West Memphis, Arkansas

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West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis collage.jpg
Flag of West Memphis.gif
Flag
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Seal
Nickname(s): 
Wonder City, Gateway City
Motto(s): 
"Beautiful from every direction."
Crittenden County Arkansas Incorporated and Unincorporated areas West Memphis Highlighted 0574540.svg
Location of West Memphis in Crittenden County, Arkansas.
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West Memphis, Arkansas
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°9′1″N90°10′44″W / 35.15028°N 90.17889°W / 35.15028; -90.17889 Coordinates: 35°9′1″N90°10′44″W / 35.15028°N 90.17889°W / 35.15028; -90.17889
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Crittenden
Incorporated May 7, 1927
Government
  Type Mayor–council government
   Mayor Marco McClendon
Area
[1]
  Total 28.96 sq mi (75.00 km2)
  Land28.86 sq mi (74.75 km2)
  Water0.10 sq mi (0.25 km2)
Elevation
210 ft (64 m)
Population
  Total26,245
  Estimate 
(2017) [2]
24,860
  Density861.31/sq mi (332.55/km2)
   Demonym
West Memphian
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
72301, 72303
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-74540
GNIS feature ID0078727
Website www.westmemphis.org

West Memphis is the largest city in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 26,245 at the 2010 census, [3] ranking it as the state's 18th largest city, behind Bella Vista. It is part of the Memphis metropolitan area, and is located directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee.

Crittenden County, Arkansas County in the United States

Crittenden County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 50,902. The county seat is Marion, and the largest city is West Memphis. Crittenden County is Arkansas's twelfth county, formed October 22, 1825, and named for Robert Crittenden, the first Secretary of the Arkansas Territory.

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.

2010 United States Census 23rd national census of the United States, taken in 2010

The 2010 United States Census is the twenty-third and most recent United States national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010. The census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, with enumerators serving to spot-check randomly selected neighborhoods and communities. As part of a drive to increase the count's accuracy, 635,000 temporary enumerators were hired. The population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538, a 9.7% increase from the 2000 Census. This was the first census in which all states recorded a population of over half a million, as well as the first in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 200,000.

Contents

History

Pre-European habitation

Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city limits, has a marker indicating that the villages of Aquixo (Aquijo) or Pacaha were in the area. Several mounds are still visible.

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

Mississippian culture Mound-building Native American culture in Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States

The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American civilization archeologists date from about 800 CE to 1600 CE, varying regionally.

European exploration and settlement

Explorers from both Spain and France visited the area near West Memphis. Among those explorers were Hernando de Soto and his men from Spain and Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet from France. By the time French hunters and explorers entered the region, the Mississippian towns and other settlements had been abandoned. The original site of West Memphis came from Spanish land grants issued during the 1790s. Grants were given to Benjamin Fooy, John Henry Fooy, and Isaac Fooy in the Hopefield (Crittenden County) area and to William McKenney in the Bridgeport-West Memphis area.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Hernando de Soto Spanish explorer and conquistador

Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who was involved in expeditions in Nicaragua and the Yucatan Peninsula, and played an important role in Pizarro's conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru, but is best known for leading the first Spanish and European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States. He is the first European documented as having crossed the Mississippi River.

Early history

In the summer of 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto crossed the Mississippi River into what is now Crittenden County with an army of over 300 conquistadors and almost as many captured Native American slaves. The Spanish found the land to be the most densely populated that they had seen since starting their journey on the Florida coast, two years earlier. The Spanish expedition departed Arkansas two years later, leaving behind numerous Old World diseases. It was 130 years before Europeans visited this region again. The French expedition of Joliet and Marquette in 1673 found none of the towns or people that the Spanish had documented; all that remained were the many mounds that still dot the landscape along the rivers and creeks. The original inhabitants, like the later settlers, were drawn to this region because of its fertile river bottom soil, abundant game, and thick forest.

Mississippi River largest river system in North America

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

<i>Conquistador</i> soldiers, explorers, and adventurers primarly at the service of the Spanish Empire, and also to the Portuguese Empire

Conquistador is a term widely used to refer to the knights, soldiers and explorers of the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire. During the Age of Discovery, conquistadors sailed beyond Europe to the Americas, Oceania, Africa, and Asia, conquering territory and opening trade routes. They colonized much of the world for Spain and Portugal in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

Florida State of the United States of America

Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.

