Newton County

Jasper, Parthenon, Ponca 

Thousands of years ago, native people's made their homes in the mountain caves and rock shelters at "the top of the world," in Newton County. The Cherokee who lived in Newton County in the early 1800's were part of the Western Cherokee who wanted to preserve their tradition and heritage by avoiding contact with the whites. Many early records of the county were destroyed when the courthouse burned during the Civil War, but land entry records indicate that settlers began to make homes in Newton County as early as 1825. Visitors to this beautiful region of the Ozark Mountains will enjoy exploring the rich mountain heritage of Newton County villages and towns, visiting historic dwellings and sites on scenic highways and roads, meeting the friendly residents and artists who call Newton County home and sighting the county's abundant wildlife including it's population of magnificent elk.

Bradley Park in Jasper - Located along the Little Buffalo River at the end of Clark Street in Jasper, this city owned park features walking trails and excellent fishing and swimming holes. This bend of the river was frequently used by local churches in early days for baptisms and on special occasions, still is.

Buffalo River Elk Festival - Bradley Park in Jasper - The award-winning Buffalo River Elk Festival is held each summer at Bradley Park in a bend of the Little Buffalo River in Jasper. The festival celebrates the vision that brought the magnificent Elk to the magnificent Buffalo River country. The festival attracts over 100 artists and crafters, as well as porting goods dealers and manufacturers and features wildlife exhibits, great musical entertainment and activities. Bradley Park is a city park that features newly completed walking trails along the Little Buffalo River.

Country Grocery Stores in Newton County - Country Grocery Stores have long provided supplies to rural ranches and farms and small mountain villages. Visit charming country grocery stores in Newton County in Deer Nail, Ponca, and Low Gap on the Buffalo National River Driving Tour.

Elk Capital of the World - In order to preserve the dwindling Elk population, in 1981 the Game and Fish Commission, in cooperation with private citizens and the National Park service, initiated an elk restoration project for the Ozark Mountains. Between 1981 and 1985, 112 elk from Colorado and Nebraska were released at five sites near Pruitt in Newton County on or adjacent to the Buffalo National River. Since that time, the herd has grown to over 450 and can often be spotted and photographed along the river at Boxley Valley, Steel Creek, Kyle's Landing, Erbie, Ozark, Pruitt and even on private lands.

Historic Jasper - Newton County Seat, Jasper, became an established town by 1840. One of its original residents, John M. Ross, a Choctaw, was the town's first postmaster and first county clerk. Historic Jasper, in Newton County was named after a stone most valued by the Cherokees for its purity and strength. This unique mountain community has a rich history and inviting modern day culture. Visit a number of historical and natural attractions in historic Jasper including the National Historic Jailhouse.

Hurricane River Cave - Artifacts and bones found in this cave date to 10,000 years ago and include skeletons of prehistoric bears and a saber tooth tiger. Many beautiful crystal formations on the ¼ mile walk along an underground river bed. Level, lighted walkways.

Lum's Mountain - features live music, dinner shows, country and Cajun cooking, horseback trails and more.

Mystic Caverns - History abounds in the Mystic Caverns - two caves at one location on Scenic 7 Byway. Underground caverns in the Ozarks were once home to ancient tribes, outlaws, run away slaves and "hobos."

Newton County Historic & Scenic Tours - Located in the Heart of the Ozark Mountains, Newton County offers exceptional opportunities for historic and scenic driving tours. National Geographic, Car and Driver Magazine and many other national and international travel publications recognize Newton County's scenic driving tours as the Top Driving Experiences in the Country. The Jasper-Newton County Chamber of Commerce can provide you with a complete itinerary for driving tours that will take you to Newton County mountain villages, down scenic roadways to remarkable vistas, and through forests and mountains alive with phenomenal natural beauty and wildlife.

Newton County Library in Jasper - Housed in a structure of cypress and native stone, the Newton County Library features unique furniture handcrafted by local artisan, Charles Christian. A complete set of watercolor prints of Newton County scenes, a gift from renowned artist, William McNamara, grace the library walls. Programs, including theater productions and music by local artists, are presented at the library throughout the year. Admission is free.

Newton County Museum of History in Jasper - Albums and videos of pioneer settlers greet visitors in the reception room of the Newton County Museum. The Pioneer room houses a collection of hand-made tools and furniture from the 1880's. The Arthur Pierce collection features points from the Rock Shelter People of 10,000 years ago. The upstairs exhibit gallery features native animals preserved by taxidermists Clifford Beaver and Ray Carter. The first of a series of history paintings commissioned by the museum from artist Max Stanley depicts the Trail of Tears" as it passed through the southwestern tip of Newton County. Outside of the museum, visitors may view the cellar and reconstructed well house and the Chaney House, moved from Osage, Arkansas, where it was built in 1848. Planned additions to the museum will include an herb garden with plants used by pioneers and Indians for medicinal purposes, and a diorama depicting life in a rock shelter. Open: 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., M-F, March through December, and Saturdays, May through September. Admission by donation.

Ponca - Generations visiting the Ozarks from all over the world have made Ponca a world-famous Buffalo River access destination.

Parthenon - This mountain hamlet features old creek-rock buildings and a historic one-lane bridge.

Rush Ghost Town - Rush Historic District, 6 miles off Hwy 14, is the site of a ghost town. Structures of the town still remain, cared for by the National Park Service.