Counties, Cities, and Towns

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Entry Category: Counties, Cities, and Towns - Starting with P

Padgett Island

Padgett Island is bottomland along the White River across from the Oil Trough (Independence County) bottoms and about four miles from Magness (Independence County). To the north and east lies the backwater Big Bottom Slough (a.k.a. Island Sough), forming the “island” surrounded by the White River and the slough. Padgett Island is named for William Benjamin Padgett from Fairfax, Virginia, who farmed the area before the Civil War and married Phoebe Engles, member of a prominent Independence County pioneer family. By 1876, the Padgett Island area was called Big Bottom and appeared on Frank A. Gray’s map of Arkansas. The Sulphur Rock (Independence County) post office served Big Bottom before it had its own post office. A post office was …

Palestine (St. Francis County)

  Palestine is located in northeastern Arkansas on Interstate 40 and State Highway 70, with the L’Anguille River on its east side. It is one of the oldest towns in St. Francis County and was also the site of the first county school. Civil War through Reconstruction In 1840, what is now Palestine was part of the much larger L’Anguille Township, which had only nine recorded households. The Prairie Township was formed from part of the L’Anguille Township in the 1870s, and the Palestine area, located centrally within the Prairie Township, grew in population. Palestine was named in 1870, when the first post office was established there. One story about the naming holds that it was named after a fatally injured …

Palmyra (Lincoln County)

Palmyra is an unincorporated community in southwestern Lincoln County, about five miles west of Star City (Lincoln County) on State Highway 114. Its most distinctive landmark is Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church. The Baptist church was organized on July 18, 1861, but it met only sporadically during the Civil War. By 1867, it was meeting regularly again; church records show a membership that year of forty-four members—forty who were white and four who were African American. At this time, the church was located in Drew County, as Lincoln County was not created until 1871. Historian William McGriff provides a somewhat tortured explanation of the naming of Palmyra, suggesting that the name honors the memory of Myra Collins, daughter of early settler …

Pangburn (White County)

Pangburn is an incorporated second class city in extreme northwestern White County, located on Arkansas Highway 16 about halfway between Searcy (White County) and Heber Springs (Cleburne County). The city is located a quarter-mile south of the Little Red River, which made possible the arrival of the first white settlers in the 1850s, decades before any railroad was built through the isolated, hilly terrain. Pangburn once served boats on the Little Red back when the river was commercially navigable. It incorporated in 1911, shortly after the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad (M&NA) built a line through the city. At one time, Native Americans had inhabited the area, as the first white settlers to the area reportedly discovered the remnants of an …

Pankey (Pulaski County)

Pankey is a small African-American community located in western Pulaski County, approximately thirteen miles from downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). Now a part of Little Rock, it is one of three communities—and the last remaining intact—that were owned and subdivided by real estate agent and land developer Josephine Irvin (or Irving) Harris Pankey. Josephine Pankey was born Josephine Irvin (or Irving) in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1869; her father was a former slave. She was sent to Arkansas by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 1892 as a missionary to teach children of sharecroppers and tenant farmers in Prairie County. She moved to Little Rock in the early 1900s; married Samuel Pankey in 1904; taught school in the Little Rock School District for …

Paraclifta (Sevier County)

Paraclifta was the first county seat of Sevier County. An 1850 plat shows fifteen families living in Paraclifta. At this time, however, only the historic Gilliam-Norwood house remains. Sevier County was formed on October 22, 1828, eight years before Arkansas became a state. The county was, at that time, a vast area comprising what is now Sevier, Polk, Little River, and Howard counties. A board of commissioners consisting of George T. Boring, Joseph Ladd, James Holman, David Clark, and Levi Davis was assigned the duty of permanently locating the county seat. They established the county seat at a site that later became Paraclifta. The first courthouse was built of logs at a cost of $150. The second, however, was built …

Paragould (Greene County)

Paragould (Greene County), an Arkansas Community of Excellence and a Main Street Community, is situated atop Crowley’s Ridge. The unique name Paragould is a blend of the names of two highly competitive railroad men, James W. Paramore and Jay Gould, evidencing the importance of railroads in the development of the town. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In 1815, Benjamin Crowley moved his family from Kentucky to Lawrence County in Arkansas. In December 1821, Crowley crossed the Black and Cache rivers to explore the ridge area that now bears his name. Armed with a War of 1812 land grant, he selected a vacated Delaware Indian site that had developed around a large spring. The county seat was in Crowley’s home until …

