Bella Vista was a bustling place in 1927-29

BELLA VISTA – The years 1927-1929 were busy for CA Linebarger Sr. and his brothers at their Bella Vista Summer Resort. They had opened the resort at Lake Bella Vista in 1917, and 10 years later decided it was time to invest in new facilities.

Gil Fite, in his book From Vision to Reality, A History of Bella Vista Village, wrote, “Between the end of the 1927 season around September 1 and the end of the year, CA spent over $15,000 to improvements to Bella Vista. He built a 55,000 gallon water reservoir, nearly completed the new resort office, built steps from the information booth to the top of Sunset Mountain, built two miles of roads in the Sunset Mountain area, moved the grocery store and gas station west of the highway, renovated part of the lodge, and made other improvements. The water tank was built at the corner of Cedar Crest and Cunningham Drives, obviously in preparation for the new hotel they were already planning, which opened in 1929 as the Sunset Hotel.

The building that became the grocery store on the west side of the highway was the old information center/golf shop that was on the west end of the Bella Vista Lake Dam. They moved it across the highway to give them room to build a new office building there.

The new office building came about because one of the Linebarger brothers, CC, decided to start planning for his retirement. He had been in charge of their main business office in Dallas, and with his retirement approaching (he retired at the end of the 1929 season), they decided in early 1927 to build a new office building in Bella Vista to centralize their business there.

Fite wrote, “The new headquarters was completed in 1928. It was a substantial stucco building with a red tile roof located just off Highway 100 (now 71) near the west end of the dam. from Lake Bella Vista, near where the information center was. There was a definite Spanish pattern.”

According to Fite, CA Linebarger hired Lillian Green on March 1, 1929 to become his chief assistant and accountant.

“Located in the new office building, CA and Lillian Green provided the highest level of management for Bella Vista,” Fite wrote. “And they had a lot to do. In addition to ensuring that the facilities were kept in good working order, they now had to do the work that had previously been done by CC in the Dallas office. This included collecting old accounts , directing sales activities and planning for the future. One of their most important tasks was to advertise the resort. It was a constant challenge to develop new attractions and activities that would continue to attract people in Bella Vista, the jewel of the Ozarks.

For more information on the history of Bella Vista, visit the Bella Vista Historical Museum at 1885 Bella Vista Way (US 71 and Kingsland Road). Regular hours are 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Free entry. Call the museum at 479-855-2335 or visit its website at

Photo courtesy of Bella Vista Historical Museum In 1928, the old information center was moved to the west side of the freeway and turned into a grocery store, with nearby gas pumps covered in red tiles. This photo was taken in the late 1930s after CA Linebarger opened its winery in 1935 and began selling wine at the station.
Photo Photo courtesy of Bella Vista Historical Museum This building stood at the western end of the Bella Vista Lake Dam, serving as the information center and pro shop for the 9-hole golf course the Linebargers opened in 1921. A golfer is ready to play on the second hole.

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