Ozark, Arkansas

Last updated
Ozark, Arkansas
Ozark collage.png
"Where it all begins"
Franklin County Arkansas Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Ozark Highlighted 0552970.svg
Location of Ozark in Franklin County, Arkansas.
Coordinates: 35°29′34″N93°50′14″W / 35.49278°N 93.83722°W / 35.49278; -93.83722 Coordinates: 35°29′34″N93°50′14″W / 35.49278°N 93.83722°W / 35.49278; -93.83722
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Franklin
  Total7.77 sq mi (20.11 km2)
  Land7.72 sq mi (20.00 km2)
  Water0.04 sq mi (0.12 km2)
407 ft (124 m)
(2017) [2]
  Density467.69/sq mi (180.57/km2)
Time zone UTC−06:00 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−05:00 (CDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 479
FIPS code 05-52970
GNIS feature ID0072973
Website www.cityofozarkar.com

Ozark is a city in Franklin County, Arkansas, United States and one of the county's two seats of government. The community is located along the Arkansas River in the Arkansas River Valley on the southern edge of the Ozark Mountains. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 3,684. [3]

Franklin County, Arkansas County in the United States

Franklin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,125. The county has two county seats, Charleston and Ozark. The county was formed on December 19, 1837, and named for Benjamin Franklin, American statesman. To the north of the Arkansas River, which bisects Franklin County, the county is wet and alcohol is sold in liquor stores, bars and local vineyards. To the south of the Arkansas River, the county is dry.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.

A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.


Incorporated in 1850, Ozark is adjacent to much of Arkansas wine country, and contains a bridge to cross the Arkansas River for travelers heading to points south. [4] The city is also located on Arkansas Highway 23, nicknamed the Pig Trail Scenic Byway, known for its steep drops, sharp curves and scenic mountain views. [5] The city is contained within the Fort Smith metropolitan area.

Arkansas wine

Arkansas wine refers to wine made from grapes grown in the U.S. state of Arkansas. Many of these wines are grown from traditional European wine grapes of the Vitis vinifera group such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Riesling but Arkansas also makes wine from its native grapes, the Cynthiana and Muscadine.

Arkansas Highway 23 highway in Arkansas

Arkansas Highway 23 is a north–south state highway in north Arkansas. The route runs 129.88 miles (209.02 km) from US 71 near Elm Park north to the Missouri state line through Ozark and Eureka Springs. Between AR 16 at Brashears and Interstate 40 north of Ozark, Highway 23 winds through the Ozark National Forest and is designated as the Pig Trail Scenic Byway due to its steep hills and hairpin turns. The route has a strong connection with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, connecting fans in Central Arkansas with the Northwest Arkansas area.

Fort Smith metropolitan area human settlement in Arkansas, United States of America

The Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is a five-county area including three Arkansas counties and two Oklahoma counties, and anchored by the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The total MSA population in 2000 was 273,170 people, estimated by the Bureau to have grown to 289,693 people by 2007.

The name Aux Arcs, later simplified to "Ozark", was given to this bend of the river by the French explorers when they were mapping out this land. [6]


Native Americans roamed the area freely before Arkansas was a territory. The Cherokee and Osage lived in this area that would later become attractive to settlers. [7] The Ozark area was frequented by French fur trappers and served as a landmark during European exploration of the area. It was these adventurous souls who gave the area and the rolling mountains that rise there their name, Aux Arcs.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas Pre-Columbian inhabitants of North, Central and South America and their descendants

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.

The Cherokee are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, and the tips of western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia.

Osage Nation Native American Siouan-speaking tribe in the United States

The Osage Nation is a Midwestern Native American tribe of the Great Plains. The tribe developed in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys around 700 BC along with other groups of its language family. They migrated west of the Mississippi after the 17th century due to wars with Iroquois invading the Ohio Valley from New York and Pennsylvania in a search for new hunting grounds. The nations separated at that time, and the Osage settled near the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers.

Included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the vicinity became a stopping and crossing point along the Arkansas River. The modern settlement of Ozark was established here in the 1830s, and an important road grew connecting Ozark to Fayetteville, Arkansas, following the route of today's Pig Trail Scenic Byway to connect Northwest Arkansas with the river.