Paris (Logan County)

Paris, located in north-central Logan County, is one of the county’s two seats. The other county seat, Booneville, is located in the southern part of the county. Built around the courthouse square, Paris is economically supported by agricultural activity, retail business enterprises, and small industries. One of the town’s attractions is the Logan County Museum, located in the old county jail. The museum is dedicated to preservation of the history of Logan County. Tourism related to Mount Magazine, located seventeen miles south of Paris, also has benefited the town. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age When the legislature created Logan County as Sarber County in 1871, naming it after noted “carpetbagger” John Newton Sarber, Paris did not exist. The act creating …

Parkdale (Ashley County)

  One of the oldest incorporated communities in Ashley County, Parkdale (formerly known as Poplar Bluff) has benefited from its location on Bayou Bartholomew and on the Missouri Pacific railroad (now the Union Pacific railroad). Once a busy, prosperous, and even violent city, Parkdale has become a relatively quiet community in the twenty-first century. John Tillman Hughes built a store at the present location of Parkdale in 1857. Some farmers were already working the land near the bayou at that time, including William Morris, John Harris, and William Butler. Morris’s son, John William Morris, worked as a clerk in Hughes’s store and later opened his own store. A Methodist church had also been built in the area sometime in the 1850s. …

Parkin (Cross County)

Parkin of Cross County is located on the east side of the St. Francis River in the heart of the Delta, the mainstay of Arkansas’s agricultural industry. At the turn of the century, Parkin was one of the richest and most flourishing towns in this region. Gradually, through the twentieth century, the town has slowly diminished as industry has left it. Parkin can date its recorded history to the sixteenth century. In 1541, Hernando de Soto’s expedition came through northeast Arkansas and camped with a tribe known as the Casqui. The tribe’s village was located in what is now Parkin. Today, Parkin’s main attraction is the preservation of the Casqui mound at Parkin Archeological State Park. Little is known about …

Parks (Scott County)

Parks is an unincorporated community located along Highway 28 twelve miles southeast of Waldron (Scott County) in eastern Scott County. Originally known as White Church, it was established in 1838 along the Fourche La Fave River as an agricultural community. The earliest people inhabited the area during the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Later inhabitants include Native American people of the Caddo tribe. Several thousand archaeological sites are located throughout the Fourche La Fave River valley, including small burial mounds. During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French hunters and tradesmen explored various portions of western Arkansas. These Frenchmen traversed rivers and streams throughout the region, including the Poteau, Petit Jean, and Fourche La Fave rivers. It is probable …

Parnell Springs (Bradley County)

Parnell Springs was located ten miles northwest of Warren (Bradley County) and seven miles south of New Edinburg (Cleveland County), two miles off Highway 8 on a gravel road. It was a booming health resort noted for the healing qualities of its three springs, especially between 1880 and the 1920s. The exact date of the Parnell Springs’ founding is not known, but by 1880, it was both a community and health resort. The community took its name from Joseph M. Parnell, who was the first to capitalize on the water and resort area. In the mid-nineteenth century, many Parnells and their relatives populated the area, including Anna Moseley Parnell, who emigrated from Alabama during the 1840s and was the great-grandmother …

Paroquet (Independence County)

Paroquet, located near Newark (Independence County) and the Black River, was named for a now extinct American bird, the Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis), which had been found in dense forests, along rivers, and in swamps in North America and especially in Florida and the Carolinas. (Paroquet is an older spelling of “parakeet.”) The Carolina parakeet was also plentiful in parts of Arkansas in the early 1800s and most likely inhabited the swampy regions along Black River. The species was declared extinct in 1939. Paroquet is located at the intersection of Paroquet Road (Sandman Lane) and Duck Puddle Road approximately five miles east-southeast of Newark and about three miles north-northwest of Jacksonport (Jackson County), the location of the confluence of the …

Patmos (Hempstead County)

Patmos is a town in southern Hempstead County on State Highway 355. The town was created by construction of the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway early in the twentieth century, but its most significant years have been in the twenty-first century. Caddo lived and traveled along the Red River not far from Patmos, but no settlement was established in the area at that time. After the Arkansas Territory was established, a network of routes called the Southwest Trail was built across the territory, terminating at Fulton (Hempstead County) on the Red River. Washington (Hempstead County) and other communities were established and grew during these years, but the site of Patmos remained unsettled. Just before the start of the Civil War, in …

Patterson (Woodruff County)

