Blytheville, Arkansas

Blytheville is the largest city in Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. Blytheville is approximately 60 miles north of West Memphis. The population was 18,272 at the 2000 census.

Blytheville, Arkansas
Blytheville City Park Blytheville AR 008
Location of Blytheville in Mississippi County, Arkansas.
Location of Blytheville in Mississippi County, Arkansas.
Coordinates: 35°55′51″N 89°54′50″W / 35.93083°N 89.91389°WCoordinates: 35°55′51″N 89°54′50″W / 35.93083°N 89.91389°W
CountryUnited States
 • MayorJames Sanders
 • Total20.80 sq mi (53.87 km2)
 • Land20.74 sq mi (53.71 km2)
 • Water0.06 sq mi (0.16 km2)
256 ft (78 m)
 • Total15,620
 • Estimate 
 • Density677.55/sq mi (261.60/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
72315, 72316, 72319
Area code(s)870
FIPS code05-07330
GNIS feature ID0057402
That Bookstore in Blytheville is reputedly one of John Grisham's favorites
Blytheville Greyhound Bus Station
The Greyhound Bus Station is one of eight sites in Blytheville listed on the National Register of Historic Places


Blytheville was founded by Methodist clergyman Henry T. Blythe in 1879. It received a post office in 1879, was incorporated in 1889, and became the county seat for the northern half of Mississippi County (Chickasawba District) in 1901. Blytheville received telephone service and electricity in 1903, and natural gas service in 1950.[3]

Forestry was an early industry, spurred by the massive harvesting of lumber needed to rebuild Chicago following the Great Fire of 1871. The lumber industry brought sawmills and a rowdy crowd, and the area was known for its disreputable saloon culture during the 1880s and 1890s.[3]

The cleared forests enabled cotton farming to take hold, encouraged by ongoing levee building and waterway management; the population grew significantly after 1900. On Blytheville's western edge lies one of the largest cotton gins in North America, and soybeans and rice have also become important crops.[3]

The area around Blytheville continues to be farmed, though family farms have given way to large factory operations.[3]

In the 1980s, Blytheville began to develop an industrial base, much of which centered on the steel industry.

Until 1991, Blytheville was home to Blytheville Air Force Base (later renamed Eaker Air Force Base), a major airfield that was part of the Strategic Air Command.

James Sanders is Blytheville's mayor, and the first African-American to serve in that position.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201714,051[2]−10.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[4]
2014 Estimate[5]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 15,620 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 55.9% Black, 38.8% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% from some other race and 1.2% from two or more races. 3.0% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 18,272 people, 7,001 households, and 4,746 families residing in the city. The population density was 887.5 people per square mile (342.6/km²). There were 8,533 housing units at an average density of 414.5 per square mile (160.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.15% White, 52.15% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.31% of the population.

There were 7,001 households out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 20.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29.9% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,683, and the median income for a family was $32,816. Males had a median income of $30,889 versus $20,710 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,426. About 23.3% of families and 28.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.2% of those under age 18 and 17.4% of those age 65 or over.

Blytheville's population continues to decline. The 2010 Census reported Blytheville's population at 15,620, and the 2014 Census estimate is 14,884. The 2015 crime index for Blytheville, Arkansas is 946.2. The U.S. average is only 284.1.[7]


Blytheville is situated along the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

Blytheville is located at 35°55′51″N 89°54′50″W / 35.93083°N 89.91389°W (35.930735, -89.913940).[8] It is the easternmost settlement in the state of Arkansas.[9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.6 square miles (53 km2), of which 20.6 square miles (53 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.29%) is water.

List Of Highways:


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Blytheville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[10]

Notable employers

Nucor, a large steel manufacturer, operates two facilities east of the town near the Mississippi River.

Aviation Repair Technologies (ART) is headquartered at Arkansas International Airport in Blytheville and employs approximately 120 employees. It performs heavy aircraft maintenance, aircraft engine disassembly, aircraft disassembly, and aircraft storage. Its aircraft repair services are focused on turboprop, regional jet, and narrowbody aircraft such as the ATR 42, ATR 72, Dash 8, Q400, ERJ, CRJ, MD80 and 737. Its engine tear down operation specializes in CFM56, CF6-80, and CF6-50 engine types.[11] In February 2015, ART laid off between 50 and 75 employees.[12]

Tenaris, a global manufacturer and supplier of seamless and welded steel pipe products, operates 4 ERW (electric resistance welded) pipe manufacturing, threading and coating facilities. In January 2015, Tenaris laid off about 300 employees.[13] In January 2016, Tenaris laid off 100 more employees.[14]


Blytheville Public Schools serves the city. The schools include:

  • Blytheville Primary School (K-2)
  • Blytheville Elementary School (3-5)
  • Blytheville Middle School (6-8)
  • Blytheville High School (9-12)

The community is also served by Armorel Public Schools, Gosnell Public Schools and KIPP: Blytheville Charter School.

