Click on the county name below to see the county facts:
Arkansas County is the oldest county in Arkansas, and has a rich history behind it. The only American Revolutionary battle fought West of the Mississippi (1873), was fought in Arkansas County. A dual county seat with courthouses in Dewitt and Stuttgart, the oldest records in Arkansas are kept in the (Stuttgart) Courthouse. They date from 1796 and are written in Spanish. The courtroom in the courthouse has a unique design where the witness sits in front of the judge and faces the jury, whereas, in most courtrooms the witness sits beside the judge facing the spectators. The landscape of the county is rich, flat, delta farmland. The eastern boundary of the county runs along the White River, and the southern border includes a stretch of the Arkansas River and Lock and Dam No. 2 of the River Navigation System. There are two museums in the county, Stuttgart Agricultural Museum and the Arkansas Post County Museum and a National Memorial in Gillett. The Arkansas Post is considered the earliest European settlement in the lower Mississippi River valley. The National Park includes a visitors’ center and exhibits, artifacts and a trail to take visitors by points of interest. The population of Arkansas county is 21,653 (1990) census, with 64.5% being urban and rural. Rice Belt Vo-tech and a University of Arkansas agricultural research experiment station are active in research and training in the county.
Ashley County, the fifth largest county in the state, was formed on November 30, 1848, from part of Drew County with final boundary adjustments made in 1861. Hamburg is the county seat. The Ashley county courthouse is early contemporary in style and has a unique, round, courtroom where all participants in a trial face one another. The landscape of the county is coastal plain, level to rolling, flat cropland, and pine-forested hills. Two-thirds of Ashley County is hill land, most in pine timber and forest products with the first blocks of forestland being bought up by lumbermen in 1898. The original sawmill was in operation in 1901. Another quarter of the county’s land is devoted to agriculture. The rich sandy loam soil created by the Mississippi and Bayou Bartholomew rivers has been farmed for generations. Although cotton is still king, livestock, poultry and other commercial cash crops are grown. Bayou Bartholomew, the longest bayou in the United States runs through the county. West of the bayou is Overflow National Wildlife Refuge that offers excellent hunting and fishing. Ashley County has an innovative recycling program that has taken 65% of the waste stream out of their landfill. The county owns equipment to press paper and yard waste into small cubes, which are then sold to Georgia-Pacific for use as fuel. Today Georgia-Pacific owns 45% of the land in the county, supporting the manufacturing of hardwood veneer, plywood, paper and chemicals.
Baxter County was formed on March 24, 1873, from parts of Fulton, Izard, Marion, and Searcy counties, and was named for Elisha Baxter, then Governor of Arkansas. Mountain Home is the county seat. The landscape of Baxter County is rugged and mountainous. The county courthouse sits between two of the state’s largest lakes, Bull Shoals and Norfolk. The third floor rooms of the courthouse were added between 1908 and 1912 to give a third floor because the previous courthouse only had two stories, and in the early nineteen hundreds another thriving town in Baxter County was trying to get to be the county seat, therefore the Arkansas Legislature passed an Act requiring the courthouse to have three stories; thus, a third story was built in a hurry. The courthouse is located fourteen miles from the oldest courthouse in Arkansas, the log house of Major Wolfe, built in 1809 and still standing at the town of Norfolk. Over the past three decades, the population of Baxter County has boomed. Much of the county’s growth and more than half its tax dollars can be traced to tourism and retirement. Visitors often return to take up residence. Other resources include a technical campus of Arkansas State University and a fine regional medical center located in Mountain Home. The county has a large water-base recreation such as the White River, North Fork River, Lake Norfork, Bull Shoals Lake and the Buffalo National River.
Benton County, formed in 1836, was named after United States Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. The landscape of the county is gently rolling hills. The Courthouse is located on the square in Bentonville, the site of Arkansas’s most significant Civil War battle at Pea Ridge. Mementos of Confederate heroes are located throughout the courthouse. The county, historically a fruit-growing center, has a diversified economy that includes agriculture, especially dairy and poultry. From the corporate headquarters of Wal-Mart, the fastest growing retail chain in America, to Little Debbie bakeries, Cooper Communities’, and Bella Vista retirement community to light manufacturing, business is booming in Benton County. The population of Benton County doubled from 1950 to 1980 and at the last census (1990), had increased another 25%. Benton County’s natural resources are as varied as its economy. Beaver Lake offers fishing and water recreation. Orchards and pastures, museums and art galleries, dogwood tours in the fall, arts and crafts fairs, country music, symphony concerts, and a community theater are all popular with the local people as well as visitors.
