Tontitown, Arkansas

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Tontitown, Arkansas
Location of Tontitown in Washington County, Arkansas.
Location of Tontitown in Washington County, Arkansas.
Coordinates: 36°10′45″N 94°14′48″W / 36.17917°N 94.24667°W / 36.17917; -94.24667Coordinates: 36°10′45″N 94°14′48″W / 36.17917°N 94.24667°W / 36.17917; -94.24667
CountryUnited States
Incorporated (city)1909
Founded byPietro Bandini
Named forHenri de Tonti
 • TypeMayor/Council
 • MayorAngela Russell
 • Total18.05 sq mi (46.74 km2)
 • Land17.91 sq mi (46.39 km2)
 • Water0.14 sq mi (0.35 km2)
Elevation1,289 ft (393 m)
 • Total4,301
 • Density240.13/sq mi (92.71/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)479
FIPS code05-69740
GNIS feature ID0073882[2]

Tontitown is a city in northern Washington County, Arkansas, United States. The community is located in the Ozark Mountains and was founded by Italian settlers in 1898. Known for its grapes and wines, Tontitown has hosted the Tontitown Grape Festival continuously since 1898. It is part of the Northwest Arkansas region, serving as a bedroom community for larger neighbors Fayetteville and Springdale. The town experienced a 160% growth in population between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.[3]


Led by Catholic priest Pietro Bandini, who eventually became mayor of the city,[4] Italian settlers working on Lakeport Plantation in the Arkansas delta moved to northwest Arkansas and found the climate and terrain similar to their native Northern Italy.[5] Tontitown was settled in 1898 and named for Italian explorer Henri de Tonti.[6]

The 35 initial families settled on 10 acres (4.0 ha) plots, planting gardens and vineyards. In 1909, the community incorporated,[4] having grown to 1,400 acres (570 ha). Some residents resisted and resented the Italian influx, which largely spoke Italian and remained insulated. After threats and arson of barns and the school, Bandini confronted a group to stop the terrorization of the nascent Tontitown community.[5]

The Tontitown grapes eventually became a major crop in Washington County following the construction of a Welch Company plant in Springdale near the railroad. The area also grew apples, blackberries, peaches, strawberries, and tomatoes for canning in Springdale.[7]


Tontitown is located at 36°10′45″N 94°14′48″W / 36.17917°N 94.24667°W / 36.17917; -94.24667 (36.179043, -94.246572).[8]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Encyclopedia of Arkansas
History and Culture

2020 census[edit]

Tontitown racial composition[9]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 3,372 78.4%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 80 1.86%
Native American 44 1.02%
Asian 102 2.37%
Pacific Islander 30 0.7%
Other/Mixed 278 6.46%
Hispanic or Latino 395 9.18%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 4,301 people, 1,399 households, and 1,060 families residing in the city.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 census the ethnic and racial composition of the population was 92.0% non-Hispanic white, 0.3% African-American, 0.5% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 2.4% reporting two or more races and 5.7% Hispanic.

2000 census[edit]

At the 2000 census there were 942 people in 351 households, including 273 families, in the city. The population density was 134.2 inhabitants per square mile (51.8/km2). There were 368 housing units at an average density of 52.4 per square mile (20.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.28% White, 1.70% Native American, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 0.85% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. 2.23%.[10] were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 351 households 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.4% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.2% were non-families. 18.5% of households were one person and 9.1% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.07. Tontitown has seen a very rapid growth in recent years as indicated by a 160% growth in population between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

The age distribution was 27.0% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% 65 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males. Tonitown is part of the Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers metro area.

The median household income was $43,750 and the median family income was $47,589. Males had a median income of $32,917 versus $25,750 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,058. About 4.9% of families and 8.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.


The city is known regionally for the Tontitown Grape Festival. Started in 1898 as a harvest festival to celebrate the settlement's establishment, a spaghetti and fried chicken dinner continues the tradition.[11]

Many original families remain in Tontitown or nearby Springdale.[11]


It is in the Springdale School District.[12]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Tontitown, Arkansas
  3. ^ a b Young, Susan (February 14, 2013). "Tontitown (Washington County)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Giordano, Joe. "Italians in Arkansas: Father Pietro Bandini and Tontitown". Archived from the original on September 3, 2018. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Shiloh Museum of Ozark History (1989). History of Washington County, Arkansas. Springdale, Arkansas: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. p. 252. OCLC 22705892.
  6. ^ "Tontitown (Washington County) - Encyclopedia of Arkansas". Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  7. ^ Shiloh Museum of Ozark History (1989). History of Washington County, Arkansas. Springdale, Arkansas: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. pp. 299–301. OCLC 22705892.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  9. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. ^ a b Rowe, Erin (2017). An Ozark Culinary History. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing: The History Press: American Palate. ISBN 9781467136082. LCCN 2017940941.
  12. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Washington County, AR" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  13. ^ "Albert Lewis Fletcher (1896–1979) - Encyclopedia of Arkansas". Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  14. ^ Teske, Anastasia. "Duggar Family". The encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved 30 October 2020.

External links[edit]