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Jonesboro is a city in and one of the two county seats of Craighead Countymarker, Arkansasmarker, United Statesmarker. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 59,358. A college town, Jonesboro is the largest city in northeastern Arkansas and the fifth most populous city in the state. It is the principal city of and is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Jonesboro metropolitan area had an estimated population of 115,830 and 153,427 in the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area in 2006.

Jonesboro is the home to Arkansas State Universitymarker and is a regional center for manufacturing, agriculture, medicine, education, and trade.


The Jonesboro area was first inhabited by Indian tribes which included the Osage, the Caddo, and the Quapaw. The name of the state of Arkansas actually comes from the Quapaw language. American settlers eventually made their way to the area where Jonesboro is located and 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 Greenemarker, Mississippimarker, and Poinsettmarker counties and was used to form Craighead County. Jonesboro was the original county seat, and later Lake City was named as the second seat.[15710] The population of the city at the time was 150. Jonesboro was named after State Senator William A. Jones in recognition of his support in the legislature for the formation of Craighead County. Originally spelled Jonesborough, it was later shortened to its present day spelling.

During the late 1800s, the city tried to develop its court system and downtown infrastructure. Shortly after being named county seat, the highest point in Jonesboro was selected 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 then rented and used as a court house until it too was destroyed by fire in 1876. Another building was then constructed on the same site only to be consumed by fire in 1878. This fire destroyed most of downtown Jonesboro when it occurred. Soon afterwards, another court house was constructed and the structure still stands today in the city.

The Cotton Belt Railroad brought Jonesboro its first set of railroad tracks to the city. These tracks were located just north of the center of the city and during the first train's voyage it became stuck and supplies had to be carried into town Other majors railways began to construct tracks to and from Jonesboro including St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, Burlington Northern Railroad, and Missouri Pacific Railroad. Some of the rail companies still own and use the tracks that run through Jonesboro today.

Many entities established themselves in Jonesboro around and during the early 1900s. In 1899, the Jonesboro School District was set up in the city. In 1900, St. Bernard's Regional Medical Center was established by the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters. The first department store was opened in 1900 and its name was The Grand Leader Department Store. 1904 saw the establishment of Woodland College come and the opening of two more schools within the Jonesboro School District. Arkansas State University was established in 1909. and the first horseless carriages were seen in the city that same year. The two oldest churches still in the city today were started in the 1910s. First Baptist Church was established in 1911 and First Methodist Church was established 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. Jeffer's adherents also attacked the mayor and police chief resulting in front page coverage of the incident in The New York Times.

The Jonesboro massacre occurred on March 24, 1998 in a nearby unincorporated area of Craighead County. Two young boys (aged 11 and 13 years) fired upon students at Westside Middle School while hidden in woodlands near the school. Four students and one teacher were killed and ten injured.

In the 2007-2008 school year the Jonesboro Public School District elementary schools became magnet schools.


Jonesboro is located at (35.828067, -90.694048) atop Crowley's Ridgemarker in northeastern Arkansas.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 80.0 square miles (207.2 km²), of which, 79.6 square miles (206.3 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (0.9 km²) of it (0.45%) is water.


Joesboro has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa).


A flock of Canada geese
As of the census of 2000, there were 55,515 people, 22,219 households, and 14,353 families residing in the city. The population density was 697.1 people per square mile (269.1/km²). There were 24,263 housing units at an average density of 304.7/sq mi (117.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.37% White, 11.27% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.05% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. 2.34% of the population were Hispanic.There were 22,219 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. There are 878 unmarried partner households: 776 heterosexual, 50 same-sex male, and 52 same-sex female households. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,196, and the median income for a family was $42,082. Males had a median income of $21,633 versus $31,633 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,884. About 12.9% of families and 17.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 12.3% of those age 65 or over.

Historical figures
Year Population
1900 4,500
1940 11,700
1950 16,300
1960 21,400
1970 27,100
1980 31,500
1990 46,500
2000 55,515


Jonesboro is served by the following school districts:
  • Jonesboro School District
  • Bay School District
  • Nettleton School District
  • Westside Consolidated School District
  • Valley View School District
  • Brookland School District
  • Ridgefield Christian School (private)

Higher education

Places of Worship

  • Apple Hill Church of Christ
  • Betel Casa De Dios
  • Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
  • Calvary United Pentecostal Church Official Website
  • Central Baptist Church
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Community Fellowship Church
  • Cornerstone Methodist Church
  • Divine Revelation
  • Fellowship Bible Church
  • First Assembly of God (
  • First Baptist Church
  • First United Methodist
  • Forest Home Church of the Nazarene
  • Fullness Of Joyness Ministries
  • Highland Drive Baptist
  • Islamic Center of Jonesboro Official Website
  • Nettleton Baptist Church [15711]
  • Nettleton Church of Christ
  • Saint John Missionary Baptist Church Official Website
  • South Caraway Baptist
  • Southwest Church of Christ Website
  • The Rock of NEA Official Website
  • Trinity
  • Valley View Church of Christ Official Website

  • My Hope and Honor Church of Jesus Christ and all the followers of God Church
  • Walnut Street Baptist

Notable natives & residents

Other facts

  • Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin of the West Memphis 3 were tried and found guilty at Jonesboro's Craighead Countymarker courthouse in 1994 on a change of venue from Crittenden Countymarker.
  • The Mall at Turtle Creek, Jonesboro's new mall, developed by David Hocker & Associates, is a $100 million project. Completed in March 2006, the mall is the largest in northeast Arkansas, and is expected to bring in $225 million in revenues yearly. In turn, $6 million of that revenue will be contributed to the city in tax money. Before the opening of the mall, the Indian Mall was the primary shopping destination in northeast Arkansas.
  • In May 2006, Jonesboro commenced operation of Jonesboro Economical Transit, a major public transportation system known as JETS.
  • Jonesboro is serviced by several, local media markets as well. KAITmarker or Region 8 News is the local ABC affiliate, the Arkansas Educational Television Network showcases educational shows and PBS material on KETJ, and KVTN is a religious-based television network. There are also over half a dozen local radio stations. Northeast Arkansas is served by The Sun newspaper, more than 100 years old.
  • As a 2008 April Fools' joke the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture published the following information on their website: In the 1950s, Jonesboro was home to the Bartleby Clown College, an institution for the training of circus performers. The college ultimately proved unsuccessful and closed in 1959. The founding president, Steven Teske, went on to take a leadership position with Ringling Brothers Circus.
  • Jonesboro is in a dry county, but does allow the consumption of alcohol via "members only" clubs that one can join up on the spot for typically $5.


  2. History of Jonesboro
  3. Jonesboro Public School System
  4. St. Bernard's Medical Center: History & Facts
  5. About Arkansas State University
  6. KAIT - Jonesboro, AR: Teachers get Ready for Magnet Schools

External links

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