A Brief History of Jonesboro, Arkansas

Jonesboro courthouse built in 1886

Jonesboro is the largest community in northeast Arkansas and the fifth largest in the state. Shortly after being named Craighead County seat, the highest point in Jonesboro was identified and a courthouse was planned for construction. This was delayed for several years as the locals did not want to ruin their deer hunting location. The first court house was finally completed but was destroyed by a fire in 1869. A store across from this site was rented and used as a courthouse. It was destroyed in an 1876 fire. Another building was constructed on the same site, but it fell to a major fire in 1878 that destroyed most of downtown Jonesboro. Soon afterward, another court house was constructed, and it still stands. In 1910, a group of area farmers decided to try growing rice in the fields outside of town. Their success led to the creation in 1930 of what was at the time the largest rice mill in the world, operated by Riceland Foods, Inc. The rice industry continues to be one of Jonesboro’s leading businesses, along with the cotton and soybean industries. Jonesboro is a regional hub for the food-processing industry, being home to Riceland Foods and plants for Frito-Lay, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods/Post Division, and Nestle (Hendricks, 2018).


Hendricks, Nancy. (2018, Aug. 16). Jonesboro (Craighead County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas.net.

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