First settlement

The earliest recorded immigrant to the area was Benjamin Fooy, a native of Holland who was sent in 1795 by the Spanish governor of the large area claimed by Spain to establish a settlement on the Mississippi River. He chose a location across the river from present-day Memphis. In 1797, the Spanish established Campo de la Esperanza which was a small fort along the Mississippi River. The Spanish abandoned the fort in 1802 and the area took its English translation "Field of Hope" which eventually became known as Hopefield shortly after the United States took possession of the Louisiana Territory.

Holland Region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands

Holland is a region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. This usage is commonly accepted in other countries, and sometimes employed by the Dutch themselves. However, some in the Netherlands, particularly those from regions outside Holland, may find it undesirable or misrepresentative to use the term for the whole country.

Crittenden County

Crittenden County is bounded on the east by the Mississippi River and was established in 1825, eleven years before Arkansas became a state. Named after Robert Crittenden, the first secretary of the Arkansas Territory, the county had a population of 1,272 in 1830. Hopefield became the eastern terminal for the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad in 1857. However, the Civil War forced a halt to track construction just east of the St. Francis River in 1861.

Robert Crittenden American politician

Robert Crittenden was an attorney and politician. In his capacity as territorial secretary, he served as acting Governor of Arkansas Territory. He was a co-founder of the Rose Law Firm.

Arkansas Territory former unincorporated territory of the United States

The Territory of Arkansas, officially the Territory of Arkansaw, and commonly known as the Arkansas Territory or the Arkansaw Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1819, to June 15, 1836, when the final extent of Arkansas Territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Arkansas. Robert Crittenden was the Secretary until 1829 and the de facto Governor, preparing Arkansas for statehood.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Civil War and the end of Hopefield

The former West Memphis City Hall is one of eight sites in the city listed on the National Register of Historic Places. CityHallWestMemphisArkansas.jpg
The former West Memphis City Hall is one of eight sites in the city listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

During the summer of 1862 Memphis fell into the hands of the Union forces. Most Confederate soldiers were ferried across the river to Hopefield, Arkansas, and surrounding farms. Many of these soldiers were moved on to other battle fronts, but some remained to harass the Union forces and disrupt river traffic. This became such a problem that on February 19, 1863, four companies of Federal forces burned down the entire town. The town of Hopefield was rebuilt after the war but never regained the prominence it once held in Crittenden County. After the St. Francis Levee District began the levee system in the Arkansas Delta during the 1890s, what little remained of Hopefield became part of the Mississippi River flood plain and was washed away.

First settlement named West Memphis

An early settlement that was established for ferry operations between Memphis and Arkansas in the early 1880s was given the name West Memphis. This small settlement, located directly south of the present day Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, never incorporated and died out shortly after ferry traffic ceased due to the completion of the Frisco Bridge across the Mississippi River in 1892. In addition to its lost ferry operations, this area, in the same fashion as its northern neighbor Hopefield, became part of the Mississippi River flood plain in the 1890s. [4]

The entire area usually flooded in the spring until the St. Francis Levee District was established in 1893. However, private landowners along the Mississippi River built levees that were only three or four feet high. In 1912 and 1913, the St. Francis main levee broke, flooding the area from the Mississippi River to Forrest City in St. Francis County. The flood of 1913 was the last time the levee broke in Crittenden County. [5]

Founding of West Memphis

After the levee system was built and strengthened, Zack T. Bragg, a lumberman who had been logging in St. Francis County since 1905, purchased 300 acres of virgin timber and established a sawmill in 1914. The mill was located along a railroad spur and a dirt path that would eventually become Missouri Street in West Memphis. [5] [6] Bragg also acquired the timbering rights to thousands of acres of adjacent land clearing the area that eventually gave way to fertile farmland and to the future West Memphis. The area around Bragg's Mill was known for the first few years as Bragg, Arkansas. The small community consisted of the mill, a commissary and boarding house, and a few dozen dwellings for workers. [7]

In 1914, another operation began two miles south of Bragg's Mill when William H. Hundhausen began plans for the Bolz Slack Barrell Cooperage plant located at the southern end of present-day 8th Street in West Memphis. The Bolz Cooperage, which was a stave mill, purchased a great quantity of acreage for its lumber operation. Within a short time of the mill's beginning, a small community developed. In 1917, highways 70 and 61 were established and clearing began through the future West Memphis. [8] With the threat of river flooding diminished by a strengthened levee, the establishment of two lumber operations and the building of two major U.S. highways, the small lumber communities grew rapidly. In 1920 the population was approximately 132 and by 1928, the population had grown to 350. The community incorporated as a city in 1927 with the name West Memphis. Zack T. Bragg, one of the city's founders, was elected as the first mayor and served for three consecutive one year terms. William H. Hundhausen, another founder of West Memphis, was elected as its third mayor and served from 1932 to 1944. [5]

