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Conway, Arkansas
City of Conway
Part of Conway's Downtown
University of Central Arkansas
Hendrix College
Hendrix Village
Donaghey Hall
College of Business
Southwestern Energy Offices
Clockwise from top: Toad Suck Square, Hendrix College, Donaghey Hall, SWN Offices, College of Business, Hendrix Village, University of Central Arkansas
Flag of Conway, Arkansas
Official seal of Conway, Arkansas
City of Colleges
Location of Conway in Faulkner County.
Location of Conway in Faulkner County.
Conway, Arkansas is located in Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas
Location in Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas is located in the United States
Conway, Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
County Faulkner
MSA Central Arkansas
CSA Little Rock-North Little Rock
Founded 1872
Incorporated October 16, 1875
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • City 46.51 sq mi (120.47 km2)
 • Land 46.26 sq mi (119.81 km2)
 • Water 0.25 sq mi (0.65 km2)  0.54%
312 ft (95 m)
 • City 64,134
 • Rank 7th in Arkansas
 • Density 1,386.38/sq mi (535.28/km2)
 • Metro
734,622 (US: 76th)
 • CSA
905,847 (US: 60th)
Demonym(s) Conwegian
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code 501
FIPS code 05-15190
GNIS feature ID 0076661
Major airport Clinton National Airport (LIT)
Website City of Conway

Conway is a city in the U.S. state of Arkansas and the county seat of Faulkner County, located in the state's most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area, Central Arkansas. Although considered a suburb of Little Rock, Conway is unusual in that the majority of its residents do not commute out of the city to work. The city also serves as a regional shopping, educational, work, healthcare, sports, and cultural hub for Faulkner County and surrounding areas. Conway's growth can be attributed to its jobs in technology and higher education; among its largest employers being Acxiom, the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, Insight Enterprises, and many technology start up companies. Conway is home to three post-secondary educational institutions, earning it the nickname "The City of Colleges".

As of the 2010 census, the city proper had a total population of 58,908, making Conway the eighth-largest city in Arkansas. Central Arkansas, the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area, is ranked 75th largest in the United States with 734,622 people in 2016. Conway is part of the larger Little Rock–North Little Rock, AR Combined Statistical Area, which in 2016 had a population of 905,847, and ranked the country's 60th largest CSA.


The city of Conway was founded by Asa P. Robinson, who came to the area shortly after the Civil War. Robinson was the chief engineer for the Little Rock-Fort Smith Railroad (now the Union Pacific). Part of his compensation was the deed to a tract of land, one square mile, located near the old settlement of Cadron. When the railroad came through, Robinson deeded a small tract of his land back to the railroad for a depot site. He laid off a town site around the depot and named it "Conway Station", in honor of a famous Arkansas family. Conway Station contained two small stores, two saloons, a depot, some temporary housing and a post office. Despite being founded as a railroad town, there currently exists no passenger service. The disappearance of passenger rail service in the region is attributed to the emphasis placed on the automobile.

In 1878, Father Joseph Strub, a priest in the Roman Catholic Holy Ghost Fathers, arrived in Arkansas. A native of Alsace-Lorraine, Strub was expelled from Prussia during the Kulturkampf in 1872. He moved to the United States, settling in Pittsburgh, where he founded Duquesne University in October 1878. Difficulties with Bishop John Tuigg led Strub to leave Pittsburgh in late October 1878 to travel to Conway. In 1879, Strub convinced the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad to deed 200,000 acres (810 km2) along the northern side of the Arkansas River to the Holy Ghost Fathers in order to found the St. Joseph Colony. This included land on which Father Strub founded and built St. Joseph Catholic Church of Conway. As part of the land deal, the railroad offered land at 20 cents per acre to every German immigrant. In order to attract Roman Catholic Germans to Conway and the surrounding areas, Father Strub wrote The Guiding Star for the St. Joseph Colony. In addition to extolling the qualities of Conway and the surrounding area, Father Strub provided information on how best to travel from Europe to Conway. By 1889, over 100 German families had settled in Conway, giving the town many of its distinctively German street and business names.

