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Malvern, Arkansas facts for kids

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City of Malvern
Downtown Malvern
Downtown Malvern
Nickname(s): Brick Capital of the World
Location in Hot Spring County and the state of Arkansas
Location in Hot Spring County and the state of Arkansas
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
County Hot Spring
Townships Butterfield, Fenter
Incorporated July 22, 1876
Named for Malvern Hill, Virginia
 • Total 19.2 km2 (7.5 sq mi)
 • Land 19 km2 (7.4 sq mi)
 • Water 0.2 km2 (0.1 sq mi)
Elevation 96 m (315 ft)
Population (2010)
 • Total 10,318
 • Density 469.8/km2 (1,202.8/sq mi)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 72104
Area code(s) 501
FIPS code 05-43610
GNIS feature ID 0077584
Major airport Adams Field (LIT)

Malvern is a city in and the county seat of Hot Spring County, Arkansas. Founded as a railroad stop within the Ouachita Mountains, the community's history and economy have been tied to available agricultural and mineral resources. Specifically, the production of bricks from locally available clay has earned the city the nickname, "The Brick Capital of the World". The city had a population of 10,318 at the time of the 2010 census.


Named after Malvern Hill, Virginia, Malvern was founded in 1870 by the Cairo and Fulton Railroad as a city site 21 miles (34 km) south of Hot Springs. On October 15, 1878, Malvern officially became the county seat of Hot Spring County. The original inhabitants of the county were Native Americans, trappers, hunters, and farmers.

The Hot Springs Railroad, often referred to as the Diamond Jo line, was established as a narrow-gauge railroad by Chicago businessman Joseph Reynolds in 1874. Reynolds began building the Hot Springs Railroad, which extends north from Malvern Junction, a station on the Cairo & Fulton, to Hot Springs, after he had endured unsatisfactory stagecoach rides to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Because Malvern was the closest railroad station to Hot Springs, it became an important junction point for passengers transferring from rail to stagecoach to complete their journey to the spas in Hot Springs. This was the only railroad into Hot Springs for 15 years. The opening of the Little Rock & Hot Springs Western Railroad in April 1900 provided a more direct access to Hot Springs from Little Rock and the north, and both the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf and the Iron Mountain took advantage of this route, effectively cutting the volume of interchange traffic into Malvern. By 1902 passenger train shuttle service through Malvern had essentially ended.

The Malvern Police Department has lost Carson Smith, the deputy, and three officers in the line of duty, all shot to death during the 1930s. They were Clyde Davis, Leslie Lee Potts, and Hiram Potts. Davis and Leslie Lee Potts were both shot during a domestic dispute on April 21, 1933, a shootout in which they killed the suspect. Hiram Potts, who was related to Leslie Lee Potts, was shot and killed during his March 4, 1935 attempt to arrest two men who were boarding a train illegally.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19 km2), of which 7.3 square miles (19 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.94%) 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, Malvern has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 1,520
1900 1,582 4.1%
1910 2,778 75.6%
1920 3,364 21.1%
1930 5,115 52.1%
1940 5,290 3.4%
1950 8,072 52.6%
1960 9,566 18.5%
1970 8,739 −8.6%
1980 10,163 16.3%
1990 9,256 −8.9%
2000 9,021 −2.5%
2010 10,318 14.4%
Est. 2015 10,928 5.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,021 people, 3,769 households, and 2,431 families residing in the city, and its population density was 1,227.1 people per square mile (473.9/km²). There were 4,193 housing units at an average density of 570.4 per square mile (220.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.16% White, 28.66% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 1.94% from two or more races. 1.26% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The city had 3,769 households, out of which 29.0% contained children under the age of 18, 44.1% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.93. Additionally, 25.0% of the city's population were under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.0% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years; for every 100 females there were 85.0 males and for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,007, and the median income for a family was $34,563. Males had a median income of $27,232 versus $18,929 for females and the per capita income for the city was $14,848. About 15.7% of families and 20.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.6% of those under age 18, and 18.4% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

Every year on the last weekend of June, Malvern City Park hosts Brickfest, an event that fills the city with music, food and activities that include a brick toss, brick car derby, and a best dressed brick contest. Malvern also hosts the Hot Spring County Fair and Rodeo each fall.


History in Malvern can be found throughout the central city, including ten National Register of Historic Places listings. Located at 210 Locust Street in downtown Malvern, the art deco Hot Spring County Courthouse has been the center of county government since its construction in 1936. Also located downtown is the Bank of Malvern building, historically notable both for its distinct variation of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and its importance in transitioning Malvern from an agricultural-based economy to one based on industry. The Hot Spring County Museum is located in the Boyle House at 302 East Third Street in Malvern.

Malvern hosts one of two whitewater parks in the state of Arkansas, located on the Ouachita River. The other park is in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, which opened in 2013. Used for training Olympic kayakers and river rescue teams, the river-wide ledge runs year-round, and is dam-released. A zip line and nature hike is also available along Ouachita Bend.

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