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Miller County was created in April 1820, by the Territorial Legislature and abolished in 1838, to be recreated by the state General Assembly from a portion of Lafayette County in December 1874. It was named both times for James Miller, first Governor of Arkansas Territory. Texarkana is the county seat. Although Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas have separate governments under different states, they have always shared many commercial and cultural interests, which includes their Post Office where you can stand with one foot in Arkansas and the other in Texas. The Arkansas portion of the post office is constructed of native limestone and the Texas portion is constructed of granite. The county has a strong industrial community manufacturing area, along with the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana. The landscape of the county is rolling hills, largely forested. The Red River forms the northern and western boundaries and is a favorite place for fishing. Sulphur River Wildlife Management Area, 17,000 acres, provides excellent duck hunting which is a popular sport. The Miller County Courthouse with its stately building holds a great deal of early history of the county. The land on which the courthouse stands was sold to the county for a nominal consideration by the railroad on condition that it be used for a courthouse.
Mississippi County was created November 1, 1833, of territory cut from Crittenden County and was named for the mighty river forming its entire eastern boundary. Osceola was the original county seat, but Blytheville became the seat of justice for the northern section in 1870 that created dual county seats. The landscape of Mississippi County is flat, fertile, Delta farmland. The economy is made up of diversified farming and light manufacturing. Cotton Boll Vocational and Technical School and Mississippi County Community College offer a variety of educational experiences. Mississippi County Community College was the first solar-powered college in the nation. Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the oldest federal refuge in Arkansas and offers good hunting and fishing. Both courthouses are unique. The Blytheville courthouse building features a lot of marble with mahogany woodwork, the Osceola Courthouse building features colorful, baked stone tile, marble and wrought iron staircases. The first floor is windowless and designed to be protected from possible flooding from the Mississippi River. History from early times in the county is stored in both locations.
Monroe County was created on November 2, 1829, by the Territorial Legislature from portions of Arkansas and Phillips counties and named for James Monroe, fifth President of the United States and author of the “Monroe Doctrine.” Clarendon is the County Seat. The landscape is rich, flat, delta farmland. The economy is agriculture, soybeans, cotton, rice and wheat with some small manufacturing. Interstate 40 passes through the county. Lake Greenlee, a rectangular lake enclosed by a four-sided levee, Green and East lakes, backwater lakes, and Maddox Bay offer excellent fishing. The Cache River runs through the county with Dagmar Wildlife Management Area providing hunting for several species. In the southwestern part of the county, the scenic White River runs through the White River National Wildlife Management Area and provides great boating and fishing and is home to virtually every wild bird and animal found in the southern United States. Clarendon, known until 1837 as Mouth-of-the-Cache or White River Crossing, has 22 structures listed in the National Historical Register. The town square has been used several times as a movie set. The Courthouse, which holds lots of early history dating back to 1829, was a sanctuary for hundreds of persons who sough refuge in the upper floors while awaiting rescue by boats. After the flood, church services and community activities were held in the courthouse while community flood damage was repaired. In spite of the flood, the original oak furniture remains in the elegant courtroom that has a dome skylight of richly colored stained glass.
Montgomery County, formed on December 9, 1842, was named for Gen. Richard Montgomery, a hero of the American Revolution. The county was once the hunting grounds of the Caddo Indians. The county seat is Mount Ida. Landscape of the county is long, narrow ridges of folded rock, large fertile valleys, and mountains (Ouachita) covered with oak and pine timber. Montgomery County’s natural resources and its rugged beauty are its livelihood. Sixty-three percent of the county is national forest land with the federal government being a stable employer. Cattle, swine and poultry production, along with mining and tourism makes up the economy. The Ouachita Mountain range of Arkansas is one of only three known areas in the world to have enough high quality quartz crystal to warrant mining. In 1987, more than two million tons of quartz was mined in Montgomery County for uses ranging from decorative items to computer chips. Each year Montgomery County has an annual Quartz Crystal Festival and Crystal Dig. Many Tourists come to dig quartz crystal. The scenic beauty and recreation draw visitors from far and near. Lake Ouachita, Arkansas’ largest covers so many acres the county had to have a lake patrol in addition to its regular sheriff’s and forest patrol. Thousands visit the park areas each year to enjoy the clear water, fishing and many other water sports. The Ouachita River, the Caddo River and the Little Missouri River all flow through the county. The Missouri River drops an average of 35 feet per mile in its 29-mile journey through southern Montgomery County. The Montgomery County Courthouse houses early history of the county. It is made of native stone and is now listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Montgomery County is within easy driving distance of metropolitan areas offering shopping, restaurants and other services.
