Malvern, Arkansas

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Malvern, Arkansas
Downtown Malvern
Downtown Malvern
Brick Capital of the World
Location of Malvern in Hot Spring County, Arkansas.
Location of Malvern in Hot Spring County, Arkansas.
Malvern is located in the United States
Coordinates: 34°21′50″N 92°48′39″W / 34.36389°N 92.81083°W / 34.36389; -92.81083Coordinates: 34°21′50″N 92°48′39″W / 34.36389°N 92.81083°W / 34.36389; -92.81083
Country United States
State Arkansas
CountyHot Spring
TownshipsButterfield, Fenter
IncorporatedJuly 22, 1876
Named forMalvern Hill, Virginia
 • TypeMayor–Council
 • MayorBrenda Weldon
 • CouncilMalvern City Council
 • Total9.92 sq mi (25.69 km2)
 • Land9.86 sq mi (25.55 km2)
 • Water0.06 sq mi (0.14 km2)
315 ft (96 m)
 • Total10,867
 • Density1,101.68/sq mi (425.38/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)501 Exchanges: 332,337,467
FIPS code05-43610
GNIS feature ID0077584
Major airportAdams Field (LIT)

Malvern is a city in and the county seat of Hot Spring County, Arkansas, United States. Founded as a railroad stop at the eastern edge of the Ouachita Mountains, the community's history and economy have been tied to available agricultural and mineral resources. The production of bricks from locally available clay has earned the city the nickname, "The Brick Capital of the World". The city had a population of 10,318 at the time of the 2010 census,[2] and in 2019 the estimated population was 10,931.[3]


Named after Malvern Hill, Virginia,[4] Malvern was founded in 1870 by the Cairo and Fulton Railroad as a city site 21 miles (34 km) southeast of Hot Springs. On October 15, 1878, Malvern officially became the county seat of Hot Spring County. The original inhabitants of the county were Native Americans, trappers, hunters, and farmers.

The Hot Springs Railroad, often referred to as the Diamond Jo line, was established as a narrow-gauge railroad by Chicago businessman Joseph Reynolds in 1874.[5][6] Reynolds began building the Hot Springs Railroad, which extends northwest from Malvern Junction, a station on the Cairo & Fulton, to Hot Springs, after he had endured unsatisfactory stagecoach rides to the latter city. Because Malvern was the closest railroad station to Hot Springs, it became an important junction point for passengers transferring from rail to stagecoach to complete their journey to the spas in Hot Springs. This was the only railroad into Hot Springs for 15 years. The opening of the Little Rock & Hot Springs Western Railroad in April 1900 provided a more direct access to Hot Springs from Little Rock and the north, and both the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf and the Iron Mountain took advantage of this route, effectively cutting the volume of interchange traffic into Malvern. By 1902 passenger train shuttle service through Malvern had essentially ended.[7]

The Malvern Police Department lost Carson Smith, the deputy, and three officers in the line of duty, all shot to death during the 1930s. They were Clyde Davis,[8] Leslie Lee Potts,[9] and Hiram Potts.[10] Davis and Leslie Lee Potts were both shot during a domestic dispute on April 21, 1933, a shootout in which they killed the suspect. Hiram Potts, who was related to Leslie Lee Potts, was shot and killed during his March 4, 1935, attempt to arrest two men who were boarding a train illegally.[citation needed]

During World War II, hundreds of Malvernites moved to the Los Angeles area to take advantage of work in the shipyards—apparently spurred by a couple of residents who found work there and wrote home boasting of 88-cent/hour jobs, which was a decent wage for the time.[11]

In 1954, the Black population of Sheridan was moved to Malvern as a way to make Sheridan an all-white, or sundown town. The owner of Sheridan's sawmill, Jack Williams, told his Black employees that they could accept his offer to give them their homes and be moved to Malvern, or that he "would evict them and burn down their home."[12]


Malvern is in northeastern Hot Spring County, southeast of the Ouachita River where it exits the Ouachita Mountains. It is bordered to the north by Rockport and to the east by Perla.

