Forrest City, Arkansas

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Forrest City, Arkansas
20160414 132253570 iOS.jpg
One Forrest City, moving forward, one step at a time
Location of Forrest City in St. Francis County, Arkansas.
Location of Forrest City in St. Francis County, Arkansas.
Coordinates: 35°0′36″N 90°47′19″W / 35.01000°N 90.78861°W / 35.01000; -90.78861Coordinates: 35°0′36″N 90°47′19″W / 35.01000°N 90.78861°W / 35.01000; -90.78861
CountryUnited States
CountySt. Francis
 • MayorCedric Williams
 • Total20.31 sq mi (52.60 km2)
 • Land20.25 sq mi (52.43 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.17 km2)
Elevation256 ft (78 m)
 • Total13,015
 • Density642.87/sq mi (248.22/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
FIPS code05-24430
GNIS feature ID0083152[2]

Forrest City is a city in St. Francis County, Arkansas, United States, and the county seat.[3] It was named for General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who used the location as a campsite for a construction crew completing a railroad between Memphis and Little Rock, shortly after the Civil War. The population was 15,371 at the 2010 census, an increase from 14,774 in 2000. The city refers to itself as the "Jewel of the Delta".[4]


On October 13, 1827, St. Francis County, located in the east central part of Arkansas, was officially organized by the Arkansas Territorial Legislature in Little Rock. Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest became interested in the area around Crowley's Ridge during the Civil War. In 1866 General Forrest and C. C. McCreanor contracted to finish the Memphis & Little Rock Railroad from Madison located on the St. Francis River to DeValls Bluff on the west bank of the White River. The route traversed the challenging Crowley's Ridge and L'Anguille River bottoms. The first trains came through in 1868.

General Forrest later built a commissary on Front Street. Colonel V.B. Izard began the task of designing the town at the same time. Most residents were calling the area "Forrest's Town," later to be known as Forrest City, incorporated May 11, 1870. The county seat was initially located in the now defunct town of Franklin until 1840 when it was moved to Madison. In 1855 it was moved to Mount Vernon where the court house burned in 1856 destroying county records prompting a move back to Madison. The county seat was moved to a wooden structure in Forrest City in 1874, which burned shortly thereafter, again destroying county records.

In 1940, Forrest City was a stop for the Choctaw Rocket, a passenger train operated by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. Service was discontinued in 1964.

Evidence that giant mastodons roamed the slope was revealed in 1949 when workmen excavating for sewer improvements found bones of the massive beasts within the city limits.

Forrest City High School held its first integrated prom in 1988. After school integration was ordered in the mid-1960s, Forrest City eliminated school-sponsored dances and social activities. For 23 years, social clubs and individual families had organized a racially segregated prom.[5]

Despite being named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, Forrest City already had a third African American mayor, current Mayor Cedric Williams, in 2018.[6]


Forrest City is located at 35°0′36″N 90°47′19″W / 35.01000°N 90.78861°W / 35.01000; -90.78861 (35.010131, -90.788716).[7] Technically Forrest City is in northeast Arkansas using standard navigational methods.[citation needed]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.3 square miles (42 km2), of which 16.2 square miles (42 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.37%) is water.

Forrest City is located on Crowley's Ridge, a geological phenomenon that rises above the flat Mississippi Delta terrain that surrounds it. This north-south running highland is some three miles wide and 300 feet above sea level. Several species of trees not indigenous to Arkansas are found here, including beech, butternut, sugar maple, and cucumber trees.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

2020 census[edit]

Forrest City Racial Composition[9]
Race Num. Perc.
White 3,046 23.4%
Black or African American 9,184 70.56%
Native American 42 0.32%
Asian 78 0.6%
Other/Mixed 219 1.68%
Hispanic or Latino 446 3.43%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 13,015 people, 4,358 households, and 2,655 families residing in the city.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 14,774 people, 4,581 households, and 3,165 families residing in the city. The population density was 908.7 inhabitants per square mile (350.9/km2). There were 5,164 housing units at an average density of 317.6 per square mile (122.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 60.93% Black or African American, 35.52% White, 8.26% of the population were Hispanic or Latino, 0.74% Asian, 0.30% from other races, 0.19% Native American, and 2.31% from two or more races.

There were 4,581 households, out of which 37.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% were married couples living together, 28.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 27.9% 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 2.65 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.5% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 116.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 121.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,111, and the median income for a family was $27,432. Males had a median income of $29,313 versus $21,295 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,716. About 29.0% of families and 33.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.9% of those under age 18 and 22.3% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Federal Bureau of Prisons Federal Correctional Complex, Forrest City is in Forrest City.[11][12]

The United States Postal Service operates the Forrest City Post Office.[13]

Woodruff Electric Cooperative, a non-profit rural electric utility cooperative, is headquartered in Forrest City.

Local landmarks[edit]

A woman, pictured in a 1938 Forrest City camp after floods

The Forrest City Chamber of Commerce is located in the 100-year-old Becker House. This house has served a variety of functions since being sold by the Becker family. It was an antique store and later a home furnishings boutique before being occupied by the Chamber.

Forrest City had five sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places including:


Forrest City School District operates public schools, including Forrest City High School.

Circa 2014 KIPP Delta established the grade 5-8 KIPP Forrest City College Preparatory School in Forrest City, which occupied several temporary buildings and a portion of a Catholic church which had a lease agreement with KIPP. In 2018 KIPP Delta asked the State of Arkansas for permission to close KIPP Forest City and send students to the Helena-West Helena facility.[14]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Forrest City, Arkansas
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ "Office of the Mayor". Archived from the original on 2011-10-28.
  5. ^ McIntosh, Barbara (May 2, 1988). "The Class That Crossed the Great Divide; In Arkansas, a High School's First Integrated Prom". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ Nix, Ryan (February 3, 2020). "Tide Is Turning: Black Mayors Popping Up Across Arkansas". Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. ^ "Forrest City city, Arkansas[permanent dead link]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 1, 2011.
  12. ^ "FCI Forrest City Medium Contact Information." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on May 1, 2011. "FCI FORREST CITY MEDIUM FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION 1400 DALE BUMPERS ROAD FORREST CITY, AR 72335"
  13. ^ "Post Office™ Location - FORREST CITY Archived 2012-08-30 at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 1, 2011.
  14. ^ Howell, Cynthia (2018-12-02). "KIPP schools seek campus closure in Arkansas". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  15. ^ Welch, Melanie (2012). "Lewis Porter Featherstone (1851–1922)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.
  16. ^ Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) [1969]. The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-578970-8..
  17. ^ Miller, Lindsey (June 18, 2013). "Forrest City Native Cara McCollum Wins Miss New Jersey". Arkansas Times.

External links[edit]