Boone County was formed April 9, 1869, the 63rd county formed in Arkansas and one of the first to be created after the Civil War. Harrison, the county seat, has been rated by Rand McNally’s Places Rated Retirement Guide as one of the Top 10 most ideal retirement spots in the country for climate and terrain, housing, affordability, low crime, health-care facilities, and recreational opportunities. The landscape of the county is flat-topped mountains and rugged terrain of the Ozark Mountains. Harrison is the county seat where the stately courthouse building is located. One of the most unusual monuments on any courthouse lawn in the state stands on this courthouse lawn, a large granite memorial to the 140 Arkansawyers who left from near Harrison to settle in California and all of whom, except for seventeen small children, were killed in the Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah in 1857. Once a zinc and lead mining area, Boone County depends more now on cattle and timber as its economic base. Shops featuring Ozark handmade arts and crafts, restaurants, homestyle cured meats, and mountain cooking are dotted along Scenic Highway 7 that stretches through Boone County. Both Bull Shoals and Table Rock lakes are well known for fishing and camping and picturesque Crooked Creek, an Ozark Mountain stream, is noted for its excellent smallmouth bass fishing.
Bradley County was formed December 18, 1840, from parts of Union, Cleveland, Drew and Ashley counties. It was named for William H. Bradley who had been with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans and later settled in Arkansas. The county seat is Warren. All of the county’s records are preserved in the courthouse. The first deed dates from March 29, 1841, and the first court records from April 1841. The County’s structure today is the third county courthouse. Its predecessors were replaced because they were outgrown, not because of as in a number of Arkansas counties, being destroyed by fire. Pine timber is the mainstay of the economy with Potlatch Corp owning 300,000 acres and being the largest taxpayer. The county has nearly as many miles of company roads as county roads. Bradley County, however, is the tomato-raising capital of the state; and the General Assembly declared the South Arkansas vine-ripened pink tomato the official state fruit and vegetable. The famous Felsenthal Refuge features boating, hunting and fishing and is very poplar with the sportsmen.
Calhoun County was formed on December 6, 1850, from parts of Dallas, Ouachita and Bradley counties. It is named for John C. Calhoun, an American statesman and political philosopher. Hampton is the county seat. The county is small, averaging less than 10 people per square mile. The economic base is timber, sand, and gravel. The landscape of the county is made up of rolling hills and is largely forested. Calhoun County shares with Cleveland County the Moro Creek Bottoms Natural Area, one of the few almost completely intact tracts of virgin hardwoods still existing in Arkansas. Calhoun County has the feeling of togetherness with the many ball fields and playgrounds. Most of the citizens take time for ball tournaments held at the Calhoun county park. Varied water recreation is available within easy reach of anywhere in the county, and hunting is also a popular sport. Calhoun County also shares with Cleveland County the Moro Creek Bottoms Natural Area that is one of the few intact tracts of virgin hardwoods still existing in Arkansas.
Carroll County with its flat-topped mountains covered with upland forests of oak and hickory, known as the Ozark Mountain Region, was formed on November 1, 1823, and named for Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Maryland. A fast-growing county, last census, (1990), showed a 15.1% increase in population. Poultry growing and processing has become the number one economic activity with tourism and beef production close behind. Some of the most spectacular scenery in the Ozarks is found here. Forest, meadows, limestone bluffs, and springs are breath taking. Carroll County has dual county seats, Berryville, an old fashion town square, is surrounded by shops, restaurants and museums, and Eureka Springs, called “Little Switzerland." Victorian cottages cling to the hillsides; steep winding streets never cross at right angles. Some of the finest artists live and work in the county. Beaver and Table Rock Lakes offer fishing, boating, swimming and other water sports. Shopping in the area shops is popular for all ages. The Eureka Springs courthouse is located on the winding main street that is lined with hotels and shops.
Chicot County, a rich, flat farmland, was formed October 1823 by the Territorial Legislature from part of Arkansas County. Its name was thought to have come from the French word “chicot” (stumpy) for the many cypress knees along the river. Lake Village is the county seat. Chicot County is the state’s southeastern-most county and is well known for its rich, fertile soil that often reaches 1,200 feet (world average seven inches). Agriculture is strong; cotton, rice and soybeans are the big three with catfish farming and processing gaining, with the capabilities of processing up to 170,000 pounds a day. Lake Chicot offers many recreational opportunities. The lake is 22 miles long and is the largest oxbow lake in the nation. At the end of the lake, the state park offers cabins, a swimming pool, fishing, boating, camping, tours, picnicking, and many other recreational opportunities. On stilts in the lake sets the only tourist information center in the state completely heated and cooled by solar energy. Rich history abounds in the county in such landmarks as New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, founded by a slave before the Civil War. Many plantation homes are also located in the county. The courthouse is located on the banks of the lake with the jury room having a spectacular view of the lake.
Clark County was formed in 1818. Its boundaries changed five times before reaching the present location in 1877. It was named for William Clark, Governor of the Missouri Territory and partner on the Lewis and Clark expedition. The county seat is Arkadelphia. The landscape of the county is hilly terrain in the north, and rolling, pine-covered hills in the south. Agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism comprise the economic base. DeGray Lake, located in the northern part of the county, along with DeGray State Park, attracts visitors from far and near and offer a wide variety of recreational activities. More than half million people visit the park annually. Two Universities, Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State, are located in Arkadelphia that is the county seat. The 19th century courthouse, along with a large area of businesses and dwellings, sustained heavy damage during a March 1, 1997, tornado, however, Clark County reports itself to be progressing steadily in restoration on all fronts.
