50 Years of Sharing the Dream!
John A. Cooper files Articles of Incorporation with the Arkansas Department of State on April 15. Company is called the Cherokee Village Development Company.
The company opens its first development, Cherokee Village, in north central Arkansas. Gov. Orval E. Faubus calls it the "coming mecca of the Ozarks for family recreation, vacations and retirement." Homesites sell for as little as $600.
Cherokee Village celebrates its fifth anniversary. The community spans 5,200 acres and includes 2,500 property owners from 36 states and four foreign countries.
Bella Vista Village opens on May 21 in Northwest Arkansas. More than 600 homesites sell by September. The community eventually grows to 36,326 acres, with more than 36,000 property owner families.
Cherokee Village celebrates its 10th anniversary. More than 7,500 families own property with nearly 700 permanent residents. The village plays host to the first NCAA Coaches Golf Tournament. Participants include coaching legends Paul "Bear" Bryant, Frank Broyles, Pepper Rodgers, John Vaught, Darryl Royal, Chuck Fairbanks, John Majors and Hayden Fry.
In April, John A. Cooper, Jr. is named company president. In May, the Cherokee Village Development Company changes its name to the John A. Cooper Company.
The company breaks ground on Hot Springs Village near Hot Springs National Park in central Arkansas. The community grows to 26,000 acres and attracts almost 33,000 property owners.
Almost 60,000 families take sales tours at the three Cooper developments. Sales top $50 million, a 73 percent increase over the previous year. Construction highlights include the completion of 134 miles of streets and three golf courses.
Company changes its name to Cooper Communities, Inc. Corporate headquarters relocates from Cherokee Village, Arkansas to Bella Vista Village, Arkansas.
Financial milestone is reached with $100 million in annual revenues.
Cooper Communities enters the timeshare business, opening resorts within its three planned developments.
Cooper Communities, Inc. is a founding sponsor of the Phillips Pro-Celebrity Charity Classic; held in Bella Vista Village. During its eight-year run, the Classic raises $4.2 million for cancer research and treatment, and attracts some 500 entertainment and sports celebrities. Some of the regular attendees include NFL Hall of Famers Franco Harris and Lawrence Taylor, actors Ernest Borgnine, McLean Stevenson and Dennis Franz, and recording artists Pat Boone, Gary Morris and Marilyn McCoo.
Golfing great Sam Snead assists in the design of the Balboa Golf Course in Hot Springs Village. He visits and plays a rain-soaked round.
Cooper Communities opens Tellico Village near Knoxville, Tennessee. It's the company's fourth community, and the first outside the state of Arkansas. Tellico Village spans 4,600 acres and has just over 4,000 property owner families. The community is built along Tellico Lake, and no point in the community is more than a mile from the water.
The Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel, built to honor the wife of company founder John A. Cooper, is dedicated in Bella Vista Village. Articles on the chapel and its architect, E. Fay Jones, appear in many national publications, including Parade, Southern Accents, People and Smithsonian.
Savannah Lakes Village, the fifth Cooper community, opens along the shores of Thurmond Lake in South Carolina. The late U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, for whom the lake was named, participates in a ground breaking ceremony. The 4,000-acre community attracts just over 3,000 owner families when development is completed in 2002.
PGA golf pro John Daly plays an exhibition round in Hot Springs Village to celebrate the opening of a new course. Daly's appearance comes one week after his surprising victory in the PGA Championship.
The Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the Audubon Society honors Cooper Communities for its environmentally friendly approach to development. Twenty-five to 30 percent of the acreage in each Cooper village is set aside for green spaces and amenities. Every homesite adjoins these common areas, creating a living-in-the-country ambiance.
National Public Radio's All Things Considered visits Hot Springs Village for a feature on retirement communities. Host Linda Wertheimer spends two days interviewing residents.
The tourist destination of Branson, Missouri, is chosen for Cooper's sixth community, StoneBridge Village. This 3,200-acre community is a mix of single-family homes, townhomes and vacation ownership condominiums. One of the village's first residents, entertainer Kenny Rogers, acts as celebrity spokesperson during early development. Development continues today with an emphasis on vacation ownership sales.
Club Corporation of American (CCA) and Cooper Communities team up to open Diamante, a Private Membership Golf Club in Hot Springs Village. Diamante consistently ranks as Arkansas's top course in Golf Digest's "Best in State" survey. The course hosts an annual tournament on the Buy.Com Tour.
Cooper Communities restructures into a holding company with four wholly owned subsidiaries. Land development is entrusted to Cooper Land Development; Cooper Homes focuses on home construction; commercial development is the realm of Cooper Realty Investments; and CooperShare Resorts oversees timeshare development.
Cooper Realty Investments purchases shopping centers in Conway, Arkansas, and Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The purchases represent the company's first commercial holdings located outside a Cooper development. Today, Cooper Realty Investments owns and manages 3.6 million square feet of commercial properties in Arkansas, Tennessee and South Carolina.
CooperShare Resorts opens a third location in Cherokee Village, site of the first Cooper village.
CooperShare Resorts changes its name to Escapes! The new name better reflects the company's emphasis on developing resorts outside the existing villages of Cooper Communities.
Escapes! opens a new resort in Orange Beach along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Escapes! to the Gulf at Orange Beach is the company's first beach resort, and first resort located outside an existing Cooper village.
Escapes! opens a second Branson resort at the Branson Yacht Club on Table Rock Lake. The new resort makes a Branson vacation "Twice as Fun" by allowing owners to split their weeks between StoneBridge Village and Branson Yacht Club.
Cooper Land Development opens the seventh Cooper community with Glade Springs Village in Daniels, West Virginia. The company starts development on a golf course and clubhouse, lake and single-family neighborhoods on 400 acres within the Glade Springs Resort.
John A. Cooper, III is named President of Cooper Communities, replacing his father who remains Chairman of the Board. The third generation to head up the company, his appointment mirrors the progression of the Cooper villages, which are attracting the grandchildren of owners who first purchased in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas establishes the Cooper Family Conservation Award. The award, named after the family of John A. Cooper, Jr., will be given annually to a business, organization or individual who makes an outstanding contribution to conservation in Arkansas.
Escapes! announces the opening of two new resorts: Escapes! to the Gulf at Galveston, Texas and Escapes! to the Gulf at Panama City Beach in Panama City, Florida. The new resorts add two more states to the Escapes! stable, as well as adding two additional beach locations.
Cooper Communities celebrates 50 years of business with an open house at its Corporate Office in Rogers, Arkansas.
Cooper Communities History
Fifty Years Of Sharing The Dream