Early days in the Ozarks was difficult at best. The terrain was very rugged, mountainsides were steep and rocky, population was sparse, and money was scarce. Under these handicaps the people of Benton County attempted to build a good road to connect the towns of Garfield and Eureka Springs. It would be necessary to cross the White River and it was decided that a concrete bridge would be built. This would be the most expensive part of the project, so it was built first. It was completed in the summer of 1929.
The "Great Depression" came that winter, and there was no money to complete the road.
For five years a fine concrete bridge spanned the river, but there were no approaches and there was no road. The "lost bridge" stood isolated until 1934 when the approaches were built, and the road was completed.
On May 7th, 1943 a flood destroyed the bridge. In its place, a concrete low-water crossing was built on the site of the old bridge. Eventually, when the dam was built and Beaver Lake was flooded in 1964, everything was covered with water.
The development known as Lost Bridge Subdivision, was created by the filing of the Protective Covenants in Benton County on Oct 18, 1967, for a 1000-acre resort located on Beaver Lake, five miles east of Garfield on State Highway 127. Eugene Maier, Chairman, and Sherwood Crane, President of Crane-Maier & Associates, were active in the development of resort properties for many years in Texas. In 1970, Crane-Maier & Associates Inc. of Houston, Texas purchased the original development from the Colvin-Gainer Corporation. In 1971, Max Bodine was appointed to the position of President of Lost Bridge Village, Inc., a planned resort retirement community with full services: paved streets, water, electricity, phone, waste collection, recreational facilities, and property deed restrictions for protection of home investments.
In 1971, the Lost Bridge Village Community Association Inc. was formed under the laws of the State of Arkansas to promote the health, safety and welfare of the residents and owners of real estate in the development. Association members are the property owners of land in Lost Bridge Village. Incorporation bylaws are recorded in the deed records of Benton County, Arkansas.
Village amenities added in 1971 were a private airstrip, swimming pool, and recreation center. The developer’s sales offices were located on Highway 127 at the current location of The Inn at Lost Bridge. In 1973, the developer completed construction on the Lost Bridge Village Lodge (Whitney Mountain Lodge) and the Developer’s Sales-Administration Building (Lost Bridge Village Hall). These facilities were officially opened in August of 1973. In addition, the developer constructed an octagon shaped Village Information Center on Highway 62 in Garfield, AR.
In 1973, the developer purchased property known as Posy Mountain Ranch from the Harry McCoy Co. This property of 1300 acres bordered the property owned by Lost Bridge Village, Inc. and was developed as additional subdivisions for Lost Bridge Village. The associations were merged for the benefit of all property owners.
In 1974, the Lost Bridge Village Suburban Improvement Districts (Utility District) was formed for the purpose of providing water and sewer services to selected subdivisions in Lost Bridge Village. This was necessary to comply with Arkansas State Environmental Regulations. Construction bonds were issued for financing by the Utility District. These construction bonds are now retired. The Utility District now services approximately 1200 home sites with water and sewer.
Lost Bridge Village, Inc. was host to the annual Wal-Mart manager’s meeting starting in 1974. Wal-Mart held a fishing tournament and business meeting annually at Lost Bridge Village for several years until the organization grew too large to be accommodated. Sam Walton, President of Wal-Mart, loved the beauty of the Lost Bridge Village area.
In 1975, upon completion of the water and sewer facilities for selected subdivisions within Lost Bridge Village, the developer (Lost Bridge Village, Inc.), the Lost Bridge Village Community Association, Inc., and the Benton County Road Department undertook a combined program for black top resurfacing of the streets in the Utility District.
Double tennis courts were constructed in 1976 just west of the Community Building (formerly known as the Developer Sales-Administration Building). These facilities are owned and operated by the Association. The Association purchased the Developer Sales-Administration Building (now the Community Building) from the developer in 1978. This facility is used for the administrative offices, library, board meetings, committee meetings, club meetings, and a variety of social functions.
In the fall of 1978, Lost Bridge Village residents were instrumental in the establishment of the Northeast Benton County Fire Department (NEBCO). The Developer donated an all-steel building for erection on a property donated by Village residents, Dr. and Mrs. Hubert Myers. The erection of the building was accomplished with the help of many residents in the Lost Bridge area. NEBCO Volunteer Fire Department was located on Posy Mountain Drive, just off Highway 127. The equipment housed in this facility included two self-contained pumper trucks. The fire department has since grown to the point where this original building is now a sub-station and the headquarters are now in Garfield.
As the result of the work by a group of concerned residents, a volunteer security patrol was formed in 1978. Over 60 volunteers signed up for security patrol duty in Lost Bridge Village. This program was developed with the cooperation and support of the Benton County Sheriff’s Department and has been very successful.
In 1982, a group of association members were instrumental in the organization of an area volunteer ambulance service. The Northeast Benton County Volunteer Ambulance Service (VAS) covered an area from Gateway to Avoca. The establishment of this health service is another example of the Association Board of Trustees efforts to provide for the welfare of property owners in Lost Bridge Village and area residents in Northeast Benton County. Ambulance services became operational in 1984. Headquarters for this service were located next to the Northeast Benton County Fire Department in Garfield. In 2010 NEBCO Fire-EMS was formed to replace VAS.
The Lost Bridge Village Lodge (Whitney Mountain Lodge) was sold in 1984 by the developer to the Western Development Corp. for future operation. By this date the Developer had sold all of his improved property lots in Lost Bridge Village and did not feel the need to continue a sales program that required the support of the Lodge.
In 1985, a new swimming pool was built by the association to replace the original pool given to them by the developer. Because of the growth of the Village in new homes, the Association Board of Trustees determined that a new and larger pool was needed.
In the following years to the present time, the association has assumed all of the obligations for the maintenance of and improvements to the Village common properties. Roads have been maintained with the assistance of the Benton County Road Dept.
Our Architectural Control Committee has done an excellent job of setting standards and following up on all construction in the Village to assure compliance with recorded deed restrictions.
Our Community Building has been well maintained and several new improvements have been added to make this facility reflect the pride of our property owners in their community. This facility also houses our village library, which provides a variety of books, periodicals, DVDs, and audiobooks for the pleasure of our property owners.
Lost Bridge Village is not an incorporated community. The association has the responsibility of providing for the health, safety and welfare of the property owners of Lost Bridge Village. This is accomplished by a Board of Trustees elected by the property owners. Each trustee serves a three-year term of office. The Board of Trustees consists of seven members. All duties of the trustees are assigned on a voluntary basis. Each trustee is responsible for a specific area of support to the community i.e. roads, recreation, social, legal, etc. Volunteer property owners assist the Trustees in the performance of their duties.
It has been, and will continue to be, a “GREAT PLACE TO LIVE”.