Magnolia, Arkansas

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Magnolia, Arkansas
Downtown Magnolia
Downtown Magnolia
"Discover the Difference"[1]
Location of Magnolia in Columbia County, Arkansas.
Location of Magnolia in Columbia County, Arkansas.
Coordinates: 33°16′27″N 93°14′1″W / 33.27417°N 93.23361°W / 33.27417; -93.23361Coordinates: 33°16′27″N 93°14′1″W / 33.27417°N 93.23361°W / 33.27417; -93.23361
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCouncil-Strong Mayor
 • MayorParnell Vann (elected 2010 and 2014)
 • Total13.27 sq mi (34.37 km2)
 • Land13.23 sq mi (34.27 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
338 ft (103 m)
 • Total11,162
 • Density843.62/sq mi (325.73/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s)870
FIPS code05-43460
GNIS feature ID0077578

Magnolia is a city in Columbia County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 11,577.[3] The city is the county seat of Columbia County.[4]

Magnolia is home to the World's Largest Charcoal Grill and the World Championship Steak Cookoff, part of the Magnolia Blossom Festival.


The city was founded in 1853. At the time of its incorporation in 1858, the city had a population of about 1,950. African-American man, Jordan Jameson was lynched on November 11, 1919, in the town square of Magnolia. A large white mob seized Jameson after he allegedly shot the local sheriff. They tied him to a stake and burned him alive.[5] The city grew slowly as an agricultural and regional cotton market until the discovery of oil just east of the city in March 1938, with the Barnett #1 drilled by the Kerr-Lynn Company. The Magnolia Oil Field was an important discovery for the city as well as for the nation, as it was the largest producing field (in volume) during the early years of World War II, helping to sustain the American war effort.

In March 2013, more than 5,000 barrels of oil leaked from a Lion Oil Trading & Transportation storage tank in Magnolia, with some flowing into a bayou.[6]


Magnolia is located in southwest Arkansas, north of the center of Columbia County at 33°16′27″N 93°14′1″W / 33.27417°N 93.23361°W / 33.27417; -93.23361 (33.274052, -93.233477).[7] The average altitude is 336 ft (102 m) above sea level according to NOAA. The surrounding region is a mix of dense forest, farm prairies, and low rolling hills.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.3 square miles (34.4 km2), of which 0.027 square miles (0.07 km2), or 0.21%, is water.[3]

Magnolia is located about 50 miles (80 km) east of Texarkana, about 135 miles (217 km) south of Little Rock, and about 75 miles (121 km) northeast of Shreveport, Louisiana.


The average temperature is 64 °F (18 °C), and the average annual rainfall is 50.3 inches (1,280 mm).[8] The winters are mild but can dip into the teens at night and have highs in the 30s and even some 20s but average out around 50. The springs are warm and can be stormy with strong to severe storms and average highs in the mid 70s. Summers are often hot, humid and dry but with occasional isolated afternoon storms, highs in the mid to upper 90s and even 100s. In the fall the temps cool from the 90s and 100s to 80s and 70s. Early fall temps are usually in the 80s but can reach 90s and at times has reached 100. Late fall temps fall to 70s and 60s. It is not uncommon to see snow and ice during the winter. It has been known to snow a few times as late as April and as early as November in Magnolia[citation needed].


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 10,858 people, 4,204 households, and 2,577 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,165.3 people per square mile (449.8/km2). There were 4,821 housing units at an average density of 517.4 per square mile (199.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 58.24% White, 39.38% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.07% of the population.

There were 4,204 households, out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.2% were married couples living together, 17.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% were non-families. Of 4,204 households, 101 are unmarried partner households: 91 heterosexual, 4 same-sex male, 6 same-sex female households. 34.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.6% 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 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.2% under the age of 18, 16.8% from 18 to 24, 23.1% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,897, as of 2005, and the median income for a family was $35,269. Males had a median income of $31,577 versus $20,840 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,403. About 15.2% of families and 23.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.9% of those under age 18 and 17.7% of those age 65 or over.


Magnolia when it was founded was a cotton, farm production, and marketing town. Slowly the town grew, and in 1909 the Third District Agricultural School, subsequently known as Magnolia A&M and Southern State College, now known as Southern Arkansas University, was founded. During World War II Magnolia became a heavy manufacturing city. In 1938 oil and natural gas were discovered near the city in what was called the Magnolia Oil Field, the largest producing field by volume in the nation during the war. The city soon became a producer in steel, lumber, aluminum, bromine, rubber-coated products and fuel cells for the military.

The town's primary economic focus is heavy industrial, including Albemarle Corporation's Bromine Products Division (which has two facilities near town), Amfuel (which produces fuel cells for the military), and Sapa Group's extruded aluminum products facility. Also located in the area are several oil and brine drilling companies, many of which are locally owned, and timber companies, such as Deltic and Weyerhaeuser.

Major industrial employers: SAPA (750), Albemarle (739), Amfuel (380), CMC (344), Weyerhaeuser (250), Deltic Timber (125), Partee Flooring (95), and Southern Aluminum (90).

