Entries - Entry Category: Land and Resources

Soil Conservation

Around 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, the first human inhabitants of what was to become the state of Arkansas could be characterized as scattered, small bands of hunter/gatherers who had little impact on the soil and water resources. Soil erosion that occurred was primarily due to natural events associated with dramatic post-glacial weather patterns. Human cultivation of Arkansas soils began around 3,000 years ago during the late Archaic Period when small patches of mostly squash, gourds, sunflowers, beans, and, later, corn were cultivated. Early crop cultivation did not appear to harm the soil and water resources due to the small size of the gardens and the relatively low density of human inhabitants in the region. As human population increased, so …

Soils

Arkansas has a diversity of rich soils that developed in a favorable environment for growing plants. The soils of Arkansas are the foundation of the number-one industry in the state—agriculture. Arkansas soils are natural, dynamic bodies of broken-down and weathered mineral and organic matter, in some places altered by human activity, capable of growing plants. Soils are unique and exist as a creation of five soil-forming factors: parent material, climate, topography, organisms, and time. Soil parent material is the geological source of the mineral component, defined as particles less than two millimeters in diameter. Arkansas soils developed from residium, loess, alluvium, and old marine sediment parent materials. Residium is weathered rock, and Arkansas’s residium is mostly soil derived from sandstone, …

South Fork Nature Center

South Fork Nature Center (SFNC), which opened in 2010, is the Gates Rogers Foundation’s premier conservancy project. Located in central Arkansas just east of Clinton (Van Buren County), it lies in the Boston Mountains range of the Ozark Mountains on the banks of the South Fork of the Little Red River section of Greers Ferry Lake. Featuring two miles of interpretive nature trails on the peninsula and a spectacular view of the lake, the center serves as a model to educate and inspire the public to be aware of the environment, to protect vulnerable plant and animal species, and to adopt practices that are ecologically sound. It seeks to preserve Arkansas’s native flora and fauna in a manner that ensures …

Spanish Land Grants

Arkansas inherited a complex legacy of land grants from its time as part of Spanish Louisiana. Beginning in 1769, royal governor Alejandro O’Reilly established regulations concerning the size of permissible concessions and the conditions by which applicants could perfect titles to their land. Subsequent governors upheld and expanded similar regulations, but in practice, most grants made during Spanish rule were approved upon request only by the commandant of the nearest settlement. Formal surveys of the grants were rarely made, which further frustrated attempts to determine rightful ownership of granted land once Spanish Louisiana became part of the United States. O’Reilly’s regulations prescribed a three-year probationary period during which claimants were expected to clear the frontage of their land, build ditches …

Spring River

Flowing through northeastern Arkansas for approximately seventy-five miles in a southeastern direction, the Spring River empties into the Black River near Black Rock (Lawrence County). Mammoth Spring (Fulton County), adjacent to the Arkansas-Missouri state line, serves as the headwater for the Spring River. It expels more than nine million gallons of water each hour through a vent located eighty feet below the surface of Spring Lake, a low-turbidity body of water created by a dam downstream from the spring in what is now Mammoth Spring State Park. Although the water from the spring flows into the lake with great force, the vent’s depth prevents viewers on the surface from seeing the characteristic bubbling that springs typically produce. The consistent discharge …

Springs

Springs are naturally occurring geologic features that transport emerging groundwater to the land surface. They also represent a transition from groundwater to surface water. This water can be released through one opening, multiple openings, or numerous seeps in the rock strata or soil. Springs have unique properties such as discrete habitats with relatively constant conditions like temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, and flow. The underground reservoirs from which springs arise may be cavernicolous limestone, gravel, sand, sediment, soil, or other permeable formations. A spring’s presence depends on the nature and relationship of permeable and impermeable units, the position of the water table, and the land topography. Faults often play an important role in the location of springs by damming up an …

