Blytheville, Arkansas

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Blytheville, Arkansas
Blytheville City Park Blytheville AR 008.jpg
Location of Blytheville in Mississippi County, Arkansas.
Location of Blytheville in Mississippi County, Arkansas.
Coordinates: 35°55′51″N 89°54′50″W / 35.93083°N 89.91389°W / 35.93083; -89.91389Coordinates: 35°55′51″N 89°54′50″W / 35.93083°N 89.91389°W / 35.93083; -89.91389
CountryUnited States
 • MayorJames Sanders
 • Total20.80 sq mi (53.87 km2)
 • Land20.74 sq mi (53.71 km2)
 • Water0.06 sq mi (0.16 km2)
256 ft (78 m)
 • Total15,620
 • Estimate 
 • Density648.81/sq mi (250.51/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
72315, 72316, 72319
Area code(s)870
FIPS code05-07330
GNIS feature ID0057402

Blytheville is the county seat and the largest city in Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. Blytheville is approximately 60 miles (100 km) north of West Memphis. The population was 15,620 at the 2010 census.


Blytheville was founded by Methodist clergyman Henry T. Blythe in 1879. It received a post office in 1879, was incorporated in 1889, and became the county seat for the northern half of Mississippi County (Chickasawba District) in 1901. Blytheville received telephone service and electricity in 1903, and natural gas service in 1950.[3]

Forestry was an early industry, spurred by the massive harvesting of lumber needed to rebuild Chicago following the Great Fire of 1871. The lumber industry brought sawmills and a rowdy crowd, and the area was known for its disreputable saloon culture during the 1880s and 1890s.[3]

The cleared forests enabled cotton farming to take hold, encouraged by ongoing levee building and waterway management; the population grew significantly after 1900. On Blytheville's western edge lies one of the largest cotton gins in North America. Soybeans and rice have also become important crops.[3]

The area around Blytheville continues to be farmed, though family farms have given way to large factory operations.[3]

In the 1980s, Blytheville began to develop an industrial base, much of which centered on the steel industry.

Until 1991, Blytheville was home to Blytheville Air Force Base (later renamed Eaker Air Force Base), a major airfield that was part of the Strategic Air Command.

James Sanders is Blytheville's mayor, and the first African-American to serve in that position.


Blytheville is situated along the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

Blytheville is located at 35°55′51″N 89°54′50″W / 35.93083°N 89.91389°W / 35.93083; -89.91389 (35.930735, -89.913940).[4] It is the easternmost settlement in the state of Arkansas.[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.6 square miles (53 km2), of which 20.6 square miles (53 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.29%) is water.

List Of Highways:


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Blytheville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[6]

Climate data for Blytheville, Arkansas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 45
Average low °F (°C) 29
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.67
Source: [7]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)13,455[2]−13.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 15,620 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 55.9% Black, 38.8% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% from some other race and 1.2% from two or more races. 3.0% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 18,272 people, 7,001 households, and 4,746 families living in the city. The population density was 887.5 people per square mile (342.6/km2). There were 8,533 housing units at an average density of 414.5 per square mile (160.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 45.15% White, 52.15% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.31% of the population.

There were 7,001 households, out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 20.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 29.9% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,683, and the median income for a family was $32,816. Males had a median income of $30,889 versus $20,710 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,426. About 23.3% of families and 28.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.2% of those under age 18 and 17.4% of those age 65 or over.

Blytheville's population continues to decline. The 2010 Census reported Blytheville's population at 15,620, and the 2014 Census estimate is 14,884. The 2015 crime index for Blytheville, Arkansas is 946.2. The U.S. average is only 284.1.[10]

Notable employers[edit]

Nucor Steel is the largest employer for both Blytheville and Mississippi County, with four locations (Nucor Yamato Steel, Nucor Steel Arkansas, Nucor Castrip, and Nucor Skyline).

Nucor Yamato Steel, founded in 1988, is a joint venture between Nucor and Yamato Kogyo. Nucor Yamato manufacturers wide-flange beams and has the capacity to produce over 2.5 million tons per year of wide-flange beams and a variety of other products and structural shapes.

