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Booneville, Arkansas
Logan County Courthouse, Southern District in downtown Booneville
Logan County Courthouse, Southern District in downtown Booneville
Location of Booneville in Logan County, Arkansas.
Location of Booneville in Logan County, Arkansas.
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Logan
Established 1828
Incorporated 1878, 1899
 • Total 3.96 sq mi (10.26 km2)
 • Land 3.94 sq mi (10.21 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
502 ft (153 m)
 • Total 3,809
 • Density 965.77/sq mi (372.92/km2)
Time zone UTC−06:00 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−05:00 (CDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 479
FIPS code 05-07720
GNIS feature ID 0062143

Booneville is a city in Logan County, Arkansas, United States and the county seat of its southern district. Located in the Arkansas River Valley between the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains, the city is one of the oldest in western Arkansas. The city's economy was first based upon the railroad and Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium. It has developed a diverse economy of small businesses and light industry. Booneville's population was 3,990 at the 2010 census.

Booneville supports a community center, a senior-citizens center, a community hospital, a municipal airport, and new school facilities. Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and other outdoors activities are readily available in nearby national forests and state parks.


Main Street in Booneville
View of Booneville's intersection of Main Street and Broadway during the turn of the 20th century.


The city was founded in 1828 when Walter Cauthron, an early explorer of the Arkansas Territory, built a log cabin and store along the Petit Jean River. Intending to name the community "Bonneville" for friend Benjamin Bonneville, the name was later changed. Another theory is that the name was to honor Daniel Boone, a friend of the Logan family for which the county is named.

State Tuberculosis Sanatorium

State Tuberculosis Sanatorium
Sanatorium administration on the left and Nyberg Building on the right

The Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium was established in 1909 about three miles (5 km) south of Booneville. Once fully established, the sanatorium was the relocation center for all white Arkansans with tuberculosis. By the time the facility was closed in 1973, it had treated over 70,000 patients. The main hospital, named the Nyberg Building after Leo E. Nyberg, a former sanatorium patient and state legislator who sponsored the bill funding the construction, was completed in 1941. The facility became known worldwide as one of the most successful and modern hospitals for the treatment of tuberculosis of its day.

The sanatorium complex was self-sustaining, with dormitories, staff entertainment buildings, a chapel, laundry, dairy, water treatment plant, independent telephone system, and even a fire department. At the height of its use, the complex employed nearly 300 staff members. At one point, the total population of the center was greater than that of Booneville, in the valley below.

With the introduction of more effective drug therapy, the patient population began to decline. Eventually the sanatorium was closed in 1973. The campus is currently used as the Booneville Human Development Center, a state-run residential program for adults with mild and moderate intellectual disability and other developmental disabilities.

2008 Explosion of Meat Packing Plant

On March 23, 2008, Easter Sunday, a series of explosions destroyed the Cargill Meat Solutions plant, which employed approximately 800 people, making it by far the town's largest employer. Cargill exploded when 88,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia and 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide were ignited by sparks from a welder, causing the evacuation of at least 1,000 of Booneville’s roughly 4,000 residents, and leaving nearly 800 people without a job. Because of this tragic event, the town’s population drastically dropped in size and went into what many people began calling the “small-town recession.” On May 2, 2008 Cargill announced that the plant would not be rebuilt.


Booneville is located at 35°8′23″N 93°55′17″W / 35.13972°N 93.92139°W / 35.13972; -93.92139 (35.139650, -93.921272). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.1 square miles (11 km2), all of it land.

Booneville is near Blue Mountain Lake, a lake popular for fishing, boating and swimming. Five United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recreation areas are available for public lake access. At the east end of the lake, the Blue Mountain Wildlife Demonstration Area is a world-class bird dog field area. This area also hosts visitors interested in hiking, birding and mountain bike riding.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 275
1890 496 80.4%
1900 988 99.2%
1910 1,631 65.1%
1920 2,199 34.8%
1930 2,099 −4.5%
1940 2,324 10.7%
1950 2,433 4.7%
1960 2,690 10.6%
1970 3,239 20.4%
1980 3,718 14.8%
1990 3,804 2.3%
2000 4,117 8.2%
2010 3,990 −3.1%
2020 3,809 −4.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
2014 Estimate

2020 census

Booneville racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 3,346 87.84%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 22 0.58%
Native American 61 1.6%
Asian 24 0.63%
Pacific Islander 1 0.03%
Other/Mixed 218 5.72%
Hispanic or Latino 137 3.6%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 3,809 people, 1,439 households, and 855 families residing in the city.

Notable people

  • Dizzy and Daffy Dean, Major League Baseball (MLB) players and brothers, were born in the small community of Lucas, 14 miles (23 km) west of Booneville.
  • Kimberly Foster, television and movie actor, is best known for her role as Michelle Stevens in the later seasons of the primetime soap opera Dallas.
  • Elizabeth Ward Gracen was Miss America 1982 and an actress on Highlander: The Series.
  • Tom Greenway was a character actor in numerous TV series of 1950s and '60s such as Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Dragnet, and Perry Mason.
  • John P. McConnell was chief of staff of the United States Air Force from February 1, 1965, to July 31, 1969.
  • Floyd Speer, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, played MLB from April 25, 1943, to May 3, 1944. He is buried in the Carolan Community Cemetery.
  • Aaron Lee Ward, former Baseball player and member of the New York Yankees first World Series championship team 1923
  • Paul X. Williams, a federal judge for the Western District of Arkansas, was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • Alex Taylor, a YouTube creator, automotive-performance and drag-racing enthusiast


Parish 1st Grade Class 1954
First grade class standing in front of Booneville Elementary School, former Booneville Co-Educational Institute, 1954

From its early days, Booneville has supported education. In 1874, as a response to needs for higher learning in western Arkansas, the Fort Smith District of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, authorized the establishment of the Fort Smith District High School in Booneville, 40 miles to the west. Local church members donated the land, building materials, and labor. The school, located on South College Street, was to be supported by student tuition fees. Students came from towns all over western Arkansas to board with Booneville families and attend a school that offered an advanced curriculum, including Latin, German, advanced mathematics, literature, and music. The school functioned until the early 1900s.

After the school closed, a group of residents and business leaders formed the Booneville Education Association and acquired 9 acres (36,000 m2) of land in the northwest part of town. The new school was called the Booneville Co-Educational Institute and also offered a more advanced curriculum than the public school around. Graduates were admitted as sophomores at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

In 1920, state funds were made available for the support of public high schools and the school's property was transferred to the Booneville School District. The building continued to be used as the city's high school until a new building was built in 1929. The old Co-Educational Institute building was used as the Booneville elementary school for several decades after that.



Booneville Commercial Historic District, 1 of 3
Highway 23 in downtown Booneville

The city is located at the intersection of Highway 23 (commonly known as the "Pig Trail") and Highway 10. Both routes are designated as Arkansas Scenic Byways near Booneville. Highway 217 also runs north and south from the city.

Rights-of-way for downtown city streets dedicated during the original town plat are wider than in most communities.


The city of Booneville owns the Booneville Water Department, which treats and distributes potable water from Lake Booneville to the residents and commercial users of the city in accordance with Arkansas Department of Health regulations.

The Booneville Water Department also collects and treats wastewater in accordance with a Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued and administrated by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Treated effluent is discharged to Booneville Creek, ultimately draining to the Arkansas River.

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See also

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