St. Francis River

The St. Francis River originates in the northeast corner of Iron County, Missouri, and flows for twenty-five miles through the St. Francois Mountains, where it is a clear, fast-flowing whitewater stream until it reaches the Mississippi Alluvial Plain north of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, at which point the river becomes a sluggish, silt-laden stream. The river there turns south and travels 207 miles, forming the boundary between the Missouri bootheel and northeast Arkansas and then coursing between Crowley’s Ridge and the Mississippi River. The mouth of the St. Francis where it flows into the Mississippi is in the St. Francis National Forest just north of Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). The St. Francis River valley has been the site of human habitation …

Stern, Jane Rita Ellenbogen

Jane Rita Ellenbogen Stern was a well-known conservationist and environmentalist from Arkansas. She dedicated herself to the preservation of the natural waterways and migratory bird habitats of the state, especially in eastern Arkansas. Jane Ellenbogen was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on August 2, 1918, to Leonard E. Ellenbogen—owner of a real-estate firm, a clothing store, and a laundry—and Birdie Berger Ellenbogen. She grew up in Little Rock and attended Little Rock public schools. Thereafter, she attended Little Rock Junior College (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock). In 1940, Ellenbogen married Dr. Howard S. Stern; they had two children. In 1948, the Stern family moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), an area where much of Stern’s conservationist …

Strawberry Industry

The strawberry industry arose in Arkansas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the advent of railroads made possible the profitable shipping of the fruit. For farmers, especially those who sell their crops locally, strawberries “kick off” the growing season because of their early ripening. By the time strawberry plants have stopped producing, other fruits and vegetables are ready to be brought to market, thus allowing a savvy grower to stagger crops throughout the summer and into fall. According to rough estimates, there are about 200 acres of strawberries in Arkansas. The short-lived peak market time of the strawberry originally prevented the fruit from getting a foothold in early Arkansas. Limited transportation meant poor-quality fruit at the stores …

Strawberry River

The Strawberry River rises southwest of Salem (Fulton County) and flows southeast from there for approximately ninety miles before emptying into the Black River in northeastern Independence County. The town of Strawberry (Lawrence County) takes its name from the river. Forty-three miles of the river have been have been designated part of the Arkansas Natural and Scenic Rivers System. The Strawberry River is a popular stream for canoeists and fishers. In addition to the smallmouth bass, the river is home to thirty-nine species of freshwater mussel, many of them rare, as well as the Strawberry River orangethroat darter (Etheostoma fragi), which lives only in this river system. The area around the Strawberry River has been the site of human habitation …

Stump Saw

Consisting of vernacular technology that combined a horizontally positioned circular saw blade with an automobile engine, the stump saw was used to clear rice fields of virgin timber during the early twentieth century. In northeast Arkansas perhaps as early as 1909, the stump saw became essential to rice cultivation after farmers had planted all the region’s treeless prairie and had turned to post oak flats and sloughs for potential rice acreage. In order to cut off trees at or below ground level, farmers developed a device consisting of a circular saw blade, probably a cast-off from a sawmill, fixed horizontally on a sled and driven by a gasoline engine. The rear axle and differential of a Model A Ford (or …

Sunken Lands

The term “sunken lands” (also called “sunk lands” or “sunk country”) refers to parts of Craighead, Mississippi, and Poinsett counties that shifted and sank during the New Madrid earthquakes which took place between 1811 and 1812. Because the land was submerged under water, claims to property based on riparian rights by large landowners generated controversy which lasted decades and ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court. When the New Madrid earthquakes began in December 1811, the territory which is today northeastern Arkansas was sparsely populated. An early chronicler described the earthquakes’ effect as the ground moving like waves on the land, when suddenly the earth would burst, sending up huge volumes of water and sand, leaving chasms where the earth had …

Sunnyside Plantation

Sunnyside Plantation of Chicot County is synonymous with the immigration of Italian Catholics into the cotton fields of the Arkansas Delta. During the 1890s and early 1900s, Sunnyside Plantation was the largest Catholic colony of new immigrants in the state and the primary factor in attracting Italians to Arkansas. Almost all Italians had left by 1910, however, due to dissatisfaction with increasing poor working arrangements. In the later half of the nineteenth century, Austin Corbin of New York bought more than 10,000 acres of Chicot County land on the Mississippi River and established his Sunnyside Plantation. Under the auspices of the Sunnyside Company, Corbin consolidated several plantations and named the property after an area plantation that dated back to the …