A Catholic school, Immaculate Conception School, operated in Blytheville until its 2007 closure.[15]

Blytheville is home to Arkansas Northeastern College (formerly Mississippi County Community College until its merger with Cotton Boll Technical Institute). It offers a two-year program, and is the nation's first community college with a solar photovoltaic prototype facility.

Notable people


  1. ^ "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Aug 22, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Keffer, Rigel (2012). "Blytheville (Mississippi County)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.
  4. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Archived from the original on 2015-05-22. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  7. ^ "Crime in Blytheville, Arkansas (AR): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers, crime map". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  9. ^ "EXTREME SETTLEMENTS: A COMPREHENSIVE LIST". Weekend Roady. 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  10. ^ "Climate Summary for Blytheville, Arkansas". Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  11. ^ "Aviation Repair Technologies (ART) - Aircraft Engine Disassembly - CFM56, CF6-80, CF6-50". Aviation Repair Technologies. Archived from the original on 2009-09-23.
  12. ^ |Blytheville Courier News. Retrieved 2015-02-21
  13. ^ \ |WREG Memphis. Retrieved 2015-02-08/
  14. ^ \ Blytheville Courier News. Retrieved 2016-01-16
  15. ^ Hargett, Malea (2013-03-28). "Despite 'year of grace,' St. Joseph School will close". Arkansas Catholic. Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  16. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-11-19. Retrieved 2015-11-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "the_staff". Raleigh Review. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  18. ^ hammond, raymond. "NYQ Poets - Rob Greene". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Rob Greene". Retrieved 14 April 2018.

Further reading

External links

Arkansas Northeastern College

Arkansas Northeastern College is a community college located in Blytheville, Arkansas.

Blytheville Air Force Base

Blytheville Air Force Base was a United States Air Force base from 1942 until it closed in 1992. It was renamed in 1988 to be Eaker Air Force Base. It was located 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of Blytheville, Arkansas. The facility is now operated as the Arkansas International Airport.

It was known as Blytheville Army Airfield during 1942–1948, as Blytheville Air Force Base during 1948–1988, and as Eaker Air Force Base during 1988–1992.

Blytheville High School

Blytheville High School is a comprehensive public high school for students in grades nine through twelve located in Blytheville, Arkansas, United States. It is one of four public high schools in Mississippi County, Arkansas and the only high school managed by the Blytheville School District.

Eaker Site

The Eaker Site (3MS105) is an archaeological site on Eaker Air Force Base near Blytheville, Arkansas that was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996. The site is the largest and most intact Late Mississippian Nodena Phase village site within the Central Mississippi Valley, with archaeological evidence indicating a palisaded village some 50 acres (20 ha) in size, with hundreds of structures. The site's major period of occupation was 1350–1450 CE, although evidence of occupation dates back to 600 CE. The site is also hypothesized to have been occupied by the Quapaw prior to a migration further south, after which they made contact with Europeans in the late 17th century.

Eric Hill (American football)

Eric Dwayne Hill (born November 14, 1966) is a former professional American football linebacker who played for eleven seasons in the National Football League (NFL), nine of them with the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals. He played in 160 games in his professional career, starting in 151 of them. He attended Louisiana State University, where he played college football for the LSU Tigers football team. Hill was born in Blytheville, Arkansas and attended Ball High School in Galveston, Texas.

Fred Akers

Fred Akers (born March 17, 1938) is a former American football player and coach. He served as head football coach at the University of Wyoming (1975–1976), the University of Texas at Austin (1977–1986), and Purdue University (1987–1990), compiling a career college football record of 108–75–3.

Jeff Taylor (basketball)

Jeff Taylor (born (1960-01-01)January 1, 1960) is a retired American professional basketball player who played for three years at Texas Tech University, before being drafted by the Houston Rockets in the 1982 NBA Draft. He played one season with the Rockets in the 1982-83 NBA season, and another with the Detroit Pistons in the 1986-87 NBA season.

After his NBA career ended, he continued his career in Europe, eventually settling in Sweden, where he now lives. His oldest son and second child, Jeffery, followed in his father's footsteps as a basketball player. After a stellar high school career at his father's alma mater of Hobbs High School in Hobbs, New Mexico, Jeffery went on to play at Vanderbilt, and was selected in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Jennings B. Whitworth

Jennings Bryan "Ears" Whitworth (September 17, 1908 – March 3, 1960) was an American football player and coach of football and baseball. He served as the head football coach at Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College—now known as Oklahoma State University–Stillwater—from 1950 to 1954 and the University of Alabama from 1955 to 1957, compiling a career college football coaching record of 26–51–4. Whitworth also coached baseball at Alabama from 1933 to 1934 and the University of Georgia in 1943, tallying a career college baseball coaching mark of 22–21.

Jermey Parnell

Jermey Parnell (born June 20, 1986) is an American football offensive tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). He was signed by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He played college football and basketball at Ole Miss. He has also played for the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys.

