The central Arkansas community of Vilonia’s name came about as a result of a typographical error, according to Ernie Deane’s Arkansas Place Name. In his book, Deane says: “Pioneer settlers in the early 1860s used the name Vilsonia, said to mean ‘Land of Two Valleys’ and [was] chosen members of a Masonic lodge there. A request for a post office, when approved by postal authorities, was returned with the name spelled Vilonia.”
Like many towns in Arkansas, Vilonia started as a farming community. As businesses were established to serve the needs of the farmers, the town began to grow. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, “George W. Harris erected a cotton gin powered by steam and a gristmill to grind corn into meal. Oscar Simpson owned the first drugstore. R. B. Evans was Vilonia’s dentist, and one Mr. Davis was the town’s miller. A Dr. Carr served as the community’s first medical doctor. The 1870s saw the emergence of the first mercantile businesses in town.”
Vilonia was incorporated on August 23, 1938, under Mayor Thomas Henry Hill.
Today there is still a little agriculture but no other industry in the town. People who live here work in nearby Conway and Little Rock. During the 1990s the town nearly doubled in size due to the excellent educational system and family friendly neighborhoods.
The Lester Flatt Memorial R.V. Park at nearby Otto is a popular gathering place for all types of music lovers. A full slate of concerts is held each season and highlights gospel, bluegrass and country music. Some even offer workshops. The park has covered pavilions; concessions, one of which serves full meals in season; restrooms and showers. A four-acre lake offers crappie and bass fishing and small boats are available to guests for rent.
Vilonia is located approximately 40 miles northeast of Little Rock in Faulkner County.