Superfund Sites

In 1980, Congress passed, and President Jimmy Carter signed, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as the Superfund law. CERCLA was created to deal with abandoned sites of industrial pollution. The act imposed taxes and fines upon companies to recover clean-up costs, and also established containment procedures for the pollution at such sites. This followed several years of highly publicized incidents related to industrial pollution, such as the 1974 contamination of Times Beach, Missouri—which was later evacuated due to high levels of dioxin in the city’s soil and water—as well as the eventual relocation of residents from the notorious Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York, which was the site of a chemical dump …

Swamp Land Act of 1850

The Swamp Land Act of 1850 gave Arkansas the right to identify and sell millions of acres of overflowed and swamp lands in the public domain and to use the proceeds to finance internal improvements, principally levees and drainage ditches. Arkansas eventually acquired more than 8,600,000 acres of land through the Swamp Land Act. This grant of land was of enormous importance to the state at the time, but it had little permanent impact on the economic development of the state. In the 1830s, planters and land developers began to move into Arkansas, attracted by the rich Mississippi Alluvial Plain bottomlands. The alluvial lands, however, were subject to seasonal overflows. In addition, much of the bottomland was swampland, described by …

Swine Industry

aka: Pig Industry
aka: Pork Industry
Swine (a.k.a. pigs, Sus scrofa) were first introduced into what is now Arkansas by the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541. Since pork can be salted and smoked for preservation, many early settlers used pigs to supply their needs for meat and cooking fat (lard). The widespread production of pigs persisted until commercial refrigeration was introduced in the 1930s and 1940s. At that time, pork became available from more remote sources, and production was more specialized and concentrated on fewer farms. In the mid-1970s, integration of pig production began to occur, with four corporations controlling most of the $84,148,000 of pig sales in 2007. The de Soto expedition had more than 700 pigs when the group was disbanded in …

Table Rock Dam and Lake

Although Table Rock Lake lies mostly in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, it plays an important role in water resource development for the White River basin, most of which lies in Arkansas. Its dam and reservoir are part of a flood-control system designed to reduce flooding in Arkansas’s Delta and the Mississippi drainage. Its hydroelectric power supplies electricity that the Southwest Power Administration sells to municipalities and rural cooperatives across northern Arkansas, southern Missouri, and several adjoining states. Recreational development resulting from the lake contributes to the economies of both Missouri and Arkansas. Table Rock Dam is located at river mile 528.8 on the White River about eight miles southwest of Branson, Missouri. The lake extends westerly from the dam …

Texas Tick Fever Eradication

aka: Tick Eradication
aka: Dipping Vats
From 1907 to circa 1943, Arkansas was a participant in the federal tick eradication program for the prevention of Texas tick fever among the state’s cattle herds. Arkansas’s climate and traditional agricultural practices among stockmen in the early twentieth century were perfect for the spread and sustenance of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus (also known as the cattle tick), one-host arachnids that completed their life cycle on a single animal. These ticks would acquire protozoan parasites by ingesting the blood of an animal infected with pathogens that destroyed red blood cells. After the engorged tick dropped off the host and laid eggs, the newly hatched ticks would pass the pathogens on by attaching to another host, thus conveying parasitic blood diseases babesiosis …

Timber Industry

The timber industry in Arkansas developed in all directions after the Civil War. The abundant forests of the state made it possible over the years to produce lumber, kraft paper, fine paper, newsprint, chemicals, charcoal, and many other products. The industry’s development depended first upon the availability of abundant forests. From Little Rock (Pulaski County) in central Arkansas to the north, west, and south are forests and marketable timber. To the east is the Delta, where hardwood grows in the swamps and river bottoms. The Ozark Mountains in the north are home to a mix of slower-growing pine and hardwood. The Ouachita Mountains to the west abound in pine on the slopes and hardwood in the valleys. The rolling hills …