Interstate 30 passes through the northwest part of Malvern, with access from Exits 97, 98, and 99. I-30 leads northeast 44 miles (71 km) to Little Rock, the state capital, and southwest 100 miles (160 km) to Texarkana. U.S. Route 67 (Page Avenue) runs through the center of Malvern, leading northeast 22 miles (35 km) to Benton and southwest 25 miles (40 km) to Arkadelphia. U.S. Route 270 passes northeast of Malvern on a bypass, leading east 24 miles (39 km) to Sheridan and northwest 20 miles (32 km) to Hot Springs. Arkansas Highway 9 (Main Street) leads south from the center of Malvern 64 miles (103 km) to Camden.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Malvern has a total area of 8.7 square miles (22.6 km2), of which 8.6 square miles (22.4 km2) are land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.79%, are water.[13]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Malvern has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[14]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

2020 census[edit]

Malvern racial composition[16]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 6,492 59.74%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 3,050 28.07%
Native American 36 0.33%
Asian 48 0.44%
Pacific Islander 8 0.07%
Other/Mixed 609 5.6%
Hispanic or Latino 624 5.74%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 10,867 people, 3,911 households, and 2,407 families residing in the city.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,021 people, 3,769 households, and 2,431 families residing in the city,[17] and its population density was 1,227.1 people per square mile (473.9/km2). There were 4,193 housing units at an average density of 570.4 per square mile (220.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.16% White, 28.66% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 1.94% from two or more races. 1.26% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The city had 3,769 households, out of which 29.0% contained children under the age of 18, 44.1% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.8% 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 2.93. Additionally, 25.0% of the city's population were under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.0% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years; for every 100 females there were 85.0 males and for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,007, and the median income for a family was $34,563. Males had a median income of $27,232 versus $18,929 for females and the per capita income for the city was $14,848. About 15.7% of families and 20.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.6% of those under age 18, and 18.4% of those age 65 or over.


The city is home to three Acme Brick plants and several other manufacturing companies, including Weyerhaeuser, Borden Chemical, Adams Face Veneer Company, and Pactiv. It is also the home of Grapette International, the manufacturer of Grapette soda. Malvern is the location of the Ouachita River Unit, a medium security prison.

Arts and culture[edit]

Annual cultural events[edit]

Every year on the last weekend of June, Malvern City Park hosts Brickfest, an event that fills the city with music, food and activities that include a brick toss, brick car derby, and a best-dressed brick contest. Malvern also hosts the Hot Spring County Fair and Rodeo each fall.[18]


History in Malvern can be found throughout the central city, including ten National Register of Historic Places listings.[19] Located at 210 Locust Street in downtown Malvern, the art deco Hot Spring County Courthouse has been the center of county government since its construction in 1936.[20] Also located downtown is the Bank of Malvern building, historically notable both for its distinct variation of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and its importance in transitioning Malvern from an agricultural-based economy to one based on industry. The Hot Spring County Museum is located in the Boyle House at 302 East Third Street in Malvern.[21]

Malvern hosts one of two whitewater parks in the state of Arkansas, located on the Ouachita River. (The other park is in Siloam Springs.) Used for training Olympic kayakers and river rescue teams, the river-wide ledge runs year-round, and is dam-released. A zip line and nature hike are available along Ouachita Bend.


Ełementary and secondary education[edit]

Public education for early childhood, elementary and secondary school students is provided by:

Postsecondary education[edit]


The city's newspaper is the Malvern Daily Record, established in 1916. It publishes an afternoon edition Tuesday through Friday with a Saturday morning "Weekend Edition"[23] The city also has two radio stations, KLBL (101.5), a Classic Hits format, and KZYP AM-1310, a sports station.



The Amtrak station

Malvern is connected on road by Interstate 30, U.S. Route 270, and U.S. Route 67. Amtrak's Texas Eagle provides daily passenger train service to Malvern on a route extending from Chicago to Dallas and Los Angeles, and railroad freight service to Malvern is provided by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Arkansas Midland Railroad, the latter operating over the route of the original Hot Springs Railroad. The Malvern Municipal Airport (FAA Identifier: M78) serves the Malvern area.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  2. ^ Schultz, Marvin (October 17, 2012). "Malvern (Hot Spring County)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  3. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 197.
  5. ^[bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2007-07-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-08-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-08-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2006-08-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Carl Abbott, The Metropolitan Frontier: Cities in the Modern American West (Tucson, University of Arizona Press, 1993), 17.
  12. ^ Loewen, James (2005). Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. New York: The New Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-62097-454-4.
  13. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Malvern city, Arkansas". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 20, 2017.[dead link]
  14. ^ Climate Summary for Malvern, Arkansas
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  18. ^ Schultz, Marvin (August 4, 2009). "Malvern Brickfest". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  19. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  20. ^ Barry, Helen and Arkansas Historical Preservation Program (November 7, 1996). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Hot Spring County Courthouse" (PDF). Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  21. ^ "Hot Spring County Museum/The Boyle House". Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Collection: C.G. "Crip" Hall Materials | ArchivesSpace at the University of Arkansas". Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  25. ^ "Frederick Yates". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-12-29.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]