Entry Category: Business and Economics

Arkansas Forestry Association

The Arkansas Forestry Association (AFA) is a private association of firms and individuals in the forestry industry. The focus of the association is on those who grow trees, both corporate and individual growers. The corporate growers may be integrated both upstream (a business term meaning closer to the point of manufacture or production than to the point sale) and downstream (meaning closer to the point of sale). Downstream is most common as the corporate growers are often wood processors or paper makers. Some corporate growers are integrated upstream, providing such things as management services, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, seedling trees, and logging machinery. The Arkansas Forestry Association Education Foundation, Inc. (AFAEF) is part of the private Arkansas Forestry Association. The primary …

Arkansas Gazette

The Arkansas Gazette, Arkansas’s first newspaper, was established in 1819, seventeen years before Arkansas became a state. Its editorial stance for law and order during the desegregation of Central High School in 1957 earned the newspaper two Pulitzer Prizes—the first time in history one newspaper won two Pulitzers in the same year. Known for its liberal editorial pages in a conservative Southern state, the Gazette closed on October 18, 1991, after a bitter newspaper war with its cross-town rival, the Arkansas Democrat. William E. Woodruff published the first edition of the Arkansas Gazette on November 20, 1819, introducing it as Republican (the name that evolved into the modern Democratic Party) in politics. Woodruff, a New Yorker who had completed a …

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance

The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance is a nonprofit collaborative network of more than 400 hunger relief organizations across Arkansas working to alleviate hunger in the state. Members include the Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro (Craighead County), Harvest Texarkana Regional Food Bank in Texarkana (Miller County), Food Bank of North Central Arkansas in Norfork (Baxter County), Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Bethel Heights (Benton County), and River Valley Regional Food Bank in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), as well as numerous food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Arkansas has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the nation. More than twenty-eight percent of Arkansas families with children experience food insecurity on …

Arkansas Municipal League

The Arkansas Municipal League, established in 1934, has 500 members, encompassing all of the state’s incorporated municipalities. Member cities and towns have year-round services from the league, and though league membership is voluntary, all 500 incorporated cities and towns in the state have elected to become members. The league was created to assist cities by providing information and representing cities before higher levels of government, such as the state and nation. Cities pay dues based on a sliding scale and also pay fees for direct services. The impetus for forming the league came from mayors and chambers of commerce. Larger cities could afford to interact directly with higher levels of government, but smaller cities realized they needed to organize to …

Arkansas Nuclear One

The Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO) power plant, located a few miles west of Russellville (Pope County), is the state’s only operational nuclear power plant. Entergy Arkansas, Inc., owns and operates it. ANO is one of nine nuclear reactor sites owned and operated by Entergy Corporation. In the 1950s and 1960s, nuclear power was found to be a clean and efficient source of electricity, and nuclear power plants began to be constructed nationwide. Arkansas’s first nuclear reactor, ANO-Unit One (ANO-1), went online May 21, 1974, bringing Arkansas into the nuclear age of power. On September 1, 1978, ANO-1 was joined by ANO-Unit Two (ANO-2). Bechtel Power engineered both units. Both are pressurized light water reactors. The Babcock & Wilcox Company made …

Arkansas Planning and Development Districts

aka: Arkansas Economic Development Districts
Planning and Development Districts are not well recognized but are very important in the economic planning and development process at the local level. Each planning district covers six to twelve Arkansas counties which are bound together by common economic problems and opportunities. In addition to assessing the potential for economic development for the area, the district is the means by which the counties interact with economic development offices of the state and federal governments. The planning effort in Arkansas has had several beginnings. In the 1930s, under the auspices of the federal government, the Arkansas Plan was published. For its day, it was a comprehensive economic plan covering resources available, economic development needs, land use, and directions for economic development. …

Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L)

The Arkansas Power and Light Company (AP&L) was the primary electrical utility company for much of Arkansas from 1913 to 1989. It was the predecessor to Entergy Corporation, the electrical company now serving much of the state in the twenty-first century. The company was founded in 1913 as the Arkansas Power Company by Harvey Crowley Couch, a native of Columbia County and a successful railroad and telephone utility entrepreneur. In 1914, Couch bought the power plants at Arkadelphia (Clark County) and Malvern (Hot Spring County) and then built a twenty-two-mile electrical transmission line running between them. The system had problems with electrical supply and ran exclusively at night, but it served as the only electrical transmission line in the state. …

