Minturn (Lawrence County)

Latitude and Longitude: 35°58’28″N 091°31’39″W
Elevation: 266 feet
Area: 0.528 square miles (2010 Census)
Population: 109 (2010 Census)
Incorporation Date: December 16, 1904

Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:

































Minturn is a town on U.S. Highway 67 in Lawrence County. Created as a railroad depot, the town prospered while the timber industry flourished in the county, but it has since declined in population. Margarete Ethel Neel, a poster-child of the Red Cross during World War II, was born in Minturn.

The first white dwellers in the area were French settlers who built homes along the Black River. Although the Minturn area is watered by a pair of creeks, it probably was not settled until after the Civil War. During Arkansas’s territorial period, the U.S. government created a military road that passed through the future location of Minturn. Known as the Southwest Trail, it stretched from Missouri to Texas along the boundary between Arkansas’s higher elevations (the Ozark and Ouachita mountains) and the Mississippi Delta and Gulf Coastal Plain. This same route would later be developed for railroad and automobile travel.

The Cairo and Fulton Railroad surveyed a route along the path of the Southwest Trail before the Civil War, but construction did not begin in Lawrence County until after the war ended. Tracks that would soon belong to the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad were laid in 1873, and depots were built in Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), Minturn, and Alicia (Lawrence County). Minturn was probably named for a railroad executive or worker. A post office was established in the depot in 1873.

The timber industry led to a surge of population in Minturn. A stave mill and other timber works were established, as well as several stores. One of the leading citizens was merchant A. W. Shirey. He was a spiritualist and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Shirey was murdered in his store in 1910. A neighbor was arrested and charged with the crime but was acquitted by a jury.

In the early years of the twentieth century, automobile usage began to increase, and the state and local governments began to invest in building and improving roads. The Arkansas State Highway System, established in 1923, included a two-lane road parallel to the railroad tracks in Lawrence County. Two years later, the highway was one of nine roads in Arkansas added to the federal highway system. The road between Minturn and Hoxie (Lawrence County) was paved in 1930, and the road between Minturn and Alicia was also paved later that year. The original paving is still visible in Minturn and for several miles in both directions; the wider highway, paved in 1952, is just to the west of the original pavement. This stretch of what is now called Old U.S. Highway 67 was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

In 1936, Minturn had two stores, a church, and a school. When the Clover Bend (Lawrence County) school buildings were enlarged in 1938 and 1939, students from Minturn began to attend school there. During the 1950s, country and rock musicians such as Johnny Cash, Sonny Burgess, and Elvis Presley performed shows at various locations along Highway 67. Although Minturn is not known to have hosted any such concerts, residents no doubt attended shows in neighboring cities.

Minturn has no school, store, or church. The post office remains open, and Minturn is also home to a flying service.

For additional information:
McLeod, Walter E. Centennial Memorial History of Lawrence County. Russellville, AR: Russellville Printing Company, 1936.

Mother of Counties: Lawrence County, Arkansas, History and Families. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company, 2001.

“Old U.S. 67, Alicia to Hoxie.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at (accessed September 13, 2021).

Steven Teske
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

Last Updated: 09/13/2021