Timberfest

Timberfest is held the first weekend of October every year on the courthouse square in Sheridan (Grant County). Timberfest celebrates Sheridan and Grant County’s long involvement with the timber industry and is sponsored by the Grant County Chamber of Commerce. The idea for Timberfest began in 1982 when the Grant County Chamber of Commerce board of directors decided to combine the Blue Mountain Bluegrass Festival and the Merchants Fair into one festival. The first Timberfest was held in 1984 on the courthouse square in Sheridan. Since then, it has grown into a very large event. Around 1995, a lumberjack competition was added to the Timberfest activities. The funds raised by Timberfest are used for scholarships that are awarded to Grant …

Tomato Industry

The tomato industry has a long history in Arkansas and is particularly known in the northwestern and southeastern areas of the state. Tomatoes appeared early in the state’s history. During the 1830s, Albert Pike, who owned the Arkansas Advocate newspaper, made the tomato the centerpiece of his campaign to expand food choices for the state. However, tomatoes were not grown on a large scale until commercial canning plants became common in the state. The town of Yocum (Carroll County), for example, had a plant operating in the 1880s, and in subsequent decades, canneries and tomato sheds were built across the state. Tomatoes grown in the Ozark Mountains were packaged in a variety of ways, from whole tomatoes to catsup. During …

Tornadoes

Tornadoes—destructive, violently spinning vortices of air extending from high within severe thunderstorms to the surface of the earth—are more common in the United States than anywhere else on the planet. They are particularly prevalent in the area known as “Tornado Alley,” where the proper ingredients come together: a combination of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico pulled northward by storm systems dragging strong continental cold air from Canada. While Arkansas is not normally included on maps of the infamous Tornado Alley, which is usually considered to stretch from north Texas northward through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, the state has suffered many devastating tornado outbreaks. In January 1999, Arkansas recorded the most tornadoes on any individual January day in …

Tripoli Mining

Tripoli is a microcrystalline form of quartz (SiO2) that is derived by the alteration of chert, chalcedony, or novaculite, or leaching of highly siliceous limestones. The removal of carbonate is essential to the formation of Arkansas tripoli. Tripoli is present in three general areas of Arkansas: northwestern Arkansas near Rogers (Benton County), in the Ouachita Mountains near Hot Springs (Garland County), and near Athens (Howard County). Tripoli has varied uses. Due to its inert nature and its fine-grained texture, tripoli has numerous applications, mainly as an abrasive in polishing, buffing, and burnishing compounds; in scouring soaps and powders; a filler or extender in plastics, rubber, and sealants like caulks and epoxy resins; and a pigment in paints. It also improves …

Trulock, Amanda Beardsley

Amanda Beardsley Trulock was an antebellum woman from Connecticut who married a Georgia cotton planter, migrated to Arkansas, and eventually became a plantation proprietor and sole owner of sixty-two slaves near Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). She was one among the small number of American women from abolitionist New England who married into a slave-owning family before embracing the institution of slavery herself. However, largely due to her “Yankee” heritage and continued association with her New England family, Trulock was an atypical example of an antebellum slaveholder in the Delta. Her personal papers (primarily correspondence to her Connecticut family) represent an important documentation of plantation life, the Civil War, and emancipation in Arkansas history. Born on April 22, 1811, to Nicholas …

Tyronza River

The Tyronza River rises in Mississippi County and flows primarily southwest until it empties into the St. Francis River just north of Parkin (Cross County). It no longer resembles the stream that it was up until the early twentieth century, as it has been channelized, ditched, and had its meander loops cut-off. Before the formation of the levee and drainage districts in the late nineteenth century that rerouted and channelized existing streams, the Tyronza River arose out of a body of water called Carson Lake located southwest of Osceola (Mississippi County). From there, it flowed across low swampy land, a region the locals referred to as the “scatters of Tyronza,” into Tyronza Lake before narrowing down into the regular path …

Tyson Foods, Inc.

