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Gurdon, Arkansas
Train depot in Gurdon, June 2008
Train depot in Gurdon, June 2008
Location of Gurdon in Clark County, Arkansas.
Location of Gurdon in Clark County, Arkansas.
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Clark
 • Total 2.49 sq mi (6.46 km2)
 • Land 2.42 sq mi (6.28 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
203 ft (62 m)
 • Total 1,840
 • Density 758.76/sq mi (292.93/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-29200
GNIS feature ID 0049742

Gurdon is a city in Clark County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,212 at the 2010 census.

Gurdon hoohoo trainside plaque
Hoo Hoo Cats on a monument dedicated to the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo in Gurdon; listed on National Register of Historic Places, April 2009


Gurdon hoohoo trainside plaque
Hoo Hoo Cats on a monument dedicated to the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo in Gurdon; listed on National Register of Historic Places

The town was founded in the late nineteenth century as a railroad town for the timber industry on the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway (now the Union Pacific Railroad). Originally settled in 1873, the city was incorporated in 1880. The town's name derives from railroad executive Henry Gurdon Marquand's middle name.

Gurdon is the birthplace of the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, in 1892.


Gurdon is located in southern Clark County at 33°54′55″N 93°9′19″W / 33.91528°N 93.15528°W / 33.91528; -93.15528 (33.9152871, -93.155354). U.S. Route 67 passes through the city, leading northeast 15 miles (24 km) to Arkadelphia, the county seat, and southwest 16 miles (26 km) to Prescott.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.6 km2), of which 2.5 square miles (6.4 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 2.88%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 802
1900 1,045 30.3%
1910 1,284 22.9%
1920 1,469 14.4%
1930 2,172 47.9%
1940 2,045 −5.8%
1950 2,390 16.9%
1960 2,166 −9.4%
1970 2,075 −4.2%
1980 2,707 30.5%
1990 2,199 −18.8%
2000 2,276 3.5%
2010 2,212 −2.8%
2020 1,840 −16.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Gurdon racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 763 41.47%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 711 38.64%
Native American 8 0.43%
Asian 1 0.05%
Other/Mixed 77 4.18%
Hispanic or Latino 280 15.22%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,840 people, 1,016 households, and 695 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,212 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 50.1% White, 37.9% Black, 0.1% Native American, 0.1% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 10.4% from some other race and 1.4% from two or more races. 14.3% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Gurdon Light

The town is known for the presence of the "Gurdon Light", a series of unexplained phenomena which occur in a wooded area by railroad tracks, which appears to viewers as a light or lights hovering in mid-air. Local folk legend explains the light appearances as a deceased railwayman's lantern. Scientific work on the origin of the lights has proven inconclusive. The light has been featured on local media and on the TV show Unsolved Mysteries.


Public education

Elementary and secondary education is provided by the Gurdon School District, which leads students to graduate from Gurdon High School. The school's mascot is the Go-Devil with purple and gold as the school colors.

Public libraries

Gurdon is supported by the Cabe Public Library, which is a branch library of the Clark County Library System.

Notable people

Gurdon 5M8
Lowe Field, April 2011
  • Jimmy Witherspoon, a blues artist, was born in 1923 in Gurdon and grew up there. His performances were recorded on more than 200 albums, and he established himself as a jazz-influenced bluesman.
  • Daniel Davis, actor, grew up in Gurdon. He is best known for playing the role of Niles the butler in the CBS sitcom The Nanny. Davis' natural accent is Southern American. Speaking with an English accent in his role as Niles, he was believed to be English by many viewers.
  • Tav Falco, a musical performer, performance artist, actor, filmmaker and photographer, was raised in Gurdon.
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