Conway was long the home of the late Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice James D. Johnson (1924– 2010), who ran unsuccessful races for governor in 1956 against then fellow Democrat Orval Eugene Faubus and in 1966 against the Republican Winthrop Rockefeller. Johnson, a leading segregation activist during the confrontation over forced integration at Little Rock Central High School, went on to switch affiliation to the Republican Party in the 1980s, after the death of his nemesis Rockefeller. Johnson also lost an important race in 1968 for the United States Senate against the incumbent James William Fulbright. His wife, the late Virginia Johnson (1928– 2007), ran for governor in 1968, while he was running for U.S. Senate.


Conway is located in southwestern Faulkner County at 35°05′14″N 92°27′12″W / 35.087336°N 92.453315°W / 35.087336; -92.453315. Interstate 40 passes through the north and east sides of the city, with access from Exits 124 through 129. Via I-40, Little Rock is 30 miles (48 km) to the south, and Russellville is 47 miles (76 km) to the west.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Conway has a total area of 45.6 square miles (118.1 km2), of which 45.3 square miles (117.4 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km2), or 0.54%, is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Conway has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Weather chart for Conway
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: The Weather Channel


Conway has two designated historic districts: the Asa P. Robinson Historic District and the Hendrix Addition Historic District.

Since 2000, downtown Conway has seen tens of millions of dollars in public and private investment. The revitalization has brought new retail, office, restaurant and residential construction to the historic downtown.

EM Downtown shot
Downtown Conway at the intersection of Oak and Chestnut


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,028
1890 1,207 17.4%
1900 2,003 65.9%
1910 2,794 39.5%
1920 4,564 63.4%
1930 5,534 21.3%
1940 5,782 4.5%
1950 8,610 48.9%
1960 9,791 13.7%
1970 15,510 58.4%
1980 20,375 31.4%
1990 26,481 30.0%
2000 43,167 63.0%
2010 58,908 36.5%
2020 64,134 8.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate
Racial composition 2010 2000 1990 1980 1970
Non-Hispanic White 77.4% 84.1% 90.5% 90.9% 92.0%
Black or African American 15.6% 12.0% 8.5% 8.3% 8.0%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
0.05% 0.03% 0.02%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.44% 0.36% 0.34%
Hispanic or Latino 5.09% 2.26% 0.43% 0.5%
Asian 1.9% 1.24% 0.46%
Other race or multiracial 4.6% 2.2% 0.12% 0.17%

2020 census

Conway racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 42,317 65.98%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 11,718 18.27%
Native American 222 0.35%
Asian 1,207 1.88%
Pacific Islander 35 0.05%
Other/Mixed 4,341 6.77%
Hispanic or Latino 4,294 6.7%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 64,134 people, 26,319 households, and 14,609 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 58,908 people, 23,205 households, and 13,969 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,299.2 people per square mile (501.6/km2). There were 24,402 housing units at an average density of 538.2 per square mile (207.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.4% White, 15.6% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. 5.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 23,205 households, out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.7% under the age of 18, 22.9% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27.3 years. There were 51.7% females and 48.3% males. For ages under 18, there were 49.2% females and 50.8% males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,640, and the median income for a family was $63,860. The per capita income for the city was $42,582. About 9.3% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.0% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.

47.6% of Conway's population describes themselves as religious, slightly below the national average of 48.8%. 44.5% of people in Conway who describe themselves as having a religion are Baptist (21.7% of the city's total population). 9.2% of people holding a religion are Catholic (4.5% of the city's total population). The proportions of Methodists and Pentecostals are higher than the national average.

Cultural activities

Conway AR - downtown
Part of Conway's historic downtown

The Conway Symphony Orchestra performs many times throughout the year, and the Conway Community Arts Association has been presenting theatre and other art opportunities to the community for over 40 years. The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, based in Conway, is the state's only professional Shakespeare theater. It holds an annual summer festival in June.

There are also art, music and theater opportunities provided by Conway's three colleges. The University of Central Arkansas's Public Appearances program provides dance, music, and theater offerings each year.

The national award-winning community theatre, The Lantern Theatre, is located downtown and offers a wide variety of plays and musicals year round.

Conway Public Schools has theater and music programs, with large concert and marching bands that consistently receive high marks in regional competitions.

