Jonesboro is a city in Craighead County, Arkansas, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city was 71,551. A college town, Jonesboro is the largest city in northeastern Arkansas and the Arkansas Delta; it is the fifth-most populous city in the state.
It is the principal city of and is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2010, the Jonesboro metropolitan area had a population of 121,026 and a population of 163,116 in the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area.
Jonesboro is home to Arkansas State University. It is a regional center for manufacturing, agriculture, medicine, education, and trade.
The Jonesboro area was first inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, historic tribes included the Osage, the Caddo, and the Quapaw. The name of the state of Arkansas comes from the Quapaw language. French and Spanish traders and trappers had relations with these groups.
After the United States acquired this territory in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, American settlers eventually made their way to the area where Jonesboro is located. They began exploring, hunting, trapping, and trading with the local Indian tribes. A permanent settlement of Jonesboro was set up shortly after 1815.
In 1859, land was taken from nearby Greene, Mississippi, and Poinsett counties and was used to form Craighead County. Jonesboro was designated as the original county seat. As the population increased in the west of the county, Lake City was named as the second seat. In 1859 Jonesboro had 150 residents. It was named after State Senator William A. Jones in recognition of his support for the formation of Craighead County. Originally spelled Jonesborough, the city name was later shortened to its present-day spelling.
During the late 19th century, the city tried to develop its court system and downtown infrastructure. Shortly after being named county seat, the highest point in Jonesboro was identified and a court house was planned for construction. This was delayed for several years as the locals did not want to ruin their deer hunting. The first court house was finally completed but was destroyed by a fire in 1869. A store across from this site was rented and used as a court house. It was destroyed in an 1876 fire. Another building was constructed on the same site, but it fell to a fire in 1878, a major one that destroyed most of downtown Jonesboro. Soon afterward, another court house was constructed, and it still stands.
The St. Louis Southwestern Railway, known as the Cotton Belt Railroad was constructed through Jonesboro, with its tracks passing just north of the center of the city. During the first train's journey, it became stuck and supplies had to be carried into town. It connected St. Louis to points in Arkansas and Texas. Other major railways began to construct tracks to and from Jonesboro, including the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway and Missouri Pacific Railroad. Some of the rail companies still own and use the tracks that run through Jonesboro.
The city set up the Jonesboro School District in 1899. In 1900, St. Bernard's Regional Medical Center was established by the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters. The Grand Leader Department Store, the first department store in the city, was opened in 1900. Woodland College and two schools within the Jonesboro School District were opened in 1904. Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University) was established in 1909, a year in which the first horseless carriages were driven in the city. The two oldest churches of the city were started in the 1910s. First Baptist Church was founded in 1911, and First Methodist Church in 1916.
On September 10, 1931, Governor Harvey Parnell authorized the Arkansas National Guard to be deployed in Jonesboro to quell the Church War, a clash between the followers of Joe Jeffers and Dow H. Heard, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro. Jeffers' supporters also attacked the mayor and police chief, resulting in front page coverage of the incident in The New York Times.
During the 20th century, Jonesboro began to diversify its economy, with industrial businesses that allowed it to grow beyond the cotton culture. The university attracts educated residents.
The Westside Middle School massacre occurred on March 24, 1998. Two young boys (aged 11 and 13 years) fired upon students at Westside Middle School while hidden in woodlands near the school. They killed four students and one teacher, and injured ten persons.
In the 2007-2008 school year the Jonesboro Public School District elementary schools were reclassified as magnet schools.
Jonesboro is located at 35°49′41″N 90°41′39″W / 35.82806°N 90.69417°W / 35.82806; -90.69417 (35.828067, -90.694048) atop Crowley's Ridge in northeastern Arkansas.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 80.5 square miles (208.4 km2), of which 79.9 square miles (206.9 km2) is land and 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2), or 0.72%, is water.
The region is served by Jonesboro Municipal Airport. Scheduled flights between Jonesboro and St. Louis, Missouri, are offered daily by Air Choice One.
The area is served by the Jonesboro Economic Transit System (JETS). As of 2011, JETS operates three fixed routes, as well as para-transit service for disabled persons.
List of highways
In popular culture and trivia
- Jonesboro is the place of death of the fictional character Rooster Cogburn in Charles Portis' novel True Grit, and in its 1969 and 2010 film adaptations.
- Numerous references to the city are made in Jonesboro native John Grisham's book A Painted House and in the 2003 movie of the same title. The story takes place in Craighead County, and the movie was filmed in the town of Lepanto in neighboring Poinsett County.
- Elvis Presley, who frequently played the high school and college dance circuit in the Jonesboro area, became an honorary member of Tau Kappa Epsilon of Arkansas State University.
- Nettleton, a community annexed to Jonesboro in the 1960s, made national headlines in 1939 when a local minister's teenaged daughter wore short pants in public.
- In the 2012 bestseller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, the female lead buys a used car in Jonesboro, meeting the sellers in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart.
- Jonesboro is home to the world's largest rice mill, Riceland Rice.
- Actor Richard Gere claimed that Jonesboro has the most beautiful women in the world.
The Mall at Turtle Creek, opened in 2006, is the largest mall in northeast Arkansas. It was the only enclosed mall opened in the United States that year. Before the opening of the mall, the Indian Mall was the primary shopping destination in northeast Arkansas. In 2012, Indian Mall, named for the former mascot of Arkansas State University, was demolished. The only store to remain in its original location was Sears.
In 2012, Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Jonesboro ninth of the "Ten Best Cities for Cheapskates".
Local television and radio
- KAIT - 8.1 ABC
- KAIT - 8.2 NBC
- KTEJ - 19.1-19.4 AETN/PBS
- KJNB-LD/KJNE-LD - 39.1/42.1 Fox
- KJNB-LD/KJNE-LD - 39.2/42.2 CBS
- KVTJ - 48.1 VTN
- KASU-FM 91.9 FM Public Radio
- K224DW (KDXY-FM/HD2) 92.7 FM Sports ESPN Jonesboro
- K237FI (KNEA-AM) 95.3 FM Sports 95.3 The Ticket
- K253BQ (KJBX-FM/HD2) 98.5 FM Country The Outlaw 98.5
- KEGI-FM 100.5 FM Classic Rock 100.5 The Eagle Rocks
- K267AS (KBTM-AM) 101.3 FM News/Talk News Talk 1230
- KIYS-FM 101.7 FM Top 40 101.7 KISS-FM
- KDXY-FM 104.9 FM Country 104.9 The Fox
- KJBX-FM 106.3 FM Hot AC The Mix 106.3
- K298AV (KDXY-FM/HD3) 107.5 FM Top 40 107.5 The Party Station
- KFIN-FM 107.9 FM Country 107.9 K-FINE
- KLEK-LP 102.5 FM R&B/Blues/Gospel/Jazz Urban Adult Hits and Classics
- KFLO-LP 102.9 FM Southern Gospel
- KNEA-AM 970 AM Sports 95.3 The Ticket
- KBTM-AM 1230 AM News/Talk News Talk 1230