Entry Type: Place - Starting with J

J. V. Bell House

The J. V. Bell House stands at 303 West Cherry Street in Jonesboro (Craighead County). Built in 1895, the Bell House stands as an example of the typical Victorian-era residence, with its high, multiple roof suggesting a Queen Anne influence, and its cut-out stars and moons and sunburst ornamentation incorporating a distinct Oriental flavor. The Bell House was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1976. John Vernon Bell moved to Jonesboro in the late 1800s and owned and operated one of the city’s first bookstores. Later, he became secretary of Jonesboro Savings and Loan. In 1919, Thomas Hardy purchased the house from Bell. Hardy added two rooms to the upstairs, thus boxing in the back …

Jackson County

Jackson County is in northeastern Arkansas. Although the land rises somewhat in the west, most of the county is flat, low river bottom. Since the late 1800s, the county’s largest town has been Newport, the county seat. European Exploration and Settlement Native Americans called this area home as far back as 10,000 years ago. Evidence of their existence is found in the nearly 600 archaeological sites known to exist in Jackson County. Some researchers have claimed that famed explorer Hernando de Soto passed through the area that would become Jacksonport and that he spent the winter of 1541–42 there , though current research places his winter camp on the lower Arkansas River. French and Spanish trappers hunted in what would …

Jacksonport (Jackson County)

Jacksonport is a town in central Jackson County, located about one-half mile from the confluence of the Black and White rivers and three miles northwest of the county seat of Newport (Jackson County). Its location at the convergence of two navigable waterways enabled Jacksonport to thrive in a time when river transport was the most reliable method of transportation in Arkansas. Its twenty-first-century circumstance as a remote community on the White River belies the true history of Jacksonport; in the mid-nineteenth century, much of the trade throughout northern Arkansas and southern Missouri was facilitated via this once-bustling river town. Its importance as a trade center began to diminish when Jacksonport was bypassed by a railroad built through Jackson County in …

Jacksonport State Park

Jacksonport State Park lets visitors relive nineteenth-century Arkansas history—including the days of the pioneers, steamboats, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Victorian Age, and the Industrial Revolution—through its various exhibits and interpretive programs. The 1872 courthouse serves as a museum, and the last sternwheeler riverboat to ply the White River is permanently moored nearby. Due to its location near the confluence of the Black and White rivers, Jacksonport became a trading center during the 1820s and thus was significant for the early settlement and economic development of Arkansas. The first steamboats arrived in 1833, and the town grew around the landing site. Jackson County, established in 1829, moved its seat of justice from Augusta (now in Woodruff County) to Jacksonport in …

Jacksonville (Pulaski County)

Jacksonville is located twelve miles northeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the central part of the state. Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB) is located within the city limits of Jacksonville. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first known settlers to move into the area were two Revolutionary War veterans, Jacob Gray Sr. and his brother Shared. The brothers had come from Williamson County, Tennessee, and settled in an area northeast of where the Daniels Ferry Road crossed Bayou Meto, about twelve miles northeast of Little Rock. Some of the men of the family with some of their slaves arrived the winter of 1820–21 and were followed by the rest of the family members and the remaining slaves by …

Jacksonville Museum of Military History

The Jacksonville Museum of Military History in Jacksonville (Pulaski County) sits on the original grounds of the World War II–era Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP) administration building and is located twenty minutes north of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County), just off of Highway 67/167. The museum explores significant war and home-front activities dating from the Civil War through the Cold War, and also includes current and ongoing military engagements. The Jacksonville Museum of Military History first opened its doors in May 2005 with the mission to educate the public about the important contributions made by both the civilian workforce and the military in historical and current conflicts. The museum is funded by private donations, grants, and the Jacksonville Advertising and Promotions …

Jacob Wolf House

The two-story log structure known as the Jacob Wolf House stands on a hillside overlooking the juncture of the White and North Fork Rivers in the present-day town of Norfork (Baxter County). It was constructed in 1829 as the first permanent courthouse for Izard County in Arkansas Territory and is the oldest public structure in Arkansas. Before permanent Anglo-American settlement occurred, the juncture of the White and North Fork rivers was the site of early fur-trading activities. From 1819 to 1828, numerous villages of Shawnee and Delaware Indians were located nearby. Trade with these Indian tribes prompted Jacob Wolf to establish his homestead at the mouth of the North Fork River in 1824. In 1825, he was granted a license …

Jamestown (Independence County)

