Visitors Guide to
Craighead County, Arkansas


"People, Pride, Progress"

Craighead County and Jonesboro were created in 1859 when land was taken from nearby Greene, Mississippi, and Poinsett counties and was used to form Craighead County. Jonesboro was the original county seat (later Lake City was named as the second seat) and the population of the community at the time was 150. Jonesboro was named after State Senator William A. Jones in recognition of his support in the legislature for the formation of Craighead County. Originally spelled Jonesborough, it was later shortened to its present day spelling.

For a period there was no official courthouse. Finally the highest point in Jonesboro was selected as the location of the town square. The designation of this site for the courthouse was not without controversy as it meant the loss of an excellent area for duck, turkey, deer, and bear hunting. The development went ahead and a two-story frame courthouse was built c. 1862. This courthouse and two subsequent courthouses were all destroyed by fire by 1885. The current Craighead County Courthouse was dedicated on in 1935 and is the only notable example of Art Deco construction in Jonesboro.

The first railroad reached Jonesboro in 1881, when the Cotton Belt Railroad laid its tracks just north of town. During the first train's trip it became stuck and the supplies it was carrying had to be carried into town. Other major railways began to construct tracks to and from Jonesboro including St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, Burlington Northern Railroad, and Missouri Pacific Railroad. Some of the rail companies still own and use the tracks that run through Jonesboro today.

Jonesboro has been called the "City of Churches." It has more than 75 churches representing most major denominations. First Baptist Church and First Methodist Church are two of the oldest, coming to the city between 1911 and 1916. Jonesboro is the also the site of the Jonesboro Church War, a clash between the followers of evangelist Joe Jeffers and those of Dow H. Heard, the pastor of the First Baptist Church. On September 10, 1931, Governor Harvey Parnell authorized the Arkansas National Guard to be deployed in Jonesboro to quell the incident that had received front page coverage in The New York Times.

In 1909, the State Agriculture School was established at Jonesboro. The institution has become Arkansas State University, the second largest institution of higher learning in the state. The arts and drama departments and the historical museum on campus provide a cultural background for the city.

Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce
The official website of the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce.

Jonesboro Parks and Recreation
The official website of the Jonesboro Parks and Recreation department.

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