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Delight (Pike County)

Latitude and Longitude:

34°01'53"N 093°30'11"W

Elevation:

354 feet

Area:

0.450 square miles (2010 Census)

Population:

279 (2010 Census)

Incorporation Date:

September 15, 1904

Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:

 

1810

1820

1830

1840

1850

1860

1870

1880

1890

1900

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

539

391

408

481

574

446

439

431

311

311

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

279

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delight is located in the southeast corner of Pike County. It was a center for the timber industry in the early twentieth century.

White settlers began moving into the area near the end of the eighteenth century, settling along Wolf Creek, which flows from northwest of Delight in a southeasterly direction. The settlement became known as Wolf Creek and was granted a post office on January 18, 1832, and became a mail stop between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and the Hempstead County Courthouse, then at Washington.

Samuel Hasley purchased about forty-three acres of land from the United States for $1.25 an acre. This acreage is now the town of Delight. Hasley later sold the property to Abner Hancock for $500, who then deeded it to David Mosley on January 4, 1853. In 1860, his heirs sold it to William Kirkham for $800.

Southwest Arkansas–Indian Territory Railroad Company paid $1.00 for a 1,000-foot right-of-way, along with land where the tracks would be laid. Citizens were excited to have the railroad, because it would be an asset to the area by providing more jobs and more contact with other towns and markets. The railroad brought more business to Delight. R. B. F. Key built a sawmill and planer, which began operation in 1897.

For a while, Dr. Kirkham was the only doctor in the area, traveling from town to town, but soon other doctors moved in. Dr. Rice became Delight’s first permanent doctor in 1903. Other doctors followed, and a drugstore was built.

Citizens realized that the town needed a name and chose Kirkham to have the honor of naming it, as he had donated land for the new town. He named it Delight because he thought it was such a delightful place to live. On July 25, 1904, the incorporation petition went before the court but didn’t become official until September 15. The first mayor was John Brock.

There were forests of virgin timber to be harvested and shipped out on the railroad. The forests began to thin out, however, and the mill could not make a profit. Farming became the principal occupation, with cotton being the main crop for the area. This market helped the town prosper through the 1920s. Large deposits of gravel near the town were shipped out by rail, and this industry flourished for a while. Key had also built a hotel to accommodate the traveling salesmen who were bringing their wares to sell.

Ozan Lumber Company built another sawmill, and housing projects were also built. They prospered for a time before the Depression hit. Another sawmill was built in Delight, completed in 1937. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was active near Wolf Creek, building bridges and roads in areas that were accessible only by horseback or by foot. Some of the CCC bridges and roads are still in use in the twenty-first century.

In March 1952, the mill at Delight burned. By 1956, Ozan Lumber Company owned 132,000 acres of timberland. However, two more of their mills in other counties also burned, and the company was purchased by Potlatch Corporation in 1965.

Businesses in Delight include Hayes Industry, a hardwood wholesale lumber and flooring business; McFarland and Cascade Co., which produces highland poles as well as shavings for chicken houses; and Alexander Publishing, a private company printing books, postcards, and business cards.

Delight hosts the well-attended Park Day every summer. The local citizens provide free games for children, awards for arts and crafts, and several other activities and entertainment. In addition, the Southwest Arkansas Bar-B-Q Annual State Championship Cook-off Association takes place near Delight.

Musician Glen Travis Campbell was born at a small settlement, Billstown, six miles from Delight, on April 22, 1936. Billstown schools consolidated with Delight’s in the 1948–49 school year, so he and his siblings went to the Delight schools. He is famous for such songs as “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Gus Wingfield, who served two terms as the state auditor, one term as state treasurer, and fourteen years as a state representative, was born on September 17, 1926, in Antoine, a few miles from Delight, and attended Delight schools.

For additional information:
Early History of Pike County, Arkansas: The First Hundred Years. Murfreesboro, AR: Pike County Archives and History Society, 1989.

Pike County Archives: A Look at the Past. Murfreesboro, AR: Pike County Archives and History Society, 1995.

Pike County Archives and History Society. http://www.pcahs.org/ (accessed February 9, 2010).

Doris Russell Foshee
Murfreesboro, Arkansas

Last Updated 11/17/2016

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