Trail Elementary School, located in the northeast section of
Fayetteville, was the first open space elementary school built in the
state of Arkansas. We opened for the 1968-69 school year. At the time,
Dr. Wayne White was superintendent of schools and Mr. Dean May was
principal. During the first school year, the school had enrolled about
The staff in 1968 included with Alice Reid and
Marshal Wilson, first grade; Bette Ann Pittman and Thelma Thomason,
second grade; Lynda Lovegrove, third grade; Patricia Kay Weathers,
fourth grade; Judith Mackey, fifth grade; Marcia Retrey and John Decker,
sixth grade; Mrs. Owen, librarian; Betty Hardin, counselor; and Nancy
Netherton, music. Butterfield Trail School was originally designed with
partitions to divide classrooms, the plans were revamped by architect
Warren Seagrave of Fayetteville for open space teaching. Classes are
divided into "areas" or "pods" according to grade level.
Butterfield Trail Elementary is named after the
trail for the stage coach that connected Fayetteville with Fort Smith.
The first Butterfield stage arrived in Fayetteville at ll am on
September 18, 1858, and departed for Fort Smith and points west at 11:50
am. Passengers on the first trip were John Butterfield, president of
the Overland Mail Company; T.R. Corbin of Washington; Waterman Ormsby of
the New York Herald; and Judge and Mrs. John F. Wheeler and their two
children of Fort Smith. The stage arrived in Fort Smith at 2 am on
Sunday, September 19, 1858--- 14 hours for the 60 miles from
Fayetteville over "the roughest stretch of road between St. Louis and
San Francisco." John Butterfield liked Fayetteville so well that he
bought a 360 acre farm just west of town, where he entertained his
friends from the East.
Fayetteville was the home of Arkansas College in
1858, the first degree granting college in Arkansas. Today, Fayetteville
is the home of the University of Arkansas.