One of the city's largest annual events, Toad Suck Daze, has been held since 1982. The three-day community festival incorporates live music, food and craft vendors, and amusement rides during the first weekend of May. Proceeds from the festival fund college scholarships for local students.

Conway is a popular sport-fishing destination and is home to largest man-made Game and Fish commission lake in the United States. Lake Conway, home to largemouth bass, crappie, gar, catfish, bream, bowfin, etc. The Arkansas Crappie Masters state tournament is held here every year.

The city held its first ever EcoFest September 12, 2009, in Laurel Park. EcoFest included exhibits and events relating to "green" and sustainable initiatives, including a cardboard car derby and an alleycat bicycle ride. According to organizers led by Debbie Plopper, the event was a success. Mayor Tab Townsell said the event indicated to him that "interest in sustainability is flourishing in this community."

National recognition

Conway and the surrounding MSA has been recognized nationally for its quality of life and growing economy.

  • Named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists (2011)
  • 7th Best Value for a City for 2011 – Kiplinger (2011)
  • 14th Best City for Young Professionals – Forbes (2011)
  • 6th "Geekiest" City in America – (2011)
  • 14th Cheapest City in the U.S. – Forbes (2011)
  • 25 Best Places to Retire – CNNMoney (2011)
  • 100 Leading Locations: Desirable Places for Doing Business – Area Development Online (2011)
  • 40 Strongest Metro Economies – Bloomberg BusinessWeek (2012)
  • 10 Cheapest Cities in the Country – Yahoo! Homes (2012)
  • Best Places for Business and Careers, Metro Areas – Forbes (2012)
  • 13 Highest Percentage of Job Growth in the United States, county – CNNMoney (2012)
  • 25 Best Places to Retire – CNNMoney (2012)

Sister cities

Conway has one official sister city agreement with the city of Quakenbrueck, Germany. In 1986, the first exchange of visitors occurred between the cities. Starting in 1992, Dr. Oudekerk, a professor from Hendrix College, has taken several groups to the sister city in Germany. Since then, the high schools of each city have exchanged students to experience the different cultures. The 25 year anniversary of the relationship was recently celebrated with a festival in Quakenbrueck with the theme of building bridges across the Atlantic.


Conway was home to one of the world's largest school bus manufacturers, IC Corporation. The Conway plant was one of only two IC manufacturing plants; the other is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. IC Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Navistar International Corporation of Lisle, Illinois. IC was previously known as American Transportation (AmTran) Corporation and Ward Body Works. The company was founded in 1933. IC Corporation closed its plant and moved all bus manufacturing operations to their Tulsa plant in 2010, largely due to incentives offered by the city of Tulsa.

R. D. "Bob" Nabholz founded Nabholz Construction in Conway in 1949. It currently employs over 800 people and has been listed by Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine as one of the Top 400 General Contractors every year since 1986. Currently the company is ranked #161.

Conway Corporation handles the local utilities (cable TV, Internet, and telephone services, in addition to electricity and water) for the city of Conway.

Acxiom Corporation, an interactive marketing services company, was founded in 1969 in Conway.

On June 19, 2008, Hewlett-Packard announced it would be opening a 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) facility with 1,200 employees in 2009. The building, built by Nabholz Construction and located in the Meadows Office and Technology Park, has since been abandoned by HP and is now leased to Gainwell Technologies.

Top employers

Updated March 2016

Rank Employer Employees
1 Acxiom 1,500
2 University of Central Arkansas 1,500
3 Conway Regional Health System 1,330
4 Conway Human Development Center 1,200
5 Conway Public School District 1,100
6 DXC Technology 900
7 Wal-Mart 825
8 Kimberly-Clark Corporation 700
9 Southwestern Energy Company Natural Gas 600
10 Virco Manufacturing 600
11 Snap-on 570
12 Nabholz Companies 500
13 City of Conway 415
14 Kroger 400
15 Home BancShares 385
16 Hendrix College 350


College and Universities

UCA along Bruce Street

Conway is home to three institutions of higher learning, earning it the nickname City of Colleges. The University of Central Arkansas is a public research university with an enrollment of approximately 12,000 students. It is well known for its Norbert O. Schedler Honors College, being one of the first and most-modeled-after honor colleges in the United States. Hendrix College is a nationally recognized private liberal arts college with an enrollment just over 1,300 students. With an average composite ACT score of 29, it is the highest of any college in the state. Central Baptist College is a four-year private liberal arts college with an enrollment of nearly 900 students. These colleges together contribute to over 40 percent of Conway's adult workforce having a bachelor's degree or higher, making it one of the most-educated cities in the state.

