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Helena, Arkansas
Downtown Helena
Downtown Helena
Location of Helena, Arkansas
Location of Helena, Arkansas
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
County Phillips
 • Total 23.0 km2 (8.9 sq mi)
 • Land 23.0 km2 (8.9 sq mi)
 • Water 0.0 km2 (0.0 sq mi)
60 m (197 ft)
 • Total 10,032
 • Density 290.89/km2 (902/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-31180
GNIS feature ID 0077157

Helena is the eastern portion of Helena–West Helena, Arkansas, a city in Phillips County, Arkansas. It was founded in 1833 by Nicholas Rightor and is named after the daughter of Sylvanus Phillips, an early settler of Phillips County and the namesake of Phillips County. As of the 2000 census, this portion of the city population was 6,323. Helena was the county seat of Phillips County until January 1, 2006, when it merged its government and city limits with neighboring West Helena.

During the American Civil War, the Battle of Helena was a deadly encounter. Helena is the birthplace of many notable people including prominent African Americans and Arkansas' former senior United States senator, Blanche Lincoln. Helena is home to the longest running daily radio program in the U.S., King Biscuit Time.

From 1906 to 1946, Helena was a terminal point on the former Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad, which provided passenger and freight service to Joplin, Missouri. After, a loss of rail service in early 2015, a successful effort was launched by the Helena-West Helena/Phillips County Port Authority to have freight service restored. The service was restored on October 1, 2015 and two new freight customers were quickly gained.


Helena is located at 34°31′34″N 90°36′5″W / 34.52611°N 90.60139°W / 34.52611; -90.60139 (34.526223, −90.601377).

According to the United States Census Bureau, Helena had a total area of 8.9 square miles (23 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 614
1860 1,551 152.6%
1870 2,249 45.0%
1880 3,652 62.4%
1890 5,189 42.1%
1900 5,550 7.0%
1910 8,772 58.1%
1920 9,112 3.9%
1930 8,316 −8.7%
1940 8,546 2.8%
1950 11,236 31.5%
1960 11,500 2.3%
1970 10,415 −9.4%
1980 9,598 −7.8%
1990 7,491 −22.0%
2000 6,323 −15.6%
2010 12,282 94.2%
2014 (est.) 11,320 −7.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,323 people, 2,312 households, and 1,542 families residing in Helena. The population density was 710.7 people per square mile (274.3/km2). There were 2,710 housing units at an average density of 304.6/sq mi (117.6/km2). The racial makeup of Helena is 67.93% Black or African American, 30.59% White, 0.13% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. 0.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,312 households, out of which 32.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.8% were married couples living together, 28.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.3% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.28.

In Helena, the age distribution included 32.5% of the population under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 22.1% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.5 males.

The median income for a household in Helena is $18,662, and the median income for a family was $21,534. Males had a median income of $27,203 versus $17,250 for females. The per capita income for Helena is $13,028. About 38.4% of families and 41.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 54.9% of those under age 18 and 24.1% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Historic buildings

Helena, Arkansas is home to a number of historic buildings such as the Sidney H. Horner House and the Centennial Baptist Church.


Helena-West Helena School District operates schools in what was Helena.

Schools in the former West Helena.

  • J. F. Wahl Elementary School
  • S.T.A.R.S. (Students Tapping Academic Resources for Success) Academy (alternative school)

Eliza Miller Junior High School and Central High School, the designated secondary schools, were in West Helena.

Helena previously had a Catholic grade school for black children, St. Cyprian School; it closed in 1963.

Notable people

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Helena (Arkansas) para niños

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