Ravenden, yesterday and today


The first residents of what is now the town of Ravenden were most likely the Osage and Caddo peoples. By the early 1800's, after the Louisiana Purchase, they had left the area . The first white settlement was around 1849, in Spring River Township, and by the late 1800's, it was a thriving area. In the early days there was a school, saw mill, blacksmith shop, ice house and stores. What was later to become known as the Frisco Railroad Line, came right through downtown Ravenden, and the town prospered in the days when passenger trains were king. A planned junction, running down from Ravenden Springs (in present day Randolph County), caused the town to be originally known as Ravenden Junction. But when the railroad decided against it, the Junction was dropped and Ravenden became the official name.The city of Ravenden filed for establisment on July 17, 1883. That same year the railroad depot and station house was built. It was a prosperous town, and Main Street was a busy place with many stores and a bank, which closed in 1930 as a result of the great depression. The first public school was built in 1887, and the post office in 1891. The first church house to be built was the Church of Christ in 1905. Like many rural areas, Ravenden lost their school in the mid 1940's when it was consolidated with Sloan-Hendrix school in nearby Imboden.

In the late 30's and 40's there were 2 grocery stores, 3 cafes, a doctor's office, drugstore, produce house, pool hall, garage, shoe repair shop, funeral home, gristmill, blacksmith shop and a hotel. But in 1947, the 63 Highway route was changed, diverting it away from Main Street.and bypassing the downtown area and today the only thing left from Ravenden's prosperous past is an old store building, now empty. The business section is now fronting the "new" Highway 63.

Nearby Spring River provides a place to fish and swim. Its source is Mammoth Spring, one of the largest springs in the world. The river courses down through Many Islands, Hardy, Williford, Ravenden, Imboden and then into the Black River at Black Rock, almost 75 miles from its source. For more about Spring River click here.

Ravenden is located in Lawrence county and the official population is 330. This does not count those like myself who live outside the city limits. Businesses include the Ravenden Grocery, Cookie's One Stop, Gibben's 66 Service Station, River Queen motel, Spring River Farm and Home Center, Archer's Barbeque, The River Queen Cafe, Pitt's Used Cars, Spring River Taxidermy, The Boot Center, Ravenden Ready Mix, Dail's Body Shop and Wrecker Service, Dail's Used Cars, Taffar Saw Shop, Cap'n Hacks Hunt Club & Game Farm, His N Hers Beauty Salon, Idell's Junk & Stuff, Cherokee's, Ravenden Auto Center, Swartzlanders and Spring River LP Gas. There's a new post office, the Ravenden Community Building, a city park and the Ravenden Volunteer Fire Department. There are 3 churches located in the town itself, Ravenden Methodist Church and Ravenden Church of Christ are located on S First Street, and the Ravenden First Baptist Church is next to the community building. 3 others that I know of serving area residents are the Friendship United Methodist Church, Lone Oak Missionary Baptist Church and the Opposition Church of Christ.

It's a small town, and nothing much ever happens, but it's a very nice place to live. Most of the residents of the town and surrounding area are always willing to give a helping hand to those in need. It's small town America at its best. This concludes your tour of Ravenden, hope you enjoyed it.

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