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Smackover, Arkansas
Central Smackover
Central Smackover
Location of Smackover in Union County, Arkansas.
Location of Smackover in Union County, Arkansas.
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Union
 • Total 4.35 sq mi (11.26 km2)
 • Land 4.35 sq mi (11.26 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
121 ft (37 m)
 • Total 1,630
 • Density 374.80/sq mi (144.71/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-64730

Smackover is a small city in northern Union County, Arkansas, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population was at 1,865. It had a large oil boom in the 1920s, with production continuing for some time.


In 1686, the French settlers called this area "SUMAC COUVERT" which translates to "covered in sumac bushes". This was phonetically Anglicized by the English-speaking settlers to the name "SMACKOVER". Oil was discovered in this area in 1922 which brought national attention and a boom.

Smackover was incorporated in 1923. In the 1920s there was a large scale oil industry in Smackover.

Smackover Oil Field

The Smackover Oil Field was discovered on 14 April 1922. The J.T. Murphy well drilled by Oil Operators Trust, reached the Upper Cretaceous Nacatoch sand at a depth of 2024 feet, part of the Norphlet dome. Within a year, almost 1,000 wells had produced 25 million barrels of oil. In Oct. 1922, a lighter oil was produced further west, from the Meakin sand at depths between 2230 and 2350 feet. Oil was discovered in the Blossom sand at a depth of 2610 feet in March 1923. The Graves sand was produced at a depth of 2501 feet in Jan. 1925. Oil was discovered in the Jurassic Smackover limestone at a depth of 4800 feet on 8 May 1936 by the Phillips Petroleum Co. Oil and gas were produced from the porous Reynolds oolite at a depth of 4897 feet.


Smackover is located at 33°21′41″N 92°43′40″W / 33.36139°N 92.72778°W / 33.36139; -92.72778 (33.361525, -92.727855).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.2 square miles (11 km2), all of it land. Smackover is also an important town in South Arkansas.


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


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 2,544
1940 2,235 −12.1%
1950 2,495 11.6%
1960 2,434 −2.4%
1970 2,058 −15.4%
1980 2,453 19.2%
1990 2,232 −9.0%
2000 2,005 −10.2%
2010 1,865 −7.0%
2020 1,630 −12.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Smackover racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 1,099 67.42%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 400 24.54%
Native American 5 0.31%
Asian 1 0.06%
Pacific Islander 1 0.06%
Other/Mixed 88 5.4%
Hispanic or Latino 36 2.21%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,630 people, 728 households, and 463 families residing in the city.


The little oil town of Smackover is steeped in pure Americana, as evidenced by the street-mounted antique stop light in the center of town as well as the old western-style store fronts that line Main Street. It is home to the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources. The Museum depicts the history and culture of Smackover and the surrounding area with an indoor reconstruction of downtown Smackover, an Oil Field Park, and numerous exhibits illustrating South Arkansas's oil industry. Smackover hosts an annual four-day Oil Town Festival held in June.

With the induction of longtime college coaching legend Wayne Hardin into the NFF College Hall of Fame in 2013, Smackover may have the lead in number of former residents enshrined in the Hall. It now can boast of two natives in the College Football Hall of Fame.


Public education for early childhood, elementary and secondary school students is primarily provided by the Smackover School District, which includes:

  • Smackover Elementary School, serving prekindergarten through grade 6.
  • Smackover High School, serving grades 7 through 12.

The school district's athletic emblem is the Battlin' Buckaroos with black and white as the school colors.

Notable people

  • Wayne Hardin (1926–2017), college football player
  • Nathan Fletcher (born 1976), California politician
  • Sleepy LaBeef (1935–2019), Rockabilly/roots musician
  • Clyde Scott (1924–2018), football player

See also

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

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