Arkansas Real Estate Bank

In 1836, the establishment of the Real Estate Bank of Arkansas became the initial act to pass the first state legislature. Momentum for a state-sponsored bank began during the territorial phase when planters and other lowland agricultural interests sought ways to enhance the availability of capital. The bank’s charter required the state to issue $2 million in five-percent bonds, the proceeds from which would serve as the bank’s capital. But the state held no authority for immediate supervision of the bank’s operations other than the appointment of a minority of the bank’s directors. From 1836 to 1855, when the state took over control, the Real Estate Bank proved to be a source of political corruption, financial mismanagement, and intense sectional …

Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA)

The Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA) was created in 1983. Its mission is to bring the benefits of science and advanced technology to Arkansas. The legislation creating the authority was based on the growing interest in replicating the technology-based economies of Boston, Massachusetts; California’s Silicon Valley; and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. For most states, the justification for establishing mechanisms similar to Arkansas’s was faith that investment in science and technology would lead to the creation of high-tech jobs. The first programs were implemented in 1986, and more have been added. The programs are grouped into three broad categories: research and commercialization, technology and manufacturing extension, and management services. In the research programs, ASTA provides funds and technical support …

Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) had its beginnings in 1979 as part of the former Industrial Research and Extension Center. Originally named the Arkansas Small Business Development Center, it has been a separate entity since the mid-1980s, when it was transferred to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), where it has become more comprehensive. The center is now a part of UALR’s College of Business in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development. In addition to this central office, ASBTDC has six regional offices, all linked to universities. The 2003 annual report sets out the center’s mission: to provide quality consulting, training, research, and technology services to the small-business community through …

Arkansas Soft Pine Bureau (ASPB)

Founded in 1912 by executives of a dozen prominent Arkansas timber firms, the Arkansas Soft Pine Bureau (ASPB) spent decades promoting its members’ southern pine lumber. American Lumberman ad salesman Robert H. Brooks originally conceived of the ASPB, using his previous experience with these firms to convince them to try a one-year advertising campaign funded by an assessment of five cents per 1,000 board feet of lumber manufactured in their Arkansas mills. The first ASPB advertisements appeared in October 1912 and proved successful enough that, by the spring of 1913, the ASPB principals initiated a national campaign and coined the term “Arkansas Soft Pine”—a description patented in 1921 as a registered trademark. Brooks, a Kansan with previous experience in the …

Arkansas State Bank

The Arkansas State Bank (1836–1843) was one of two banks created by the newly formed Arkansas state legislature. It provided some funding for commercial projects, though most of its funds facilitated land sales. Its greatest legacy, however, was saddling the new state government with a burdensome debt and instigating several accounts of political corruption. In the end, the bank’s failure jeopardized both public and private banking in Arkansas due to the public outcry against its operation. Banking was one of the most prominent political issues of the early nineteenth century. Waves of banking mania spread across the country as advocates sang the praises of increasing available currency and spurring on economic development. On the western frontier, demands for banks ran …

Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce

aka: Associated Industries of Arkansas (AIA)
The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas (AIA) was founded in 1928. Almost immediately, it became the foremost private organization for the promotion of economic interests, and the state chamber established research agencies and agencies to promote its interests to public bodies. After World War II, business leaders saw the need for a coordinated effort to develop the state’s economy. Each region had unique attributes and needed local development groups. The state chamber was to be the body coordinating the efforts of the various local chambers organized along city or county lines. Associated Industries of Arkansas, the purpose of which was to provide political support to business and industrial interests, was organized at the same …

Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Times is a widely read free periodical known for its liberal political stance as well as being an early adopter of news blogging in the state. The Times has achieved acclaim for its work on such stories as the Arkansas prison blood scandal and the case of the West Memphis Three. In 2013, the paper began crowdsourcing funding for in-depth investigative pieces. In the fall of 1974, a group of five people led by Alan Leveritt set out to create an alternative media outlet for Little Rock (Pulaski County) that would offer investigative reporting and stories on local culture. Leveritt had gotten his start in the media business during his college days in the early 1970s at Little Rock …

