Counties, Cities, and Towns

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Entry Category: Counties, Cities, and Towns

West Ninth Street (Little Rock)

aka: West 9th Street
West Ninth Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County) emerged as a predominately African-American neighborhood during the Civil War. In 1863, the Federal army, which occupied Little Rock, began constructing log cabins in the area for freed slaves. After the war, many stayed and settled there. By 1870, what was originally known as Little Rock’s West Hazel Street was renamed West Ninth Street. More African Americans settled west of Mount Holly Cemetery between 9th and 12th streets. As the population grew, a four-block section along West Ninth Street, between Broadway and Chester, became the center of the black business district. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, African Americans created fraternal organizations, one of the most prominent of which was …

West Point (White County)

  The incorporated town of West Point is located in central White County, about five miles southeast of Searcy (White County). West Point thrived in its early days as a bustling river port and overcame the ravages of the Civil War, but the arrival of local railroads in the 1870s overshadowed the supremacy of trade via steamboats and diminished its importance as the commercial hub of White County. The earliest evidence of human habitation around West Point is a burial mound constructed sometime after AD 1300. From the mid-seventeenth century onward, the West Point area was part of a hunting ground under the dominion of the Osage until the arrival of white settlers to White County, beginning in 1789. The foundation for a …

Western Grove (Newton County)

  Western Grove is located on U.S. Highway 65 in the northeastern corner of Newton County. Travelers along the highway have made it possible for Western Grove to support a larger number of businesses than is typical of rural towns in the Ozark Mountains region of Arkansas. Joseph Holcombe was the first to claim land in the area that would become Western Grove. As early roads were developed, the area gained a trading post. The community was originally established before the Civil War under the name of Marshall Prairie. Among the early settlers in the area were William O’Daniel (1849), Edward Potts (1854), and Lewis M. Potts (1861). The post office, established in 1854, was named for postmaster John H. …

Wheatley (St. Francis County)

Wheatley is a town in the southwestern corner of St. Francis County. Its northern portion is crossed by Interstate 40, and its southern portion is crossed by U.S. Highway 70 and by the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. During the time between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War, the area was not attractive to American settlers. Surveyors passed through the area planning a railroad to connect Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Memphis, Tennessee. Although work was done on the eastern and western portion of the railroad before the Civil War, the central portion of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad was not built until after the war was over; it was completed in 1871. Nineteenth-century trains required stops …

Whelen Springs (Clark County)

Whelen Springs is a small town located along state Highway 53 twenty-two miles south-southeast of the Clark County seat of Arkadelphia. It was once a main hub for powerful lumber companies. The initial settlement of Whelen Springs began in September 1881 as a result of lumber companies coming to the area. The town’s proximity to the Camden (Ouachita County) line of the Iron Mountain Railroad also played a role in its origin. The name of the town can be traced to Henry Whelen, the owner of the land that would become Whelen Springs. In 1882, Southern Lumber Company began construction of a sawmill, under the direction of a Mr. Thompson. In February 1882, a post office was established, with Francis …

White County

  White County is the second largest county in land area in the state. Geographically, it is a microcosm of the state as a whole. The southeastern half of the county is alluvial land that today is mostly used for farming and timber production. The northeastern half of the county is rocky higher ground where much of the land is used for dairy and beef cattle ranching. The county seat, Searcy, contains the greatest population and number of industries of any town in the county. Even though the county was formed before statehood, its boundaries have altered little through time. Southeastern White County is mostly farmland and lowland forests. The Little Red River flows northwest to southeast across the county …

White Hall (Jefferson County)

White Hall (once called Grenshaw Springs and Grenshaw “Hall” Springs) is on Arkansas Highway 365 North in Jefferson County. The city developed slowly—first as an early nineteenth-century rest stop for early settlers who were drawn to the pristine water that flowed freely in pools above the ground, then later, during the early twentieth century, as the most direct route for the early Dollarway Road, the first paved (concrete) road in Arkansas, which ran approximately 22.2 miles from the city limits of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to Little Rock (Pulaski County). During World War II, the United States Army’s Chemical Warfare Division began construction of the Pine Bluff Arsenal on December 4, 1941, near the future city’s northern boundaries. The 6.8 …

Wickes (Polk County)

