Historical Markers in
Phillips County, Arkansas

"We are well fortified" A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground A Grand Memorial A Great Upheaval A Short Lived Confederate Victory A Terrific Fire From Graveyard Hill A Union Stronghold in Confederate Arkansas African American Troops Held This Ground Answering a Call for Help Arkansas' Mercí Car Battery A Battery B Battery C Revealed Battery D Battle of Helena Becoming Soldiers Civil War Comes to Arkansas Coming to the Aid of Fort Curtis Defending Helena Does the River ever flood? Explore our Top Outdoor Destinations Fight at the Levee Fighting to Stay Free Flags over Fort Curtis Fort Curtis Fort Curtis, 1862-1867 Freedom in Helena! General J.F. Fagan's Attack General Patrick Cleburne Helena and The Trail of Tears Helena's Contraband Camps Helena's Doughboy Helena, Arkansas Helena, Arkansas "Hell-in-Arkansas" Hernando De Soto Holding the Little Rock Road Judge Jacob Trieber KFFA 1360 Helena Lick Creek Skirmish Life Under Union Occupation Live at the Opera House Loyal to the Old Flag Patrick Cleburne in Helena Patrick Ronayne Cleburne Phillips County Court House Phillips County Goes to War Phillips County's Confederate Soldiers Phillips County, Arkansas Pippengerville "Put arms in their hands" Recruiting in Helena Remembering the Fallen River Birds Russwurm Memorial Sacred Heart Academy Seizing Freedom Service with Distinction Seven Confederate Generals Sonny Boy Williamson in Helena St. Catherine Academy The 33rd Missouri Spikes the Guns The American Legion Hut The Avenging Fire of the Gunboat The Battle of Helena The Battle of Helena The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Helena The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Helena The Civil War Brings Hardship The Confederates Attack Fort Curtis The Confederates Take Battery C "the gun boat Tyler saved the day " The Guns The Hard Road to Equal Rights The Helena Bridge The Irish Immigrant The Mississippi River Defines Helena The New Fort Curtis The Right to Vote The River Connects communities The T-33 Shooting Star The Union Army Marches Into Helena Their Guns Pounded Graveyard Hill They Passed This Way Those who have come before U.S.C.T. in Helena USCT in Helena "We are all the same as dead men" "We shall never be the same" West Helena, Arkansas What is a bottled hardwood forest? What is the impact of stormwater on the Mississippi Who Built Fort Curtis William Patterson World War I 1917-1918 “Let him sleep now with his brave companions”
Arkansas was one of the first states in the U.S. to enact a statewide prohibition on the sale and consumption of alcohol, passing the law in 1915. Prohibition was repealed in the state in 1933, shortly after the end of the nationwide prohibition era.
Phillips County, Arkansas, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by indigenous peoples, such as the Caddo and Quapaw tribes, who utilized the Mississippi River for transportation and trade. European exploration began in the 16th century, with French explorers traversing the region.

During the 19th century, Phillips County played a significant role in the expansion of the United States. It became a major center for cotton cultivation and trade, with large plantations dominating the landscape. The growth of the cotton industry went hand in hand with the institution of slavery, as African Americans were forcibly brought to the area to work on these plantations.

The county witnessed several key events during the Civil War. In 1862, the Battle of Helena took place just across the river, where Union forces successfully defended the city against Confederate attacks. Following the war, the Reconstruction era brought significant changes to Phillips County, as African Americans gained political power and economic opportunities. However, racial tensions persisted, leading to violent incidents like the 1919 Elaine Massacre, during which numerous black residents were killed.

In the 20th century, the county faced economic challenges due to factors such as the decline of the cotton industry and the Great Depression. However, efforts were made to diversify the local economy, leading to growth in industries such as manufacturing and tourism. Today, Phillips County is a vibrant community, proud of its history while embracing a promising future.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Phillips County, Arkansas.

  • 1815: Phillips County is established in the Arkansas Territory.
  • 1820: Helena becomes the county seat of Phillips County.
  • 1861-1865: Phillips County is heavily involved in the Civil War, with battles and skirmishes occurring throughout the area.
  • Late 1800s: Helena experiences a period of prosperity due to the timber and cotton industries.
  • 1919: Phillips County Race Riot takes place, resulting in the deaths of numerous African Americans.
  • 1930-1940s: The Great Depression and decline in agriculture negatively impact Phillips County.
  • 1968: The Phillips County Training School in Elaine becomes the center of racial tensions and violence during the Elaine Massacre.