Louisiana Purchase Acquisition by the United States of America of Frances claim to the territory of Louisiana

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory of New France by the United States from France in 1803. The U.S. paid fifty million francs ($11,250,000) and a cancellation of debts worth eighteen million francs ($3,750,000) for a total of sixty-eight million francs. The Louisiana territory included land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The territory contained land that forms Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; the portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River; a large portion of North Dakota; a large portion of South Dakota; the northeastern section of New Mexico; the northern portion of Texas; the area of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River ; and small portions of land within the present Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Its non-native population was around 60,000 inhabitants, of whom half were African slaves.

Fayetteville, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and county seat of Washington County. The city is centrally located within the county and has been home of the University of Arkansas since the institution's founding in 1871. Fayetteville is on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains, deep within the Ozarks. Known as Washington until 1829, the city was named after Fayetteville, Tennessee, from which many of the settlers had come. It was incorporated on November 3, 1836 and was rechartered in 1867. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 105th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 73,580 at the 2010 Census.

Ozark played a role on the Trail of Tears. Steamboats would often stop here in times of low water and Native Americans camped in Ozark before moving to Oklahoma on foot. The waterfront is a designated stop on the trail of tears route.

Trail of Tears Series of forced relocations of Native Americans

The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of Native Americans in the United States from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States, to areas to the west that had been designated as Indian Territory. The forced relocations were carried out by government authorities following the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The relocated peoples suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their new designated reserve, and many died before reaching their destinations. The forced removals included members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, as well as their African slaves. The phrase "Trail of Tears" originates from a description of the removal of many Native American tribes, including the infamous Cherokee Nation relocation in 1838.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Ozark's population grew to about 100 people during the Civil War and served as a Confederate base after the battles of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove in 1862. In April 1863, Brigadier General William L. Cabell led 900 men from Ozark on an expedition that ended at the Battle of Fayetteville. Ozark became the scene of fighting later that year and again in 1864, where many skirmishes were fought in the vicinity. A monument on the grounds of the Franklin County Courthouse pays tribute to an officer killed just north of town.

Although Ozark prospered over the years, it remained a small city on the river. [8]

The name "Ozark" comes from Aux Arcs, the name given to the area and the mountains that rise there by early French settlers. Ozark, Arkansas, was the first community to be incorporated with that name. [9]


Ozark is located east of the center of Franklin County at 35°29′34″N93°50′14″W / 35.49278°N 93.83722°W / 35.49278; -93.83722 (35.492713, -93.837096), [10] on the north side of the Arkansas River. It is 48 miles (77 km) west of Russellville and 38 miles (61 km) east of Fort Smith. The city limits extend north to Interstate 40, which has access from Exits 35 and 37. U.S. Route 64 passes through the center of Ozark, providing a local east-west route parallel to I-40. Arkansas Highway 23 leads north as the Pig Trail Scenic Byway into the Ozarks 28 miles (45 km) to Brashears, while to the south AR 23 crosses the Arkansas River and leads 28 miles (45 km) to Booneville.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Ozark has a total area of 7.3 square miles (19.0 km2), of which 7.3 square miles (18.9 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.52%, is water. [3] Ozark is the point at which the Arkansas River is farthest north in the state.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Ozark has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. [11]

Climate data for Ozark, AR
Record high °F (°C)81
Average high °F (°C)50.0
Average low °F (°C)28.6
Record low °F (°C)−16
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.90
Average snowfall inches (cm)2.3
Source: [12]


Historical population
1850 82
1870 210
1880 824292.4%
1890 8624.6%
1900 848−1.6%
1910 1,14635.1%
1920 1,26210.1%
1930 1,56423.9%
1940 1,402−10.4%
1950 1,75725.3%
1960 1,96511.8%
1970 2,59231.9%
1980 3,62139.7%
1990 3,330−8.0%
2000 3,5255.9%
2010 3,6844.5%
Est. 20173,611 [2] −2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census [13]

As of the census [14] of 2000, there were 3,525 people, 1,453 households, and 940 families residing in the city. The population density was 491.6 people per square mile (189.8/km²). There were 1,607 housing units at an average density of 224.1 per square mile (86.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.48% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 1.08% from other races, and 1.25% from two or more races. 2.55% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,453 households out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 21.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,057, and the median income for a family was $31,537. Males had a median income of $25,409 versus $17,353 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,583. About 17.9% of families and 21.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.9% of those under age 18 and 19.8% of those age 65 or over.


