Russell (White County)

 

Latitude and Longitude:

35°21’45″N 091°30’27″W

Elevation:

233 feet

Area:

0.202 square miles (2010 Census)

Population:

216 (2010 Census)

Incorporation Date:

October 10, 1892

Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:

1810

1820

1830

1840

1850

1860

1870

1880

1890

1900

200

1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

147

172

174

206

241

203

231

232

180

228

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

216

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russell sits along U.S. Highway 67 and Arkansas Highway 367 in White County. In the late 1880s, Russell Kaufman, an employee of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad Company, was in the area locating sites for the railroad company to store supplies at five-mile increments, and he platted the town that would eventually bear his name. In 1875, a post office in the area opened named Russell, but the name was changed to Plants 1878 and back to Russell in 1884.

In 1922, a house bought from the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog was built in Russell for the Klotz family on what is now Highway 367. The building still stands in the twenty-first century. Also around this time, a mercantile store, blacksmith shop, fire station, and high school were built in Russell, as well as a broom factory, a grocery store, a general store, and several service stations. In 1949, many homes in Russell began receiving electricity for the first time.

Russell, being close to Bald Knob (White County), was located near what was once Arkansas’s largest strawberry harvest. Trainloads of strawberries went through Russell, and people from around Arkansas would travel to Russell to buy strawberries. Russell was also busy during cotton harvesting time, as farmers from miles around would bring their crop to Russell’s cotton gin. A grist mill was also located in Russell, where corn was ground to make cattle feed. The chief crops grown in Russell’s early days were cotton and corn, but today’s farmers grow mostly rice and soybeans.

Russell High School, which had closed in 1949, was renovated by former teachers and students in the late 1980s for use as a community center. The center hosts numerous events, such as family reunions, throughout the year. Another remnant from Russell’s past is the original town jail, which was erected in the early 1930s. The concrete structure is approximately ten feet square and five feet high with two small windows with iron bars on the front and back sides.

Bob Buice, a popular Little Rock (Pulaski County) radio and television announcer, better known as “Uncle Bob,” lived in Russell as a youth. Jason Jennings, a former high school basketball standout who went on to play for the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County), also grew up in Russell.

Russell has a mayor/council form of government. There are no industries in Russell in the twenty-first century.

For additional information:
Johnson, Lincoln, and Elizabeth Short. In and Around the Big Rock: A History of Bald Knob, Arkansas. Columbus, GA: Quill Publications, 1988.

White County Historical Society. http://www.whitecounty.us (accessed March 5, 2013).

Darrell Wayne Brown
Sherwood, Arkansas

Last Updated: 01/23/2017

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