  Wickes is a city in southern Polk County. Built along the Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) around the beginning of the twentieth century, Wickes is now dominated by the poultry industry. The 2010 census noted its population as more than fifty percent Hispanic. Western Arkansas was heavily forested and sparsely populated until late in the nineteenth century, when the growth of railroads promoted the success of the timber industry. In the last decade of that century, Arthur E. Stilwell was head of the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (later the KCS). His company created and acquired a network of railroads linking various locations in Missouri, Oklahoma (then still called Indian Territory), Arkansas, and eventually Texas and Louisiana. The …

Widener (St. Francis County)

Widener is a town in St. Francis County between Crowley’s Ridge and the St. Francis River. It is on State Highways 38 and 50 and is crossed by the Union Pacific Railroad. Widener was the birthplace of blues legend Luther Allison. Between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War, the area around present-day Widener was not attractive to American settlers, being swampy lowlands. Surveyors passed through the area while planning a railroad to connect Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Memphis, Tennessee. Although work was done on the eastern and western portion of the railroad before the Civil War, the central portion of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad was not built until after the war was over; it was completed …

Wiederkehr Village (Franklin County)

  With a population of thirty-eight citizens, Wiederkehr Village is the smallest city in Arkansas. Incorporated in 1975 to prevent the area from being annexed by nearby Altus (Franklin County), Wiederkehr Village is best known as the home of Wiederkehr Wine Cellars. The Arkansas River Valley of western Arkansas remained sparsely populated until after the Civil War. For a time, the land was given by the U.S. government to the Cherokee, who had been removed from eastern states. Later, the Cherokee were moved farther west, and the land was opened for settlement by families of European origin. The population did not begin to grow, though, until the railroad industry and the coal mines attracted working men. Particularly in Franklin County, many of …

Williford (Sharp County)

Williford is a small community located in the eastern part of Sharp County near the Spring River, one of Arkansas’s most popular streams for recreational floating. During the early twentieth century, it was one of the county’s largest and fastest-growing towns, but since then it has experienced a steady decline resulting in an almost nonexistent business district and a population of fewer than eighty citizens. While the earliest inhabitants of the area were Native Americans, the first white settler, Jeremiah Pitt Baird, established his homestead on the banks of the Spring River in 1841. Shortly after he settled his family on the opposite side of the river of the present-day town, others began to move into the area. Among those …

Willisville (Nevada County)

Willisville is a town in southern Nevada County. It is located on U.S. Highway 371. Caddo Indians were living in what would become Nevada County when the land was acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Gradually, white settlers moved into the area to farm cotton and other crops. Thomas Mendenhall purchased land south of the future location of Willisville in 1855 and 1856. Nathan Ray purchased land just north of that location in 1860. After the Civil War, Jason Tyson opened a general store where Willisville is now located. Tyson had moved from Alabama to Arkansas in 1860 and had served in the Confederate army. In 1883, his son John was named postmaster of a …

Wilmar (Drew County)

  The city of Wilmar, in western Drew County, was once home to a school known as Beauvoir College. A center of the southern Arkansas timber industry, Wilmar flourished in the early part of the twentieth century but is now mostly a suburb of Monticello (Drew County), the county seat. The history of Wilmar is generally said to begin with James Thomas Dionysius Anderson, who bought 700 acres of land in Drew County for a dollar an acre in 1859. Earlier landowners in the area were Andrew Govan, who purchased his land in 1848, and Collins Hemingway, a landowner since 1856. Anderson cleared five acres of land and planted corn, which was tended by five slaves: Simon and Lizza Taylor, …

Wilmot (Ashley County)

  Although it was not incorporated until 1898, Wilmot is one of the older settlements in eastern Ashley County. Situated just east of Lake Enterprise, which was once part of Bayou Bartholomew, Wilmot was a steamboat stop long before the railroad came through, built a depot, and renamed the community. Twenty-first-century Wilmot is located on Highway 165 between Parkdale (Ashley County) and the Louisiana state line. Evidence of prehistoric habitation of the area includes a mound north of Lake Enterprise that was excavated by the Arkansas Archeological Survey in 1997. The mound is thought to have been built around 1500 BC, possibly making it the oldest mound in Arkansas. Much of the dirt and many of the stone tool fragments found by the …

Wilson (Mississippi County)