Patterson, located in the southwestern part of Woodruff County, was once an important shipping point for the lumber industry. Today, its economy relies on farm services and granaries. Patterson, like many other settlements, was not always called by that name. It began when the B&B Railroad tracks were built across the Missouri Pacific tracks in the 1880s. Rufus Martin was the construction engineer on the project, and the place where the tracks crossed was named Martin’s Junction. Sanders Sawmill on the Cache River floated logs down the river to Martin’s Junction for shipping. Several other sawmills in the area, as well as a stave mill, used the point for shipping, and businesses began to spring up. At some point, the …

Pea Ridge (Benton County)

The influx of white settlers into the Pea Ridge area of Arkansas began during the decade prior to Arkansas statehood in 1836 and continued through the 1850s. Pea Ridge became one of the earlier college towns in Arkansas, offering business instruction, music education, and training teachers for early northwest Arkansas schools. Pea Ridge National Military Park, occupying the site of the 1862 Civil War Battle of Pea Ridge, is a major Arkansas tourist attraction. As part of the rapidly expanding economy of northwest Arkansas, Pea Ridge is poised for significant growth during the first decade of the twenty-first century. In fact, the city motto is “Anchored to the Past… Rising to the Future.” Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Pea Ridge …

Peach Orchard (Clay County)

  Although it was not incorporated until 1910, Peach Orchard is the oldest extant settlement in Clay County. Located on state Highway 90 a few miles south of the Black River, the city reached its peak during the timber harvesting in Clay County that followed construction of the railroad. Since that time, Peach Orchard has slowly dwindled. French explorers traveled the Black River late in the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth century, and their presence in Arkansas did not abruptly end when the United States acquired the land in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Pierre Le Mieux owned a small estate on the south shore of the Black River that may have existed earlier than 1800. In 1816, he deeded that …

Pencil Bluff (Montgomery County)

Pencil Bluff is an unincorporated community located in Montgomery County, nine miles west of the county seat, Mount Ida (Montgomery County). Today, Pencil Bluff encompasses the two former area communities of White Town and Sock City. White Town grew along Highway 6, which ran from Mount Ida to Fort Smith (Sebastian County). In the early 1920s, a car repair workshop and small store served White Town, followed some years later by a café. In 1930, Highway 6 became U.S. Highway 270 when it was improved and relocated around White Town. Two differing accounts exist documenting how Sock City received its name. According to one, the area’s men hid money in their socks when they met to play poker. The second …

Pendleton (Desha County)

Pendleton (Desha County) is the site of the only highway bridge over the Arkansas River between Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and the Mississippi River forty miles downriver from the bridge. Pendleton is located in the northwestern-most part of Desha County. It was also the site of a major levee break on April 16, 1927, during the Flood of 1927. The Pendleton Post Office was open from 1867 to 1926 in one of the two general stores at the “town” of Pendleton. When much labor was required to farm the fertile land, a large community thrived in the area. The community was named for Dr. Samuel H. Pendleton, who was born in Amherst, Virginia. He moved his family to the area …

Penters Bluff (Izard County)

aka: Penter’s Bluff (Izard County)
The historic community of Penters Bluff is located on the White River about six and a half miles southeast of Guion (Izard County) and approximately five miles west of Cushman (Independence County). Penters Bluff and the neighboring railroad towns of Switch and Crocker have disappeared without much of a trace. Named for John Penter and family, whose name was often pronounced Painter, the bluff (or really a collection of bluffs) is sometimes called by that name and also by Panthers, Panters, and even Pinters Bluff; the apostrophe is usually left out between the “r” and the “s” in Penter’s Bluff but not always. The main reason Penters Bluff is still on the map is its breath-taking beauty, which attracts tourists …

Perla (Hot Spring County)

Perla of Hot Spring County is one-tenth of a mile east of the city of Malvern (Hot Spring County) on U.S. Highway 67/270. Known for its clay pits, this incorporated community is home to the Perla East Gate Plant and Perla Plant No. 2 of Acme Brick. Later influenced by the brick industry, Perla was actually founded on its timber prospects. Malvern Lumber Company was established in 1880 by Adalbert Strauss. Strauss was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1848. He graduated from the College of Preceptors and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1864. He worked in the lumber industry there as well as in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Shreveport, Louisiana. On a train headed to the spas in …

Perry (Perry County)