Early 20th century

Both the building of the railroads, the establishment of lumber operations and the construction of two new U.S. highways fueled the growth of West Memphis. In 1930 the population reached 895. By 1940, the population grew to 2,225 and in 1950, the population had more than quadrupled in size to 9,112 making West Memphis the fastest growing city in Arkansas. Due to the rapid growth of the city that grew from thick forests and swamps earlier in the 20th century, West Memphis was nicknamed the "Wonder City" in the mid-1930s. [9]

20th century growth

The first automobiles began crossing the Mississippi River at Memphis in 1917 by special roadways constructed on the Harahan Bridge, which was built for rail traffic and opened in 1916. This heralded the growth of the future West Memphis as its main street, U.S. Highway 70, known as Broadway Avenue, brought an influx of automobile traffic through the area. U.S. Highway 61, named Missouri Street in West Memphis, was constructed at the same time and its juncture with Highway 70 would become the epicenter of downtown West Memphis. [7]

West Memphis was officially incorporated in 1927 and continued to grow to become the largest city in Crittenden County. The availability of river and rail transportation transformed West Memphis into the manufacturing and distribution hub of the county. In the 1930s West Memphis, along with the rest of the Mississippi Delta, suffered due to the economic depression. However, the city grew and developed at a record pace. The most notable export of West Memphis from that era was its original blues music. At one time Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Lockwood, Jr., and B.B. King lived in West Memphis.

The growth and development of the city's main commercial thoroughfare, Broadway Avenue, was instigated by the increased traffic and by demand for the industrial products produced and shipped through West Memphis by rail and river. Tourist courts, restaurants, hotels and other amenities geared toward the traveler were constructed along the traffic corridor through West Memphis. During the World War II years, transportation of soldiers and goods by road, river, and rail in the Memphis/West Memphis area created the need for lodging and other services. Construction in 1949 of a second automobile bridge across the Mississippi, connecting Memphis and West Memphis, created another influx of automobile traffic.

The buildings in the 700, 800 and 900 blocks of East Broadway reflect the growth of the city of West Memphis in the years 1930 to 1958. Until the national interstate highway system was opened in the late 1950s, diverting traffic away from former routes through the middle of America's towns, West Memphis' Broadway Avenue was the city's center of commerce, with retail stores, tourist courts and hotels and office buildings. Decline of Broadway Avenue was rapid after the traffic through the town diminished with the opening of the interstate highways. Although the three blocks of East Broadway contained in the West Memphis Commercial Historic District remain much as they appeared in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, the remainder of the city's major traffic corridor, Broadway Avenue, has changed significantly.

World War II to the modern era

In the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, 8th Street was often called "Beale Street West", reflecting a music and nightlife scene to equal that in Memphis. Some places in West Memphis have been associated with famous entertainers, such as the Square Deal Café—referred to as Miss Annie's Place on South 16th Street, where B.B. King began his public entertaining—and The Coffee Cup—located at 204 East Broadway in the 1950s, outside which Elvis Presley ate his first breakfast after being inducted into the U.S. Army on March 24, 1958. Other popular night spots along Broadway Street were Willowdale Inn, the Cotton Club, and the Plantation Inn.

Legal greyhound racing began in the county in 1935. In the years that followed, the track closed several times—once for flooding, another due to World War II, and another time due to fire. However, the business currently known as Southland Park Gaming & Racing on North Ingram Boulevard has been in the same location since 1956 and is now open every day of the week, including 24 hours on weekends.

West Memphis began its role as a trucking hub with the opening of parts of Interstate 55 in the 1950s. With both I-55 and I-40 traveling toward the Mississippi River, West Memphis became known as the "crossroads of America" in the trucking industry. In 1973, a six-lane highway bridge, known as the Hernando de Soto Bridge and located north of the Harahan, opened as part of I-40.

On December 14, 1987, a tornado killed six people and caused approximately $35 million in damage. The town had not recovered from the tornado damage when it flooded from 12 inches (300 mm) of rain on December 25, 1987. Additionally, 7 to 10 inches (180 to 250 mm) of snow fell on January 6, 1988. When the snow began to melt, this added to the already existing flood problems and the destruction caused by the tornado.