Primary and secondary education

Conway High School

The Conway Public School District serves the city. It is overseen by the Conway Board of Education, made up of seven citizens that are elected every third Tuesday in September annually in a citywide vote. Operating with a $88 million budget, the district enrolls approximately 10,000 students, making it the eighth largest in the state. The district consists of 16 schools: 1 pre-school, 9 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 1 junior high school, and 1 high school. Over 65 percent of teachers in Conway Public Schools hold a master's degree or higher, and 67 are National Board Certified.

Conway is also served by two private religious schools, Conway Christian School and St. Joseph Catholic School. Conway Christian has an approximate enrollment of 400 students, while St. Joseph School enrolls about 500 students. Conway previously had a Catholic grade school for black children, Good Shepherd School; it closed in 1965.

Notable people

  • Kris Allen, winner of American Idol Season 8
  • Monte Coleman, NFL linebacker; Washington Redskins 1979–94, 3-time Super Bowl champion, attended the University of Central Arkansas 1975-1978
  • Tyree Davis, professional football player
  • Willie Davis, NFL wide receiver; Kansas City Chiefs 1991–95, Houston Oilers 1996, Tennessee Oilers 1997–98, attended the University of Central Arkansas 1987-90; older brother of Tyree Davis
  • Marvin Delph, Arkansas Razorback basketball player; one of the famed "Triplets" who led Hogs to 1978 NCAA Final Four
  • George Washington Donaghey, former Arkansas Governor from 1909 to 1913
  • Hetty Jane Dunaway, actress and founder of Dunaway Gardens, born in Conway
  • Les Eaves, state representative for White County since 2015; born in Conway
  • Erin Enderlin, country music artist and songwriter
  • Orval Faubus, 36th Governor of Arkansas, resided in his later years in Conway
  • Jacob Ford, NFL defensive end; Tennessee Titans 2007–10, attended the University of Central Arkansas 2003-06
  • Max Frauenthal, Civil War hero, leading Conway merchant, and founding father of Heber Springs
  • Reggie Gavin, also known as drag queen Symone, winner of the thirteenth season of RuPaul's Drag Race.
  • Gil Gerard, actor known for title role in the TV series Buck Rogers
  • Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in America
  • Dutch Harrison, golfer
  • Gene Hatfield, artist and writer
  • Peyton Hillis, NFL football running back; Arkansas Razorbacks 2004–07, Denver Broncos 2008–10, Cleveland Browns 2010–2011, Kansas City Chiefs 2012, New York Giants 2013–14
  • V. E. Howard, Church of Christ minister who founded the radio International Gospel Hour; was a clergyman early in his career in Conway
  • James D. Johnson (d. 2010), late Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court and 1966 Democratic gubernatorial nominee
  • Guy H. Jones, Arkansas state senator
  • Bryce Molder, PGA Tour professional golfer
  • Hiroyuki Nishimura, founded the Japanese website 2channel while studying at the University of Central Arkansas
  • Scottie Pippen, NBA basketball forward, Chicago Bulls 1987-98 and 2003–2004, Houston Rockets 1998–99, Portland Trail Blazers 1999–2003, six-time NBA champion, considered one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time; attended the University of Central Arkansas
  • Elijah Pitts, NFL football running back; Green Bay Packers 1960s, rushed for two TDs in Super Bowl I
  • Stanley Russ, state senator
  • Charlie Strong, NCAA Head football coach of The University of South Florida Bulls; (1980–1983) letterman as a defensive back at the University of Central Arkansas
  • Little Johnny Taylor, blues and soul singer
  • Ray Thornton, former U.S. congressman and former justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court
  • Symone (drag queen), winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13

Images for kids

See also

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