Planet Suffolk: Bringing together the Suffolks of the world

Suffolk, Bella Vista, Benton County, Arkansas, USA

The neighbourhood of Suffolk covers an area of 0.225 square miles & is located at 36° 27 50 N 94° 16 16 W in the town of Bella Vista, Benton County, in northwest Arkansas. Suffolk is situated close to the Missouri state boundary.

Population:- Suffolk’s population in 2010 was 84 in 27 households.  The population of Bella Vista in 2020 was 30,104.

How to get there:-

By Road: From the centre of Bella Vista head east on Cooper Road then take Lancashire Boulevard/ State Highway 340. After approximately 3 miles, turn left onto Ipswich Drive.

From Joplin, Missouri take US Highway 71 southbound to Bella Vista, then Lancashire Boulevard as above.

From the south take Interstate Highway 540 northbound, then US Highway 71to Bella Vista., From there take Lancashire Boulevard as above.

No Rail service to Bella Vista.

The nearest airport is Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport at Fayetteville, approximately 36 miles distance by road. Nearest international airport is at Tulsa, Oklahoma, around 130 miles away.

Time Zone: Central Standard Time (GMT -6 hrs).  Daylight saving time in summer + 1 hr.


Order of contents on this page: (Click on the links below)

History & Derivation of Name

Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel

Benton County


History & Derivation of Name

The neighbourhood of Suffolk was named in the late 1960s during the development of Bella Vista by Cooper Communities Inc. Many other neighbourhoods in Bella Vista were also named after British counties & towns at this time, with mainly Scottish names (Orkney, Kirkcudbright, Stirling etc.) on the west side & English names (York, Newquay, Hampstead etc.) to the east.

The origins of Bella Vista go back to 1915, when the Reverend William S. Baker and his wife decided to convert their land in the Ozark Hills into a summer resort. They built a lake & created a dam across Sugar Creek. The name Bella Vista was given to the area at this time by Mrs George Crowder of Bentonville. The Bakers failed, however, to attract people to their resort & sold the land to the Linebarger Brothers of Dallas, Texas in 1917. Over the next thirty five years the brothers developed the resort; adding a golf course, hotel & nightclub, selling lots & building cottages. In 1952 the property had become rather rundown & was sold to Texan E L Keith, who refurbished & redeveloped the resort; building a motel & restaurant & adding, amongst other things, roller skating facilities & horse riding trails.

In 1964 John A. Cooper Sr. bought the now restored resort, together with 14,000 acres of adjoining land, which he planned to convert into a members only recreational facility; every property owner being a member & entitled to use the facilities. Between 1965 & 1989 Cooper Communities Inc built five golf courses & seven new lakes, as well as other amenities. Hundreds of new homes were also built during this period.

Until 2006 Bella Vista was the largest unincorporated community in the state of Arkansas, run by the Bella Vista Property Owners Association. In that year, however, it voted to incorporate & became a municipality.

The neighbourhood of Suffolk is situated in the northeast of Bella Vista. It is bordered by the neighbourhoods of Worcester to the west, Lancashire & Huntingdon to the south & Stockton to the east. To the north is the Missouri state line.  

Most of the roads in the Suffolk neighbourhood are named after towns & villages in Suffolk, England, namely:

Ipswich Drive
Ipswich Circle
Dunwich Lane
Leiston Lane
Woodbridge Drive
Hadleigh Lane
Mildenhall Drive
Haverhill Drive
Sudbury Lane
Beccles Lane
Glemsford Drive
Orford Circle
Eye Lane
Deben Circle

The area remains largely undeveloped.  The first house was built in the neighbourhood in 1970 but progress has been slow.  Only 6 houses were built from 1970 to 1980; another 23 in the next 20 years to 2000; and from that year to 2015 a further 20 houses were built, bringing the total homes in the neighbourhood to 49.  

It may be that the neighbourhoods of Bella Vista are simply British place names picked at random. On the other hand, they may have been chosen because they had some special significance to John A. Cooper and his family.