Nevada County was formed on March 20, 1871, from parts of Columbia, Hempstead and Ouachita counties. Its name comes from the similarity of its shape to the state of Nevada, only the pronunciation is different. The county seat is Prescott. The landscape of Nevada County is rolling hills, largely forested. Nevada County’s timber industry is its main economy source with poultry and outdoor sports contributing their share. Festivals celebrating the timber and poultry industries are held each year. The county has an abundance of wildlife consisting of deer, squirrel, quail, dove, and turkey along with camping, which makes it poplar, not only with the local citizens but with visitors as well. White Oak Lake, and White Oak State Park features excellent fishing, hiking trails, and sites for camping and picnicking. The present courthouse that was built in 1964 has gaslights, manufactured at a plant nearby, and several flower gardens ornament the lawn. A large clock from the old Bank of Prescott stands on a red brick base on the courthouse grounds near a white limestone war memorial. The Nevada County Depot Museum is located in Prescott in the old Missouri-Pacific train depot that is considered to be a classic example of early 20th century railroad architecture.
Newton County was formed in 1842 and named for Thomas W. Newton, an Arkansas congressman. The Choctaw Indians once lived in the hill country. The landscapes of Newton County are the rugged and mountainous Ozark Mountains. Travel writers have selected scenic Highway 7 as one of the top 10 scenic drives in the country. The elevation ranges from 700 feet to 2,561 feet. The Ozark National Forest provides wilderness hiking, backpacking, camping, and hunting. The Buffalo National River, the nation’s first federally protected river, is one of the last free-flowing streams in mid-America and offers clear blue water for fishing and canoeing along the towering limestone bluffs. The county seat is Jasper where the county courthouse is located. The courthouse building is unique. The old county courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1938, and the present building reflects a determination that this kind of disaster would never happen again. Not only is the entire building fireproof, but also every room is a fireproof vault. The outside walls and the cross walls are granite quarried from the bed of the Little Buffalo River and the floors are cement. The cornerstone of the building carries a reminder of the post-depression years: “U.S.A - 1939 - WPA.”
Ouachita County was formed in November 1842, from part of Union County and named for the river running through it. In the Choctaw language, the words “owa” and “chita” mean “big hunt.” From that came Ouachita. It was the river that enticed a French trapper to establish a trading post that would become Camden, the county seat. Once heavy steamboat traffic linked Camden directly to New Orleans and other important cities. The county’s economy is about half-timber and half manufacturing with some tourism. The landscape of the county is rolling hills, largely forested. Outdoor recreation abounds with hunting, fishing and water sports. The Ouachita County Courthouse has the cornerstone from the 1889 courthouse in the base for a planter in front of the entrance to the present building. The cornerstone refers to the original edifice as “this temple of justice.” Also on the lawn is a statue of a woman carrying a flag, erected as a monument to Confederate women, and a Spanish-American War marker.