Largest non-manufacturing employers:

  • Magnolia Public School System, 346
  • Southern Arkansas University, 304
  • Magnolia Hospital, 253
  • Columbia County government, 110

The unemployment rate in Magnolia is 9.40%,[when?] with job growth of -0.40%. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 29.70%, according to Sterling's,[11] The U.S. unemployment rate average for the month of June is 9.2%, Arkansas' average is 7.2%.

Arts and culture[edit]

Magnolia is home to the Magnolia Blossom Festival and World Championship Steak Cookoff. The festival has been featured on the Food Network and attracts more than 40,000.[citation needed] A 'Festival of Lights' is held from late November through late December.

Magnolia is known locally for its downtown shopping on the square and for its murals - one of which was signed by Charlton Heston.[12]


The city operated under a city council form of government until 2003. Voters elected to convert the city to a strong-mayor form of government, making the mayor's position a full-time position with veto power. Lane Jean was elected mayor in 1996.[13][14][15] The city employs approximately 50 individuals in seven different departments, including the Police Department, the Fire Department, and Parks and Recreation.

Animal shelter rescue[edit]

The city operated a shelter designed for approximately 20 dogs. On August 14, 2014, this facility was found to have 59 dogs in unclean conditions, without heat, air conditioning or even walls for the animals. With the city's permission, the local H&P Animal Alliance assisted in removing the dogs from the over-crowded shelter.

A number of dogs were sent to an out-of-state animal rescue group specializing in saving large-breed working dogs, Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. Big Fluffy Dog Rescue is a Nashville, Tennessee-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.[16][17][18][19] The rescue effort cost an uncompensated $50,000.[20]


Public and private schools[edit]

Public schools in the Magnolia School District include:

  • Walker Pre-K Center (PK)
  • Magnolia Eastside Elementary (K-3)
  • Magnolia Central Elementary (4-6)
  • Magnolia Junior High School (7-9)
  • Magnolia High School (10-12)

Private schools in Magnolia include:

  • Columbia Christian School

Magnolia High School is known for its boys' track teams and baseball program. The track team has won the State Championship five out of the last six years. The Panther baseball team was crowned State Champions in 2011 and have won four straight conference titles. The Magnolia Panthers compete in the Arkansas Activities Association 5A-Southwest conference.

Since 1999 Magnolia High School graduates have received well over $1 million in college scholarship money each year, with the class of 2008 being first to reach $2 million in scholarship offers.

Graduation rates for the city are: High school or higher, 75.4%; Bachelor's degree or higher, 24.1%; Graduate or professional degree, 7.0%.[21]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Magnolia is the home of Southern Arkansas University, a public university that offers four-year and advanced (Master's level) degrees in business, public administration, computer information systems, education, counseling, education administration, and criminal justice. With an enrollment of 4,771, its most notable programs are agriculture, business, and education. The university's cultural focus is Harton Theatre, which provides a venue for both departmental plays, concerts, and local cultural events.



Magnolia Municipal Airport is a city-owned, public-use airport located three nautical miles (6 km) southeast of the central business district of Magnolia.[22]


Photo gallery[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Dennis Biddle is a former Negro League professional baseball player who played for the Chicago American Giants. Biddle is most known for making his debut in 1953 as the Giants' pitcher when he was only 17 years old, and was the youngest player ever to play in a Negro baseball league game.


On January 12, 2007, Magnolia annexed 2,325 acres (9.41 km2) east of the city, which includes approximately 1,100 people, increasing the population to 11,578. The city was expected to receive between $60,000 to $70,000 in state turnbacks per year as a result.


  1. ^ "City of Magnolia Arkansas". City of Magnolia Arkansas. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Magnolia city, Arkansas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  4. ^ "Profile for Magnolia, Arkansas, AR". ePodunk. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  5. ^ McWhirter 2011, p. 241.
  6. ^ Sider, Alison (20 May 2013). "Latest Pipeline Spill Is Mostly Contained" – via
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ "City of Magnolia AR".
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. ^ "Page Not Found". Cite uses generic title (help)
  12. ^ "Actor Charlton Heston Signs Local Mural". American Profile. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  13. ^ Texarkana Gazette. Oct. 27, 2009. Retrieved Dec. 23, 2010. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-12-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Lane Jean For State Representative. Retrieved Dec. 23, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Magnolia, Ark., Elected Officials. Retrieved December 23, 2010. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2010-12-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Protected Blog › Log in".
  17. ^ "Appalling Animal Cruelty Case at Magnolia Arkansas City Animal Shelter [VIDEO]". Eagle 106.3.
  18. ^ Kirby, Clay. "Dozens of animals seized at Magnolia shelter".
  19. ^ editor, Mike McNeill, publisher and. "Rescue effort mounted to help area shelter ease its overflow of dogs". maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  20. ^ Parr, Julie. "City of Magnolia addresses overcrowded dog pound".
  21. ^ "Magnolia, Arkansas (AR 71753) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders".
  22. ^ FAA Airport Form 5010 for AGO PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. Effective 11 February 2010.
  23. ^ "Roy Green". Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  24. ^ "Lane Jean, R-2". Archived from the original on June 14, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  25. ^ "Gen. Horace M. Wade". United States Air Force. Archived from the original on April 13, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  26. ^ "Carl Wafer". Retrieved September 12, 2012.

External links[edit]