History : Mansfield, Arkansas, lying north of the Poteau Mountain Range, was established in 1888, bringing about the convergence of two local communities on the Sebastian/Scott county line: Coop Prairie and Chocoville. Overlooking a small valley south of the county line, Coop Prairie was formed in 1849 along with Coop Prairie Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Coop Prairie Cemetery on land given by Martin T. Taylor, a settler from Tennessee. Chocoville came along two years later, almost 4 miles to the west, and was the original location of the regional post office. Because of rich local farmland and the recent discovery of coal in the area, the Little Rock and Texas Railway Company laid down track, running their lines through the region between the two communities. The Rock Island Depot was soon built, as was the St. Louis/San Francisco depot. With the railroad business growing, the post office was moved closer in 1887. On land owned by J.W. Harper, just a huge cornfield really, a junction of the road was soon completed with other parts of the field subdivided into lots. Soon after, a petition of incorporation was filed with the state and, on August 29, 1888, with the annexation of the two existing communities, the city of Mansfield was established. The railroad was key to Mansfield's early history, many believing its name coined by a line surveyor who, at the end of the day, reported he had gotten as far as some "man's field." According to local legend, references continued to be made to the "man's field," until the name eventually stuck. Others tell the more likely story of the name being meant to honor Judge William W. Mansfield, who served on the Arkansas Supreme Court As a hub for the shipment of coal from local mines, the town was booming. The depots swarmed with passenger traffic while hotels and restaurants were established to serve the growing area's needs. On January 8, 1889, the Mansfield School District was formed. Cotton fields prospered, as did the lumber business, while the Mansfield Brick Company started up in 1900. Arkansas' first commercial gas fields were discovered near Mansfield in 1903, and by 1905, there were four dry goods, three groceries, four hotels, two blacksmiths, one drug store, a bank, and a livery stable. A two-story school building went up to meet growing educational needs. Around 1925, due to a decline in coal prices and an increase in cost of production, the coal industry began cutting jobs. Then, in 1929, the Great Depression brought about a downturn for the railroad and the population that had grown around a center of trade and commerce. As in most small towns across the country, many were forced to leave the area in search of work. Not all left though, and in 1930, because of their superior educational facilities, Mansfield became the parent school for the entire area. In 1934, construction began on Coop Creek, dedicated on August 28, 1935, by longtime resident and former mayor Fred Rogers as Mansfield Lake, serving surrounding residents as both a water supply and recreational source for years. Another upturn in the 30's was the construction of Highway 71. When the highway was laid out, Coop Prairie Church and Cemetery was in the middle of the right-of-way. The church was moved to its present location while the cemetery became the only cemetery in the United States with a federal highway running through it, appearing in both "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" and the "Guiness Book Of World Records." The St. Louis/San Francisco depot was torn down in the late forties.