Arkansas was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, which was the largest land acquisition in U.S. history, and the state was later admitted to the Union as the 25th state on June 15, 1836.
Polk County, Arkansas has a rich history dating back to prehistoric times. The area was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Caddo and Osage, for thousands of years. European exploration and settlement began in the early 1800s, when French and American fur trappers began to establish trading posts and influence in the region.

In 1844, the Polk County area became a part of the Republic of Texas. After the annexation of Texas into the United States in 1846, Polk County was incorporated into the newly formed state of Arkansas. The county was named after President James K. Polk, who was in office at the time.

During the American Civil War, Polk County experienced significant conflict. It was a divided area, with some residents supporting the Union and others supporting the Confederacy. The Battle of Backbone Mountain took place in Polk County in 1864, with Confederate forces successfully repelling Union troops.

After the Civil War, Polk County's economy shifted from agriculture to include timber and mining industries. The county experienced a boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to the discovery of rich mineral deposits, including zinc and lead. However, natural disasters such as the Great Depression and severe flooding in the mid-20th century caused economic decline in the region.

Despite the challenges faced throughout its history, Polk County has remained resilient. Today, it is known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and small-town charm. The county continues to honor its heritage through the preservation of historic sites and landmarks, allowing visitors and residents alike to appreciate its storied past.

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

  • 1838: Polk County is founded and named after James K. Polk, the 11th President of the United States.
  • 1849: The first post office is established in Polk County.
  • 1861-1865: Polk County residents actively participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1880s: The arrival of the railroad leads to increased economic development and population growth in Polk County.
  • 1898: The county courthouse in Mena, the county seat of Polk County, is completed.
  • 1924: The Mena-Intermountain Municipal Airport is established in Polk County.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression impacts Polk County, causing economic hardships for its residents.
  • 1957: The Queen Wihelmina State Park is established in eastern Polk County.
  • 1976: The Old Military Road Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2009: The Ouachita National Forest, which covers parts of Polk County, celebrates its 100th anniversary.