Busch, AR - Carroll County

History of BuschBack to Top

Much of what we know of the historic community of Busch, Arkansas comes from a recent publication by local historian Terri Bradt. The first Busch Store was originally built in 1904 by Phillip Sheridan Mahan and his brother-in-law Joe Davidson on a tract of 160 acres of government homestead land. It would later be moved, as it was discovered that the building had accidentally been constructed on property belonging to their neighbor, John D. Walden. As the only trading post within 12 miles, Mahan wasted little time requesting a post office assignment, which was granted on April 10, 1905. Several possible names had been submitted for the new post office, including Mahan's wife's maiden name ("Delano"), and "Busch" - in honor of a man Davidson had worked for and respected very much. The government accepted the latter, and Mahan served as the first postmaster.

Mahan received his homesteading certificate in 1910, which must have been a relief with the explosive growth of the timber industry and the fierce land claim battles occurring in nearby Eureka Springs. Two years later, the deed to the store and post office was transferred to Dallas Dillard Walden, who then became the postmaster. Dallas didn't hold on to it for long, selling within the same year to James Adam Wyrick. The remaining land would be sold to C.S. Coberly in 1913. The store and post office changed hands yet again, with Dallas Walden buying it back from Wyrick. However, Dallas was reportedly killed by lightning the next day, and his widow sold it back to Wyrick once again. During this time of constant transition, a "kangaroo court" was established behind the store, but by 1915 the property would be back in the hands of Dallas Walden's widow, Samantha. Samantha served as postmaster in 1916 until she sold the store to Tom and Minnie Walden. Tom just happened to be a cousin of Dallas Walden, as well as the brother of her new husband, Webb Walden.

Regardless of which member of the Walden family was holding the deed, the Busch Store was becoming a popular stop for locals and tourists alike. The community also had its own schoolhouse prior to the school consolidation movement. With Claude Fuller pushing for a highway and bridge over the nearby White River in the 1920's, the decision was made to relocate the store closer to the road. Ernest Huffman purchased the property in 1930, and added a museum, rock shop, and auto camp - just in time for the paving of HWY 62. Electricity would arrive in 1938, as well as an airstrip. By 1960, the U.S. Corps of Engineers had begun work on the nearby Beaver Dam, and an influx of hopeful lakefront property owners arrived in Carroll County.

By 1961, the store was back in the hands of the Walden family. Smead Walden, the son of former own Tom, now held the deed, and his wife Mabel became the town's final postmaster. Five years later, the store was sold to Willard and Mary Russell. In 1979, the store closed. Mabel Walden continued to serve as postmaster until she retired in 1985, and the post office was closed. The area is sometimes spelled as "Bush".

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