Arkansas Water Works and Water Environment Association

Comprising the operators of water and sewer systems statewide and their affiliates, the Arkansas Water Works and Water Environment Association has met annually in all but one year since 1931 with the goal of improving water quality through high standards and professionalism in the field. With the lead of the American Water Works Association, and in harmony with efforts under way in other states, the first meeting of what was then called the Arkansas Water Works Conference took place at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1931 and drew forty-seven registered members. There, a slate of officers was elected, and the group resolved to form a permanent organization that would meet annually in cooperation with the …

Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission

The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission is a quasi-judicial agency of the executive branch of Arkansas government, charged with the responsibility of administering the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Law. Amendment No. 26 of the Arkansas Constitution, which was adopted by the people of the state in the general election held on November 8, 1938, created and gave constitutional authority for the organization and operation of the commission. The amendment provides that the Arkansas General Assembly shall have the power to enact laws prescribing the amount of compensation to be paid by employers for injuries to or death of employees; to pay restitution to the spouses and children of the deceased workers; and to provide the means, methods, and forum for adjudicating claims …

Arkansas World Trade Club

aka: Arkansas Exporters Roundtable
The Arkansas Exporters Roundtable (AER, now Arkansas World Trade Club) was organized in 1971 by Al Pollard, president of the Brooks-Pollard advertising agency of Little Rock (Pulaski County). He invited a half-dozen community leaders with an understanding of foreign trade and its importance to Arkansas commerce to meet together. The goals were a ready exchange of information and networking opportunities for exporters. From this group, AER emerged. Pollard saw that most Arkansas businesses lacked interest in international markets. At the time, there was little advisory assistance for potential exporters in the state. AER turned to the University of Arkansas, particularly the Industrial Research and Extension Center (IREC). IREC began offering workshops throughout the state and individual counseling through Armand de …

Arlington Hotel

The Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs (Garland County) was built at the dawn of the city’s golden era as a resort destination, a time before Las Vegas or Florida had been developed into tourist destinations. Always among the largest hotels in the state, the Arlington is one of the most recognizable landmarks associated with the city of Hot Springs and its bathhouse district, and has been a destination for the wealthy and famous throughout its history. Following the Civil War, the city of Hot Springs quickly began to regain its popularity as a tourist destination. In response to a shortage of hotels to accommodate the growing number of visitors arriving to enjoy the natural thermal springs in the area, Samuel …

Arnold, Mary Ann Ritter

Mary Ann Ritter Arnold became president of E. Ritter & Company, one of the most successful family-owned businesses in the state, in 1976. The company, established in the early twentieth century by Arnold’s great-grandfather Ernest Herman Ritter Jr. and based in Marked Tree (Poinsett County), distributes agricultural supplies and telecommunication services throughout northeast Arkansas and north-central Arkansas; it also includes farming and cotton-ginning operations. Arnold became the first female mayor of Marked Tree, was inducted into the Arkansas Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1998, and was an inaugural inductee into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015. The only daughter of Louis V. Ritter Sr. and Betty Hart Ritter, Mary Ann Ritter was born on April 25, 1927, in …

Ashley, Chester

Chester Ashley was prominent in territorial and antebellum Arkansas. He was involved in the dispute over ownership of the site of Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Bowie land claims, and the ill-fated State and Real Estate Banks, as well as being the pre-eminent appellate attorney of the period. He was a member of the powerful Conway-Sevier-Johnson political faction, which controlled state politics until the Civil War. In addition, he was the third Arkansan elected to the U.S. Senate and was probably the wealthiest Arkansan for much of his life because of his land holdings. Chester Ashley was born on June 1, 1791, in Amherst, Massachusetts, to William Ashley and Nancy Pomeroy. Some sources list his birth year as 1790, but …

Atkins Pickle Company

Atkins Pickle Company was the major industry in the town of Atkins (Pope County) for more than fifty years, and its legacy survives in the annual Picklefest celebration that began in 1992. The building that housed the pickle plant now houses Atkins Prepared Foods. The new company employs more people than the pickle plant did at its end, but it does not provide the same level of recognition for the town once dubbed the “Pickle Capital of the World” and known as the home of the fried dill pickle. In 1946, a group of citizens led by Lee Cheek raised $17,000 for a loan to the Goldsmith Pickle Company of Chicago, which had agreed to invest $75,000 of its money …