Public education for elementary and secondary school students is provided by the two school districts:

Ozark is the home of Arkansas Tech University–Ozark Campus, a two-year satellite campus of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas. Arkansas Tech-Ozark is one of the region's leading providers of career and technical education, offering several associate degrees and technical certificates, as well as general studies classes. The campus was established in 1965 as Arkansas Valley Vocational Technical School (AVVTS). In 1975, the Arkansas State Board of Education/Vocational Education granted accreditation to AVVTS, making it the first school of its kind in the state to receive that distinction. In 1991, the campus was renamed Arkansas Valley Technical Institute (AVTI). On July 1, 2003, AVTI merged with Arkansas Tech University to become Arkansas Tech University–Ozark Campus.


Canoeing on the Mulberry River Paddling Near Ozark Arkansas.jpg
Canoeing on the Mulberry River

Downtown Ozark features a number of historic sites. Among these is the old Missouri Pacific Depot, which now serves as a museum and houses many artifacts related to the city's history. Murals can be found throughout the city. The quintessential square is filled with window store fronts full of antique and gift shops, crape myrtle shrubs in bloom summer through fall, and a park across from the courthouse.

The old Franklin County Jail features a distinctive stone facade, resembling a medieval castle.

The city serves as the southern access point for the Pig Trail Scenic Byway. This 19-mile (31 km) scenic drive begins 11 miles (18 km) north of Ozark where Highway 23 enters the Ozark National Forest. The Pig Trail leads drivers through rolling mountain country and past waterfalls, rock formations and the Mulberry River, popular for kayaking and canoeing. Ozark is a popular place for food and rest while exploring the Pig Trail Scenic Byway.

Ozark Lake on the Arkansas River provides plenty of fishing opportunities. Tree-shaded Aux Arc Park stretches along the river from the Ozark Lock and Dam and has a playground, campsites, boat launching ramps and other facilities. Within miles of Ozark are the Mulberry River and White Rock Mountain Recreation Area in the Ozark National Forest. [15]

Ozark is in the heart of Arkansas Wine Country along with the cities of Altus, Wiederkehr Village, and Paris. [16]

Depictions in cinema

In the first season of the reality TV series The Simple Life , Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie worked at the Sonic Drive-In in Ozark. [17]

On April 17, 2007, Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson mentioned Ozark during his guest appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman . While telling Dave a story about travelling the country, Craig said he had stopped in "Ozark, which is a town in Arkansas," and discovered catfish. It was the first time Craig had eaten catfish. He described it as being "a tasty fish". On June 14, 2007, Ferguson displayed a letter from Mayor Vernon McDaniels, making Ferguson an honorary citizen of Ozark. After becoming an honorary citizen, Ferguson set out to become an honorary citizen of as many U.S. cities as possible and later became an official U.S. citizen, all thanks to Ozark starting the trend. On June 25, 2009, Ferguson again mentioned Ozark during his opening monologue. He told his audience that Ozark was the place to stop for good catfish and described it as a "lovely town". Ferguson later financed a bond to build a $415,000 turf field for their high school football team in 2010. [18]

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

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Crawford County, Arkansas County in the United States

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Ozark–St. Francis National Forest

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Arkansas Highway 16 highway in Arkansas

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Arkansas Highway 21 highway in Arkansas

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Arkansas Scenic Byways highway system

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Arkansas Highway 215 highway in Arkansas

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Oark, Arkansas Unincorporated community in Arkansas, United States

Oark is an unincorporated community in Johnson County, Arkansas, United States. Oark is located on Arkansas Highway 215, 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Clarksville. Oark has a post office with ZIP Code 72852. The community is surrounded by the Ozark National Forest with the scenic Mulberry River nearby. The origin of the town’s name is unknown, although many believe it came from French trappers that frequented this isolated valley in the 18th century.

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The Arkansas River Valley is a region in Arkansas defined by the Arkansas River in the western part of the state. Generally defined as the area between the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, the River Valley is characterized by flat lowlands covered in fertile farmland and lakes periodically interrupted by high peaks. Mount Magazine, Mount Nebo, and Petit Jean Mountain compose the Tri-Peaks Region, a further subdivision of the River Valley popular with hikers and outdoors enthusiasts. In addition to the outdoor recreational activities available to residents and visitors of the region, the River Valley contains Arkansas's wine country as well as hundreds of historical sites throughout the area.It is one of six natural divisions of Arkansas.


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  14. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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  16. http://www.arkansas.com/dining/wineries-breweries/
  17. 1 2 The Simple Life
  18. "PBS Frontline Transcript". Football High.
  19. Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture entry on Roy Buchanan
  20. "Bill Gossage's Biography". votesmart.org. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  21. NWAnews.com :: Northwest Arkansas' News Source