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Marvell, Arkansas
Arkansas Highway 1 in Marvell
Arkansas Highway 1 in Marvell
Location of Marvell in Phillips County, Arkansas.
Location of Marvell in Phillips County, Arkansas.
Coordinates: 34°33′25″N 90°54′52″W / 34.55694°N 90.91444°W / 34.55694; -90.91444Coordinates: 34°33′25″N 90°54′52″W / 34.55694°N 90.91444°W / 34.55694; -90.91444
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Phillips
 • Total 1.44 sq mi (3.72 km2)
 • Land 1.44 sq mi (3.72 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
210 ft (64 m)
 • Total 855
 • Density 595.40/sq mi (229.83/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-44420
GNIS feature ID 0051716

Marvell is a city in Phillips County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,186. Marvell was featured on ABC News's World News With Charles Gibson October 6, 2009 telecast as a center of infestation by newer pesticide-resistant strains of pigweed, threatening the region and raising the possibility of hand harvesting crops. Marvell is located in the Arkansas_Delta.


Marvell was founded when Marvell M. Carruth and his wife, Rachel, sold 50 lots of land given to him by his father, Ladson Carruth, to the Arkansas Central Railroad. A train depot was soon established. Marvell became an un-incorporated town on May 28, 1873, with R.M. Jackson as its first mayor. Three years later, on October 3, 1876, Marvell became an incorporated town.

In 1877, the Union Trust foreclosed on the Arkansas Central Railroad and sold all of its assets at public auction. On December 6, 1877, the Arkansas Midland Railway Company was formed. Under new ownership, the railroad became profitable, not only as a freight line, but also by providing daily passenger service from Clarendon to Brinkley and on to Helena, making stops in Marvell along the way. This service ran until 1952. The tracks which ran from Marvell to Holly Grove were abandoned in 1977.

In the early 1900s there were 15 different merchants in the city of Marvell. One of the stores that stayed in business the longest was A. Hirsch & Co., which did an immense mercantile business and owned valuable land in the area. The Garner Stave Company sold miscellaneous items, such as farming and manufacturing goods.

The Marvell Public Library was established in 1922 by Mrs. Dave McDonald, who remained active until her death. In 1925, the Marvell Bottling plant was built by James Williford, only to close shortly afterward due to the high cost and shortage of sugar. At the beginning of the Great Depression all banks in Phillips County closed, with the exception of the Bank of Marvell. County Judge E.P. Molitor, a Marvell native, began construction on a road connecting Helena to Clarendon in 1930. J. L. Turner was mayor during the thirties. In 1939 the Marvell School burned. M.M. Tate School burned at a later date.

During the 1940s the population of Marvell was approximately 1,000.

In the 1980s, under the leadership of Mayor Alma Norton, the Marvell City Park and bike trail were built on the old railroad. The Davidson Park was also built and given to the city by the Abe Davidson family.

In the 1990s, the population of Marvell was approximately 1545. In 1997 the Marvell Medical Clinic was built with citizen donations. The clinic expanded in only one year to include dental services and interactive two-way compressed video use for medical consultations and health education.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 177
1900 391
1910 556 42.2%
1920 781 40.5%
1930 624 −20.1%
1940 830 33.0%
1950 1,121 35.1%
1960 1,690 50.8%
1970 1,980 17.2%
1980 1,724 −12.9%
1990 1,545 −10.4%
2000 1,395 −9.7%
2010 1,186 −15.0%
2020 855 −27.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,395 people, 547 households, and 358 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,024.5 people per square mile (396.0/km2). There were 594 housing units at an average density of 436.3 per square mile (168.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 58.06% Black or African American, 40.36% White, 0.43% Native American, and 1.15% from two or more races. 0.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 547 households, out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.1% were married couples living together, 25.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 30.6% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 20.4% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 68.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,368, and the median income for a family was $26,500. Males had a median income of $23,854 versus $15,764 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,797. About 22.6% of families and 29.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 48.1% of those under age 18 and 16.9% of those age 65 or over.


The Marvell–Elaine School District serves the community. The schools include Marvell Primary School and Marvell High School.

Marvell Academy, a private K3-12th grade school, is in unincorporated Phillips County, near Marvell. Marvell Academy was founded in 1966.

Notable people

  • Sam Carr, blues musician.
  • Levon Helm, drummer and singer for The Band.
  • Clark Hall, mayor, state representative, Phillips county judge
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