August House

August House, a commercial book publisher founded and run by Arkansans, was a fixture on the national scene for its twenty-five years in the state. Originally a publisher of poetry, it moved into general fiction and eventually folklore and storytelling. In 1978, two young Arkansas poets, Ted Parkhurst and Jon Looney, started a company to publish Arkansas poetry. They called their enterprise August House Publishers. Parkhurst quit his job to run the fledgling company, even selling his poetry door-to-door. Looney soon left Little Rock (Pulaski County), but Parkhurst stayed, and August House Publishers began to grow. By 1979, it became apparent that literary publishing interested writers in Arkansas and the region, and August House published six titles, including poetry by …

Bailey, O. C.

aka: Olin Cavanaugh Bailey
Olin Cavanaugh Bailey of El Dorado (Union County) was a leader in the Arkansas oil industry and served as the first chairman of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission. Both Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) and Hendrix College have buildings named in Bailey’s honor. O. C. Bailey was born in Blevins (Hempstead County) on July 28, 1894, the second child of Gentry Ethridge, a farmer from Haynesville, Louisiana, and Sarah Margaret Stephens Bailey, a housewife from Wallaceburg (Hempstead County). Bailey graduated from Ouachita College (now Ouachita Baptist University) with a BA in 1914. Bailey married Leila St. Clair Lide of Camden (Ouachita County) on September 12, 1917. The couple had no children. On October 18, 1918, Bailey joined the United States …

Baitfish Industry

Arkansas leads the nation in the farming of bait and feeder fish, providing sixty-one percent of the value of all cultured baitfish in the country. Baitfish are small minnows used as fishing bait to catch predatory game fish such as crappie, catfish, walleye, and largemouth bass. Feeder fish are small fish sold as live food for fish and animals in aquariums and zoos. Six billion bait minnows—predominantly golden shiners, fathead minnows, and goldfish—are raised in Arkansas each year and shipped throughout the country. In 1998, the Census of Aquaculture recorded sixty-two baitfish farms in Arkansas. The annual farm-gate value of Arkansas baitfish production was $23 million; with an economic impact of six to seven times this amount, baitfish production contributes …

Bank of Osceola

The Bank of Osceola is a two-story brick structure located in Osceola (Mississippi County) at 207–209 East Hale Avenue at its intersection with Pecan Street. Built in 1909 at the height of Osceola’s building boom, the property remains a unique focal point along the Hale Avenue Historic District. Originally constructed to house the bank and a grocery store on the first floor, the building has hosted numerous businesses throughout its history, including law offices, a cotton brokerage, and a doctor’s office. The structure, measuring 56′ by 100′, is on a continuous brick foundation. The façade (south elevation) has a centered entrance featuring double doors topped by double transoms and flanked by altered storefront openings. The second-story façade is distinguished by …

Bank OZK

Bank OZK grew from a small-town bank in Ozark (Franklin County) to have offices in ten states by 2019, also becoming a major lender for commercial construction projects in metropolitan centers throughout the country. The bank was recognized thirteen times from 2011 to 2019 as the top-performing bank in the nation by various trade publications. It has maintained significant profitability through all economic cycles and has rewarded its stockholders through stock price appreciation and increasing dividends. In 1979, George Gleason, a twenty-five-year-old attorney with the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock (Pulaski County), purchased the small Bank of Ozark. He left law practice and moved to Ozark and took over bank management as chairman and CEO. The bank, which had …

Banking

When Arkansas was admitted to statehood in June 1836, the first and second acts of the legislature that year authorized the chartering of two banks: the State Bank of Arkansas and the Real Estate Bank of Arkansas. Capital for the banks was obtained by substituting the credit of the state in the form of Arkansas bonds, to be sold presumably in the East or in the London market. Bond interest and principal were to be paid out of bank profits. The State Bank was government owned; shares of the Real Estate Bank were open to public subscription. Both banks suspended the redemption of their bank notes (currency) in gold and silver coin in 1839 but continued to issue new currency …

Banks, Alfred

Alfred (Alf) Banks was one of twelve African-American men accused of murder following the Elaine Massacre of 1919. After brief trials, the so-called Elaine Twelve—six who became known as the Moore defendants and six (including Banks) who became known as the Ware defendants—were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Ultimately, the Ware defendants were freed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1923; after numerous legal efforts, the Moore defendants were released in 1925. There are conflicting dates as to when Alfred Banks Jr. was born. The 1930 census indicates 1895, his World War I draft registration card shows 1897, and his Missouri death certificate gives 1899. Whatever the year, Banks was born on either August 23 or 24 …