Clay County was formed on March 24, 1873, from parts of Randolph and Greene counties. It was named for Senator James M. Clayton. After moving the county seat several times, officials finally settled on two county seats, as flooding on the Black and Cache Rivers often made passage impossible from one side of the county to the other. Clay County is unique in that it is surrounded on two sides by Missouri and two sides by Arkansas. It has two courthouses that are almost identical in appearance. The courthouse in Corning is in a residential area whereas the courthouse in Piggott is located in the center of town. The Black River divides the county. For many years, the only way to get from one of its courthouses to the other in the spring term of court, which normally occurred while the river was at flood stage, was to ride the railroad to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, spend the night, and catch the morning train to the other county seat, arriving late the second day. The major economy comes from general farming and raising livestock. Rice is the major crop, followed by cotton, soybeans, corn, hay, and milo. Light industry is scattered around. Two rivers, the Cashe and the Black River offer many recreational sports such as duck hunting and fishing, horseback riding along the trails, hiking and picnicking.
Cleburne County, created February 20, 1883, from parts of Independence, Van Buren, and White counties and named for Patrick R. Cleburne, an Arkansas Major General of the Confederate Army, was the 75th and last county formed in Arkansas. The county seat is Heber Springs. The landscape of the county is rugged: mountainous in the north to rugged, rolling terrain in the south. The Greers Ferry hydroelectric dam, a 40,000 acre reservoir, made way for a recreational boom that has steadily continued since 1963. Thousands of visitors visit this area each year. Fishing, boating, and hunting in the area are big. A visitors’ center, national fish hatchery for rainbow trout, the dam and powerhouse overlook, and a natural trail along with the icy-cold Little Red River filled with trout makes it a popular place. In Heber Springs, a 10-acre city park features seven mineral springs. The beautifully restored courthouse, which sits on the town square, is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Industrial development, cattle and poultry farming, and tourism makes up the economic base of the county. Fishing tournaments, conventions, reunions, and craft shows provide family entertainment for the local citizens as well as many visitors. Saturday nights come alive in Heber Springs with country music.
Cleveland County, a county of rolling hills, was formed April 17, 1873, and was originally called Dorsey County, named for Stephen W. Dorsey, a U.S. Senator from Arkansas, who later fell out of favor with Arkansans. Citizens petitioned for a change of name and in 1885 it was renamed Cleveland County in honor of Grover Cleveland, who had just been elected president of the United States. The county seat is Rison. Timber is the leading industry in the county. The Saline River was used for shipping logs before the railroads came to the county in 1881. The county has extended its economic base to produce tomatoes, broiler chicks and cattle. Rison is at the center of an estimated 15-by-6 mile iron deposit containing as much as 42% magnetite. The Saline River, a scenic river, runs through the county that also provides excellent fishing and floating. The courthouse represents an outstanding courthouse restoration and is listed on the National Register. On the courthouse lawn stands a memorial to veterans of the First and Second World Wars.
Columbia County was formed December 1852, from parts of Lafayette, Hempstead, Union, and Ouachita counties. Columbia was named from the time of the American Revolution and refers to the new American nation, derived from Christopher Columbus. The county seat is Magnolia. The stately old courthouse surrounded by the large magnolia trees is a landmark. Each year Columbia County holds a Magnolia Festival that brings people from far and near to enjoy the activities. Columbia County is rolling hills with good land for farming and forests for timbering and cotton as a cash crop. Cattle and poultry are raised throughout the county along with pine tree harvesting. Industry provides most jobs in the county. Southern Arkansas University is located in the county and Logoly State Park is situated on 345 acres of forested coastal plain with 11 natural springs, a visitor center and amphitheater. Lake Columbia, the newest reservoir, is separated into zones, some for fishing, some for pleasure boating, and some with multiple facilities available for recreation.
Conway County was formed on October 20, 1825, from territory taken from Pulaski County and was named for Henry Wharton Conway, a member of the Arkansas territorial delegation to Congress. Morrilton is the county seat. Conway County landscape is rolling farmlands, forested ridges, isolated mountains and lakes. The county seat is Morrilton. The county lies in the Ozark foothills with world-renowned Petit Jean Mountain as a breathtaking landmark. On top of the mountain is Petit Jean State Park and known as the flagship of the Arkansas state park system. Cedar Falls is located in the park, and is one of the highest waterfalls in the South. The Rockerfeller Museum of Automobiles is a great tourist attraction. Elsewhere, the Arkansas River, Lake Overcup, and Cadron Creek provide floating and excellent fishing, which attracts not only local citizens but tourists as well. Conway County is home of Winrock Farms, the agricultural enterprise founded on Petit Jean Mountain by the late Arkansas Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. Approximately 6,000 acres are used in the production of purebred Santa Gertrudis cattle.
This page was last updated 12/28/10