prominent central Arkansas real estate developer, Justin Matthews, Sr.

1925- The Koehlers are the first in the area to receive electricity.
1926- The Kellogg Mines are permanently closed. Matthews begins plotting a subdivision in the Sylvan Hills area, centered around Batesville Cutoff (now Kellogg), Miller, and Loop Road. The subdivision is intended to be a more rural version of his Park Hill subdivision in North Little Rock. Several homes are built on these streets, including homes Matthews' mother and mother-in-law on Miller Road.

Photo of the Kellogg Lead and Silver Mines in Sylvan Hills, Circa 1926

Kellogg Lead and Silver Mines
1927- Matthews builds the Sylvan Hills Country Club along State Highway 5 (Highway 107) to provide recreational opportunities for residents of the Park Hill subdivision, in North Little Rock, as well as residents of his planned community of Sylvan Hills.

September 1928 Magazine Ad for Justin Matthews’ Park Hill and Sylvan Hills Subdivisions Featuring the Original Clubhouse of the Sylvan Hills Country Club

September 1928 Magazine Ad
1936- The Justin Matthews Company builds a uniquely-shaped gasoline station on Trammel Road off Highway 67 per 167 for the Pierce Oil Company. The station would be known as Happy's Filling Station, and, later, as the Roundtop Filling Station.
1943- The Wirges Family purchases Koehler Dairy, including the Koehler home, 100 acres of land, 80 cows, several barns, and equipment.

Wirges Dairy Farm’s First Delivery Truck, Circa 1930s

Wirges Dairy Farm's First Delivery Truck
1947- In May, the first worship service of Sylvan Hills United Methodist Church is held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Rains. In December, a group of men meet in the home of Dennis and Ailene Duran to discuss the possibility of forming a civic club to begin the process of incorporation of the area. The group makes a poster, promoting incorporation, which is displayed in the front window of Wesley Wright's grocery store located on the corner of Oak Hill Avenue and Central Avenue (now Country Club Avenue).

1948- On April 22nd, Sherwood is officially incorporated as a town. On July 10th, Sherwood's first Mayor, Recorder, and Town Council are elected. Mayor Hal P. "Bob" LaCoste wins in a race of three. Joe Trussell is elected as Sherwood's first Recorder. Five men are elected to the Town Council: D.J Matthews (Ward 1), Joseph R. Harrington (Ward 2), D.V. Nave (Ward 3), Dennis D. Duran (Ward 4), and Floyd K. Noel (Ward 5). On November 23rd, the Town Council appoints Jack Matthews as Town Marshal and Dog Catcher. Matthews' appointment as Town Marshal would be the genesis of the Sherwood Police Department.

Sherwood’s first Mayor, Hal P. “Bob” LaCoste

Mayor, Hal P. Bob LaCoste
1950- In February, Mrs. George Martens starts Sherwood's first "newspaper," The Sherwood News, which is produced by volunteers and distributed freely in the city until 1972. In April, a campaign for Sherwood give to up its status as a town begins but is unsuccessful. On September 6th, Sherwood creates its own volunteer fire department.

1951- On September 22nd, the Sherwood Fire Department receives its first fire truck.

The Sherwood Fire Department’s First Fire Truck, Circa 1951

Sherwood Fire Department's First Fire Truck
1953- On January 8th, the Sylvan Hills Masonic Lodge is instituted under dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas.

1956- Sylvan Hills High School is established.

1959- The first graduating class of Sylvan Hills High School, comprised of 101 students, graduates.

1964- The Sherwood Voice newspaper begins as a grocery flyer and is published by the Anderson Family.

1965- In September, Harry Hastings, Jr., charters the First State Bank of Sherwood, Arkansas.

1966- In November, Sherwood receives it own post office. The Sherwood Post Office is located in a building leased from Dee Jay Hudson at the corner of North Hills Boulevard and Highway 107. Wirges Dairy is closed after the death of John Wirges, Sr.

1967- On January 6th, First State Bank of Sherwood opens for business. Construction on the new Sylvan Hills High School is completed.