Wilson is located on U.S. Highway 61 in southeastern Mississippi County. It was founded as a company town around the sawmill and logging camp of Robert E. Lee Wilson, for whom it is named, and his father-in-law, Socrates Beall. It is an unusually attractive town with its entire downtown commercial district constructed in the English Revival, or Tudor, style and its streets all lined with large cottonwood trees. R. E. Lee Wilson was a Mississippi County native who, after being orphaned at the age of thirteen in Memphis, returned to Arkansas at fifteen to work as a wage laborer on a farm near Bassett (Mississippi County). He began farming a portion of his late father’s land a year later. By …

Wilton (Little River County)

  Like many of the cities of southwestern Arkansas, Wilton was created alongside railroad development. Although the city was at one time a candidate for the county seat of Little River County, Wilton’s current condition is exemplified by its four properties on the National Register of Historic Places: a strip of highway, an abandoned store, a railroad depot, and a cemetery. Allen Scott was the first owner of the land where Wilton would be established, but Scott sold his land to Paschal S. Kinsworthy prior to the arrival of the railroad. Sergent Smith Prentiss Mills, a Sevier County farmer, was also investing in Little River County land. Mills owned a hotel, a store, and a newspaper in Richmond (Little River County) …

Winchester (Drew County)

Winchester is a town in northeastern Drew County, near U.S. Highway 65. Winchester is most notable as the home of Robert L. Hill, the African-American founder of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. Drew County is crossed by the Bayou Bartholomew, which was long a principal transportation route of southeastern Arkansas. John Martin Taylor, a wealthy physician and farmer, purchased land near the bayou in 1848 and built a plantation house. In 1860, Winston J. Davie purchased farmland to the east of Taylor’s plantation, near the present location of Winchester. In the late 1870s, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad built a line that crossed Drew County near Davie’s farm. The railroad depot and post office …

Winfield (Scott County) [Northeast]

The Winfield community located northeast of Waldron (Scott County) is a historical town in central Scott County. Very little structural evidence of the town remains. Agriculture was likely important in the area, which was settled in the late 1830s. For a time, Winfield also served as the county seat. It is one of two communities to bear that name in Scott County. The area’s first inhabitants included natives from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Archaeological discoveries have provided evidence that suggest natives of the Caddo tribe made their homes along the East Fork of the Poteau River and other prominent waterways in the area. Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French trappers and traders traveling west from the Arkansas Post likely traversed the Poteau River …

Winfield (Scott County) [West]

Winfield is an unincorporated community in west-central Scott County located along Highway 248. Winfield was established in 1882 near the junction of Jones Creek and Ross Creek. Agriculture has traditionally been an important part of Winfield’s culture and economy. It is one of two communities in Scott County to have the name of Winfield. The area’s first inhabitants included natives from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Archaeological evidence suggests that natives of the Caddo tribe made their homes along the Poteau River and other prominent waterways in the area. Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French trappers and explorers traveled west from the Arkansas Post along the Arkansas River. From there, they began traversing smaller tributaries such as the Fourche …

Winslow (Washington County)

Winslow (Washington County) was reported to be the highest railroad pass on the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway line between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The elevation helped make Winslow a popular summer resort area for decades. Pre-European Exploration though Louisiana Purchase Southern Washington County has been inhabited for roughly 12,000 years. In the 1700s, the Osage claimed the land from the Arkansas River north into what is now central Missouri. Their main villages were in Missouri, but they traveled to north Arkansas to hunt. In the early 1800s, settlers began to move north from the river and south from Missouri Territory into the mountains of what is now northwestern Arkansas. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The stage lines became an …

Winthrop (Little River County)

Winthrop is located in Little River County, in the extreme southwestern portion of the state of Arkansas. It is situated on Highway 234, approximately eight miles north of Foreman (Little River County) and fifteen miles northwest of Ashdown (Little River County). Winthrop does not lie on any main traffic route, since most traffic passes through on Highway 71 to the east and Highway 41 to the west. Winthrop is perhaps best known as the 1964 and 1966 kick-off headquarters for Winthrop Rockefeller’s campaigns to serve as governor of Arkansas. In April 1860, Kinion Whittington obtained a patent from the United States for the area that would later become the central portion of the town of Winthrop. Early records indicate that …

Wirth (Sharp County)

