Bluff City is located in Nevada County around 30 miles east of Hope. Today, the small community has a population of around 150 residents.
The city dates back to about 1850 and probably reached its peak around 1910. There was a boarding school located there at the time that had students attending from several counties. The students boarded with local families while attending school.
There were four physicians in the city in 1912. Like most communities, it had general merchandise stores, drug stores, barber shops, churches and the school. The school was consolidated with Prescott in 1951. The population of the area was not always so small. There were 1,227 people in Union Township in 1920. This was a six square mile area which included Bluff City, the largest town. The area around Bluff City was a farming community and the farm families bought their supplies from the local stores. Several other small towns once existed within six miles of the town, but disappeared many years ago. These include the old communities of Theo, Foss, and Zama.
The Reader Railroad once operated a steam train which ran from Reader, which is two miles from the city, south to Waterloo. A movie crew filmed a movie in the area in 1976 using the train and various locations in the area for the movie. The movie was called "Boxcar Bertha" with Keith Carradine and Barbara Hershey. Part of the television mini-series "North and South" was also filmed there in 1985. Arkansas native Johnny Cash and Patrick Swayze were on set for the film. A large building, which is still standing but now vacant, was constructed on Ark. 387 for use in the film.
The soil around Bluff City is very sandy and well suited for most any crop, especially watermelons. A large modern nursery is located just south of the city on land that was once part of the John Gulley plantation, a well-known cotton plantation in the Civil War days. The Arkansas Forestry Commission also operates a seed orchard here, which was formerly a pine seedling nursery. The well drained soil is very suitable for this type of operation.
Today, the area is a favorite spot for deer hunting. White Oak Lake State Park and Poison Spring State Park are located here.