Located in the foothills of the Ozarks and along the shores of the White River, Batesville holds the title as the oldest existing city in Arkansas. The city can trace its recorded history to 1804 when a squatter was reportedly living in a log cabin where the Poke Bayou enters the White River.
The first post office in town was the "Poke Bayou," which opened in late 1820. The town was surveyed a few months later and called Batesville, a name chosen in honor of James Woodson Bates, the first Arkansas territorial delegate to Congress. The city of Batesville is now the county seat of Independence County.
Today Batesville attracts a wide variety of visitors through its diverse selection of attractions.
The Historical Downtown District contains one of the largest clusters of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Arkansas. These include buildings such as the Melba Theater, constructed in 1875 as an opera house. The theater was recently renovated and now serves a unique movie theater.
Just south of town, the Batesville Motor Speedway has become the premier dirt track racing destination in Arkansas. From March until September every year, the track fills the Locust Grove area with the rumble of race cars from around the country. NASCAR legend and Batesville native Mark Martin got his start here. In fact, a state of the art museum was built nearby in honor of the NASCAR Hall of Fame star Mark Martin and houses many of his trophies, race cars, uniforms, and other racing mementos.
Batesville is also home to the campus Lyon College. Every April the college celebrates its Scottish Heritage with the Arkansas Scottish Festival.
The award-winning Batesville Community Center and Aquatics Park opened in June of 2017 have become a great destination for special events, conferences and those seeking a water park experience in North Central Arkansas.
Outdoor recreation has become the true calling card for one of most geographically diverse areas in the state. Hunting, rock climbing, fishing, caving, hiking, camping, and boating are all available to those seeking adventure in Independence County.
The town is conveniently located within 50 miles from Heber Springs, Greers Ferry Lake, Mountain View, Blanchard Springs Caverns, The Ozark Folk Center State Park, Jacksonport State Park, Horseshoe Bend and the Spring River.
The heavy concentration of retail, dining and lodging opportunities make Batesville the ideal destination or launching pad for any adventure in North Central Arkansas.