Perry County was formed in December 1840, from the part of Conway County south of the Arkansas River and was named for Oliver Perry, a hero of the War of 1812. The landscape of Perry County is rolling foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. Close to half of Perry County is in the Ouachita National Forest with timber being the principal economy. Cattle, hog and poultry productions, rice, soybeans and small manufacturing make up the economy. The Heifer Project International Learning and Livestock Center is a privately financed, nonprofit group located on 1,200 acres in the county and has for over 55 years, continuously provided livestock and training to low-income farmers in developing areas who, in turn, can pass on their newly acquired skills and the livestock offspring to other needy families. Many residents of the county commute to surrounding counties for employment. Harris Brake Wildlife Management Area is the smallest in the system and is extremely crowded during duck season. Lake Nimrod, situated between the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains, is well known for its water skiing, hunting, and fishing. The lake is lined with pine and hardwood. Harris Brake Lake is popular with anglers and Fourche LaFave River has large catfish. The eastern boundary of the county follows the Arkansas River for several miles. The county courthouse located at Perryville, the county seat, has great memories of times' past. Individuals contributed much of the cost of the courthouse. The original red bricks, now painted white, were made from Perry County clay. The courthouse is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Phillips County was formed on May 1, 1820, by the Territorial Legislature, and was named for Sylvanus Phillips, the area’s first-known white settler and representative to the first Territorial Legislature. The county seat is Helena. The landscape of Phillips County is rich, flat, Delta farmland. The Mississippi River forms the eastern boundary. Agriculture and agricultural chemicals have formed the basis of Phillips County’s economy along with sporting and recreation on its many lakes and waterways. St. Francis National Forest, the smallest of the national forests, is a semi-tropical haven for countless species of wildlife and vegetation. White River National Wildlife Refuge contains ox-bow lakes deposited by the White River and has some of the finest bass-fishing waters to be found. The refuge is home to some 227 species of non-game birds, 48 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 30 species of mammals. Phillips is an old county with rich heritage. Nearly two dozen sites in the county are on the National Register of Historical Places. Phillips County Courthouse is a stately old building. At the northwest corner of the two-story building is a bronze statue of a World War I doughboy with a fixed bayonet standing in the middle of the intersection of the adjoining redbrick paved streets. The Courthouse stands just inside the levee of the Mississippi River, and a U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey benchmark located at the northwest corner of the building shows that the elevation of the small courtyard in the fertile delta is 189.55 feet above sea level.
Pike County was formed in November 1833 by the Territorial Legislature from portions of Clark and Hempstead counties and was named for Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike’s Peak in Colorado is named. The county seat is Murfreesboro The landscape of the county is rugged terrain in the northern half and rolling hills in the south. The economic base of Pike County is made up of commercial forests and small family farms. At one time Pike County had the largest peach orchard in the United States or perhaps in the world. The Crater of Diamonds, an 886-acre natural park south of Murfreesboro, is the only diamond mine in North America open to the public. If you find a diamond, you keep the diamond. This brings hundreds of tourists to this area each year. More than 60,000 diamonds have been discovered since 1906, the largest and most famous being the “Uncle Sam” (40.33 carats), the “Star of Murfreesboro” (34.35 carats) and the “Star of Arkansas” (15.33 carats). The crater also yields amethyst, opal, jasper, agate, quartz and other minerals. The deed records for the diamond mind are housed in the county courthouse and are the only records of title in North America to a diamond mine. The Caddo River, the Little Missouri River and Lake Greeson offer excellent fishing, canoeing, swimming, picnicking sites, and other water activities. Pike County is an interesting and enjoyable county to visit.
Poinsett County was formed on February 28, 1838, from parts of Greene and St. Francis counties. The county was named for Joel Roberts Poinsett. He was a diplomat, statesman and competent amateur botanist. The county seat is Harrisburg. The landscape of the county is rich, flat, delta farmland in the east and west and rolling hills in the center of the county. Crowley’s Ridge splits the county. East of the ridge is cotton and soybeans and west of the ridge is rice. Along the ridge are beef and dairy cattle. The economic base of the county is agricultural. The St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area features hunting on sunken lands that were created by the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811 and 1812, that sank the land between 15 to 20 feet in places, destroying the St. Francis River’s channel and creating the St. Francis swamps and the Sunken Lands. After the earthquakes the federal government instituted its first “Disaster Relief Fund” by issuing New Madrid Certificates entitling displaced landowners to new acreage in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. Lake Poinsett, Lake Poinsett State Park, Lake Hogue, and Bayou Deview Wildlife Management area all offer fishing, hunting and other water activities. A unique feature of Poinsett County is the sight of one river running under another. The Riverdale Tunnel carries the Buffalo Ditch under the water of the left hand chute, a branch of the river. Many visitors enjoy the waters and wildlife of this area. The courthouse building is constructed mainly of Bedford stone, although the large columns on the east and west entrances, as well as the other columns and accents, are sandstone. The courtyard is enclosed by evergreen privet shrub. The tower clock has four faces and the tower-arches and brass trim accents the red tile roof. The date of construction in Roman numerals is inscribed over both entries: MCMXVIII.
