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Dardanelle, Arkansas
Front St. Downtown Dardanelle. January 2020
Front St. Downtown Dardanelle. January 2020
Motto(s): 
"Where history & hospitality reside"
Location of Dardanelle in Yell County, Arkansas.
Location of Dardanelle in Yell County, Arkansas.
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Yell
Area
 • Total 3.64 sq mi (9.44 km2)
 • Land 3.64 sq mi (9.44 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
331 ft (101 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 4,517
 • Density 1,239.57/sq mi (478.56/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
72834
Area code(s) 479
FIPS code 05-17380
GNIS feature ID 0079131
Website City of Dardanelle Arkansas

Dardanelle is a city in Yell County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 4,745 at the 2010 census. Along with Danville, it serves as a county seat for Yell County. It is located near Lake Dardanelle.

Dardanelle is part of the Russellville Micropolitan Statistical Area.

History

The longest pontoon bridge in the world, spanning Russellville and Dardanelle, Arkansas. - NARA - 516537
The former (1891-1929) pontoon bridge between Dardanelle and Russellville was the longest in the U.S. at over 2,200 feet

Dardanelle is one of the oldest cities in the state of Arkansas. Officially incorporated in 1855, Dardanelle celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2005. However, the area had been settled for years before that, first being established as a river town in the mid-18th century. It is Yell County's dual county seat, sharing that title with Danville.

The Treaty of Council Oaks was signed on June 24, 1823 on what is now Front Street beneath two huge oak trees (102 feet high and 400–500 years old). Under orders of President James Monroe, U.S. Army Colonel David Brearly and Arkansas territorial secretary Robert Crittendon met with Chief Black Fox and several Cherokee leaders to determine boundaries. As a result of the treaty, the Cherokees gave up all of their land in Arkansas south of the Arkansas River. One of the trees was destroyed in the early 1990s in a flood, but the other is still standing. The site is now a city park.

Because of its location on the banks of the Arkansas River, Dardanelle was one of Arkansas's leading towns in the 19th century. Hundreds of barges, steamboats, and other vessels traveled by the town annually. Approximately halfway between the state's two largest cities of Little Rock and Fort Smith, Dardanelle was a transportation and business hub, known as a marketplace for gin, rum and cotton.

Dardanelle has a history of being one of the state's leading immigration centers that continues to this day. Vast numbers of Czech and German families, including the Ballouns, Vodrazkas, Staneks, and Pfeiffers, came to the town in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and their impact can still be felt. As of 2010, Dardanelle has one of the highest percentages of Hispanics in the state, with over 36% of the town's population Hispanic (up from 21% in 2000).

Merritt Park opened in the late 1990s on the west side of town. It is a large, state-of-the-art park featuring outstanding baseball facilities, a playground, soccer fields, basketball courts, and a walking/jogging trail. The adjacent Dardanelle Community Center opened around the same time, and provides multiple services for the community.

In the late 19th century, a pontoon bridge between Dardanelle and Russellville replaced ferry service. Spanning 2,208 feet, it was the longest pontoon bridge ever constructed across a moving body of water. The bridge was completely washed out multiple times during its nearly forty years of existence.

The Dardanelle Lock & Dam, constructed in the 1960s as a part of the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System, led to the formation of Lake Dardanelle. It is a source of hydropower, and helps regulate river traffic on the Arkansas River. For 2013, over 8.9 million dollars were budgeted for its operations.

Geography

Dardanelle is located at 35°13′21″N 93°9′37″W / 35.22250°N 93.16028°W / 35.22250; -93.16028 (35.222539, -93.160408).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2), all land.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 299
1870 926 209.7%
1880 748 −19.2%
1890 1,456 94.7%
1900 1,602 10.0%
1910 1,757 9.7%
1920 1,835 4.4%
1930 1,832 −0.2%
1940 1,807 −1.4%
1950 1,772 −1.9%
1960 2,098 18.4%
1970 3,297 57.1%
1980 3,621 9.8%
1990 3,722 2.8%
2000 4,228 13.6%
2010 4,745 12.2%
2020 4,517 −4.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
2014 Estimate

2020 census

Dardanelle racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 2,368 52.42%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 147 3.25%
Native American 24 0.53%
Asian 20 0.44%
Pacific Islander 2 0.04%
Other/Mixed 179 3.96%
Hispanic or Latino 1,777 39.34%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 4,517 people, 1,609 households, and 1,066 families residing in the city.