Nucor Steel Arkansas (Nucor Hickman), founded in 1993, produces hot rolled sheet mills for automotive, appliance, construction, pipe and tube and many other applications. In 2019, Nucor Steel Arkansas announced plans for a new cold mill. The new cold mill complex expands Nucor’s capability to produce automotive grade steel, namely advanced high-strength, low-alloy and motor lamination steel products. This will expand the number of products the company can make for the auto industry.[11] Also in 2019, Nucor Steel Arkansas announced plans for a new paint line. This new line will help Nucor Steel Arkansas compete in new markets, such as roofing and siding, light fixtures and appliances, as well as strengthen their existing market position in HVAC, garage doors and service centers.[12]

Aviation Repair Technologies (ART) is headquartered at Arkansas International Airport in Blytheville and employs approximately 120 employees. It performs heavy aircraft maintenance, aircraft engine disassembly, aircraft disassembly, and aircraft storage. Its aircraft repair services are focused on turboprop, regional jet, and narrowbody aircraft such as the ATR 42, ATR 72, Dash 8, Q400, ERJ, CRJ, MD80 and 737. Its engine tear down operation specializes in CFM56, CF6-80, and CF6-50 engine types.[13] In February 2015, ART laid off between 50 and 75 employees.[14]

Nibco, founded in 1904, is a recognized manufacturer and brand leader of valves, fittings and flow-control products.[15] The Blytheville location manufactures and distributes Cast and Ductile Iron Gate, Globe and Check Valves, Carbon and Stainless Steel Ball Valves, Resilient Seated Wafer and Lug Butterfly Valves, Iron Balancing Valves, and Resilient Seat (RW) Gate Valves.[16]

Tenaris, a global manufacturer and supplier of seamless and welded steel pipe products, operates 4 ERW (electric resistance welded) pipe manufacturing, threading and coating facilities. In January 2015, Tenaris laid off about 300 employees.[17] In January 2016, Tenaris laid off 100 more employees.[18]


Blytheville Public Schools serves the majority of the city.[19] The schools include:

  • Blytheville Primary School (K-2)
  • Blytheville Elementary School (3-5)
  • Blytheville Middle School (6-8)
  • Blytheville High School (9-12)

Other portions of the city limits are zoned to Armorel Public Schools and Gosnell Public Schools.[19] In addition KIPP Delta operates the KIPP Delta Blytheville Charter School.

A Catholic school, Immaculate Conception School, operated in Blytheville until its 2007 closure.[20]

Blytheville is home to Arkansas Northeastern College (formerly Mississippi County Community College until its merger with Cotton Boll Technical Institute). It offers a two-year program, and is the nation's first community college with a solar photovoltaic prototype facility.

That Bookstore in Blytheville is reputedly one of John Grisham's favorites
The Greyhound Bus Station is one of eight sites in Blytheville listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Keffer, Rigel (2012). "Blytheville (Mississippi County)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  5. ^ "EXTREME SETTLEMENTS: A COMPREHENSIVE LIST". Weekend Roady. 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  6. ^ "Climate Summary for Blytheville, Arkansas". Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  7. ^ "Average weather for Blytheville, Arkansas". Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  10. ^ "Crime in Blytheville, Arkansas (AR): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers, crime map". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Nucor opens new $230 million cold mill in Hickman".
  12. ^ "Nucor Steel Arkansas to Add Coil Paint Line".
  13. ^ "Aviation Repair Technologies (ART) - Aircraft Engine Disassembly - CFM56, CF6-80, CF6-50". Aviation Repair Technologies. Archived from the original on 2009-09-23.
  14. ^ Archived 2015-02-21 at the Wayback Machine |Blytheville Courier News. Retrieved 2015-02-21
  15. ^ "About Nibco".
  16. ^ "NIBCO Locations".
  17. ^ \ |WREG Memphis. Retrieved 2015-02-08/
  18. ^ Archived 2018-01-01 at the Wayback Machine \ Blytheville Courier News. Retrieved 2016-01-16
  19. ^ a b "SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP (2010 CENSUS): Mississippi County, AR" (PDF). 2010 U.S. Census. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  20. ^ Hargett, Malea (2013-03-28). "Despite 'year of grace,' St. Joseph School will close". Arkansas Catholic. Retrieved 2017-07-31.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]