Entries - 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 northeast 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. No single event of great importance has thrust Jackson County into a place of prominence, but it has nonetheless proven to be a crucial component of Arkansas history and culture. European Exploration and SettlementNative 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 …

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 …

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 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. Although the exact location and routes …

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) …

Jerome (Drew County)

The town of Jerome is located in southeastern Drew County, although its residents are more tied to Dermott (Chicot County) than to any city in Drew County. The location of a Japanese American relocation camp during World War II, the town of Jerome has been a transportation crossroads for most of its history. Jerome is located near Bayou Bartholomew, which was the main route used by travelers during the territorial time of Arkansas. In 1835, Moses Upshard Payne of New Orleans, Louisiana, purchased several tracts of land near the bayou as an investment; some cotton was grown on the clearer patches of land, but much of the land was swampland filled with hardwood trees. The land was frequently rented or …

Jerome Relocation Center

The Japanese American relocation site at Jerome (in Drew County and partially in Chicot County) was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places on August 4, 2010. This Japanese American incarceration camp, along with a similar one built in Desha County, eventually housed some 16,000 Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast during World War II. The Japanese American population, of which sixty-four percent were American citizens, had been forcibly removed from the West Coast under the doctrine of “military necessity” and incarcerated in ten relocation camps dispersed throughout the inner mountain states and Arkansas. This was the largest influx and incarceration of any racial or ethnic group in Arkansas’s history. The Jerome Relocation Center was in operation …

Jessieville (Garland County)

Jessieville (Garland County) is an unincorporated community located in the Ouachita Mountains northwest of Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline counties) and fourteen miles north of Hot Springs (Garland County). Accessible by Arkansas Highway 7, Jessieville serves as a bedroom community for Hot Springs and offers services to visitors to the Ouachita National Forest. Early families in the area that would become Jessieville first appear in the 1860 census. Part of Marble Township in what was then Saline County, the area was sparsely settled. Farmers James and Mary Newkirk resided in the township east of the present location of Jessieville with their six children. In 1873, the western portion of Marble Township in Saline County became part of the newly …

Joan (Clark County)

aka: Bethlehem (Clark County)
Joan, pronounced Jo-Ann, is a community located in Clark County about six miles east of Arkadelphia at the intersection of State Highways 51 and 128. The community was originally known as Bethlehem. The earliest settlers to the area arrived in 1834, and Bethlehem Methodist Church was organized between 1837 and 1848. The land for the church and cemetery was donated in 1855, and the church would serve as the center of the community for decades to come. The church still operates in the twenty-first century. Pleasant Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in the community in 1867 and continues to operate. With the formation of Dallas County in 1845, the portion of Clark County east of the Ouachita River …

Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery

Since 1928, the Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery near Lonoke (Lonoke County) has produced fish for stocking Arkansas lakes and streams. It is the oldest and largest of the four warm-water hatcheries run by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) and is the largest and one of the oldest state-owned warm-water pond hatcheries in the United States. Early in 1928, AGFC chairman Lee Miles instructed AGFC secretary Guy Amsler to look for available land near Lonoke for the construction of a fish hatchery. The site purchased for the hatchery was a half mile south of Lonoke and consisted of two adjacent rice farms totaling 266 acres and located along present-day U.S. Highway 70. The commission earmarked $17,544 for purchasing …

John Brown University (JBU)

Founded in 1919 in Siloam Springs (Benton County), John Brown University (JBU) is a private comprehensive university known for its Christian identity, academic emphasis, and professionally oriented programs. The university began as a high school and junior college that emphasized vocational training for poor young people. It evolved into a four-year liberal arts university and later developed graduate programs in business and counseling. Throughout its history, the university has forged close ties with the churches and industries of northwest Arkansas and business leaders such as Sam Walton and John Tyson. JBU was founded by John Elward Brown, a self-educated evangelist, publisher, and radio entrepreneur who grew up in rural poverty in late-nineteenth-century Iowa. In July 1919, Brown, at that time …

John Wilson Martin House

aka: Bradley County Historical Museum
The John Wilson Martin House in Warren (Bradley County), the oldest surviving residence in the town, was the home of a notable Civil War doctor. Now housing the Bradley County Historical Museum, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 27, 1990. John Wilson Martin was born on June 8, 1819, in Harrison County, Virginia, and went to New Orleans, Louisiana, around 1843 to attend lectures at Tulane University. He was settled in Warren by 1848, when he married Mary Elizabeth Franklin and established what became a flourishing medical practice. It was said that Martin would ride by “horseback all day to reach the frequently remote residences” of the sick. Martin’s medical practice was especially active, …

Johnson (Washington County)