Some of the major employers in the city are Schneider National Carriers, Southland Park Gaming & Racing, Family Dollar Distribution, FedEx National LTL, and Robert Bosch Power Tools. Family Dollar Distribution and FedEx National LTL are located in the Mid-America Industrial Park west of the city.

The 1993 murders of three young boys and the subsequent convictions of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. brought a lot of unwanted attention to West Memphis. The three young men convicted were known as the West Memphis Three and brought about a great amount of public intrigue. Three documentaries have been made about the incident, the first being Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills . Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley were released from jail in 2011 after signing an Alford plea which allowed them to plea guilty while maintaining their innocence. They were released with time served and placed on probation until 2021. [10]

Geography

West Memphis is located in eastern Crittenden County. It is bordered to the north by the city of Marion. A small piece of West Memphis extends south as far as the Mississippi River, but in most places the river is from 0.2 to 2 miles (0.32 to 3.22 km) south or east of the city limits. Downtown Memphis, Tennessee, is 8 miles (13 km) east of downtown West Memphis.

According to the United States Census Bureau, West Memphis has a total area of 28.5 square miles (73.9 km2), of which 28.5 square miles (73.7 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.34%, is water. [3]

Climate

Wmweather88.jpg

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1930 895
1940 3,369276.4%
1950 9,112170.5%
1960 19,374112.6%
1970 26,07034.6%
1980 28,1387.9%
1990 28,2590.4%
2000 27,666−2.1%
2010 26,245−5.1%
Est. 201724,860 [2] −5.3%
U.S. Decennial Census [11]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 26,245 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 63.3% Black, 33.7% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, <0.0% from some other race and 0.8% from two or more races. 1.6% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census [12] of 2000, there were 27,666 people, 10,051 households, and 7,136 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,044.3 people per square mile (403.2/km²). There were 11,022 housing units at an average density of 416.1 per square mile (160.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 55.93% Black or African American, 42.16% White, 0.21% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.51% from other races, and 0.64% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.01% of the population.

There were 10,051 households out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.4% were married couples living together, 25.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. There were 553 unmarried partner households: 475 of both sexes, 52 same-sex male, and 26 same-sex female. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city, the population was spread out with 31.5% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,399, and the median income for a family was $32,465. Males had a median income of $29,977 versus $21,007 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,679. About 23.7% of families and 28.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.9% of those under age 18 and 22.3% of those age 65 or over.

Crime

West Memphis tends to have crime levels considerably above the national average. [13] [14] For the year of 2006, the violent crime index was 1989.3 violent crimes committed per 100,000 residents. The national average was 553.5 crimes committed per 100,000 residents. For 2008, the total murder risk for the city was over two and a half times the United States average, the same applied when compared to the Arkansas state average. Other forms of crime were roughly the same with the exception of larceny which was slightly above the national average. [15] While the crime within West Memphis is typically high, it is relatively average when compared with its far larger neighbor Memphis, the same applies to other cities throughout the same region of the South. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]

Economy

Primarily because of its central location and transportation infrastructure, West Memphis has become a hub for distribution and assembly operations. Healthcare is a noteworthy component of the city's economy, including Baptist Memorial Hospital – Crittenden, various clinics, medical suppliers, and nursing homes located in town.

The city lies at the point where two of the nation's most heavily traveled interstate highways, Interstate 40 and Interstate 55, intersect with the Mississippi River (a major cargo waterway) and large rail-lines operated by BNSF and Union Pacific. [21] Cable television, internet and digital phone service is offered through Comcast. AT&T provides telephone and internet service.

Distribution centers

Major operations include distribution centers for retailers such as Family Dollar Stores [22] and manufacturers such as Ciba Chemicals. [23]

Continuing nearly $40 million in expenditures in West Memphis since 1998, Ciba Specialty Chemicals began construction of a new $1.3 million, 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) laboratory facility in December 2003, which was completed in June 2004. [24]

Parks and recreation

Public parks

West Memphis Gateway

The West Memphis Gateway serves as the main entrance to the city of West Memphis. The LED lighting for the overpass support beams light at night according to the season of the year.

Downtown (Broadway)

Downtown West Memphis (2010) StreetscapewithWideOpenbanners.jpg
Downtown West Memphis (2010)

Broadway is the downtown district for the city of West Memphis. This downtown area has more than 84 stores and restaurants lining the street and is still growing. Broadway is the host of the city's "Blues on Broadway", hosting famous blues singers. City officials are still finding ways to renovate this area.