Wirth is a small, isolated community located on an approximately fifteen-mile-long north-south plateau rising from the Spring River in northern Sharp County. At its peak, the community was a commercial and social center that attracted a number of German settlers. The first non–Native American settlers to the area may have come as early as the 1700s, with one source reporting a Spanish family by the name of Munz settling there. More likely, the first to settle were Buck Baldridge and Dee Arnold, who established themselves by 1848. No significant settlement occurred until the 1880s, when a substantial number of German immigrants were enticed to move to the area. Apparently, many people read glowing accounts published by railroad companies in German-language …

Wittsburg (Cross County)

Located on the eastern slope of Crowley’s Ridge in the St. Francis River watershed, Wittsburg developed near the intersection of the roads on Crowley’s Ridge, the St. Francis River, and the Congressional (Military) Road from Memphis, Tennessee, to Little Rock (Pulaski County). Incorporated in 1848, the town functioned as the Cross County seat from 1862 to 1865 and again from 1868 to 1884. Rebounding after the Civil War and surviving a major fire in 1874, the town grew due to the trade in cotton and dry goods. Wittsburg began to fade after being bypassed by two railroad lines in 1882 and 1887 that drew trade to the west side of Crowley’s Ridge and Wynne (Cross County). European Exploration and Settlement Due …

Wolf Bayou (Cleburne County)

Wolf Bayou is located on the Wolf Bayou Cutoff Road (Highway 90) near Concord (Cleburne County) and Drasco (Cleburne County). According to local historian Louie Clark, French explorers called the local runoff-fed creek a “bayou,” and when the post office was established in 1851 the word “wolf” was added because the timberland along the creek was the home of many wolves. The area was sparsely populated by a few hunters and trappers by 1818. Even with the coming of the post office, not many lived in the area, and only gradually did the region increase in population. The creek later became popular with kayakers. The Old Cherokee Boundary Line goes through the northwestern part of Wolf Bayou and runs diagonally across …

Woodruff County

  Woodruff County, a level, fertile plain watered and drained by the White and Cache rivers, was once home to many Native Americans who inhabited the area when the first white men arrived. Little is known about the early inhabitants, but the mounds they built for worship, burial, and living can be found in many areas of the county, particularly near Cotton Plant and McCrory, though farming operations have leveled most of the sites. The White River forms most of the western boundary of Woodruff County. The Cache River and Bayou DeView, confluents of the White River, also cut through the county. The five incorporated towns in Woodruff County are Augusta, the county seat, with a population of 2,199; McCrory, …

Woodson (Pulaski County)

Woodson is a community in southern Pulaski County, north of Hensley (Pulaski County) and east of Interstate 530. Although it was incorporated on January 17, 1882, as a timber town and a stop on the Little Rock, Mississippi River and Texas Railroad, Woodson continued to operate as an unincorporated area, leading to confusion eighty years later. William D. Pennington acquired land in the area that would become Woodson in 1843. His son, William Q. Pennington, established a post office called Pennington’s Mills in 1855. In 1860, James Jones and John Little also purchased land in the area. The Civil War had little direct impact upon the area during the course of the fighting, but the conclusion of the war reshaped the …

Wooster (Faulkner County)

  Wooster is a city in Faulkner County, seven miles north of Conway (Faulkner County) and four miles west of Greenbrier (Faulkner County). Although it was settled in the later years of the nineteenth century, it did not incorporate until 1958. Land grants were given to Frederick Campbell, Alexander Ferguson, John Lewis, and John Wiser in 1820 for the section of land where Wooster would be developed. Evidently, they farmed the land without developing a community, since the first recorded structure in the area was a store built by N. E. Adams around the middle of the nineteenth century. Adams also maintained a sawmill and a cotton gin. Adams sold his store to J. P. Wooster in 1881. The community …

Wrightsville (Pulaski County)

  The city of Wrightsville, located on Highway 365 in southeastern Pulaski County, existed as an unincorporated settlement for more than a century before it was incorporated late in the twentieth century. Since 1981, it has been home to a major Arkansas Department of Correction facility, which is the principal employer in the city. The area that became Wrightsville was largely wetland, lying in the vicinity of the Arkansas River, when nearby cities such as Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) were developed in the nineteenth century. Although some plantations had been established to the north and west of the site, the actual location of Wrightsville remained unclaimed until construction of the Little Rock, Mississippi, and Texas Railroad …

Wynne (Cross County)