1971- On October 27th, The North Pulaski Chamber of Commerce is started. In 1987, the Chamber's name would be changed to the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce.

1973- Sherwood's first public library is opened in the former City Hall on March 14th.

Sherwood’s First Flag, Designed and Sewn by Mrs. Rosa Cummings in 1976

Sherwood's First Flag
1976- Sherwood celebrates America's 200th birthday. Rosa Cummings designs and sews Sherwood's first city flag. Ailene Duran writes Sherwood's first history book, "The Signs Say Sherwood." The Sylvan Hills community is annexed by Sherwood.

1981- The City of Sherwood purchases its first computer - a Cromenco System III manufactured by Texas Instruments.

1985- The U.S. Postal Service opens a new postal facility located on Wildwood Avenue in June.

1987- The Sherwood Rotary Club is chartered on November 18th with 25 members.

1989- The Amy Sanders Library of the Central Arkansas Library System, which is named for longtime City Clerk Amy Sanders, opens on February 14th. Sherwood's first city hall, which was later used as a community building is destroyed by fire in August.

1990- In May, the University of Central Arkansas in Conway releases results of a study which names Sherwood as the "best place to live in Arkansas" out of 30 cities. Fred Rains TV and Appliance, famous for being "Sherwood's Only Skyscraper - Two Stories High," closes in October after 40 years in business.

1992- The Hudson Family's Sherwood Grocery closes in May after 45 years of business. The Sherwood City Administration Building on East Kiehl Avenue, which houses offices for the Mayor, City Clerk, Computer Department, and Engineering Department, is constructed.

1994- The City of Sherwood purchases Woody's Sherwood Forest from Jess Woods.

1995- President Bill Clinton dedicates the William Jefferson Clinton Elementary Magnet School in Sherwood on January 4th. The school is the first to be named in Clinton's honor. On July 1st, Sherwood receives its first citywide zip code from the U.S. Postal Service.

1996- The Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center, which is named for former Mayor Jack Evans, opens on March 4th.

1998- Sherwood celebrates its 50th birthday with an "old timers breakfast," time capsule ceremony, parade, and picnic.

2002- The Bill Harmon Recreation Center, which is named for Mayor Billy Jack Harmon , opens in May.

2006- The Keep Sherwood Beautiful organization is created in July.

2007- On July 31st, City Clerk Virginia Hillman wins a special election to become Sherwood's first female mayor.

Virginia Hillman Takes the Oath of Office as Sherwood’s First Female Mayor

Virginia Hillman Takes the Oath of Office
2008- In February, the Roundtop Filling Station is placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The community of Gravel Ridge is annexed into Sherwood on April 28th. In July, the City of Sherwood purchases the North Hills Country Club, which is later renamed The Greens at North Hills.

2010- On July 28th, The Greens at North Hills (originally the Sylvan Hills Country Club) is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2011- The new Sylvan Hills Middle School facility is officially opened in August.

2013- In January, Mayor Hillman creates the first Sherwood History and Heritage Committee. On April 22nd, Sherwood celebrates its 65th birthday with a celebration at the Jack Evans Senior Center. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe proclaims April 22nd as "Sherwood Heritage Day." On June 10th, Sherwood receives a $50,000 grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program for the rehabilitation of the Roundtop Filling Station.

The historic Roundtop Filling Station

The Roundtop Filling Station

2014- In June, Sherwood receives a second historic preservation grant in the amount of $78,000 for the continued restoration of the Roundtop Filling Station. On November 4, Sherwood citizens vote for a temporary 1.3 mill increase to fund a new branch of the Central Arkansas Library System. Mayor Virginia Young wins reelection as the city's chief executive.

2015- Beloved city father and World War II veteran, Bernard Olds, passes away at the age of 94 on February 3rd. Restoration work on the Roundtop is completed in March. Several new businesses come to Sherwood throughout the year, including Teletech, F.L. Davis Ace Hardware, and Whit Davis Home and Hardware.

2022 - Mary Jo Heye-Townsell defeating incumbent mayor, Virginia Young in a run-off election. 

Mayor Heye-Townsell