Barkman, Jacob

Jacob Barkman is known as the father of Clark County. An early settler along the Caddo River, Barkman eventually became a prominent landowner and planter. Jacob Barkman was born on December 20, 1784, in Kentucky. Little is known of his early life, but, by 1811, Barkman had married Rebecca Davis. Eventually, the couple had two sons and a daughter. Wishing to move west, the family joined Barkman’s brother John, John’s wife, and their several slaves at Bayou Sara in Louisiana in 1811. Joining another group organized by John Hemphill, the party moved up the Ouachita River. The Barkmans settled along the Caddo River, just a few miles from its merger with the Ouachita. This location was a few miles to …

Barlow Hotel

The Barlow Hotel at 102 South Elm Street in Hope (Hempstead County) was, for more than seventy-five years, the city’s most popular lodging and dining venue, as well as its most sought-after meeting and banquet facility. The Barlow was built as the Lamar Hotel by local merchant J. C. McKee and opened in 1886, ten years after the town’s founding. It initially sought to attract a clientele dominated by railroad passengers, as Hope was built around what would become two major railroad junctions: the north-south Louisiana and Arkansas line (now Kansas City Southern) and the east-west Cairo and Fulton (now Union Pacific). In 1886, M. H. Barlow, a hardware merchant who hailed from Cory, Pennsylvania, was persuaded that the hotel, …

Bartell, Fred Wallace

Frederick Wallace Bartell was a Siloam Springs (Benton County) merchant, church leader, and Circuit Chautauqua manager. He organized Associated Chautauquas, which was among the first “tent” or “traveling” Chautauqua circuits. Fred W. Bartell was born in Milford, Kansas, on October 12, 1872, to immigrant parents. His father, Edward Charles Bartell, was from Germany; his mother, Louesa (or Louise), Edward’s second wife, was from France. He was the fourth of their five children. There also were six children from Edward’s first marriage to Catharine Branscom, who died in 1860. Louesa died in 1878. Edward Bartell and other family members migrated to Siloam Springs sometime before May 1892, when Fred Bartell arrived. Bartell said of his arrival, “I came with the flood,” …

Bartlett, E. M.

aka: Eugene Monroe Bartlett Sr.
With the exception of his protégé, Albert E. Brumley, no other Arkansas figure contributed more to the development of the Southern gospel music genre than singer, songwriter, and publisher Eugene Monroe Bartlett Sr. E. M. Bartlett was born on December 24, 1883, in the small community of Waynesville, Missouri, according to Barlett’s World War I draft card, though historians have variously placed his year of birth in 1884 and 1885. He and his parents eventually relocated to Sebastian County, Arkansas. Educated at the Hall-Moody Institute in Martin, Tennessee, and William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, Bartlett received training as a music teacher. In 1917, Bartlett married Joan Tatum; they had two children. As an aspiring songwriter, Bartlett became an employee …

Barton, Thomas Harry

Colonel Thomas H. Barton, a pioneer El Dorado (Union County) oilman and philanthropist, launched his small Lion Oil Company into a major oil company that included exploration, production, marketing, distribution, refining, and research programs. Barton was born in Marlin, Texas, on September 20, 1881. His father, Thomas Killebrew Barton, was a merchant and farmer in Falls County. At age sixteen, he entered Texas A&M College, but limited funds forced him to leave school early in his second year. He entered the U.S. Army in 1901 and was discharged in 1904 with the rank of corporal. From 1905 to 1917, he worked in a variety of occupations that included banking and lumber in Dallas County. In 1906, he was commissioned with …

Batesville Daily Guard

The Batesville Daily Guard has been published continuously since 1877, the only Batesville (Independence County) newspaper that has survived from about two dozen that were started in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Originally a weekly publication, it later became an award-winning daily newspaper. The founder of the Guard, Confederate Civil War veteran Franklin Desha Denton, was born in Batesville in 1841. In 1868, Frank Denton married Martha Adelia “Mattie” Lewis. According to the Goodspeed history of the area, Denton was attending Center College at Danville, Kentucky, when the Civil War broke out, and he came home to enlist in the Confederate army. He was twice wounded, captured by the Union army, and exchanged to fight again. After …