According to the Faulkner County Historical Society, the town of Mayflower is located in the middle of Muskogee Silt Loam, an area that originally belonged to the Choctaws. The tribe sold this land to the U.S. Government and moved to a reservation north of Conway. The earliest settlers arrived about 1778 and made camp near the mouth of Palarm Creek. This area provided wood to feed the maws of the railroad steam engines until 1893. The town’s first post office opened November 9, 1880, with Worley E. Vanlandingham serving as first postmaster
In his book “Arkansas Place Names,” Ernie Deane states “The construction superintendent of the Little Rock-Fort Smith Railroad, overseeing building of bridges, a roadway, laying of track, etc., made his office-on-wheels in a converted Pullman car.As all such cars did, this one had a name – Mayflower – and the superintendent used this as the identification place for sending and receiving telegraph messages. Twenty Mile Camp thus becomes Mayflower, permanently, although its location was moved in the 1930s because of highway rerouting. “The trains made regular stops at Mayflower Station until 1931.
The development of Lake Conway in 1948 was a boon to the Mayflower community. The lake, covering 6,700 acres, is the largest man-made Game and Fish Commission lake in the United States. It offers excellent bass, catfish, bream and crappie fishing. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission provides several free public launch areas with boat rental available at commercial docks.
Another outdoor haven near Mayflower is the Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area and Nature Trail.The nature trail is 2.25-miles in length and consists of two loops. Along the path observation blinds and lookout points allow visitors to view the wildlife habitats. Approximately 35 bird species are resident with another 75 or so appearing during the summer. Fall and winter are best for waterfowl on the area’s Grassy Lake. If native wildlife, such as reptiles, frogs, toads, white-tailed deer and other mammals, is the viewing prey, summer is the best time. February to November is when the wildflowers are at their best.
Mayflower, which is located halfway between Little Rock and Conway off Interstate 40, has a population of about 2,000 people.