Polk County was formed in 1844, from part of Sevier County and was named for James K. Polk who was the newly elected President of the United States. The county seat is Mena. Long, narrow ridges of folded rock, large fertile valleys and mountains covered with oak and pine trees make up the landscape of the county. Nearly half of Polk County lies in the Ouachita National Forest. The economic base is made up of lumber and wood products, tree farming, cattle and poultry. Some light manufacturing and service industries contribute to the economy. Rich Mountain, the county’s most prominent landmark, has a peak of 2,861 feet. It contains, in a single square mile, more species of wild plants, flowers, and weeds in their natural state than can be found anywhere else in the world on a similar tract of land. Situated on top of Rich Mountain is Queen Wilhelmina State Park with a lodge and restaurant, campsites and other attractions. A 300-acre lake at the foot of the mountain features excellent bank fishing. Many creeks and rivers are scattered through the county. The Ouachita, is a beautiful river, however only experienced canoeists need float. The four-story, stately courthouse building with a large seal of the State of Arkansas over the entrance, stands near the foot of Rich Mountain, one of the tallest mountains in the state.
The history of Pope County began 186 years ago with
the June 1813 establishment of an Indian agency. Major William L. Lovely
was appointed as an agent to the Cherokee Indians and established the
agency. This area was near the center of the Cherokee settlements in
Prairie County was formed on November 25,1846, and was named for its most obvious physical characteristics. The county lies on a spread of level land between the lower White and Arkansas rivers that is known at the Grand Prairie as early at 1819. The landscape is rich, flat, delta farmland, with rolling hills in the extreme northwest corner. The county has dual seats, Des Arc and DeValls Bluff. The economic base of the county is agriculture, cotton and rice, soybeans, wheat, and catfish, along with agriculture-related commerce and some industry. The scenic White River makes its way through the county, past both County Seats, on its way to the Mississippi River. Near the center of the county the Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area, 17,433 acres, spreads westward from the White River. Fishing, hunting and camping is poplar in this area. In the north of the county are Cypress and Des Arc Bayous, Lake Des Arc, Spring and Horn Lakes and part of the Cache River and to the south, LA Grue Bayou and Peckerwood Lake which covers 4,000 acres. All of these waterways offer good fishing and a wide variety of water recreation. The stately courthouse at Des Arc is a 1913 Georgian architecture and the Courthouse at DeValls Bluff is a 1939 Quasi-Georgian architecture. Both house early history of Prairie County.
Pulaski County was created on December 15, 1818, and was one of five counties organized when Arkansas was part of the Missouri Territory. It was named for Count Casimir Pulaski, a Polish soldier credited with saving George Washington’s life during the Revolutionary War. The landscape of the county is rugged terrain western and northern and rolling hills in the southern tip with the Arkansas River Valley delta in the east. Pulaski County is the most populous county in the state. Little Rock is the county seat and the State Capitol. The economic base is largely government and support services. Metropolitan Pulaski County offers many educational and cultural opportunities such as the Arkansas Arts Center, the Museum of Science and History, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Little Rock Zoo, which is now entering into a complete renovation program. Pinnacle Mountain State Park, a 1,800-acre environmental park is only 15 miles from Little Rock and offers picnicking, hiking, and canoeing on the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers. The State Capitol, built of Arkansas granite, is a scaled-down replica of the Nation’s Capitol. The Old State House, Arkansas’ Capitol from 1836 to 1911, except briefly during the Civil War, now houses a museum of Arkansas history. The new reconstruction of the county courthouse has recently been completed and is beautiful. In the large central hall of the 1912 courthouse, twelve imposing statues representing art, justice, agriculture and machinery stand on pedestals supported by sixteen marble columns that ring a two-story rotunda capped with a magnificent stained-glass dome. A large metal bust of Count Pulaski is centered beneath the rotunda on the inlaid marble floor of alternating white and gray radial bands. Every door has large brass fixtures with the seal of the Arkansas Territory engraved on the push plates and “PC” engraved on the doorknobs. This stately 1912 courthouse is visited by hundreds of local people and tourists each year.
This page was last updated 01/06/11