Founded in 1935 in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), Tyson Foods has emerged as one of Arkansas’s most prominent companies, employing more than 100,000 workers. By the end of the twentieth century, it had become one of the largest meat-processing companies in the world, with millions of customers in the United States and in more than eighty countries worldwide. Forbes magazine currently lists it as one of America’s 100 largest companies, and it continues to play a pivotal role in the state’s economy. Following the collapse of the fruit industry in northwest Arkansas in the late 1920s, many farmers turned to raising poultry as a source of income. The connection of Highway 71 to Midwest markets such as Kansas City, …

Tyson, Don

Donald John Tyson was president and CEO of Tyson Foods. By the close of the twentieth century, along with Walmart Inc. founder Sam Walton, Don Tyson was considered one of the pioneers of modern Arkansas economic history, as well as a giant in the global poultry business. At the time of his death in 2011, he was among the richest people in the world, with a personal net worth of $1 billion. Don Tyson was born on April 21, 1930, in Olathe, Kansas, to John Tyson, founder of Tyson Foods, Inc., and Mildred Ernst Tyson. His family resettled in northwest Arkansas in 1931, and Tyson grew up in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties). He studied at Kemper Military School in …

Umsted, Sidney Albert

aka: Sid Umsted
Sidney (Sid) Albert Umsted, known as the “Father of the Smackover Oil Field,” drilled the first well in the Smackover (Union County) area, introducing Arkansas’s largest oil discovery. In 1925, the Smackover field produced over 77 million barrels of oil and was the largest oil field in the nation at that time. Sid Umsted was born on November 22, 1876, in Houston County, Texas, to Caroline Pearson and Albert “Newt” Umsted, who had moved there from Chidester (Ouachita County). Umsted’s father abandoned the family while Sid was a child, and his mother moved back to Chidester to be near family members. When Umsted was eight, his mother married Harrison Bratton, and the family settled on a farm near Bernice, Louisiana. …

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA)

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) was at one time the most powerful union in the United States. The union, which remains active in the twenty-first century, encouraged the development of the Arkansas State Federation of Labor. The UMWA was formed in 1890 in Columbus, Ohio, when Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 merged with the National Progressive Union of Miners and Mine Laborers. This combined union banned discrimination against any members based on race, national origin, or religion. By 1898, the UMWA had achieved improvements in wages and hours per week with mine operators in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. In 1898, the UMWA began organizing miners in western Arkansas. Arkansas became a part of District 21, and …

University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (UACES)

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (UACES), an arm of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, offers non-traditional education, bringing university research to Arkansans to help improve their lives. The UACES disseminates information on agricultural production, protection of natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, rural community development, and public issues education. With offices in every county, the UACES provides easy access to information that has practical and immediate application. The UACES state headquarters is in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on land that borders the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). Three federal legislative acts, passed during the mid- to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created the national Agricultural Extension Service …

University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center

The University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center (RREC), one of five research and extension centers in the University of Arkansas System’s statewide Division of Agriculture, is one of the best known and oldest rice research centers in the world. Arkansas produces almost half the rice grown in the United States, and the center has played a vital role in the success of the Arkansas rice industry. RREC is located nine miles east of Stuttgart (Arkansas County) on Highway 130. Originally called the Rice Branch Station, it was authorized by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1923, and work commenced on it in December 1926. The University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) made an earlier attempt at establishing a …

Vanadium Mining

Major deposits of vanadium were discovered in central Arkansas by Union Carbide’s Western Exploration Group in the 1960s. Vanadium orebodies are found in two isolated igneous intrusive complexes in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas: the Potash Sulphur Springs (now Wilson Springs) complex located in Garland County and the Magnet Cove complex in Hot Spring County. The Wilson Springs vanadium deposits were the first to be mined solely for vanadium in the United States. The major use of vanadium is as an alloying metal in iron and steel (ferroalloy). Small amounts of vanadium added to iron and steel significantly increase its strength, improve toughness and ductility, and reduce weight, making it suitable for structural and pipeline steel. Vanadium also increases high-temperature …

