Bella Vista

Established in 1965, Bella Vista is a recreational community of about 24,000 people that offers a picturesque, activity-based lifestyle. Bella Vista has over $35 million in recreational amenities - including golf courses, 12 lighted tennis courts, eight lakes, swimming pools, paved nature trails, playgrounds and more. Golf is a big draw with eight, championship-quality courses available for play. Country clubs and theater are also popular. Use of most amenities is managed by the Bella Vista Property Owners Association, a private organization that acts as the village's local government. The association charges property owners a monthly assessment for use of the facilities. While it has primarily been an affluent retirement area, recent growth has diversified it with young couples and families. It was the first of a successful group of communities to be developed by John Cooper, founder of Cooper Communities.

Built in honor of Cooper's wife, the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista was created by renowned Arkansas architect E. Fay Jones. In 1990, Jones was awarded the American Institute of Architecture's highest award, the AIA Gold Medal. Designed to fit the environment, the Chapel contains large glass windows, bringing light, shadows and each season into the space. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week or by reservation for special ceremonies - weddings, renewal of vows, concerts, cultural events, baptisms and memorial services.

Jones created another well-known architectural chapel, Thorncrown Chapel, in the Victorian spa town of Eureka Springs.

Showcasing the history of Bella Vista is the Bella Vista Historical Museum, which features the 100-year history of resort town. Displays show the start of the resort community with Lake Bella Vista built in 1915 to the present-day incorporated city with more than 26,000 residents.

Tucked into the rolling hills of the Ozarks, the northwest Arkansas area consists of extensive hardwood forests, primarily oak and hickory that shelter large populations of wild deer, turkey, squirrels, birds, and other native animal species. In Benton County, Bella Vista is located on Ark. 71 between Bentonville and the Missouri state line.