  Perry is a town in Perry County that began as a railroad stop and survived as a lumber town. State Highways 9 and 10 run south as a single highway from Perry to Perryville (Perry County), but they divide in Perry, with Highway 9 running north to Morrilton (Conway County) and Highway 10 running west to Adona (Perry County). Few settlers came to the northwestern side of Perry Mountain before the Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Gulf Railroad was built in 1898. The depot built at this location was known first as North Perryville, but by the time the post office was established in 1899, the name had been shortened to Perry. Railroad workers preferred the well water of Perry to that found …

Perry County

Perry County is in the Ouachita Mountains with the Arkansas River Valley flanking its eastern border and the Fourche La Fave River traversing it from west to east. It has six sub-basins and fourteen watersheds that include 836 acres of streams and lakes. The beauty of the mountains, rivers, and lakes is evident at every turn. The soil is rich alluvial in the river bottoms, and the uplands have loam with a clay foundation. The county has more than 287,000 acres of woodlands. Timber companies and the U.S. Forest Service are the major landowners. Despite its central location in the state of Arkansas, the mountains and watercourses made early settlement difficult. Flood control and better roads have made the county …

Perrytown (Hempstead County)

Perrytown is a town on U.S. Highway 67 about three miles northeast of Hope (Hempstead County). Incorporated in 1963, it is named for local businessman Perry Campbell. Parts of Hempstead County were inhabited by Caddo before the arrival of European explorers and American settlers. Among the first white Americans to claim land in the region that would become Perrytown were Robert Carrington, James Cantley, William Easley, and David Mouser, all of whom received land patents in 1837; Carrington owned the largest portion of land. By this time, the Southwest Trail had been established through Arkansas, running through such communities as Washington (Hempstead County) and Fulton (Hempstead County). The Cairo and Fulton Railroad, intended to connect southern Illinois with many cities …

Perryville (Perry County)

Perryville sits in the Fourche River valley at the base of the Ouachita National Forest. The town is encircled by four major Arkansas cities—Little Rock (Pulaski County), Conway (Faulkner County), Russellville (Pope County), and Hot Springs (Garland County), each less than an hour’s drive away. Its pristine environment and mountainous scenery make a significant statement about the area. The town is sequestered between mountains to its north and south and was first located north of the forks on the Fourche La Fave River. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The shallows were a natural draw for settlers in the early 1830s, and subsequently, the Fourche La Fave Township was formed. In December 1840, the Arkansas General Assembly created the forty-fourth county …

Pettigrew (Madison County)

During the early twentieth century, Pettigrew, a small Madison County town located near the White River, was known by many as the “Hardwood Capital of the World.” At its peak, the town, which was situated at the end of the railroad line, was the major shipping station for the many area timber operations. Vast acres of virgin timber and the coming of the railroad were the main factors that led to the founding and growth of Pettigrew. By the late 1880s, a small settlement had begun to develop along the White River. In about 1897, George Pettigrew, a civil engineer with the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (Frisco), selected a track route into the timber lands and laid out the town’s …

Pfeiffer (Independence County)

Pfeiffer in Independence County is located just east of Highway 167 (North St. Louis Street) on Pfeiffer Road about five miles north-northeast of the county seat, Batesville (Independence County), and about eight miles south-southwest of Cave City (Sharp and Independence counties). Pfeiffer Creek is nearby. A marker at Pfeiffer reads, in part, “A light-colored crystalline limestone known as Batesville marble has been mined in this area since 1836. Pfeiffer was also a railhead with wagons coming from many points to pick up freight.” Charles Anton Pfeiffer from Baden, Sigmaringen, Germany, and his father, Joseph Pfeiffer, started the Pfeiffer Stone Company—dealers in stone, marble, and granite—on a moderate scale in 1860 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Joseph Pfeiffer and his family had …

Phillips County

  Phillips County is part of the Delta region of Arkansas. Located where the St. Francis River empties into the Mississippi River, its significance touches on nearly every aspect of the state’s history. In the twentieth century, Phillips County was known for devastating flooding, harsh racial confrontations, and the development of blues music. Phillips County’s soil consists of alluvial deposits from the Mississippi River, making it prime agricultural land. The southern edge of Crowley’s Ridge provides higher land once used by Native Americans. Helena’s location on the Mississippi River gave it the potential to be an important transportation hub, although it eventually was overtaken in importance by Memphis, Tennessee. Pre-European Exploration Because of its location, the area was well populated …

Pickens (Desha County)

