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Huttig (Union County)

Latitude and Longitude:

33º02'22"N 092º10'57"W

Elevation:

102 feet

Area:

3.0 square miles (2000 Census)

Population:

597 (2010 Census)

Incorporation Date:

May 16, 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

1,240

1,261

1,386

1,379

1,038

936

822

976

831

731

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

597

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huttig is a second-class city in Union County. Located two miles north of the Arkansas-Louisiana state line, the city was established as a timber industry company town. Huttig was the childhood home of civil rights activist Daisy Bates and also of musician Floyd Cramer.

After the railroad arrived in Union County, the timber industry began to purchase property and hire workers. The Frost-Johnson timber company built a company town, which company president C. D. Johnson named Huttig for his friend, industrialist William Huttig. The city quickly became the largest sawmill community in Union County and was the second-largest city in the county until the oil boom of the 1920s. The company built houses for its workers and also provided schools, stores, and a community house. The city was deliberately segregated, with white and black neighborhoods of about equal size, each with their own stores, schools, and churches.

The lumber company has changed hands several times over the last hundred years. In 1953, when it was part of Olin Industries, the company announced that houses in Huttig would be sold to the company employees who were living in them. The community voted for a special tax to raise $100,000 to build a new elementary school and to remodel both the high school and the “Negro school.” Olin Industries later sold the sawmill and other company property to the Plum Creek Timber Company, which in turn sold the property to International Paper. In 2000, West Fraser Timber Company of Canada acquired the Huttig sawmill, along with several other sawmills in the southern United States.

Huttig schools were desegregated in the 1960s, like other south Arkansas school districts. In 2003, the Arkansas General Assembly required school districts with fewer than 350 students to consolidate. Huttig was forced into consolidation with the neighboring Strong (Union County) school district in 2004. The school board closed the junior high school in Huttig in 2006 and then closed the elementary school in 2008, transporting students to the schools in Strong. The weakness of the housing industry led to layoffs at the sawmill in Huttig in the early twenty-first century.

Huttig has two restaurants and five churches—Baptist, Missionary Baptist, Assembly of God, Church of God in Christ (COGIC), and African Methodist Episcopal (AME). It is located only a few miles from the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1975. The 2010 census figures report that the population is forty-five percent white and fifty-two percent African American.

For additional information:
Bloomeley, Seth. “Old Divide Tangles Mergers.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 21, 2004, pp. 1A, 10A.

Green, Juanita Whitaker. “The History of Union County Arkansas.” N.p.: 1954.

Koon, David. “Trouble in Huttig.” Arkansas Times, November 30, 2011, p. 12. Online at http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/trouble-in-huttig/Content?oid=1957190 (accessed November 30, 2011).

Wheeler, Frances Carroll. “For Sale: Huttig Company Town Since 1904, Gets Lift Through Offer by Olin.” Arkansas Gazette, February 7, 1954, p. 1F.

Steven Teske
Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Last Updated 11/14/2014

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