Vertac

The Vertac site in Jacksonville (Pulaski County) is one of the nation’s worst hazardous waste sites and Arkansas’s most publicized Superfund site. Cleanup of the area after its abandonment by its corporate owner took more than a decade, and the name “Vertac” soon became synonymous in Arkansas with the fear of industrial pollution, similar to how New Yorkers view Love Canal. The Vertac site was originally part of the Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP), a World War II–era facility that manufactured various components of explosive devices, such as primers and detonators. In 1946, the federal government offered the AOP facilities for sale to private companies. The future Vertac site was purchased in 1948 by Reasor-Hill Company, which produced pesticides, as did …

Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge

The Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge in Crittenden County covers 5,532 acres, at the center of which is the 600-acre Wapanocca Lake, a former oxbow of the Mississippi River. The refuge was created in 1961 for the primary purpose of extending goose migration into the southern part of the Mississippi River Valley, which was essential for safeguarding the Canada goose population of the United States. The area now covered by the refuge was originally the site of the Wapanocca Outing Club, a hunting club formed by a group of Memphis, Tennessee, businessmen in 1886. This club was one of the first to practice conservation methods such as bag limits. The Arkansas Delta was a major stopping point for migratory birds along …

Washington Monument Marble Quarry

In 1833, the Washington National Monument Society was founded to create a memorial to the United States’ first president, George Washington. A year before a design contest for the memorial was announced, the society laid down guidelines: “Its material is intended to be wholly American, and to be of marble or granite brought from each State, that each State may participate in the glory of contributing in material as well as in funds to its construction.” Arkansas would ultimately donate three stone slabs to the Washington Monument in Washington DC, which was constructed intermittently from 1848 to 1888. The first stone, representing the state of Arkansas, was taken from a mountain in what was then Carroll County (now Newton County) …

Waterfalls

Waterfalls often form as a stream flows over different bands of rock, with the soft rock eroding more quickly to undercut the hard rock. Unsupported, the overhanging rock eventually collapses. This fallen rock crashes down into a pool of water where the water’s swirling action results in more erosion. Over time, this process is repeated, resulting in a series of stair-step waterfalls retreating up a hillside. Nature creates an array of different types of vertical water runoffs. Experts have different ideas about what constitutes a waterfall. Although there are no definitive criteria, two methods have been developed to categorize waterfalls. Geometrical Classification categorizes waterfalls based on shapes and physical features. This method is helpful to identify falls for their visual …

West Gulf Coastal Plain

aka: Gulf Coastal Plain
aka: Coastal Plain
The Gulf Coastal Plain is an area of relatively gently sloping terrain extending across the southern portion of the United States from Texas to Georgia. It was covered by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico until about 50 million years ago. The land rose during periods of tectonic uplift, and water in the Gulf of Mexico retreated to near its present position. Because it was covered by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for much of its history, the geologic terrain of the Coastal Plain is flat to rolling. Its bedrock is deeply covered with sediment, and the surface has extensive deposits of sand and gravel. The western portion of the Gulf Coastal Plain—the West Gulf Coastal Plain—extends …

Wheat and Small Grain Industry

Wheat and other small grain crops have been important to Arkansas since the first European settlers arrived. At first, these crops were mainly used on the farms where they were grown for both human and livestock consumption. Today, these grains are a multi-million-dollar industry in the state and are sold worldwide. Cereal grain crops are grass species that are grown primarily for their edible seeds or grain. This group includes the world’s six most widely grown crops: wheat, rice, corn, sorghum, millet, and barley. Cereal grain crops with a small plant structure are generally categorized as small grain cereals. Wheat, barley, oats, and rye are considered small grains. Although rice fits the definition, it is often considered separately because of …

White Bluff Generating Plant

The White Bluff Generating Plant is a coal-fired electrical energy generating plant located near Redfield (Jefferson County) and operated by Entergy Arkansas. It was the first coal-fired plant constructed in Arkansas and one of four in operation. Until the early 1970s, electricity, gasoline, and natural gas had been cheap and apparently in plentiful supply in the United States, but the first Arab oil embargo quickly drove energy prices up sharply, causing immediate gas and oil shortages. Energy suppliers, including electric utilities, had already begun to plan for the use of alternative fuel sources. For example, Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L—now Entergy Arkansas) had begun construction of two large nuclear fuel generators near Russellville (Pope County). At this point, however, there …

