Harrison, Arkansas facts for kids

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Harrison, Arkansas
City
Historic downtown Harrison
Historic downtown Harrison
Motto: "Adventure Awaits You"
Location in Boone County and the state of Arkansas
Location in Boone County and the state of Arkansas
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Boone
Platted 1869
Area
 • Total 11.1 sq mi (28.8 km2)
 • Land 11.1 sq mi (28.7 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 1,050 ft (320 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 12,943
 • Density 1,168/sq mi (451.0/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 72601-72602
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-30460
GNIS feature ID 0077134
Website cityofharrison.com

Harrison is a city in Boone County, Arkansas, United States. It is the county seat. It named after General Marcus LaRue Harrison, a surveyor that laid out the city along Crooked Creek at Stifler Springs. According to 2012 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 13,163, up from 12,943 at the 2010 census.

Harrison is the principal city of the Harrison Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Boone and Newton counties.

History

Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the area, the first probably being cliff dwellers who lived in caves in the bluffs along the rivers. In later times, the Osage, a branch of the Sioux, was the main tribe in the Ozarks, and one of their larger villages is thought to have been to the east of the present site of Harrison. The Shawnee, Quapaw, and Caddo people were also familiar to the area.

The Cherokee arrived around 1816 and did not get along with the Osage. This hostility erupted into a full-scale war in the Ozark Mountains. By the 1830s both tribes were removed to Indian Territory. It is possible that the first white men to visit the area were some forty followers of Hernando de Soto and that they camped at a Native village on the White River at the mouth of Bear Creek. It is more likely that the discoverers were French hunters or trappers who followed the course of the White River.

In early 1857, the Baker-Fancher wagon train assembled at Beller's Stand, south of Harrison. On September 11, 1857, approximately 120 members of this wagon train were murdered near Mountain Meadows, Utah Territory, by attacking local Mormon militia and members of the Paiute Indian tribe. In 1955, a monument to memorialize the victims of the massacre was placed on the Harrison town square.

Boone County was organized in 1869, during Reconstruction after the Civil War. Harrison was platted and made the county seat. It is named after Marcus LaRue Harrison, a Union officer who surveyed and platted the town. The town of Harrison was incorporated on March 1, 1876.

In 1905 and 1909, citizens drove all of the African-American residents and nearly all of the unemployed railroad men (most of whom were African-American) out of Harrison, purportedly to "curb crime". These events were the subject of an Independent Lens program entitled "Banished" on PBS in 2008. The Boone County Courthouse, built in 1909, and the Boone County Jail, built in 1914, were both designed by architect Charles L. Thompson and are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

On May 7, 1961, heavy rain caused Crooked Creek, immediately south of the downtown business district, to flood the town square and much of the southwestern part of the city. Water levels inside buildings reached eight feet. Many small buildings and automobiles were swept away. According to the American Red Cross, four lives were lost, 80 percent of the town's business district was destroyed, and over 300 buildings were damaged or destroyed in losses exceeding $5.4 million.

Thomas Robb, national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, maintains his office near Harrison in the outlying town of Zinc and uses a Harrison mailing address for the organization. Combined with the history of the 1905 and 1909 banishment of unemployed railroad workers and all other African-American residents, this incidental connection to the KKK has given the town a negative image. Some residents have taken steps to combat the image in recent years.

Welcome to Harrison billboard
Controversial billboard welcoming people to Harrison, Arkansas

In 2013, a billboard appeared that read: "Anti-Racist is a Code Word for Anti-White". In response, a local radio station removed its nearby billboard, and students from North Arkansas College passed out fliers calling for a protest of the sign. An official statement read: "The mayor’s office considers the content inflammatory, distasteful and not in line with the truth on how Harrison is a city of welcoming and tolerant citizens."

However, shortly later the sign was removed.

Geography

U.S. Routes 62, 65, and 412 pass through Harrison. U.S. 65 leads north 33 miles (53 km) to Branson, Missouri, and south 108 miles (174 km) to Conway, Arkansas. U.S. 62 leads west 43 miles (69 km) to Eureka Springs and beyond to Rogers and Bentonville. U.S. 412 leads west 73 miles (117 km) to Springdale. U.S. 62 and 412 combined lead east 48 miles (77 km) to Mountain Home.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.1 square miles (28.8 km2), of which 11.1 square miles (28.7 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.26%, is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 582
1890 1,438 147.1%
1900 1,551 7.9%
1910 1,602 3.3%
1920 3,477 117.0%
1930 3,626 4.3%
1940 4,238 16.9%
1950 5,542 30.8%
1960 6,580 18.7%
1970 7,239 10.0%
1980 9,567 32.2%
1990 9,922 3.7%
2000 12,152 22.5%
2010 12,943 6.5%
Est. 2015 13,138 1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 12,943 people and 6,043 housing units in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 96.2% White, 0.3% Black or African American, 0.6% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.7% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, and 1.6% from two or more races. 2.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

23.2% of the population was under the age of 18, and 19.0% were 65 years of age or older. Females made up 53.1% of the population, and males made up 46.9% of the population.

The median income for the period 2007-11 for a household in the city was $33,244, and the number of people living below the poverty level was 15.1%. The median value of owner-occupied housing units was $108,700.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

Harrison hosts the annual Arkansas Hot Air Balloon races each September, Crawdad Days Music Festival each May, a Harvest Homecoming festival each October, and Christmas celebration in December.

Museums and other points of interest

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has recognized the Harrison Courthouse Square Historic District. It contains a large number of the city's original commercial and governmental structures, including the still-used courthouse in the center of the square, the recently refurbished Lyric Theater, and the 1929 Hotel Seville, which underwent a complete restoration in 2008. Located just south of Harrison off Scenic Highway 7, Fenton's Berry Farm provides the area with locally grown fruits and vegetables in season.

Ozark Arts Council

The Ozarks Arts Council is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in 1996 with the mission "To enrich lives by promoting the arts in Harrison and North Arkansas through exhibitions, performances, and education." It provides administrative support and distributes financial and in-kind donations to its member organizations:

  • The Theatre Company
  • Northark Drama
  • Twentieth Century Club
  • Woman's Book Club
  • Ozark Children's Choir

The historic Lyric Theatre is managed by the Ozark Arts Council. Originally opened as a movie theater in 1929, it is now used for plays, community events, old movies and other gatherings.

Parks and recreation

Harrison serves as the National Park Service's Buffalo National River headquarters. The park was established in the 1970s, and was the nation's first national river. The river flows for 135 miles (217 km), and there are over 59 different species of fish in it.

Crooked Creek, a nationally recognized "Blue Ribbon" smallmouth bass fishery, flows through Harrison.

Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls, at 209 feet (64 m) the tallest waterfall between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians, is located 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Harrison near Compton. On the same bluff line is Diamond Falls, at 148 feet (45 m) the second tallest in the state.

Climate

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

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