Pickens (Desha County) is located three miles south of Dumas (Desha County). The unincorporated community was called Walnut Lake until 1932, when the name was changed to “Pickens” in honor of Burton Cecil Pickens, son of Reuben A. Pickens who settled in the area in 1881 along with his brother, William S. Pickens. The Walnut Lake/Pickens area community was established as the result of the relocation of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to Napoleon (Desha County) in 1879. Napoleon, once the county seat, was located at the convergence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. The relocation of the railroad into the interior of the county sparked the establishment of other communities along the route. A …

Piggott (Clay County)

Piggott, a thriving agricultural town in northeast Arkansas, has several claims to fame that have left their mark on the community. Among them are its relationship with American writer Ernest Hemingway, its selection as a site for filming the classic movie A Face in the Crowd, and its reputation as a “marrying mecca.” Established in 1882, the town had its origins in 1873, when Dr. James A. Piggott and some of his pioneering neighbors from Dow, Illinois, settled near the current town site. While Piggott was respected as a doctor, he endeared himself even more to his neighbors by successfully petitioning for a post office for the remote settlement. In those days, the area was dense forest broken only by …

Pike City (Pike County)

Pike City is in the southwest corner of Pike County approximately four miles northeast of Murfreesboro (Pike County). It is on Highway 379, a short stretch of road between Highways 26 and 27. It was originally a timber town, but little remains of the community. The town, like the county, was named for explorer Zebulon Pike. Pike City was founded in 1896 as a timber town, and settlers soon streamed in to work in the timber industry, as well as farm the land. Soon, a railroad was built from Okolona (Clark County) to Pike City. A road was built soon afterward. The Grayson-McLeod Lumber Company of St. Louis, Missouri, opened a large lumber mill, and houses and stores were built. …

Pike County

Pike County sports a greater geological diversity that any other part of the United States. It is also home to the Crater of Diamonds State Park, an ancient volcanic crater and the eighth largest diamond deposit in the world. This is the only site where the public can search and keep what they find. Pre-European Exploration through Early European Exploration About 100 million years ago, during the Mid-Cretaceous period, the Gulf of Mexico extended to the middle of Pike County. The southern half of the county was under water. A volcanic explosion occurred during this period, leaving a crater of about eighty acres in area. The turbulent rotations of the earth caused diamonds to be pushed up to the surface …

Pindall (Searcy County)

Named for the acting governor of Arkansas at the time, X. O. Pindall, the town of Pindall arose along the St. Louis and North Arkansas Railroad (later the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad) early in the twentieth century. Pindall is in the northwestern corner of Searcy County about halfway between Marshall (Searcy County) and Harrison (Boone County) on U.S. Highway 65. When European exploration and settlement began in what would become the state of Arkansas, the northern hills of the future state were claimed as hunting and fishing land by the Osage, who lived to the north. Even after treaties removed the Osage from the land, white settlers were slow to come to the rugged hills of the Ozark Mountains. …

Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)

Like Jefferson County, Pine Bluff is a historical offspring of Arkansas Post (Arkansas County)—the first European foothold in Arkansas, founded in 1686 by the French and built near the mouth of the Arkansas River. The city thrived during the last part of the nineteenth century due to its status as a cotton center and river port. The city was hit hard, however, by flooding, drought, and economic depression in the early twentieth century, although World War II proved to be an economic boon to the city, which opened a munitions arsenal during the war. Despite possessing a rich history and being home to a university, the city was in decline by the beginning of the twenty-first century, facing population loss …

Pine Ridge (Montgomery County)

Pine Ridge of Montgomery County was originally the community of Waters. The name was changed in 1936 in honor of Lum and Abner, a popular radio show set in a fictional town of Pine Ridge, which was largely based on the people and characteristics of Waters. Henry M. Waters, a local businessman who also operated a sawmill and a gin, established a post office in his small store in 1886 and named the farming and logging community Waters. From the 1880s to the early 1900s, the town’s school and church operated in the same building. In 1904, A. A. McKinzie built a general store. In 1909, James Richard (Dick) Huddleston built the Huddleston General Store, which housed the post office …

Pineville (Izard County)

Pineville, a small town located in northwest Izard County, was once a center of commerce and trade for area residents. Though most area residents farmed the land or raised cattle, timber harvesting also played a role in the growth of the settlement. Early settlers such as James, William, and Allen Whitfield were attracted to the White River valley for its rich farm land. By the 1830s, the military road that intersected with the road leading to Jacksonport (Jackson County) connected the area to the White and Black rivers, important trade routes. Robert Calvin Matthews, who settled in the area by 1860, was a major influence in the development of the settlement. He built the area’s first house and, in 1861, …