Originally, the river bend was known as Lake's Ferry. In 1905, the Missouri Pacific Railroad bought the area and sold over one thousand lots, mostly to railroad employees. The city was incorporated in 1905 as Cotter, Arkansas. The mercurial White River caused many motorists problems, as the nearest crossing was over 100 miles 160 kilometer to the north in Branson, Missouri. An inconvenient ferry system made the need for a bridge apparent. Locals wanted a bridge, but they strongly opposed a toll bridge. Arkansas did not have a central highway body at the time, and was instead a patchwork of "road districts", which made the bridge-building efforts even more difficult. Without a toll, funding wasn't available until Arkansas Highway 12 was redesignated U.S. Route 62 in 1930. The Cotter Bridge was constructed through the area using a unique rainbow arch design.