Districts of West Memphis

Gambling

Southland Greyhound Park (2008) Southland Greyhound Park.jpg
Southland Greyhound Park (2008)

West Memphis is one of only two cities in Arkansas (along with Hot Springs) with a venue for parimutuel gambling, antedating the casino developments in nearby Tunica County, Mississippi, by many years.

In the 1990s, Southland Greyhound Park, one of West Memphis' largest employers, saw its attendance and revenues decline drastically, with a corresponding economic impact on both the town and state. This was largely attributed to the rise of casino gambling in nearby Tunica, Mississippi. By 2002, Southland struggled to survive. [25]

Following an estimated $40 million investment by the park's owner [26] and the addition since 2006 of electronic games of skill and video poker machines, [27] [28] Southland has added more than 300 new employees, making it the third largest employer in West Memphis with 660 employees. [26]

Education

College

Public schools

Most of West Memphis is served by the West Memphis School District while a portion of the city of West Memphis is located within the Marion Public School District. [30]

West Memphis district schools:

  • Academies of West Memphis (formerly West Memphis High School), grades 10–12
  • East Junior High School, grades 7–9
  • West Junior High School, grades 7–9
  • Wonder Junior High School, grades 7–9
  • Bragg Elementary School, kindergarten-6th grade
  • Richland Elementary School, kindergarten-6th grade
  • Faulk Elementary School, kindergarten-6th grade
  • Jackson Elementary School, prekindergarten-6th grade
  • Maddux Elementary School, kindergarten-6th grade
  • Weaver Elementary School, kindergarten-6th grade
  • Wonder Elementary School, kindergarten-6th grade
  • [closed] Wedlock Elementary School, kindergarten-6th grade

Marion district schools:

Private schools

Infrastructure

Major highways

Healthcare

From 1951 until its closure in 2014 [31] , the community was served by Crittenden Regional Hospital, a 152-bed JCAHO Accredited facility. [32] Memphis-based Baptist Memorial Health System opened Baptist Memorial Hospital – Crittenden [33] , an 11-bed facility focusing on acute care, in December 2018.

Notable people

See also

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The Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, also known as the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge or Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge, is a cantilevered through truss bridge carrying Interstate 55 across the Mississippi River between West Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. Memphians refer to this bridge as the "Old Bridge" to distinguish it from the "New Bridge", or Hernando de Soto Bridge, upstream.

Harahan Bridge

The Harahan Bridge is a cantilevered through truss bridge that carries two rail lines and a pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River between West Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. The bridge is owned and operated by Union Pacific Railroad and is the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge in the United States. It was built with roadways cantilevered off the sides of the main structure for vehicles. These roadways are owned by the cities of Memphis, Tennessee and Crittenden County, Arkansas, and were used from 1917-1949, until the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge opened 400 feet south of the Harahan. The bridge was named in honor of railroad executive James Theodore Harahan, former president of the Illinois Central Railroad, who was killed in a railroad accident during the construction of the bridge. In February 2011, Union Pacific Railroad officials agreed to the idea of converting the 1917 roadways into a bicycle-pedestrian walkway across the river. In June 2012, Memphis was awarded a $14.9 million federal grant to build the walkway. The overall project was expected to cost $30 million, of which about $11 million was used for the Harahan Bridge portion. . Construction was completed in 2016.

Interstate 55 in Tennessee highway in Tennessee

Interstate 55 (I-55) in Tennessee lies entirely within the city of Memphis, located in Shelby County. The highway enters the city from Southaven in Desoto County, Mississippi and passes through the Whitehaven area of the city, bypassing Memphis International Airport to the west.

The proposed Interstate 69 extension from Indianapolis southwest to Texas currently has a short piece completed in the U.S. state of Mississippi, south of Memphis, Tennessee. The south end is an at-grade intersection with the former route of MS 304 near Tunica Resorts, where Mississippi Highway 713 continues west to U.S. Highway 61, and the route continues north to the Mississippi state line. Much of the route overlaps Mississippi Highway 304, which intersects US 61 farther north than MS 713. MS 304 is planned to continue east from I-55, connecting to State Route 385 in Tennessee, forming part of the Interstate 269 Memphis outer beltway.

