Counties, Cities, and Towns

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

Portia (Lawrence County)

The area that became the town of Portia in the late nineteenth century was home to some of Arkansas’s earliest settlers. Incorporated in 1886, the town, located on U.S. Highway 63, was once an important business center and timber-producing area. In the twenty-first century, however, its business district is declining. Native Americans were the first to settle the area around Portia, as evidenced by the many artifacts found along the banks of the nearby Spring and Black rivers. The first white settlers to the area probably arrived around 1800 as a result of two Spanish land grants, one of which included the land where the present town is located. In 1816, the General Land Office in Washington DC confirmed the …

Portland (Ashley County)

Portland is a small Delta town in Ashley County. It began as a settlement on Bayou Bartholomew and became a steamboat port, an agricultural center, and a railroad town. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The earliest known settlers were John P. Fisher and William Brady, who were there in the 1830s. Fisher arrived by 1833, established a plantation, and constructed a two-story house on the west side of the bayou. A short distance down the bayou from Fisher’s house, a small settlement emerged on the opposite side. Steamboat captains called this stopping place “the port,” and upon establishment of a post office in 1857, it was named Portland. The bayou village consisted largely of mercantile stores that received their goods …

Possum Grape (Jackson County)

Possum Grape is an unincorporated community in Glaize Township located in the western panhandle of Jackson County near Highway 367, about eleven and a half miles southwest of Newport, the county seat, and about four and a half miles northeast of Bradford (White County). Possum Grape lies just west of the White River where the flat land meets the Ozark Mountains. Possum Grape is near the historic riverboat town of Grand Glaise (Jackson County). The community most likely received its unusual name from the wild grape called the possum grape, popular in the area for making jam and wine. A few locals say Possum Grape was named in 1954 following a disagreement on whether to call it “Possum” or “Grape.” …

Pottsville (Pope County)

Pottsville is sixty-nine miles northwest of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and six miles east of Russellville (Pope County) the county seat of Pope County. It has one of Pope County’s five school districts and serves as a bedroom community for both Little Rock and Russellville. Early Statehood through the Gilded Age Pottsville was founded by Kirkbride Potts who, in 1820 at age seventeen, traveled from New Jersey to Missouri and then to Arkansas with two slave families. Arriving in Arkansas in 1824, he became acquainted with two brothers, William Logan and Robert A. Logan, soon settling along with them in an area south of the Arkansas River in present-day Logan County. This area was ceded by the Choctaw tribe to …

Powhatan (Lawrence County)

Powhatan was the Lawrence County seat of government for almost ninety-five years. Founded in the early nineteenth century on the banks of the Black River, the town became the county’s most important port on the Black River. When bypassed by the railroad in the 1880s, the town began a steady decline and is best known today as the site of a historic state park. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood White settlers established themselves in the area at about the same time as the creation of the Missouri Territory county of Lawrence. One of the earliest, John Ficklin, settled on the west bank of the Black River and, by 1820, began operating a ferry. Within a few years, the crossing and …

Poyen (Grant County)

  The town of Poyen is located in western Grant County. Home to one of the county’s two high schools, the town was formed as a result of railroads and the timber industry, neither of which has remained active in the town into the twenty-first century. Evidence of prehistoric dwellings in the region of Poyen has been found in archaeological sites marking the presence of native peoples in the area—including, most recently, the Caddo—through the millennia. Settlers of European descent were living in the region as early as 1815. The settlement was known in the nineteenth century as Cross Roads, since roads that crossed at that site led to Benton (Saline County), Camden (Ouachita County), Rockport (Hot Spring County), and Pine …

Prairie County

Prairie County, located in central Arkansas, has two county seats, Des Arc and DeValls Bluff. An important agricultural center, Prairie County has a rich history as the state’s throughway for mail routes, steamboats, and trains. European Exploration and Settlement European exploration of the area began as early as the late seventeenth century. While the area became intermediately occupied by both the Spanish and French, the county remained vital to trade expeditions. The earliest recorded Euro-American settlement of Prairie County is debatable but can be placed in the late eighteenth century. French traders traveled up and down the White River in the early 1700s. Bear oil and skins, abundant in this area at the time, were sought-after commodities in the New …

Prairie Creek (Benton County)

Prairie Creek in Benton County began in the White River valley area as a small farming community made up of about three families. The creation of Beaver Lake in the 1960s transformed the region into a center of tourism. Now, it is a planned community development and is home to a number of retirees. Prairie Creek was established as a township in April 1859 through the efforts of John B. Putnam and fifty other citizens of the surrounding areas, including Sugar Creek, White River, and Big Spring. The township was created with land taken from these other townships. A three-mile stream fed by various other streams along the way ran through the area. This area continued as a small farming …

Prairie Grove (Washington County)

