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Home / Browse / Blevins (Hempstead County)
Latitude and Longitude:
0.989 square miles (2010 Census)
315 (2010 Census)
September 10, 1914
Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:
Blevins is a second-class city located in the northeastern corner of Hempstead County on U.S. Highway 371. Overshadowed in significance by Washington (Hempstead County) and Hope (Hempstead County), Blevins has been overlooked in most historical studies. Unlike many similar small communities, it has survived into the twenty-first century.
The first courthouse of Hempstead County was established two miles south of the current location of Blevins. The county government met in 1819 in the log house of John English, built on the bank of Marlbrook Creek. It continued to meet there until 1824, when a courthouse was completed in Washington. Around 1837, Hugh A. Blevins acquired several plats of land in northeastern Hempstead County; Hugh and Sarah Blevins had eleven children. His brother Dillen Blevins also acquired adjacent land.
The settlement bearing the family’s name grew slowly and is not mentioned in any Civil War reports. During the 1890s, it was established as a stop on the Prescott and Northwestern Railroad (P&NW). The P&NW was built by the Ozan Lumber Company to transport logs harvested in northern Hempstead County as well as in adjacent counties. Later, the P&NW also carried peaches grown and harvested in the area. During the Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) improved roads in northern Hempstead County, including the highway through Blevins, and automobile traffic began to replace railroad traffic. The P&NW carried passengers until 1945 and freight until 1980, when it ceased all service. The tracks remained for more than a decade, encouraging hopes that rail service would return, but they were finally removed, beginning in 1994.
Blevins received a post office in 1901, although the community did not incorporate until 1914. During the following decades, the population rose and fell, sometimes dipping below 200 and at other times exceeding 350. The decline of the area’s lumber industry and changes in farming habits contributed to the fluctuation of the city’s population. One stable facet of the city was the school district. Hempstead County at one time had ninety-five school districts, but consolidation and desegregation reduced the county’s educational system to just four school districts, one of which is located in Blevins. In 2013, the combined enrollment of the Blevins elementary school and high school was more than 500.
In 2010, the U.S. census counted 315 citizens of Blevins. Of these, 219 were white, thirty-nine were African American, and seventy-two were Hispanic. Agricultural work in Hempstead County has shifted from harvesting cotton and other field crops to processing beef cattle and poultry. There are no beef processing plants in Blevins, but one poultry plant is located near the city. Other city businesses include a bank, a hardware store, a car lot, an auto parts store, a convenience store, and a grocery-and-grill. There at least two churches in Blevins: a United Methodist church and a Baptist church.
No structures within the city of Blevins have been designated as historic properties, but an African-American Baptist church three miles southwest of Blevins is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Oak Grove Colored Baptist Church was established in 1866, just after the end of the Civil War, with the support of white politician James K. Jones. The land on which the church originally stood was claimed as part of the Southwestern Proving Grounds, and the wooden structure was dismantled in 1942 and relocated to its present site. It is now affiliated with the Missionary Baptist denomination.
For additional information:Blevins School District. http://blevinshornets.weebly.com/ (accessed August 5, 2013).
“Blevins Family Notes.” Hempstead Trails 16 (Spring 2001): 14.
Steven TeskeButler Center for Arkansas Studies
Last Updated 11/14/2016
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