Oak Grove Heights (Greene County)

Latitude and Longitude: 36º07’15″N 090º30’38″W
Elevation: 335 feet
Area: 3.040 square miles (2010 Census)
Population: 889 (2010 Census)
Incorporation Date: January 29, 1979

Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:


























Oak Grove Heights is a second-class city located on State Highway 135 four miles north of Paragould (Greene County). It was incorporated in 1979, roughly a century after the community came into being, and consists largely of residences for workers in neighboring communities of Greene County.

The wilderness area immediately east of Crowley’s Ridge remained almost entirely uninhabited until after the Civil War, when the railroad industry began to open previously inaccessible regions of Arkansas. When the city of Paragould was established at the intersection of the Cotton Belt and Iron Mountain railways, many of the citizens of Gainesville (Greene County) relocated to the newer city, making it the county seat in 1884. Meanwhile, other settlers came to Arkansas to farm the newly opened land between the cities. A gathering of Methodists in a grove of oak trees led to the naming of the community of Oak Grove in the 1870s. Among those settlers of Oak Grove were the Methodist preacher and circuit rider D. B. Warren and farmer Bill Walden. Walden built the area’s first cotton gin on his farm. The gin was powered by farm animals for at least forty years before it was converted to steam power in 1909.

In addition to raising cotton and subsistence crops, many of the farmers raised dairy cattle; several dairies were established around the growing community. The largest dairy was called Knox-Woodburn, causing the Iron Mountain railroad to name its stop at Oak Grove “Knox-burn.” The Methodist church built in Oak Grove also contained a Masonic lodge, which was used as the first school building until a two-room school house was constructed in 1910. Several additions were made to the original school building until 1938, when it was replaced with a new school built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Additional school buildings were dedicated in 1978.

That same year, the community recognized the need to incorporate so that it could apply for a $225,000 Federal Housing Authority loan to construct a new water tower and water system for the community. They also “desperately needed” a sewer system, fire department, and repairs to the streets, according to an article in the 1979 Arkansas Gazette. Because there are a dozen other communities in Arkansas known as Oak Grove, such as Oak Grove (Carroll County), for example, residents were required to modify the name of the community, so they decided to call it Oak Grove Heights.

The Oak Grove school system was consolidated with the Paragould school system in 1985, but the 1978 school building in Oak Grove Heights continues to be used. The city is principally a residential community with few businesses or places of employment. The population had grown to 889 by 2010.

For additional information:
Mueller, Myrl Rhine. A History of Greene County, Arkansas. Little Rock, AR: Parkhurst Book Design, 1984.

“Oak Grove Heights Gains Incorporation as Town.” Arkansas Gazette, March 2, 1979, p. 7A.

Steven Teske
CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Last Updated: 01/25/2022