Bluff City


In order to stay on paved roads, the Camden Expedition Scenic Byway passes through Bluff City and White Oak Lake State Park to Poison Spring State Park before entering Camden.

The Route

▷ We previously visited Moscow, ending on Arkansas 24 at the junction of Ash Street, about 0.7 miles southwest of the junction of US 371/US 67 in Prescott, which is our starting point.
▷ Arkansas 24/S Main Street at Ash Street, Prescott ARTravel eastward on Arkansas 24 for 18.4 miles, passing the Arkansas 299 junction shortly after entering Bluff City.
▷ Bluff City Cemetery, Arkansas 24 at Nevada 27, Bluff City ARThe Bluff City Cemetery is on the left (north side). Return along Arkansas 24 about 0.3 mile to the Arkansas 299 junction.
▷ Arkansas 24 at 299, Bluff City ARTurn left at Arkansas 299 and travel 500 feet.
▷ Arkansas 299 at Arkansas 387, Bluff City ARPrepare to turn left onto Arkansas 387.

▷ This brings us to the next point of interest, White Oak Lake State Park.

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This brings us to the next point of interest, White Oak Lake State Park.

Bluff City

Bluff City is a small town that existed at the time of the Civil War in Ouachita County. It appears on the map of Civil War Arkansas produced by the Confederate engineers working out of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Bluff City History

With the formation of Nevada County in 1871 from parts of Hempstead, Ouachita and Columbia Counties, Bluff City's location changed to Nevada County near the line with Ouachita County. It got its first post office in 1876 and developed schools that attracted students from the surrounding area. It acquired doctors and businesses in the latter decades of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century before changes in the economy, the consolidation of schools and better roads encouraged shopping, seeking medical care and working in larger towns. Bluff City was incorporated in 1966 and had a population of 244 in the 1970 census. The population increased to 292 in the 1980 census but has gradually declined in the intervening decades to 124 in the 2010 census, a not unfamiliar pattern in small rural towns in the region that are away from railroads or busy interstate highways. The citizens of Bluff City today live along Highways 24, 299 and 387 and along Nevada County Road 27 on the north side of the town. Bluff City has churches but almost no active businesses except the U. S. Post Office.

Bluff City in Civil War Times

Bluff City saw no fighting in the Civil War, but it is only about ten miles from the Poison Spring Battleground State Park which commemorates one of the bloodiest and most decisive fights of the Camden Expedition. The Union Army entered Camden--about twenty-two miles from Bluff City--on April 15, 1864, and immediately sought desperately needed supplies for its men and livestock. On April 17, a supply train left Camden and advanced toward White Oak Creek west of the city in search of corn before they were ambushed by Confederate forces on April 18th. For reasons of convenience and proximity, the Byway will proceed to White Oak Lake State Park and Poison Spring Battleground State Park before going to Camden.

Bluff City Cemetery

Bluff City Cemetery

The large cemetery along Highway 24 on the east side of Bluff City is a testimonial to the longevity of the town. The earliest marked grave in the old section of the Bluff City Cemetery is that of Charlotte Howard Fresby (or Frisby) who died at the age of thirty-two on October 23, 1863, exactly five months before the start of the Camden Expedition. Some 65 other graves in the Old Section have only stones or illegible markers. Despite these difficulties, this large cemetery with its old and new sections is well maintained. It is about half a mile east of the point where the Camden Expedition Scenic Byway turns toward White Oak Lake State Park.
Cemetery Survey of Old Section
Cemetery Survey of New Section
Photo by Peggy Lloyd

Up Next

This brings us to the next point of interest, White Oak Lake State Park.