Interstate 55 (I-55) is a north–south Interstate Highway that has a 72.22-mile (116.23 km) section in the U.S. state of Arkansas connecting sections in Tennessee and Missouri. The route enters Arkansas on the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge over the Mississippi River from Memphis. It travels northward through northeast Arkansas connecting the cities of West Memphis and Blytheville. I-55 continues into Missouri heading to St. Louis, Missouri. The highway overlaps Interstate 40 in West Memphis and has a junction with Interstate 555, a spur route to Jonesboro, in Turrell. For the majority of its routing through Arkansas, I-55 generally follows U.S. Route 61.

Arkansas Delta

The Arkansas Delta is one of the six natural regions of the state of Arkansas. Willard B. Gatewood Jr., author of The Arkansas Delta: Land of Paradox, says that rich cotton lands of the Arkansas Delta make that area "The Deepest of the Deep South."

Transportation in Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee has developed into a major Mid-American commercial and transportation hub because of its location on the Mississippi River and a convergence of numerous rail and highway links. Four rail and highway bridges cross the Mississippi River at Memphis. In addition, Memphis International Airport has become the world's largest airfreight terminal.

Southland Park Gaming and Racing

Southland Casino Racing formally Southland Park Gaming and Racing, is a casino, buffet, and greyhound racetrack in West Memphis, Arkansas. Over 400 greyhound races take place at the Park each year. Simulcast thoroughbred and greyhound races from other tracks around the United States are also offered. After years of low attendance, Southland Park has regained popularity because neighboring casinos in Tunica, Mississippi experienced devastating floods 2011. In 2014, it was announced that Southland was to undergo a nearly $38 million dollar expansion and renovation. It is one of the most visited attractions in Arkansas and the city of West Memphis.

Sam Cooper Boulevard Urban freeway/parkway in Memphis, TN, USA

Sam Cooper Boulevard is an urban freeway in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.. The more recent western segment of the road follows a parkway design, the older eastern portion which was proposed and constructed as a segment of Interstate 40 (I-40) is built as an expressway, without at-grade intersections and traffic lights. The western terminus of Sam Cooper Boulevard is at East Parkway North. At the western termination point of the road there is a short concurrency of East Parkway North with U.S. Route 64, U.S. Route 70, and U.S. Route 79. From its western end, Sam Cooper Boulevard continues east for 5.8 miles (9.3 km) to reach its eastern terminus at the Interstate 40/Interstate 240 interchange.

U.S. Route 64 in Arkansas highway in Arkansas

U.S. Route 64 is a U.S. highway running from Teec Nos Pos, Arizona east to Nags Head, North Carolina. In the U.S. state of Arkansas, the route runs 246.35 miles (396.46 km) from the Oklahoma border in Fort Smith east to the Tennessee border in Memphis. The route passes through several cities and towns, including Fort Smith, Clarksville, Russellville, Conway, Searcy, and West Memphis. US 64 runs parallel to Interstate 40 until Conway, when I-40 takes a more southerly route.

Arkansas Highway 131 highway in Arkansas

Highway 131 is a designation for five north–south state highways in northeast Arkansas. One route of 5.51 miles (8.87 km) runs from Highway 1 in Haynes east to Lee County Road 719. A second route of 9.57 miles (15.40 km) begins at US Route 79 (US 79) near Brickeys and runs south to the Mississippi River levee. A third route of 8.74 miles (14.07 km) forms a semicircle around Horseshoe Lake and Porter Lake, connecting to Highway 147 at both ends. A fourth route of 3.11 miles (5.01 km) begins at Highway 147 and runs through Edmondson. A fifth route begins at Interstate 55/US 61/US 64/US 79 in West Memphis and runs north to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive/Mound City Road in West Memphis. All routes are maintained by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD).

Highway 118 is a designation for two state highways in the Upper Arkansas Delta. One route of 41.43 miles (66.68 km) begins at US Highway 64 (US 64) and Highway 149 east to Mississippi County Road 495 near the Mississippi River levee. A second route of 4.29 miles (6.90 km) runs from US 70/US 79 in West Memphis to US 64 in Marion. Both routes are maintained by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD).

Highway 147 is a north–south state highway in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The route of 25.83 miles (41.57 km) runs from Highway 131 at Bruins north across Interstate 40/US Route 63/US Route 79 (I-40/US 63/US 70/US 79) to US 64 near West Memphis. A portion of the route make up the western routing of the Great River Road.

Mound Landing, Mississippi Ghost town in Mississippi, United States

Mound Landing is a ghost town in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States.

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