kids encyclopedia robot

Van Buren, Arkansas facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Van Buren, Arkansas
City of Van Buren
Clockwise, from top: US 64/US 71B bridge over the Arkansas River, Van Buren Old Frisco Depot, Crawford County Bank Building, Main Street in the Van Buren Historic District, Crawford County Courthouse
Clockwise, from top: US 64/US 71B bridge over the Arkansas River, Van Buren Old Frisco Depot, Crawford County Bank Building, Main Street in the Van Buren Historic District, Crawford County Courthouse
Official seal of Van Buren, Arkansas
Seal
Location of Van Buren in Crawford County, Arkansas.
Location of Van Buren in Crawford County, Arkansas.
Van Buren, Arkansas is located in the United States
Van Buren, Arkansas
Van Buren, Arkansas
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
County Crawford
Township(s) Dora, Van Buren
Incorporated January 4, 1845
Named for Martin Van Buren
Government
 • Type Mayor–Council
Area
 • City 16.10 sq mi (41.70 km2)
 • Land 15.42 sq mi (39.94 km2)
 • Water 0.68 sq mi (1.76 km2)
Elevation
401 ft (122 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • City 23,218
 • Density 1,505.61/sq mi (581.34/km2)
 • Metro
273,170 (Fort Smith metropolitan area)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code(s)
72956
Area code(s) 479 Exchange: 471
FIPS code 05-71480
GNIS feature ID 0078647
Major airport FSM

Van Buren ( VAN-_-BURE-ən) is the second largest city in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area and the county seat of Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. The city is located directly northeast of Fort Smith at the Interstate 40 - Interstate 540 junction. The city was incorporated in 1845 and as of the 2010 census had a population of 22,791, ranking it as the state's 22nd largest city, behind Searcy.

History

Van Buren, Arkansas
Perspective Map of Van Buren, Ark., County Seat of Crawford County, 1888. by Henry Wellge & Co.

Early history

The area was settled by David Boyd and Thomas Martin in 1818. After Arkansas became a territory in 1819 Daniel and Thomas Phillips constructed a lumber yard in the community to serve as a fuel depot for traffic along the Arkansas River. In 1831 a post office was constructed for the community, at the time known as Phillips Landing. This post office was named after the newly appointed Secretary of State, Martin Van Buren.

John Drennen, along with his partner David Thompson, purchased the area for US$11,000. They moved their business of supplying firewood for steamboats to this new location on higher ground. The courthouse was constructed on a lot of land donated by Drennen on the condition that Van Buren become the county seat. The Drennen Reserve is one of the town's existing historical sites from the 1830s.

Van Buren was incorporated on January 4, 1845.

American Civil War

On December 28, 1862, Federal and Confederate forces clashed in and around Van Buren resulting in a defeat for Major-General T. C. Hindman, driving him south across the river with minimal casualties. Federal forces captured 100 prisoners, as stated in an official report by U.S. Major-General Samuel R. Curtis.

1996 tornado

On April 21, 1996, at 11:12 p.m., a category F3 tornado hit the Fort Smith/Van Buren area causing extensive damage. The tornado, which spawned in Oklahoma and crossed into west Fort Smith near the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau rivers, killed 2, injured 89 and cost $300 million in damage. The fatalities were small children from Fort Smith. At its worst, the tornado was one half mile across. After leaving the downtown area of Fort Smith, it traveled northeast through industrial and residential sections of north Fort Smith, then crossed the Arkansas River again into the Mount Vista area on the west side of Van Buren and damaged a highly residential area where no fatalities occurred, although this area was very populated at the time. The total distance it traveled on the ground was 7 miles (11 km). In total, there were around 1,800 homes damaged, the majority of which were in Van Buren.

Physical geography

Van Buren is located in the southwest corner of Crawford County at 35°26′40″N 94°20′48″W / 35.44444°N 94.34667°W / 35.44444; -94.34667 (35.444339, -94.346737). The Arkansas–Oklahoma state line is 2 miles (3 km) to the west. The Arkansas River forms the southern boundary of the city, separating it from Fort Smith of Sebastian County. Lee Creek flows through the western side of the city into the Arkansas River. According to the United States Census Bureau, Van Buren has a total area of 16.5 square miles (42.7 km2), of which 15.4 square miles (40.0 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2), or 6.34%, is water.

Climate

Van Buren lies within a humid subtropical climate area. The city also lies on the eastern edge of the region known as Tornado Alley. Average temperatures range from 36°F in January, to as high an average of 81 °F in July with temperatures reaching the high 90s and low 100s in August. The average annual temperature is approximately 60 °F. Average precipitation is about 41 total inches, with only six inches being snow.

July and August are the hottest months of the year, with an average high of 93 °F (34 °C) and an average low of 71.5 °F (21.9 °C). Temperatures above 100 °F (37.8 °C) are not uncommon, occurring on average eleven times a year. December and January are the coldest months with an average high of 50.5 °F (10.3 °C) and an average low of 30 °F (−1 °C). Highs below 32 °F (0.0 °C) occur on average five times a year, with 0.2 nights per year dropping below 0 °F (−17.8 °C). The city's highest temperature was 113 °F (45.0 °C), recorded in 1936. The lowest temperature recorded was −15 °F (−26.1 °C), in 1899.

