A Brief History of Russellville, Arkansas

Russellville ca. 1920. Photo courtesy of the Russellville Police Department.

Russellville is the county seat and largest city in Pope County, Arkansas. It borders Lake Dardanelle and the Arkansas River. Before the town was named Russellville, it was known as Chactas Prairie, The Prairie, or Cactus Flats. In the early 19th century, Osage Indians from Missouri hunted frequently in the valley where Russellville is located. Between 1818 and 1828, the area was within a Cherokee reservation, but after 1828 the Cherokee were removed to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), and the land became available for white settlement. The first settler in the area was P. C. Holledger in 1834. One year later, Dr. Thomas Russell bought Holledger’s house. The first business to be established in the town was a store owned by Mr. Shinn, who later built a masonry structure to replace his wooden store in 1875. This building still exists today, and is known as the Shinn Building. It was built at the intersection of an east-west road from Little Rock to Fort Smith and a north-south buffalo trail to a ford on the Arkansas River. Early travelers used these established trails to pass through the valley. When the town’s residents decided to name the town, it came down to two choices: Shinnville or Russellville, and Russellville won (Wikipedia, 2019).


Wikipedia. (2019, Sep. 14). Russellville, Arkansas. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org.

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