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Patmos (Hempstead County)

Latitude and Longitude:

33°30'42"N 093°33'59"W

Elevation:

328 feet

Area:

0.124 square miles (2010 Census)

Population:

64 (2010 Census)

Incorporation Date:

September 27, 1906

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

-

-

-

-

-

-

77

88

32

61

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

64

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patmos is a town in southern Hempstead County on State Highway 355. The town was created by construction of the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway early in the twentieth century, but its most significant years have been in the twenty-first century.

Caddo lived and traveled along the Red River not far from Patmos, but no settlement was established in the area at that time. After the Arkansas Territory was established, a network of routes called the Southwest Trail was built across the territory, terminating at Fulton (Hempstead County) on the Red River. Washington (Hempstead County) and other communities were established and grew during these years, but the site of Patmos remained unsettled. Just before the start of the Civil War, in 1859 and 1860, several families established ownership of land near Patmos. They included the families of William Arendell, Elijah Chastain, Noah Hamilton, James A. Jones, Wiley Jones, John Raleigh, and Levi York. Shortly after the conclusion of the war, Mount Nebo Baptist Church was founded in the area in 1866.

Southern Hempstead County remained sparsely settled, though, until 1902, when the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway built a twenty-three-mile extension of its line from Stamps (Lafayette County) to Hope (Hempstead County) to connect its lumber market with the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railway (now the Union Pacific Railroad). Two refueling depots were required; the first was established as Baker (Lafayette County)—now within the city limits of Stamps—and the second was to become the town of Patmos. A post office opened at the depot in 1903. The names Luzon and Dura were considered before residents chose Patmos, named for the island in the Aegean Sea near Greece that serves as the setting of the first chapters of the biblical book of Revelation.

The town of Patmos was incorporated in 1906, although the U.S. Census did not begin recording figures for its population until 1970. Aside from the railroad depot, the post office, and the Baptist church, it is not known what other businesses were established at Patmos—perhaps a general store and possibly a sawmill. A public school existed in Patmos for some years, but its opening year and closing year are both uncertain. Seventy-seven citizens lived in Patmos in 1970. In 1976, the post office was closed. The Louisiana and Arkansas Railway, which had become part of the Kansas City Southern Railroad through the influence of Arkansas investor Harvey Couch, was dissolved in 1992, and the rails between Stamps and Hope were removed.

Rather than allow their town to fade into oblivion like so many other railroad towns after the railroad disappeared, Patmos citizens resolved to revitalize and strengthen their town in the twenty-first century. The Patmos Community Park was built, including hiking trails and a disc golf course. In 2014, the old train depot was moved into the park. On May 24, 2014, the town began hosting an annual festival called Mayfest.

Along with the park and the Baptist church, other institutions in Patmos include a volunteer fire department, the Lone Pine Hunting Club, and Grandpa’s Place, a venue for gospel music performances. Patmos is also the headquarters of an organic farm organized by the Arkansas Drug Court Program, part of the Department of Community Correction. Men and women convicted of drug offenses raise food on the farm and sell it at farmers’ markets and at community events.

Arkansas historian James Harris (J. H.) Atkinson taught classes at the Patmos School in 1908 and 1909 before he completed his college education.

For additional information:
Fair, James R. The Louisiana and Arkansas Railway. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1997.

Steven Teske
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

Last Updated 7/10/2017

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