Businesses

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Acme Brick Company

Acme Brick Company began operation in 1891 and is now the largest American-owned brick and masonry manufacturer in the United States, with more than $175 million in sales in 2007. Although Acme operates a number of companies that produce a variety of construction materials, bricks remain its primary product, making more than one billion of them each year. The company started production in Texas, but, in 1921, Acme opened a plant in Hot Spring County. Since then, the company has expanded its presence in Arkansas to become the major producer of bricks in the state. George E. Bennett founded the company and served as its first president. A native of Ohio, Bennett arrived in Dallas, Texas, in 1876. Several years …

Albert Pike Hotel

The Albert Pike Hotel in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) opened in 1929 and was one of the state’s best-known hotels for decades. In 1971, Little Rock’s Second Baptist Church bought the hotel for $740,000 and transformed it into a residence hotel. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It remains a residential facility for individuals aged fifty-five and older. The block on which the hotel was built had once been occupied by a house constructed in 1827 for Robert Crittenden, the secretary of the Arkansas Territory. The Crittenden House was among the first brick residences built in Little Rock. Facing financial problems, Crittenden attempted to trade the house for ten sections of undeveloped land, …

Allens, Inc.

aka: Allen Canning Company
aka: Sager Creek Vegetable Company
Allens, Inc., began canning vegetables at Siloam Springs (Benton County) in 1926. From its inception, the Allen family owned and operated the company, which, by 2013, employed more than 1,000 people nationwide and produced canned and frozen vegetables with eleven brand names: Allens, Butterfield, Freshlike, Popeye Spinach, Princella, Royal Prince, Sugary Sam, Sunshine, Trappey’s, Veg-All, and Wagon Master. Company offices were in downtown Siloam Springs, and processing plants are located across the United States. In late 2013, the company declared bankruptcy and put itself up for sale. After its purchase by Sager Creek Acquisition Corp., it was renamed Sager Creek Vegetable Company, although brand names were retained. In 2015, the company was purchased by Del Monte. Earl and Shadye Allen established …

Alltel

Alltel Corporation is a wireless communications company that began as a technical service provider to small-town Arkansas telephone companies in 1943 and evolved into one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. Before its merger with a private equity firm and the acquisition of most of its assets by Verizon Communications in 2008, Alltel operated one of the largest wireless networks in the United States and served more than 13 million customers in thirty-four states. Three generations of the founding family led the company, based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), for sixty-five years until the merger. Brothers-in-law Hugh Randolph Wilbourn Jr. and Charles Beverly Miller, both of Little Rock, went to work as construction crewmen for Southwestern Bell Telephone …

Anthony Timberlands, Inc.

Formed by John Ed Anthony in 1974, Anthony Timberlands, Inc. (ATI) operates five mills in southern Arkansas and also provides consulting services to private timberland owners and management services to other private companies. ATI’s operating principles derive from the knowledge and experience of various branches of the Anthony family during the twentieth century. The Anthony family first settled in southern Arkansas in the 1840s. In 1907, Garland Anthony started a small sawmill near Bearden (Ouachita County). Other members of the family, along with outside partners, started similar operations in southern Arkansas, eastern Texas, and northern Louisiana. Between 1910 and 1930, Garland and his brothers Frank, William, and Oliver formed Anthony Brothers Lumber and built their first permanent mill in Hopeville …

Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad

  The Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad (A&OW), based in Rogers (Benton County), was incorporated on June 25, 1907, with capital stock of $3,000,000. The standard gauge railroad, previously named the Rogers Southwestern, had twenty-one miles of track built between Rogers and Springtown (Benton County) by the Rogers Southwestern Railroad. The change in the corporate name reflected an intention to build to Siloam Springs (Benton County), as a connection to the Kansas City Southern Railway, and Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, as a connection to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway. The A&OW also announced plans for a thirty-mile extension from Rogers to the health resort of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). The A&OW, assuming it had been built as planned, would have …

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state’s largest newspaper, is based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), with a separate northwest Arkansas edition. After the Arkansas Democrat bought the assets of the Arkansas Gazette in October 1991, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was born. It is the only statewide newspaper, offering home delivery in all parts of Arkansas. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has its roots in the Reconstruction era. A newspaper first called The Liberal became The Journal and then The Chronicle. Finally, it became The Evening Star, having passed through several owners and editors by 1875. On April 11, 1878, Colonel J. N. Smithee acquired the newspaper and renamed it the Arkansas Democrat. Smithee, who had served in the Confederate army, immediately launched an attack …

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 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 commercially on December 19, 1974, bringing Arkansas into the nuclear age of power. On March 26, 1980, ANO-1 was joined by ANO-Unit Two (ANO-2). Bechtel Power engineered both units. Both are pressurized light water reactors. The Babcock & Wilcox …

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 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 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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, …

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 …

Bauxite and Northern Railroad

The Bauxite and Northern Railroad (B&N) is a short, three-mile railway built in 1906 by a subsidiary of Alcoa called the American Bauxite Company in what is now Bauxite (Saline County). The B&N transports hundreds of tons of alumina, a key ingredient in the production of aluminum, from the former Alcoa processing plant to Bauxite Junction, where the B&N connects with the Union Pacific. In 2012, the Bauxite and Northern Railroad and its parent company at the time, RailAmerica, Inc., were purchased by Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Bauxite deposits were discovered outside Little Rock (Pulaski County) during road construction in 1887 and were publically identified by State Geologist John C. Branner in 1891. In 1900, Colonel John Rison Gibbons and …

Baxter Bulletin

The Baxter Bulletin newspaper was established in 1901 in Mountain Home (Baxter County) by J. G. “Uncle Jess” Copeland, who had previously worked for both the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Over the years, it became a popular weekly turned six-day-a-week publication with a circulation of around 11,000. Copeland sold the Bulletin in October 1903 to Joe Doehring and Will M. McNair. He then moved to Cotter (Baxter County) and established the Cotter Courier. Doehring was serving as both editor and publisher when the newspaper was sold to Tom Shiras in 1905. The next year, Enness Shiras joined his brother as co-owner of the paper. They owned and operated the paper for approximately forty years. In …

Bellaire Court Historic District

The Bellaire Court Historic District is a tourist court in Hot Springs (Garland County). Constructed in 1936, the court consists of eight Craftsman bungalow-style cottages and a manager’s office. The district is also known as the Bellaire Apartments, as it was converted to apartments in the 1970s. Located at 637 Park Avenue, the court is laid out in an L shape. The manager’s office faces Park Avenue, and five units are attached to the rear of the office, perpendicular to the street. The remaining three units are part of a separate building, facing Magnolia Avenue at the rear of the property. An asphalt driveway connects the property to Park Avenue. Little is known about the construction of the court. Located …