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The Arcadia area in the Trempealeau Valley of the Upper Mississippi River Valley had a great influx of travelers, military personnel, political figures, writers, lumbermen and artists during the 1820's and the early 1830's.

Originally, the Mississippi River was the primary access route for Trempealeau County, but railroads freed the area residents from their dependence on the Mississippi waterway

and towns began to grow in the sparsely populated river valleys. Arcadia was established in 1855 with the arrival of a group of settlers looking for agricultural land. These men registered homesteads in the area of the crossroads, currently the intersection of State Highway 93 & 95. At a meeting, the women of the settlement were given the privilege of naming the town. They chose the name Arcadia because the area reminded them of the Arkadhia Mountains of ancient Greece. The business district, which developed at these corners is referred to as Old Arcadia, Arcadia on the Hill, or East Arcadia. It distinguishes it from the area of Arcadia then known as Arcadia Under the Hill that developed after 1873 with the location of the Green Bay and Minnesota Railroad's. Arcadia was incorporated in 1878 and had a population of 710.

Within the last 3 decades, a great deal of commercial and residential development has returned to Arcadia on the Hill.