Wynne is located with the west slope of Crowley’s Ridge to the east and the L’Anguille River on the west side of town. Wynne started off as a small railroad town but soon became the county seat of Cross County. In the last 100 years, the city of Wynne has progressed and is now a great attraction for industry, recreation, and is becoming a popular place to reside. The newest attraction to Wynne is the twenty-seven-hole golf course at Village Creek State Park. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The town can date its history to 1882, when the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad laid tracks in the area. A train derailed and left behind a boxcar, which was turned …

Y City (Scott County)

Y City is an unincorporated community in southern Scott County located along Highway 71. Y City was established along Mill Creek, a tributary of the Fourche La Fave River. The community’s name is derived from the Y-shaped formation where Highway 270 splits off from Highway 71. Agriculture and tourism have been important to Y City’s economy and way of life. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Y City was a wilderness. Several species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. 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 …

Yancopin (Desha County)

Yancopin of Desha County is a historic community marked by the only railroad bridge over the Arkansas River between Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and the Mississippi River. The town at its peak had a railroad station, two churches, three stores, a post office, a cotton gin, and a small school for white children. Black students attended school in a church building after 1915 until a school was built for them in Watson (Desha County) around 1950. Yancopin was never incorporated and was never really considered a “town.” It was, however, platted in the late 1800s after the former county seat, Napoleon (Desha County), was washed into the Mississippi River. The platted town was to be called New Napoleon, but lots were never …

Yell County

  Yell County, Arkansas’s forty-second county, was formed on December 5, 1840, from portions of Scott and Pope counties. Located in west-central Arkansas, the northern portion of the county, adjacent to the Arkansas River, is part of the Arkansas River Valley geographic region, while the southern and most of the eastern portions are within the Ouachita National Forest, and a small portion of eastern Yell County is within the Ozark St. Francis National Forest. Named for Governor Archibald Yell, the county boasts a forest products and lumber industry, poultry production and processing, row crops, and livestock production. European Exploration and SettlementHernando de Soto’s expedition encountered strong resistance at Tula in 1541, which archaeologists generally believe to be near the contemporary …

Yellville (Marion County)

The city of Yellville is the county seat of Marion County in northern Arkansas. Located on Crooked Creek, Yellville has never become a major metropolis, but a family duel in the nineteenth century and a turkey festival begun in the twentieth century have given the city some statewide and even national attention. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In 1817, the federal government declared parts of the White River and Arkansas River valleys in northern Arkansas a Cherokee reservation. The Cherokee invited other tribes to join them on their land, and the Shawnee of the Ohio River valley were one group who accepted the invitation. One of their settlements was on Crooked Creek, about twenty miles from the White River. An …

Yocum (Carroll County)

Yocum (Carroll County), one of the county’s earliest settlements, was founded on a small stream near current State Highway 103 north of Green Forest (Carroll County). Little remains of the once prosperous unincorporated community other than a few homes. One of the earliest white settlers recorded in the area, Louis Russell from Illinois, established a homestead in 1822 along a small stream that today bears the name Yocum Creek. Some historians believe him to be the first to settle within the present boundaries of Carroll County. Soon, others arrived. In 1835, the creek and town’s namesake, John Yocum (sometimes spelled Yoachum), built a log grist mill and dam on the creek. His mill was soon processing up to four bushels …

Yorktown (Lincoln County)

Yorktown is an unincorporated community in Lincoln County. Located on U.S. Highway 425 about six miles north of Star City (Lincoln County), the small community is also a landmark on the meandering course of Bayou Bartholomew. Although the land where Yorktown developed was claimed by the Quapaw at the time the Arkansas Territory was organized, it was sparsely populated. Even after Arkansas became a state, the region remained unclaimed for some time, in part because steamships rarely were able to navigate Bayou Bartholomew as far north as the Yorktown area (which at the time was part of Jefferson County). The settlement was named for the York family, who arrived shortly before the Civil War began; Joseph Lane Hunter, another settler, …

Zinc (Boone County)

  Zinc is a small town in eastern Boone County, east of Harrison (Boone County) and south of Lead Hill (Boone County) on the Sugar Orchard Creek. As the town’s name suggests, it was once a center for the mining of zinc and lead. The area around Zinc was sparsely settled until after the Civil War. Elias Barham was the first settler to claim the land where Zinc is located; his land purchase dates to 1890, although he may have lived there earlier. Barham raised cattle, grew crops, and operated some small mines. As the mining operation drew miners into Boone County, Barham opened a general store with his brother, George Solomon Barham. Intending to create a mining town, Barham …