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Home / Browse / Clarkedale (Crittenden County)

Clarkedale (Crittenden County)

Latitude and Longitude:

35°18'33"N 090°14'10"W

Elevation:

226 feet

Area:

11.961 square miles (2010 Census)

Population:

371 (2010 Census)

Incorporation Date:

January 12, 2001

Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:

1810

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2010

371

Although it remained unincorporated until the twenty-first century, Clarkedale is one of the oldest settlements in Crittenden County.

Clarkedale is situated near Interstate 55 north of West Memphis (Crittenden County) and very close to Jericho (Crittenden County). Wapanocca Bayou once flowed into the Mississippi River in this vicinity, and several communities have existed in this area since the Archaic Period. During the time the land was claimed by Spain, land grants were issued to Benjamin Fooy, Mundford Perryman, John Grace, and Cathy Gallowhorn.

The New Madrid earthquakes of 1811–1812 changed the landscape and waterways of northeastern Arkansas. When Crittenden County was established in 1825, the county seat was first placed at Greenock, a settlement located within the current boundaries of the town of Clarkedale. In 1836, the county seat was moved to Marion (Crittenden County), and Greenock and the surrounding area remained unchanged during the following decades. The Civil War largely bypassed the area.

In 1883, the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway built a rail line through the area, and the next year Cleveland (or Cleaveland) B. Clarke opened a store. He was also made postmaster for the area. At first, the post office and settlement were called Clarkton. Clarke had come to Arkansas from Peoria, Illinois, where he had become wealthy manufacturing and selling rye whiskey. He established a plantation in a largely wooded area near the railroad and maintained a summer home there. A Missionary Baptist church was established in 1884.

The name of the post office was changed from Clarkton to Clarkedale (sometimes spelled Clarkdale) in 1910. Other homes and businesses were established in Clarkedale. A second plantation was established nearby by Henry Banks and William S. Danner, residents of Mississippi. They had a large number of tenant farmers, mostly African Americans, who used more than 200 mules to cultivate the land. The harvested wood was largely used to heat houses. Tenant farmers were paid in scrip known locally as “brozine,” which was accepted at the plantation store. One-room schoolhouses were built, one for white children and others for African-American children. Clarkedale also had a black Masonic lodge, which later was merged into the Jericho lodge.

A tornado destroyed the Clarke store in 1921, but it was rebuilt. As highways were established in the area, a service station was built near an intersection of state highways. The post office was moved into the service station for a time, and it was then moved into a metal building near the station. The service station burned in 1977. Most of the other early buildings of Clarkedale have burned down or been razed.

Interstate 55 was completed through northeastern Arkansas around the middle of the 1960s, passing to the west of Clarkedale. The town was connected to the interstate by State Highway 50.

Desegregation and consolidation of schools closed all the schools in Clarkedale, and children began attending school in Marion. A new post office building was dedicated in 1989.

Clarkedale was incorporated as a town in 2001, making state and federal money available for road and water improvements. (Jericho, which is largely African American, had been incorporated in 1986.) In 2015, Clarkedale had two churches, the post office, and three businesses related to agriculture, including an irrigation company. The 2010 census reported 371 citizens of Clarkedale, of whom 309 were white and fifty were African American.

For additional information:
Woolfolk, Margaret Elizabeth. A History of Crittenden County, Arkansas. Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1991.

Steven Teske
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

Last Updated 11/17/2016

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