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Morrilton, Arkansas
Conway County Courthouse
University of Central Arkansas
Morrilton Library
Train Station
Downtown Morrilton
Clockwise from top: Conway County Courthouse, Morrilton Public Library, Downtown, Morrilton Train Station, Arkansas Christian College Administration Building
Motto(s): 
"Small city. No limits."
Location of Morrilton in Conway County, Arkansas.
Location of Morrilton in Conway County, Arkansas.
Coordinates: 35°9′23″N 92°44′31″W / 35.15639°N 92.74194°W / 35.15639; -92.74194Coordinates: 35°9′23″N 92°44′31″W / 35.15639°N 92.74194°W / 35.15639; -92.74194
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Conway
Government
 • Type Mayor-Council
Area
 • Total 8.97 sq mi (23.24 km2)
 • Land 8.83 sq mi (22.86 km2)
 • Water 0.15 sq mi (0.38 km2)
Elevation
384 ft (117 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 6,992
 • Density 792.03/sq mi (305.82/km2)
Time zone UTC−06:00 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−05:00 (CDT)
ZIP Code
72110
Area code(s) 501
FIPS code 05-46970
GNIS feature ID 0056839
Local airport Morrilton Municipal Airport (KBDQ)
Interstate Highways I-40
Other major highways US 64, AR 9, AR 95

Morrilton is a city in Conway County, Arkansas, United States, less than 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Little Rock. The city is the county seat of Conway County. The population was 6,767 at the 2010 census.

History

Morrilton was incorporated on November 24, 1879, and is named after landowners E.J. and George H. Morrill. Most of the downtown area is built on the farm adjacent to the Morrills formerly owned by James M. Moose.

The city was home to Harding College, now Harding University of Searcy, Arkansas, for about a decade in the 1920s and 1930s. The original campus of Harding University is now the Southern Christian Home, a church-supported residential child care facility.

Geography

Morrilton is located in southern Conway County at 35°9′23″N 92°44′31″W / 35.15639°N 92.74194°W / 35.15639; -92.74194 (35.156373, -92.741944). It is bordered on the south by the Arkansas River.

Interstate 40 passes through the northern side of the city, leading southeast 48 miles (77 km) to Little Rock and west 107 miles (172 km) to Fort Smith. U.S. Route 64 (East and West Broadway Street) is the main road through the city center, leading east 6 miles (10 km) to Plumerville and northwest 13 miles (21 km) to Atkins. Arkansas Highway 9 forms an eastern bypass of Morrilton and leads north 40 miles (64 km) to Clinton and south across the Arkansas River 13 miles (21 km) to Perryville.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Morrilton has a total area of 9.2 square miles (23.7 km2), of which 8.7 square miles (22.6 km2) is land and 0.39 square miles (1.0 km2), or 4.29%, is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 770
1890 1,644 113.5%
1900 1,707 3.8%
1910 2,424 42.0%
1920 3,010 24.2%
1930 4,043 34.3%
1940 4,608 14.0%
1950 5,483 19.0%
1960 5,997 9.4%
1970 6,814 13.6%
1980 7,355 7.9%
1990 6,551 −10.9%
2000 6,550 0.0%
2010 6,767 3.3%
2020 6,992 3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 Census, 6,767 people and 2,759 households resided within the city.

2000 Census results showed 1,724 families residing in the city. The population density was 796.7 people per square mile (307.7/km2). There were 2,947 housing units at an average density of 358.4 per square mile (138.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.38% White, 17.47% Black or African American, 0.79% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.37% from other races, and 1.63% from two or more races. 3.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,645 households, out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.4% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 19.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,007, and the median income for a family was $36,432. Males had a median income of $30,123 versus $19,213 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,957. About 13.4% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.6% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.

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, Morrilton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Education

Public schools

The community's public school system is operated by the South Conway County School District. As of 2018, the district consists of five schools. The SCCSD public high school is Morrilton High School.

Morrilton's first public school for white students opened in 1881. 14 years later the first school for African-American students opened in 1895. In 1980 the East Side, Morrilton, and Plumerville School districts consolidated to form the new South Conway County district.

Private schools

Sacred Heart Catholic School is the only private school in the city of Morrilton and was established in 1879. It is one of only two private Roman Catholic schools in Arkansas that serves PreK-12.

Colleges and universities

Morrilton is home to the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton.

The city was home to Harding College, now Harding University of Searcy, Arkansas, for about a decade in the 1920s and 1930s. The original campus of Harding University is now the Southern Christian Home, a church-supported residential child care facility.

Public Libraries

The Conway County Library is located at 101 West Church Street in Downtown Morrilton. The library was established in 1897 by the Pathfinder Club. It moved among members homes until 1916 when the Andrew Carnegie Foundation awarded the club a grant for a building. The Conway County Library is one of two public libraries in the state of Arkansas functioning from its original Carnegie building.

Notable people

  • Rick Beck (born 1956), Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives for Conway and Perry counties since 2015, electrical engineer born in Little Rock and a former resident of Morrilton. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton.
  • Carl B. Close (1907-1980), Louisiana state representative, a Democrat, who also served as mayor of Alexandria from 1947 to 1953, was born at Robertsville near Morrilton, the son of the country physician, Edgar Close.
  • Nathan Green Gordon (1916–2008), sixth Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas and distinguished United States Navy aviator during World War II; born in Morrilton
  • James S. Moose, Jr. (1903-1989) First US Government Representative to live in Saudi Arabia, Ambassador to Syria and the Sudan
  • Winthrop Rockefeller (1912-1973), governor of Arkansas from 1967 to 1971; lived at Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton
  • Sue Scott (born 1954), member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Rogers; attended the former Petit Jean Vocational Technical School in Morrilton
  • Shekinna Stricklen - Women's basketball player that graduated from Morrilton High School. Played collegiately for the University of Tennessee. She was selected in the first round of the 2012 WNBA Draft (2nd overall) by the Seattle Storm. Won the 2019 WNBA Three Point Contest the day before the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game.
  • C. Vann Woodward (1908-1999), American historian focused primarily on the Southern United States and its individual sociology of race and ethnic relations. He attended Morrilton High School.
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