Bella Vista Proud


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Proud The Weekly Vista Wednesday, June 30, 2021 F 1C With a membership that includes all ages and all levels of experience, the Bella Vista Photo Club survived the pandemic and is still going strong. Member John Craig retired as a certified financial planner and is now working as a photographer in Northwest Arkansas. Some of the programs at the monthly Photo Club meetings are geared to those with less experience, but others offer ideas for vet - eran photographers and he always enjoys the club's field trips. It was a photo club trip that took him to Boxley, near the Buffalo River, to photograph elk. Born in Wyoming, Craig said he is fascinated by wildlife. "I have a desire to capture the unique moments through the lens of my camera for others to enjoy. A photo captured under the perfect light can elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary." He and his wife, MaryAnn, moved to Northwest Arkansas in 1998 and to Bella Vista in 2005. He turned his photography hobby into a business about four years ago. Many of his clients are businesses that need art for their websites, he ex - plained, but he still loves nature photography and some of his work can be found on, the website produced by the city's advertising and promotions department. He also writes blog posts for that website. He has a special interest in nighttime photogra- phy and loves to be outside shooting just before sunrise when everything is quiet. After moving to Arkansas, he became a certified Master Naturalist and uses the information he learned in that program to help neighbors with landscaping issues. He works with the local Bluebird Society and the national NestWatch group monitoring birds in the area. He also plays golf four or five times a week. To see more of Craig's work, visit his Facebook page at John-L-Craig-Photography-107341833969091/ or contact him by email at The photography club meets on the third Tues - day of the months January through October at 6:30 p.m. at the First Community Bank in Jane (Pineville), Mo. A guest speaker presents a program about photography. Most months there is an op- portunity to meet with other members outside on a photo walk or field trip. There are monthly photo contests as well as the larger annual contest. More information about the photo club is available at Lynn Atkins Craig loves area wildlife, landscapes Courtesy photo John Craig is seen with his camera in Bella Vista. Many played a part in Bella Vista's intriguing history Bella Vista's history has been a long time in the making. From early beginnings of hay- fields, horses and small creeks — to interstate bypass construc- tion — Bella Vista's progress con- tinues to take shape through the decades. With each passing year, commercial development has changed, finances have some- times proved challenging and people organized activities, clubs and programs to make Bella Vista home. Xyta Lucas has lived all over the United States — including six states — but finds Bella Vista's history the most intriguing of all. "Bella Vista's history is very unique in that it wasn't founded along some major westward trail or because of a junction of two creeks or a railroad coming into the area," she said. "It evolved from the damming up of Little Sugar Creek in 1915 to create a lake." Early Beginnings In May 1995, The Weekly Vista published its second edition of a special section, "Bella Vista Proud" and with that, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Coo- per-development that began in 1965. Villager and writer Ethel Baker took a look back at that time, finding a couple who moved here early as the Cooper development was getting its start. Those who flocked to Bella Vista in the early 1970s — when Bella Vista Village was in its infancy — were cre - ative, willing to meet new friends and neighbors — and find that little piece of heaven. One family — Bill and Lola Craig, along with their two teen- agers — moved to Bella Vista in 1971 from Sarcoxie, Mo. They came with two goals in mind, Baker wrote. "One was to establish a busi- ness, the Vista Food Mart, which opened in the summer of 1971," she wrote. "Located in what is now the lower level of Town Cen- ter West, store hours were from 7 a.m. to midnight, six days a week that first year. Sunday hours were from 1 to 6 p.m. Winston Carter was part owner. "Opening this store was a boon for Bella Vista shoppers as the nearest markets had been the Walton Family Center and the Phillips Grocery Store down the two-lane Highway 71 to Ben - tonville. In Old Bella Vista, there was a mixture of houses and one lone business, Keck's Grocery Store, run from a small house," she wrote. "After a year, Bill and Lola cut back hours to close at 10 p.m. As the village settled in by their third year, the Craigs moved closing time to 6 p.m. They ran their store for nine years. The children, Dan and Pam, attended Benton - ville High School and the bus picked them up at the store stop. "The village looked very differ- ent in the early 1970s compared to what villagers see in 1995," Baker wrote. "There was no upper level Town Center. That area was undeveloped and full of trees. Jim Thompson and his wife owned the service station. The beauty parlor and laundro - mat were behind the station. The Fire Station and Security Office shared quarters in space about half the size of today's structure," she wrote. When villagers want to dine out, choices were somewhat limited. Villagers chose from Fred's Hickory Inn in Bentonville or Mary Maestri's and Venetian Inn in Tontitown. Hill 'N Dale (on the shores of Lake Bella Vista), sALLy CArroLL Special to The Weekly Vista John Craig, Bella Vista Photography Club John Craig, Bella Vista Photography Club John Craig, Bella Vista Photography Club John Craig, Bella Vista Photography Club See HISTORY on Page 12C

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