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About Cotter

The Cotter-Gassville Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to one of the best kept secrets in America.  Whether you are an artist, a photographer, a fishing nut or just someone looking to get away for future retirement or family vacation, Cotter is one of those special places that will speak to you while giving you a true taste of The Natural State's beauty of the Ozarks.  

The purpose of The Cotter-Gassville Area Chamber of Commerce is to provide as much information as we can about our area including our annual events, area businesses, demographics and things to do in and around our area.       

For those of you that have never had the opportunity to visit Cotter to see for yourself why so many great people call this area home, we encourage anyone; families, couples or group of friends that enjoy the outdoors to get a taste of what its like to feel completely relaxed.  



The history of Cotter Arkansas dates back well before the town was incorporated in 1905.  Back in the early 1800's, bluff dwellers and 14 Native American tribes called the now Cotter area home.  Remnants of these dwellings have been found by area hikers in and around the Cotter area and still stand today.  

In 1838-1839, The Trail of Tears crossed the river here just above Fallen Ash Creek in what was at that time known as Lakes Ferry, also referred to as Lake's Landing. It was the only river crossing that over 1000 Cherokee Indians took that wasn't a hundred miles away North of now Branson.     

As one of the highest populated areas in North Central Arkansas at one time, Cotter's railroad and mining were the main draws in the early 1900's.  The first passenger train came to Cotter on a snowy January day in 1906 helping increase both the population and businesses in the area.  

The White River Line, as it was called, met up with the Missouri Pacific Line in Cotter and was a railroad divisional point designated to service the steam engines as they came through.  The last passenger train pulled out of Cotter on March 21, 1960 taking with it much of the towns businesses, assets and population but she survived because of the great people that live here and call it home.  

Today the railway is still in use primarily for shipping materials.  Each day and night, numerous trains make their way up the White River's banks from the south heading north while they blow their river echoed whistles giving Cotter the feel as though one is stepping back into those old steam engine days.  It's the whistles, the fishing, the ambiance and the superb beauty that makes Cotter what it is today.  To see more Cotter History click here!  

The beauty of Cotter still lives on as it did back in the day of pioneers, native dwellers, miners and fur traders that made this region home way back when.  High limestone bluffs and the rolling Ozark Mountains that carve around Cotter gives the ambiance that one can thoroughly enjoy if they seek peacefulness, nature and true beauty.    

Cotter has 30 historical markers around the area including old buildings, posted historical signs and of course the masterpiece from 1930; the R. M. Ruthven Bridge or as locals refer to it, the Rainbow Arch Bridge.  A must drive over if your in town and a great way to enter the town if coming from the West Cotter entrance.  

Cotter offers countless indoor and outdoor activities to keep you entertained whether you are visiting on vacation, coming here to fish or relocating life here!  The best part of Cotter though is its the perfect place to relax and getaway from the hustle and bustle of life with those closest to you.  

Known now for its fishing, Cotter is host to numerous events and festivals each year dedicated to the White River, its fish and our local artists and businesses.  Cotter offers a very unique opportunity to introduce family and friends to the relaxed Ozarks way of life while also giving you that relaxation you need.  A great place to retire to permanently, Cotter offers great schools, a low crime rate and lots to do.  


We look forward to your visit to 'Trout Capital USA' and welcome you with open arms!    ALL ABOARD!!!


See Cotter Demographics Here!


See Cotter's Annual Events Here!


See More Images of Cotter Here!