Benton Co. History: The Ghost Town of Oak Park
OAK PARK -- It's an interesting story of a little town that technically doesn't exist but has always existed.
Oak Park along Highway 23 in Benton County started out as Williams Settlement in 1880.
John Williams Sr. built some buildings before 1880 and was one of the first settlers. Williams store served as the community hall upstairs in the two-story building, with the post office and general store on the lower level.
It got its own Post Office in 1883. They organized as the town of Oak Park in 1901, but never officially took the step to incorporate.
Benton County Historical Society Executive Director Mary Osbty says with the Great Northern Railroad providing two regular passenger trains the community was hopping in the early 1900s.
Between 1900 and 1950 they had quite a few businesses. At its peak in the 1920s, there were like 27 different businesses there. Grocery stores, hardware stores, blacksmiths, potato warehouses, of course, the creamery was built.
The creamery and a few houses are about all that remain today. However, Oak Park still has its own zip code, with the mail coming in from Foley.
Ostby says the name Oak Park comes from an oak grove that was there at the time.
Once a month Ostby comes on the News @ Noon Show and talks about the forgotten history of Benton County.
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