Julie Adams

Julie Adams (born Betty May Adams; October 17, 1926 – February 3, 2019) was an American actress, primarily known for her numerous television guest roles. She starred in a number of films in the 1950s, including Bend of the River (1952) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). She was also known for her small screen roles as Paula Denning on 1980's soap opera Capitol and recurring role of Eve Simpson on Murder, She Wrote.


KHLS is a radio station airing a Country music format licensed to Blytheville, Arkansas, broadcasting on 96.3 MHz FM. The station serves the areas of Blytheville, Arkansas, Dyersburg, Tennessee, Covington, Tennessee, and Kennett, Missouri, and is owned by Sudbury Services, Inc.The home of Blytheville Chickasaw Football. The home of Arkansas Razorbacks Football.


KLCN was a radio station airing a Classic Hits format. Formally licensed to Blytheville, Arkansas, broadcasting on 910 kHz AM. The station served the areas of Blytheville, Arkansas, Dyersburg, Tennessee, Covington, Tennessee, and Kennett, Missouri for nearly 90 years. The station was owned by Sudbury Services, Inc.Sudbury surrendered the license for KLCN to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on December 31, 2018, who subsequently cancelled it.

Kress Building (Blytheville, Arkansas)

The Kress Building is a historic commercial building at 210 West Main Street in Blytheville, Arkansas. It is a two-story concrete and steel structure, faced in brick and terra cotta. Built in 1938, it was one of the first buildings in the city to be built using steel framing, and is one of its finest Art Deco structures. The first floor areas (outside the plate glass store windows) are faced in terra cotta, while the second floor is predominantly cream-colored brick. Windows on the second floor are surrounded by ivory terra cotta incised with fluting and shell patterns.The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. It is in the Blytheville Commercial Historic District, also listed on the NRHP.

Michael Utley

Michael "Mike" Utley is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer for Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band. He is the musical director of the band. Born in Blytheville in Mississippi County, Arkansas, he graduated from the University of Arkansas where he was initiated into the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Early in his career, Utley worked with the house band for Atlantic Records in Miami, Florida's Criteria Studios backing performers such as Aretha Franklin, Jerry Jeff Walker, and the Allman Brothers and in California playing with Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson.

Jerry Jeff Walker recruited Utley to play keyboard instruments on Buffett's first major label album, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, in 1973. Utley continued to work with other performers in the mid-1970s while appearing on Buffett's subsequent albums until Buffett's 1977 breakout Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes when he joined the Coral Reefer Band full-time.

Utley has title credit on several albums, the first being an instrumental record with fellow Coral Reefer Band member Robert Greenidge titled Mad Music.

Utley has gone on to produce or co-produce a number of Buffett albums beginning with One Particular Harbour in 1983. He has toured with the Coral Reefers ever since.

During the song "Volcano," Utley's name is mentioned. Right before the first solo, Jimmy Buffett says "Mr. Utley." This leads into the solo.

Mississippi County, Arkansas

Mississippi County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 46,480. There are two county seats, Blytheville and Osceola. The county was formed on November 1, 1833, and named for the Mississippi River which borders the county to the east. Mississippi County is part of the First Congressional District in Arkansas. The Mississippi County Judge is Terri Brassfield.

The Blytheville, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Mississippi County.

Jefferson W. Speck, a Mississippi County planter, was the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1950 and 1952.

Mississippi County Courthouse (Blytheville, Arkansas)

The Mississippi County Courthouse for the Chickasawba District is located at 200 West Walnut Street in Blytheville, Arkansas, one of Mississippi County's two seats (the other is Osceola). It is a 3-1/2 story brick and cut sandstone structure, designed by the Pine Bluff firm of Selligman and Ellesvard, and built in 1919. It is a fine local example of Colonial Revival styling, with a recessed center entrance and a projecting modillioned cornice. The interior has been little altered since its construction.The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

Monte Hodges

Monte Hodges (born November 1, 1971) is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Arkansas House of Representatives representing District 55 since January 14, 2013.

Murder of Jimmy Hendricks and Kim Mills

James "Jimmy" Hendricks and Kimberlin "Kim" Mills are murder victims who were discovered on June 17, 1978. The pair were believed to have been seen together at a truck stop in Missouri, which is where the murders took place. Kim was found in Mississippi County, Arkansas and Jimmy was left at the presumed murder scene.Jimmy was identified in May 2017, Kim's ID was confirmed in late 2017 and her identity was released publicly in early February 2018. Neither had been reported missing. Both were from Michigan.

Nannerl O. Keohane

Nannerl "Nan" Overholser Keohane (born September 18, 1940, in Blytheville, Arkansas) is an American political theorist and former president of Wellesley College and Duke University. Until September 2014, Keohane was the Laurance S. Rockefeller Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Affairs and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. She is now a professor in social sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, where she is researching the theory and practice of leadership in democratic societies.

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