Welcome to the Bella Vista Historical Museum, where you can learn the amazing history of our area. Our exhibits cover the nearby early Indian settlements, the early farms, the lake built in 1915, the summer resort started in 1917, its relaunch in 1952 that turned it into a family recreation center and the 1960s beginnings of its present history when John Cooper, Sr., purchased the summer resort and began buying up the farms all the way to the Missouri state line, eventually converting 40,000 acres into what he called Bella Vista Village. See how his development added seven lakes and seven golf courses, and evolved from a Property Owners Association to become the incorporated City of Bella Vista in 2007 with a present population of 27,000 residents.
Enjoy the museum’s exhibit area of 3,000 sq. ft., where displays teach about the heydays of the summer resort, with its electricity generated by Lake Bella Vista. You will also learn about a famous underground night-club, the several hundred privately owned summer cottages and much more spanning Bella Vista’s past 100 years of history.
Come see this unusual museum for yourself. We are open Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm. Special arrangements can be made for group tours and programs. The museum is owned and operated by the Bella Vista Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Admission is free. Our all-volunteer staff loves our history and wants to make your visit a memorable one!