Johnson is a bedroom community situated between Fayetteville (Washington County) and Springdale (Washington County). Though Johnson was incorporated in 1961, its history spans a much longer time. The known history of Johnson begins in 1830–1834 when John Trusdale purchased a mill site west of present-day Johnson from a “widow Sutton.” In 1835, he built a gristmill utilizing the water flow from a number of springs north of the property. The mill was burned during the Civil War in 1864. Following the Civil War, Jacob Queener (J. Q.) Johnson and William Mays purchased the site and rebuilt the mill in 1865. In about 1884, Mayes sold his share of the mill to B. F. Johnson, brother of J. Q. Johnson. The …

Johnson County

Johnson County has been the location of much of the state’s coal mining as well as one of the centers of the state’s peach industry. The northern section of Johnson County is located within the Boston Mountains, which consists of the entire southern boundary of the Arkansas Ozarks, and within the boundaries of the Ozark National Forest. It is characterized by mountains, thickly forested landscape, and streams and rivers. The southern region of the county is located in the Arkansas River Valley and consists of lowland bottom lands. Johnson County has five creeks/rivers: Horsehead, Little Piney, Mulberry, Spadra, and Big Piney. The county is also home to the University of the Ozarks. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Native American rock …

Joiner (Mississippi County)

The city of Joiner (Mississippi County) is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 61 and State Highway 118, within an area widely recognized for its fertile farmland and its proximity to the Mississippi River and the city of Memphis, Tennessee. There are varying accounts regarding Joiner’s beginnings. One story states that the locale was first associated with a hotel of the same name that was established by Rufus L. Joiner. This account also asserts that the spelling was originally Joyner and somehow evolved into Joiner over the years. However, Rufus L. Joiner’s biography, as published by Goodspeed’s history of the area, makes no mention of his association with a hotel, describing him only as a prominent farmer. On the …

Jones Mills (Hot Spring County)

Jones Mills is a northern Hot Spring County community named after an aluminum reduction plant that located there in the 1940s. It is sometimes incorrectly known as Jones Mill. Ancestors of the Caddo Indians inhabited the Jones Mills area between 6000 BC and AD 1450. Archaeological explorations of Jones Mills in 2007 and 2008 provided evidence that helps archaeologists understand how life transitioned from the Archaic through the Mississippian periods. Radiocarbon testing of burned hickory nutshells dates the area back to the Middle Archaic period and also indicates the importance of nuts to the Native American diet. While the archaeological digs have not yet determined whether Indians lived in the area year-round, it does establish that people were in the Jones Mills community …

Jonesboro (Craighead County)

Jonesboro is the largest community in northeast Arkansas and the fifth largest in the state. It is the Craighead County seat (though Act 61 of 1883 created the “Eastern District of Craighead County,” providing for the establishment of another county courthouse at Lake City due to early difficulties in travel). Jonesboro is a regional center in education, retail, healthcare, and industry; its largest employers are Arkansas State University (ASU) and St. Bernards Medical Center. Jonesboro is also an agricultural center in processing rice, cotton, and soybeans, and it is a regional hub for the food-processing industry, being home to Riceland Foods and plants for Frito-Lay, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods/Post Division, and Nestle. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The Jonesboro area is …

Judd Hill Plantation

The Judd Hill Plantation in Poinsett County has epitomized the evolution of agriculture in that portion of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, or Delta, during the twentieth century. Changes there in the land, economy, and labor force have reflected those throughout the region. The Judd Hill Plantation received its name from its founder, Orange Judd (O. J.) Hill, a wealthy Kansas City, Missouri, banker and businessman. Hill bought the 5,800-acre tract south of Trumann (Poinsett County) in 1925 as a source of wood for his barrel-making operation in Springfield, Missouri. Even after the purchase, Hill continued to spend most of his time in Kansas City with his wife, Lina, and their adopted daughter, Esther Jane. In 1930, Hill persuaded Esther and …

Judsonia (White County)

Judsonia is a historic community in White County on the lower Little Red River. The town’s history includes the settlement of immigrants from the North after the Civil War, the growing importance of strawberries, and the 1952 tornado. Some scholars hypothesize that this is the site of the Mississippian Palisima, a Native American village mentioned in documents from the Hernando de Soto expedition. Late prehistoric pottery has been found in the area, created either by ancestors of the Quapaw or by other groups who lived in the area before the Quapaw arrived. Early Statehood through the Civil War Judsonia is on the first highland on the north bank of the White River. The south half of the modern town of …

Junction City (Union County)

Junction City is the southernmost city in Arkansas. Straddling the state line with Louisiana, Junction City has two city governments and exists in Union County, Arkansas; Union Parish, Louisiana; and Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. Junction City was created by the Arkansas Southern Railway Company, which was formed by the directors of the South Arkansas Lumber Company. Both businesses were incorporated in August 1892, and the railroad began building a line from El Dorado (Union County) south to the state line. It reached the state line in 1894, and Junction City was platted at that time. Lots were auctioned at a public barbecue. Many of the successful bidders were from the town of Blanchard Springs in Union County; when their homes and …