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Nashville, Arkansas
Official seal of Nashville, Arkansas
"Sharing the Hometown Feeling"
Location of Nashville in Howard County, Arkansas.
Location of Nashville in Howard County, Arkansas.
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Howard
 • Total 5.52 sq mi (14.29 km2)
 • Land 5.47 sq mi (14.17 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.12 km2)
381 ft (116 m)
 • Total 4,153
 • Density 759.09/sq mi (293.11/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-48560
GNIS feature ID 0077792

Nashville is a city in Howard County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 4,627 at the 2010 census. The estimated population in 2018 was 4,425. The city is the county seat of Howard County.

Nashville is situated at the base of the Ouachita foothills and was once a major center of the peach trade in southwest Arkansas. Today the land is mostly given over to cattle and chicken farming. The world's largest dinosaur trackway was discovered near the town in 1983.


Mine Creek Baptist Church was built along the banks of Mine Creek by the Rev. Isaac Cooper Perkins (1790–1852) in the area where Nashville now stands around 1835. Settlers later established a post stop along the settlement roads in 1840, and a post office incorporated in 1848. Michael Womack (1794–1861), a Tennessee native reputed to have killed the British General Edward Packenham during the War of 1812, settled in the area with his family in 1849. The area was then known by locals as Mine Creek, but was also called Hell's Valley and Pleasant Valley.

Settlement in the area progressed slowly but steadily, though industry declined during the American Civil War. Following the war, the village's prospects improved, industry and settlement picked up, and the town was officially incorporated as Nashville on 18 October 1883, with D.A. Hutchinson serving as the first mayor. Womack is attributed with first proposing the name and called the town after Nashville, Tennessee. The following year, Nashville and Hope were connected via railroad, spurring further growth, and the county seat was relocated from Center Point to Nashville. With the establishment of county government in the town, and due to the increased trade and access brought by the railroad, Nashville continued to grow. The town had a population of 928 in 1900, and boasted "a cotton-compress and gin" and a "bottling-works"; by 1920 the population had risen to 2,144.

In the years before the Great Depression, Nashville was a prosperous, if small, town. According to Herndon (1922:903), Nashville was "a banking town, with electric lights, waterworks, an ice and cold storage plant, a canning factory, foundries, machine shops, a flour mill, two newspapers, a brick factory, fruit box and crate factory, mercantile concerns... well-kept streets, [and] modern public schools.". An EF2 tornado struck the town on May 10, 2015 and killed two people.


Nashville is located at 33°56′31″N 93°50′53″W / 33.94194°N 93.84806°W / 33.94194; -93.84806 (33.942079, −93.847958).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.6 square miles (12 km2), of which, 4.6 square miles (12 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.87%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 172
1890 810 370.9%
1900 928 14.6%
1910 2,374 155.8%
1920 2,144 −9.7%
1930 2,469 15.2%
1940 2,782 12.7%
1950 3,548 27.5%
1960 3,579 0.9%
1970 4,016 12.2%
1980 4,554 13.4%
1990 4,639 1.9%
2000 4,878 5.2%
2010 4,627 −5.1%
2020 4,153 −10.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Nashville racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 1,726 41.56%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 1,391 33.49%
Native American 8 0.19%
Asian 49 1.18%
Pacific Islander 3 0.07%
Other/Mixed 179 4.31%
Hispanic or Latino 797 9.19%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 4,153 people, 1,733 households, and 1,085 families residing in the city.

Arts and culture

Museums and other points of interest

The National Register of Historical Places lists several entries of significant historical value from Nashville. Among them:

  • The First Christian Church building, built in the Late Gothic Revival style in the early 20th century, is still an active church.
  • The Howard County Museum is located in the First Presbyterian Church building, built in the Eastlake style in the early 1900s.
  • Garrett Whiteside Hall is all that remains of the Nashville High School complex built in the 1930s. It is used for storage and special activities by the local school district.
  • Elbert W. Holt House, and Flavius Holt House, Colonial Revival structures, are still used as private residences.
  • Howard County Courthouse is one of the few public buildings in Arkansas built in the Moderne or Art Deco style.

Dinosaur discoveries

The largest find of dinosaur trackways in the world was discovered by SMU archaeology graduate student Brad Pittman in a quarry north of the town in 1983, the site of a prehistoric beach. A field of 5–10,000 sauropod footprints were found in a mudstone layer covering a layer of gypsum. Casts 65 feet (20 m) long and 7 feet (2.1 m) wide were made and put on permanent display, first at the courthouse and finally at the Nashville City Park, while many of the original tracks were disbursed to local museums such as the Mid-America Museum in Hot Springs, Arkansas and the Arkansas Museum of Discovery in Little Rock. The full extent of the trackway has never been excavated.

Civic and religious organizations

Nashville has active chapters of national and international fraternal service organizations, including Lions Clubs International and Rotary International. In the 1960s and again in the 1980s–90s, Nashville supported several Boy Scouts of America troops as well.

