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The 20 Best Small Towns in America of 2012

From the Berkshires to the Cascades, we’ve crunched the numbers and pulled a list some of the most interesting spots around the country

The narrow-gauge Durango & Silverton train steams through history above the Animas River. (Photo by Scott DW Smith.)
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14. Siloam Springs, AR

Siloam Springs, AR
(Eli Reichman)
Along with Rogers, Arkansas, birthplace of Walmart, and Bentonville, home of the new Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Siloam Springs is one of a handful of noteworthy towns in the scenic northwest corner of the state. At the western edge of the Ozark Mountains, it was settled by homesteaders after the Cherokee Nation was pushed along the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma, saw important frontier engagements during the Civil War like the Battle of Prairie Grove, and then attracted health-seekers who came to sample therapeutic water from 28 springs in the late 1800s. Now its sturdy, copasetic downtown is a state-recognized historic Main Street community with a park built around several still-flowing springs and plenty of Ozark Mountain dogwoods, springtime stars of a popular festival. The Sager Creek Arts Center, Siloam Springs Museum and Christian John Brown University, founded in a cornfield in 1919, bring exhibitions, concerts and lectures to a town that could model for a postage stamp commemorating the American heartland. -- SS

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