A Brief History of Monticello, Arkansas

Downtown Monticello in 1879. Photo courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System.

Monticello is in southeast Arkansas south of Pine Bluff. Incorporated as a city in 1852, Monticello serves as the county seat for Drew County. After the establishment of Drew County in 1846, residents felt a new town should be created to serve as the county seat. With more than 80 acres donated by a local family, the creation of Monticello began. In 1851, the first courthouse was built in the city square and Monticello continued to grow over the next decade – adding several churches, schools for male and female students, a variety of new businesses and a library. Located at the intersection of two major roads and served early by railroads, it became an enduring commercial hub. A diversified infrastructure consisting of commerce, agriculture, and the timber industry created a strong foundation and sustained the town’s growth. The town also became an important educational and medical center. Progress temporarily halted during the four years of Civil War but development continued during Reconstruction and the remainder of the 19th Century. Monticello has continued to grow and prosper through the 21st Century. It has become one of the largest towns in southeast Arkansas (Arkansas, 2019).


Arkansas the Natural State. (2019). Monticello. Retrieved from arkansas.com.

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