2009 marked the 160th anniversary of the Pleasant Valley Masonic Lodge in Nashville. There has been an uninterrupted Masonic presence in Nashville since this time. The original lodge was founded with 165 members, and was named before the township changed its name to Nashville.

The Elberta Arts & Humanities Council is located in Nashville, hosted by the Elberta Arts Center. The Center is a permanent collection of art from local artists and hosts ongoing exhibits of local work and items of regional interest, such as the original 1950s electronic marquee from the Art Deco, 1,500-seat Elberta Theater (1943–1996).

Nashville is home to a variety of religious groups, representing congregations among the Assemblies of God, Baptists, Methodists, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Roman Catholic Church, the Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, as well as non-denominational, charismatic, and Pentecostal congregations.


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


Peach farming

Nashville peach pickers
Peach pickers in Nashville in 1915

Peach farming sustained Nashville during the Depression. The peach industry came to the Nashville area in the late nineteenth century. Peak years of production lasted from the 1920s until the 1950s. Nashville's peak peach production was 1950, with over 400,000 bushels collected from 425 orchards. "Up to 175 boxcars, each carrying 396 bushel baskets, were shipped from Nashville each day during peak production years." Late freezes and early thaws in 1952 and 1953 led to the devastation of the peach harvests. Two-thirds of the crops were destroyed, and production sank to 150,000 bushels. "The Arkansas growers lost the market, and the impact was devastating. For Howard County growers, the only option was to pull up the trees and convert the land for other purposes, often pasture for cattle, or to raise chickens," which remain the dominant agricultural products in the Nashville area to this day.

The peach industry in the area continued to decline as industrial farming in the Sun Belt and shifting production patterns made southwest Arkansas less attractive to larger produce companies. However, many small peach orchards still remain and are farmed by local families.


Colleges and universities

Nashville hosts a campus of the Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas. The school operates out of a facility constructed in 2006 on 35 acres (140,000 m2) of land west of town. The college has programs in business administration, nursing, truck driving, welding, residential construction, cosmetology, and general education coursework. The college also provides non-credit coursework in adult education such as GED classes, ESL training, test preparation, and computer literacy.

High schools

Nashville High School is a public secondary school for students in grades 10 through 12, and is accredited by both the Arkansas State Board of Education and the North Central Association. The high school is administered by the Nashville Public School District. In the 2006–07 school year, Nashville High School had 43 teachers and a student enrollment of 390, with a student/teacher ratio of 9:1. In 2010, the Nashville Junior High School Quiz Bowl team won the National Championship in Quiz Bowl. The event was held in New Orleans, Louisiana. The High School Quiz Bowl team won the State 4A Championship in 2012. In addition to academic coursework, Nashville High School has active chapters in FCCLA, FFA, and the National Honor Society. Nashville High School has participated in the EAST Initiative since 2001. Nashville High School also has an active alumni association.

The Nashville Scrappers compete in interscholastic sports under the sanction of the Arkansas Activities Association in sports such as football, basketball, baseball, cheerleading, cross country running, golf, softball, track and field, tennis, and trap shooting. Nashville High School sports teams compete at the class 4A level. Nashville High School celebrated its 100th year in high school football in 2009.



The first railroad to connect Nashville with the surrounding area was originally known as the Washington & Hope Railroad Co., chartered in 1876. The first stage of the railroad was a 10-mile (16 km) stretch connecting Hope and Washington, Arkansas, in 1879. In 1881 the railroad was renamed the Arkansas and Louisiana Railway Co., and on 1 October 1884 a nearly 26-mile (42 km) extension to Nashville was opened. By the start of the 20th century the railroad was operated as an extension of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway, which stretched from St. Louis, Missouri to Texarkana, Arkansas. The earliest trains coming in and out of Nashville operated under the Missouri Pacific Railroad mark.

At one time the city boasted three railroads:

  • The earliest was the Iron Mountain Railway branch from Nashville to Hope.
  • The second, granted a charter on 22 June 1906, was the Memphis Paris and Gulf (MP&G), later the Memphis Dallas and Gulf. The track ran twenty-five miles from Nashville to Ashdown, Arkansas, and then on to Hot Springs, Arkansas. The MP&G was broken up in 1922 forming the Graysonia Nashville and Ashdown (GN&A) running 32 miles (51 km) from Nashville to Ashdown. The GN&A was merged into the Kansas City Southern Railroad in 1993.
  • The third railroad in Nashville was the Murfreesboro Nashville Southwestern (MNSW), which ran from Nashville to Murfreesboro, Arkansas, in 1909. The MNSW later became the Murfreesboro-Nashville railroad which folded in 1951.

Notable people

  • Trevor Bardette, film actor
  • Effie Anderson Smith, impressionist landscape painter
  • Boyd A. Tackett, Arkansas politician
  • Thomas Philip Watson, Oklahoma state senator, born in Nashville

See also

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