Jamestown of Independence County is a small community located approximately eight miles southwest of Batesville (Independence County) at the foot of Jamestown Mountain near Jamestown Creek. During its heyday in the late nineteenth century, it was a thriving area commercial center respected for its educational opportunities. A settlement began to develop near Jamestown Creek as early as 1844 when Daniel James, an early settler, promoted the area through land speculation. Still, no real town existed until after the Civil War. In 1869, the local Methodist congregation constructed a meeting house that also served as a Masonic hall at what was then called Alderbrook. Because the building was described as “an ornament to the village,” it was decided that a more …

Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center

The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, located in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and named for first lady Janet Huckabee, is one of four nature centers owned and operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). It interprets the natural environment of the Arkansas River Valley, as well as expands upon the mission of the agency, which is to manage the fish and wildlife resources in Arkansas while providing an enjoyable experience for visitors. The 14,000-square-foot nature center is located on 170 acres of land typical of the river valley, along with a twelve-acre manmade lake. The facility features exhibits interpreting the natural history of the area, and nature trails around the property give visitors a first-hand view. …

Japanese American Relocation Camps

After Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, and America’s subsequent declaration of war and entry into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which selected ten sites to incarcerate more than 110,000 Japanese Americans (sixty-four percent of whom were American citizens). They had been forcibly removed from the West Coast, where over eighty percent of Japanese Americans lived. Two camps were selected and built in the Arkansas Delta, one at Rohwer in Desha County and the other at Jerome in sections of Chicot and Drew counties. Operating from October 1942 to November 1945, both camps eventually incarcerated nearly 16,000 Japanese Americans. This was the largest influx and incarceration of …

Jasper (Newton County)

Jasper was established as a village along the Little Buffalo River by 1840. Today, it is the hub for outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the Buffalo National River, one of the last free-flowing waterways in the United States, and the Ozark Highland Trail. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood At least three different stories are told about the origin of the name Jasper. One oft-repeated legend says that Cherokee Indians traveling west on the torturous Trail of Tears gave the town its name after being surprised by the village’s warm hospitality. A second version of this same story tells of a precious ring, containing a jasper stone, given to the postmaster in gratitude for care given to the Cherokee travelers. Yet another account …

Jefferson County

Named for former president Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson County has survived devastating floods, economic depression, and the Civil War. It is home to the Pine Bluff Arsenal and the National Center for Toxicological Research, and it was the home of Willie Mae Hocker, the designer of the official state flag. Jefferson County began as the state’s major entry point for early European explorers and steamboat travel up the Arkansas River, and a major railroad route went through it into the heart of the state. Towns that make up the county are Altheimer, Humphrey, Pine Bluff, Redfield, Sherrill, Wabbaseka, and White Hall. European Exploration and Settlement On June 18, 1541, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto led the first Europeans into southeast Arkansas. …

Jenkins’ Ferry State Park

Location: Grant County Size: 40 acres Jenkins’ Ferry State Park, in Grant County on the Saline River, commemorates a Civil War engagement that was part of the Camden Expedition of General Frederick Steele. The park contains interpretive exhibits, as well as a picnic area and a boat ramp for access to the river. The name of the park comes from Thomas Jenkins, who established a ferry on the Saline River in 1815. By 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, the ferry was being operated by Jenkins’s sons, William and John DeKalb. In March 1864, General Steele led approximately 14,000 troops out of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to join in the Union army’s Red River Campaign. The goal of …

Jennette (Crittenden County)

Jennette is a largely African-American town in western Crittenden County, located north of the Shearerville (Crittenden County) exit on Interstate 40. Jennette is variously spelled Jeanette, Jennettee, and Jenette. The location of what is now Jennette was swampy hardwood forest until early in the twentieth century, when the Edwards Fair Lumber Company, based in Crawfordsville (Crittenden County), cleared the land. Various drainage ditches were dug to make the cleared land suitable for farming. The origin of the name Jennette is unknown. Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church was established in Jennette around 1900. A post office opened in Jennette in February 1904 and continued operating until May 1927. A school was organized on the Baptist church property in 1908. The school …

Jericho (Crittenden County)

Jericho is a town in Crittenden County. It is located on State Highway 77 a few miles north of Marion (Crittenden County) between Interstate 55 and the Mississippi River. Jericho’s population is largely African American. Jericho was settled in the 1840s by riverboat captain Stephen Stonewall James and his brother John C. James, who built the first gin and sawmill in Jericho. They named the settlement for the city mentioned several times in the Bible. Other settlers joined the James brothers, establishing sawmills and planting orchards on their farms. One settler reportedly also operated a wine press. During the 1880s, the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (often called the Frisco) built rail lines through Crittenden County toward West Memphis (Crittenden County) …