Arts and culture

Museums and other points of interest

Dardanelle, AR Post Office WPA Mural (interior)
An oil on canvas mural, Cotton Growing, Manufacture, and Export, painted in 1939 by Ludwig Mactarian is on display in the Dardanelle post office

A number of attractions can be found in Dardanelle or its surrounding area, including:

  • The Yell County Courthouse (on the National Register of Historic Places)
  • Dardanelle Rock

Parks and recreation

Lake Dardanelle
View of Lake Dardanelle, with reactor at Arkansas Nuclear One visible in background
  • Lake Dardanelle
  • Mount Nebo and Mount Nebo State Park
  • Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge
  • Dana Merritt Park
  • Veterans' Memorial Riverfront Park
  • Council Oaks Park and Historic Site

Economy

After falling into decay for a number of years, Front Street, which borders the Arkansas River, is thriving once again. Daly's Downtown (now Front Street Grill), Savanah's Restaurant (now closed), and Millyn's Gift Store anchored this rejuvenation. A devastating fire on August 15, 2015 destroyed three historic buildings (including Millyn's) and badly damaged two others on the Southwest side of Front Street between Locust and Market streets. Three new buildings (including Millyn's) echoing the period architectural style of other commercial buildings along Front Street were constructed to replace them. Beautiful views of the river, historic buildings, shops and a variety of restaurants make Front Street one of the premier places to visit in the Arkansas River Valley. Other main commercial areas in the city include Union, Quay, and 2nd Streets.

Dardanelle is well known for its local restaurants. The Front Street Grill is a popular night spot specializing in Cajun and American fare with live entertainment. A variety of Hispanic/Mexican restaurants, such as Tarasco's Mexican Restaurant on Front St., La Plaza Mexicana and El Parian on Union St., and Casa de Sol on Highway 7 South, showcase the city's vibrant Hispanic culture. Fowler's is a popular home-style restaurant on 2nd St. and Marcellos on Highway 22 serves up Italian dishes. Dardanelle also includes fast food options such as Sonic, Shipley, Pizza Hut, Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell and Subway.

Some of Dardanelle's larger employers include Tyson Foods, Walmart Supercenter, The Dardanelle Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Dardanelle School System, Dardanelle City Government and Chambers Bank, which acquired River Town Bank (formerly the Bank of Dardanelle) in 2019.

Dardanelle is home to the Dardanelle Post-Dispatch. Established in 1853, the newspaper claims to be the oldest weekly newspaper in Arkansas.

Sports

  • The Lion's Den Golf Course

Education

Public library

The Arkansas River Valley Regional Library system is based in Dardanelle, which consists of one central library, located at 501 North Front Street, and six branch libraries in other communities, which provide area residents with access to print books, publications and multimedia content.

Public education

Public elementary and secondary education is provided by Dardanelle School District that leads students to graduate at Dardanelle High School.

Transportation

The Dardanelle and Russellville Railroad, or "D&R" as it is known locally, is one of few remaining short-line railroads in the state. It connects Dardanelle with its larger neighbor on the north bank of the river. Highways 7, 22, 27, and 28 can be found ending or going through Dardanelle. Dardanelle is halfway between the Buffalo River to the north and Hot Springs to the south on Scenic Byway 7.

Notable people

  • Bonnie Brown Ring, a member of the country music group the Browns. Born in Sparkman, Arkansas, she spent most of her adult life in Dardanelle.
  • Jim R. Caldwell, born in Dardanelle in 1936 and reared there through the eleventh grade; first Republican to serve in the Arkansas State Senate in the 20th century, 1969–1978; retired Church of Christ minister in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Johnny Carpenter, American film actor, screenwriter and producer
  • Tom Cotton, Republican junior U.S. Senator from Arkansas
  • John Daly, golfer, lived in Dardanelle as a child; he currently owns a home near Dardanelle and the Lion's Den Golf Course
  • Orval Lee Jaggers, American Christian minister, writer, and scholar, Jaggers was part of the healing revival of the 1940s and 1950s and was a contributor to Voice of Healing magazine
  • James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency

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