Climate data for Van Buren, Arkansas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
(27.2)
87
(30.6)
94
(34.4)
96
(35.6)
99
(37.2)
106
(41.1)
111
(43.9)
113
(45)
109
(42.8)
96
(35.6)
86
(30)
82
(27.8)
113
(45)
Average high °F (°C) 50
(10)
56
(13.3)
65
(18.3)
74
(23.3)
81
(27.2)
88
(31.1)
93
(33.9)
93
(33.9)
85
(29.4)
75
(23.9)
63
(17.2)
51
(10.6)
72.7
(22.61)
Average low °F (°C) 29
(-1.7)
33
(0.6)
41
(5)
50
(10)
59
(15)
68
(20)
72
(22.2)
71
(21.7)
62
(16.7)
51
(10.6)
40
(4.4)
31
(-0.6)
50.4
(10.22)
Record low °F (°C) −11
(-23.9)
−15
(-26.1)
7
(-13.9)
22
(-5.6)
34
(1.1)
47
(8.3)
50
(10)
45
(7.2)
33
(0.6)
22
(-5.6)
8
(-13.3)
−5
(-20.6)
−15
(-26.1)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.81
(71.4)
2.86
(72.6)
3.85
(97.8)
4.30
(109.2)
5.47
(138.9)
4.28
(108.7)
3.30
(83.8)
2.59
(65.8)
4.05
(102.9)
4.32
(109.7)
4.44
(112.8)
3.29
(83.6)
45.40
(1,153.2)
Snowfall inches (cm) 1.8
(4.6)
1.3
(3.3)
0.7
(1.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.7
(1.8)
4.6
(11.7)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.5 7.8 9.7 9.1 10.7 9.3 6.5 6.3 7.7 8.4 7.5 7.7 98.3
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 1.0 0.8 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.6 2.9
Source #1: NOAA
Source #2: The Weather Channel
View of the Arkansas River from Meyer Park, 2013

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 549
1860 979 78.3%
1870 985 0.6%
1880 1,029 4.5%
1890 2,291 122.6%
1900 2,573 12.3%
1910 3,878 50.7%
1920 5,224 34.7%
1930 5,182 −0.8%
1940 5,422 4.6%
1950 6,413 18.3%
1960 6,787 5.8%
1970 8,373 23.4%
1980 12,020 43.6%
1990 14,979 24.6%
2000 18,986 26.8%
2010 22,791 20.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Van Buren racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 16,509 71.1%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 570 2.45%
Native American 553 2.38%
Asian 708 3.05%
Pacific Islander 14 0.06%
Other/Mixed 1,805 7.77%
Hispanic or Latino 3,059 13.18%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 23,218 people, 8,990 households, and 6,011 families residing in the city.

Culture

Arts and architecture

Vanburennark
Historic bank building, 2009

Van Buren is home of the King Opera House, a Victorian-style performance hall from the late 19th century, part of the old downtown historic area. At the south end of the historical downtown is the Crawford County courthouse, the oldest functioning courthouse west of the Mississippi River. To the north is the Old Frisco Station which was originally a station on the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, pictured at the top of this page.

Media

As part of the primary Fort Smith metropolitan area, many Fort Smith based television stations including KHBS and KFSM, whose radio mast is built in Van Buren, provide local news and weather. The city's major newspaper is the Van Buren Press Argus-Courier, however many people also read Fort Smith's Southwest Times Record, as well as the Northwest Edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Transportation

Van Buren's location at the junction of Interstate 40, Interstate 540, and the Arkansas/Oklahoma border yields surprisingly large tourism and hospitality industries. The city is also located at the junction of several state and U.S. highways including Arkansas Highway 59, US 64, and US 71. A private airport, Twin Cities Airport (code 39AR), was operational to the southeast of the city, but has been closed for many years. Modern railroads in the city include the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad.

Sites of interest

  • Historic Main Street, used for scenes in the film The Blue and the Gray as well as scenes in the film Frank & Jesse
  • King Opera House, performance hall and historic landmark
  • The Old Frisco Station-Victorian style railroad station; used for a scene in the film Biloxi Blues. It was part of the now defunct St. Louis-San Francisco Railway also known as the Frisco.

Transportation

Van Buren's location at the junction of Interstate 40, Interstate 540, and the Arkansas/Oklahoma border yields surprisingly large tourism and hospitality industries. The city is also located at the junction of several state and U.S. highways including Arkansas Highway 59, US 64, and US 71. A private airport, Twin Cities Airport (code 39AR), was operational to the southeast of the city, but has been closed for many years. Modern railroads in the city include the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad.

Education

The Van Buren School District is the largest school district in Crawford County, consisting of six elementary schools (grades K-5), two middle schools (grades 6–8), one ninth grade academy (grade 9) and one high school (grades 10–12). The Van Buren High School is in the 5A/6A-West Division of Arkansas high school sports.

Notable people

  • Justin Boyd, Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Fort Smith; former Van Buren resident
  • Bob Burns, comedian and actor
  • Gary Deffenbaugh, Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Van Buren; retired educator
  • John Deweese, U.S. representative from North Carolina
  • Charlene Fite, Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Van Buren; educator in Fort Smith
  • Matt Jones, NFL player
  • Natalie White, winner of Survivor: Samoa
  • Shay Mooney, singer songwriter Dan + Shay
kids search engine
Van Buren, Arkansas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.