Artifact of the Month
Donated by Martha Brogdon
Historically, grape production in Northwest Arkansas centered in Washington County. While grapes were grown by the first settlers to the region, grapes did not become a major crop until residents of the Italian community of Tontitown began setting out vines in 1898.
Grape production in the county took a huge leap forward in the decade of the 1920s. Instrumental in this growth was the establishment of a Welch grape processing plant in Springdale. According to an 1937 Springdale News article, it was 1920 when
". . . several hundred acres of land were purchased near Springdale by the Welch Company for planting in grapes, and the plant was established here on condition that farmers and businessmen of the section would subscribe as much as $75,000 of stock. The Welch officials promised to care for the grape crops from certain Arkansas and Missouri sections and to take all the fruits from places within a 24-hour shipping radius. . ."