If the latter is the case, then the name Suffolk may have been chosen because Cooper’s wife, Mildred B. Cooper, was the sixth generation from Richard Borum, the first of that family to come to America from Suffolk, England.  Her maiden name was Mildred Borum and the family can trace its origins back ten generations to a Gulielmo Boram who was born in 1548 at Woodbridge, Suffolk, England.  The next two generations, Thomas and Richard Boram, were born at Sudbury (1578) and Cavendish (1628) in Suffolk respectively.  Then another Richard Borum (with a slight change of spelling) was born at Lavenham in 1675 and he came over to Virginia and settled at Nottoway District in Amelia County; the exact date is unknown.  

The family tree by generation for Mildred B Cooper is as follows.   

1    Gulielmo Boram    1548 - ?                            b. Woodbridge, Suffolk, England    m. Phillis Bateman
2    Thomas Boram    1578 - ?                              b. Sudbury, Suffolk, England    m. Edith Hindle
3    Richard Boram    1628 - ?                               b. Cavendish, Suffolk, England    ??
4    Richard Borum    1675 - ?                              b. Lavenham, Suffolk, England    m. Mary Richard
5    Richard Borum    1708 - 1789                     b. Nottoway, Amelia, Virginia    m. Judith Archer
6    James Borum    1748 - 1805                         b. Nottoway, Amelia, Virginia    m. Judith Hubbard
7    Pleasant S Borum    1786 – after 1860   b. Nottoway, Amelia, Virginia    m. ? ? Du Puy
8    (John) Hubbard Borum    1826 - 1907  b. Nottoway County, Virginia    m. ?? (widower in 1880)
9    John C Borum    1875 - 1951                         b. Double Bridge, Tennessee    m. Maybelle Woody
10    Mildred B Borum    1906-1983                 b. Earle, Arkansas    m. John A Cooper

The Borum family was extensive throughout the Nottoway District in Virginia, mainly as farmers, and by the early 19th century they had expanded into the Lauderdale District of neighbouring Tennessee.  This is where the grandfather of Mildred Borum settled (Hubbard Borum).  Her father, John C. Borum, was a pioneer settler of Earle in Arkansas where he moved to in 1900 as a general merchant.  Both Mildred and her future husband John Cooper grew up in Earle.

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Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel

Bella Vista is home to the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel.  The Chapel was created by renowned Arkansas architect Euine Fay Jones (‘Euine’ is Old Welsh for John).  In 1991, Fay Jones was awarded the American Institute of Architecture’s highest award, the AIA Gold Medal.   Fay was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright where he was first introduced to the principle of “Organic Architecture” (designs to fit the environment).  

Built to honour Mildred Borum Cooper, wife of John A. Cooper, the Chapel is a fitting memorial.  Her family commissioned the Chapel in her honour to celebrate her life, deep spirituality and love for nature.  Mildred devoted her life to family, church, school and community.  She assisted her husband in the development of three retirement communities in Arkansas, of which Bella Vista was one.  As a businesswoman in her own right she owned several gift shops.  She served as President of the United Methodist Women’s organisation and was active in the scouting and girl guides movement.

The chapel is located on a wooded hilltop overlooking Lake Norwood.  Fay Jones used steel and glass to construct a series of pointed Gothic arches that run the length of the chapel in the symmetrical style reminiscent of medieval cathedrals.  This departure from traditional materials creates an aura of strength, with the transparency and patterns of light reflected through the glass providing an apparent vision of weightlessness (see photo, left).     

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Benton County

Benton County, in which the Bella Vista neighbourhood of Suffolk is situated, is located in the Ozark Mountains & is the most north westerly county of Arkansas. To the south & east it has boundaries with the Arkansas counties of Carroll, Madison & Washington. To the north, Benton joins Barry & McDonald counties in Missouri. To the west it borders Adair & Delaware counties in Oklahoma.

Formed in 1836, Benton County was named after US Senator Thomas Hart Benton from Missouri, who played a key role in persuading Congress to admit Arkansas to the Union. The county seat is Bentonville, approximately ten miles to the south of Suffolk, whilst the largest city is Rogers, around 17 miles away. The population of Benton County in 2010 was more than 221,000

The Ozark National Forest  (see photo, right) is partially situated within Benton County. This 1,200,000 acre region was created in 1908 & has many miles of hiking, mountain biking & horse riding trails. The tallest mountain in Arkansas, Mount Magazine, is situated within the forest. Also mainly in Benton County is Beaver Lake; a 28,370 acre lake on the White River, which offers numerous camp sites along its 487 miles of shoreline.


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