Gravette was founded August 9, 1893 and is named after Ellis Tillman Gravett, a merchant from the nearby settlement of Nebo in Chalk Valley. Gravett signed a right-of-way agreement with the Kansas City, Pittsburg, and Gulf Railroad Company (now Kansas City Southern) which planned to run a north-south railway from Kansas City to Port Arthur, TX. He moved his business to what is now Gravette, a few miles west of Nebo.
One of Gravette's most notable citizens was Capt. Field E. Kindley, a World War I flying ace. His mother died when he was young and his father took a position in the Philippines. He lived for a time with his aunt and uncle in Gravette. Their house is now the Gravette Historical Museum. Capt. Kindley died in 1920 during a demonstration flight when a control cable snapped, causing the plane to stall. He was buried at Hillcrest Cemetery in Gravette. An airplane on loan from the U.S. Air Force is displayed at Kindley Park near downtown Gravette.