Entry Type: Place - Starting with S

Summit (Marion County)

The city of Summit was built as a result of the construction of the White River Railway. Summit is a suburb of Yellville, the county seat of Marion County, and the two cities are separated by Division Street. Summit’s identity is so much overshadowed by Yellville’s that many people call it North Yellville. Northern Arkansas was home to various Native American tribes before European explorers and settlers arrived. The land that would become Summit was part of a large area given by treaty to the Cherokee, and the Cherokee at that time were joined by the Shawnee, who built the first houses in what would become the city of Yellville. Eventually, another treaty required the Cherokee and Shawnee to move farther …

Sundown Towns

aka: Racial Cleansing
Between 1890 and 1968, thousands of towns across the United States drove out their black populations or took steps to forbid African Americans from living in them. Thus were created “sundown towns,” so named because many marked their city limits with signs typically reading, “Nigger, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On You In Alix”—an Arkansas town in Franklin County that had such a sign around 1970. By 1970, when sundown towns were at their peak, more than half of all incorporated communities outside the traditional South probably excluded African Americans, including probably more than a hundred towns in the northwestern two-thirds of Arkansas. White residents of the traditional South rarely engaged in the practice; they kept African Americans down …

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 …

Sunset (Crittenden County)

Sunset is a largely African-American town north of Marion (Crittenden County) and adjacent to Interstate 55. A school building in Sunset is on the National Register of Historic Places. Quapaw lived in the area before European explorers first visited. Two Spanish land grants were bestowed before 1800 for the land where Sunset would be built. The land became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Cotton was grown on the land both before and after the Civil War. Many former slaves continued to live as tenant farmers in Crittenden County after the Civil War. Friendship Lodge No. 39, a Masonic association for African Americans, was organized in 1873. A school for African-American children was built in …

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 …

Sweet Home (Pulaski County)

The small, rural community of Sweet Home (Pulaski County) is a majority black community in Pulaski County. Of more than two dozen communities in Arkansas named Sweet Home to have obtained a post office (done on May 29, 1877), this is the only community to have maintained it to the present. Its Hanger Cotton Gin is Arkansas’s oldest cotton gin on the National Register of Historic Places, dating back to at least the 1870s. From 1890 to 1955, Sweet Home housed Arkansas’s Confederate Soldiers’ Home until it moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County); only two entrance pillars and low parts of the front stone wall remain. Sweet Home had the state’s only Florence Crittenton Home for black unwed mothers, begun …

Swifton (Jackson County)

Swifton is one of several Jackson County cities that were founded along the tracks of the Iron Mountain Railroad. Home to three notable names in baseball, including Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman George Kell, Swifton is also a landmark on Arkansas’s Rock ’n’ Roll Highway 67. Henry Hileman received a patent to the land on which Swifton would be built on November 27, 1820. Hileman obtained that patent with a scrip recognizing his service to the United States in the War of 1812. Other settlers joined Hileman in the area, and a Methodist church was established in 1860. Until construction of the railroad, however, settlement remained sparse in northern Jackson County. The Cairo and Fulton Railroad built a line through Jackson …