White Flight

“White flight”—the departure of white residents from racially mixed cities to heavily white suburban enclaves in reaction to court-ordered school desegregation—occurred in several urban communities in Arkansas. Related changes occurred in other communities in the state during the same period, especially in the Arkansas Delta. There, many white families moved children into private, all-white “academies” as desegregation was implemented. In addition, many families—both white and black—chose to depart such communities entirely, although it seems clear that those demographic changes were caused more by a sense of economic hopelessness than school politics. While towns such as Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) evidenced “white flight” in the aftermath of court orders in the latter decades of the twentieth century, it was in the …

White River

The 722-mile-long White River flowing through northern Arkansas and southern Missouri is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. The river begins in northwestern Arkansas in the Boston Mountains and flows east toward the Fayetteville (Washington County) area, where it then turns north. Near Eureka Springs (Carroll County), the river enters Missouri. It then flows southeast back into Arkansas past Bull Shoals (Marion County), Mountain Home (Baxter County), and Calico Rock (Izard County). At Batesville (Independence County) begins the second section of the river, known as the lower White. From Batesville, the White River flows south for 295 miles through Arkansas’s Delta region, past Augusta (Woodruff County), Des Arc (Prairie County), Clarendon (Monroe County), and St. Charles (Arkansas County), before …

Wildlife Management Areas

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) oversees the state’s wildlife management areas (WMAs), which are places for public hunting at little or no cost to the participants, though they also have year-round potential for bird watching, seeing wild animals, picnicking, camping, and just enjoying the outdoors. There are more than 100 WMAs, large and small, around the state. The WMA system encompasses 3,195,875 acres of the state, including tracts owned outright by the AGFC, cooperative areas, and leased lands. The largest portion of the WMA total acreage is in the Ouachita National Forest. Other cooperative WMA land is administered under agreements among the AGFC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, …

Williams, Virginia Anne Rice

Biochemist Virginia Anne Rice Williams helped develop more nutritious grains through her pioneering studies of rice, a major Arkansas crop. She conducted important research on the B-vitamin content of rice, on ways to keep rice from turning rancid in storage, and on the vitamin fortification of rice. Virginia Rice was born in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Roderic J. Rice, a banker, and Mattie Thurman. Her high school teachers urged her to pursue music as a career, as she was a gifted musician. Fearing that she would not succeed as a concert musician, however, she opted for science, a field in which she also excelled. In 1940, Rice graduated from Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) with a BA …

Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center

The Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, whose mission is introducing the public to the importance of conservation education in Arkansas, is the fourth nature center established by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). The center opened on December 17, 2008, and is funded by the Amendment 75 Conservation Sales Tax, allowing the center to provide free admission. Covering almost three and a half acres of land within the Julius Breckling Riverfront Park in the River Market District in Little Rock (Pulaski County), it is located along the Arkansas River Trail between the First Security Amphitheater and the Interstate 30 Arkansas River bridge. Permanent exhibits include large indoor aquariums filled with native fish from several of Arkansas’s natural …

Women in the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union

The Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union (STFU) was an organization of tenant farmers formed in 1934 in Tyronza (Poinsett County). The union was notable for three things: racially integrating union locals in some areas, relying on evangelical church traditions in meetings, and utilizing the work of women at all levels of the organization. For many women involved in the STFU, the organization served as a springboard into other activism, particularly in the civil rights movement. Women in the union came from all social backgrounds. Society women were active throughout the country, raising money and promoting awareness for the STFU. Women were also crucial at the local level among the sharecropper class, partially because it was necessary for officers to have a certain degree of …

Yale Camp

Approximately one mile east of Crossett (Ashley County), just off U.S. Highway 82, is the site of what was once an important adjunct to the Yale University School of Forestry. Built in 1946, the spring camp for Yale students of forest management provided a hands-on educational experience until its closure in 1966. In the early 1900s, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, was perhaps an unlikely location of the nation’s premier school of forest management. To supplement work in the classroom, the school provided a spring field trip to southern forests, visiting as the guest of a different lumber company each year, since northern forests might still be under snow at the time of the field trip. The first trip …