Prairie Grove is best known for the Civil War battle that occurred there in 1862, but it also has been an important agricultural community in northwest Arkansas, with its rich prairie land watered by the Illinois River. Throughout its history, Prairie Grove has been a dynamic small town offering unique amenities such as a state park, a family-owned local telephone company, and an aquatic park. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood About 1829, a hunter named Tom Wagnon claimed some land around a spring in present-day Mock Park in Prairie Grove. Soon after Wagnon began clearing the land, another newcomer, Reverend Andrew “Uncle Buck” Buchanan, arranged a deal in which Wagnon gave Buchanan the acreage in return for two good sermons. …

Prattsville (Grant County)

  Prattsville is a city located on State Highway 270 in Grant County, a few miles west of Sheridan (Grant County). Although it did not incorporate as a town until 1962, Prattsville had already been continuously inhabited for more than 100 years, and the area shows evidence of human presence for many previous centuries. Prattsville reincorporated as a second-class city early in the twenty-first century. An archaeological survey conducted in 1973 found evidence of a prehistoric settlement in the vicinity of Prattsville. Native Americans had, however, already left the area before European explorers or American settlers arrived in the area. Early settlers in Arkansas created a number of roads, one of which ran through what was then Saline County, linking …

Prescott (Nevada County)

  Prescott, the county seat of Nevada County in southwest Arkansas, is also the largest city in the county. Originating as a railroad town, it remains a vital link on the land route between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Texarkana (Miller County), as well as a local center of business and agriculture. As part of the West Gulf Coastal Plain, the land that now is Nevada County was sparsely populated both before and after the Louisiana Purchase added Arkansas to the United States. Caddo Indians moved through the area and inhabited some villages, and some European settlers made their homes along the rivers, but the land that is now Prescott remained wilderness, with a few cotton plantations introduced to the …

Prim (Cleburne County)

Prim is an unincorporated community located at the junction of Arkansas Highway 225 (Sunny Slope Road) and Highway 263 (Prim Road), nine miles north-northeast of the resort area of Greers Ferry (Cleburne County) and ten miles north-northwest of Heber Springs (Cleburne County), the county seat. Devil’s Fork, a tributary of the Little Red River, is at Prim, and Turkey Creek is to the north. The Osage once lived in the area. In 1812, the year the Missouri Territory was carved from the Louisiana Territory, John Benedict and his wife, Rebecca Standlee Benedict, came from Kentucky—along with Rebecca’s three brothers—to settle in Arkansas. They cleared thirty acres of land and built two cabins on Little Red River below Devil’s Fork. The …

Pulaski County

Pulaski County has a diverse population, economy, natural setting, and social structure. Its balanced economy results from state and local government, business and industry, and finance and nonprofit sectors. Three of Arkansas’s six natural divisions converge in Pulaski County—the Ouachita Mountains, the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (the Delta), and the Coastal Plain—representing the state’s wealth of flora, fauna, and geological features. In the geographic center of Arkansas, Pulaski County is one of the state’s five original counties and has been at the center of state government, politics, business, art, and culture for almost two centuries. Pre-European Exploration The Plum Bayou culture flourished in central Arkansas between AD 600 and 1050, as can be seen in sites such as the Toltec Mounds …

Pulaski Heights (Pulaski County)

Pulaski Heights, an affluent neighborhood in Little Rock (Pulaski County), was originally a suburban development located on the outskirts of the state’s capital city. Work began on the Pulaski Heights development in the late nineteenth century, and it incorporated as its own town in 1905. The Pulaski Heights development marked the beginning of Little Rock’s westward expansion, a trend that greatly accelerated in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Like many suburban developments of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was racially exclusive, enforcing an all-white residence primarily by means of restrictive covenants. Pulaski Heights was the project of Michigan industrialist Henry Franklin (H. F.) Auten, who settled in Little Rock by 1890 and later organized the …

Puryear (Scott County)

Puryear is an unincorporated community in western Scott County. Puryear was established in 1915 along Haw Creek. The agriculture and timber industries have contributed the economy and way of life in Puryear. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Puryear was a wilderness. Several species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Numerous archaeological sites and burial mounds can be found along the banks of prominent waterways such as the Fourche La Fave River and Black Fork Creek. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Further archaeological evidence has indicated that the people of the Caddo tribe later inhabited the …

Pyatt (Marion County)

Pyatt is a town located on Crooked Creek in Marion County. It is connected by U.S. Business Highway 62 to U.S. Highway 62, which crosses the creek a few miles south of Pyatt. Native Americans were frequent visitors to the Crooked Creek valley before white settlers began arriving in the area. The first land survey conducted in Marion County found that the land along the creek had been cleared and planted with cotton by 1832. Settlers referred to the early settlement as Stringtown because of the way homesteads were strung along the creek. When a post office was established at the settlement in 1855, it was given the name Clear Creek. The community had a cotton gin and a steam …