Every state in the United States has something that sets them apart, and Arkansas has an interesting history and culture. Some extraordinary Arkansas facts will make you want to visit or even move to this amazing state.
It is home to about three million people, and the state’s history has led to some funny, interesting, and quirky Alabama facts over the last 200 years.
There are so many stories and fun facts about Arkansas’s name, towns, and people that sharing some of these facts with you is a good idea.
Many people consider moving or visiting the Natural State, and if you know a little bit about it, it will encourage you to go and enjoy its rich culture and amazing towns.
26 Truly Interesting Arkansas Facts You Need to Know
1. The Final “S” In Arkansas Is Silent
Arkansas is a French transliteration of the word akansa, which was the name of the Quapaw people who, in the 13th century, inhabited the state we know today as Arkansas.
There have been various debates about the state’s name, including the discussion between two senators who each insisted that their interpretation and pronunciation were correct.
One senator said the name is pronounced (ar-KAN-zəs), and the other said (AR-kən-saw).
The state legislature finally closed all discussions in 1881 surrounding the pronunciation and concluded that the final “S” must be included in “Arkansas,” but it is silent.
2. Hot Springs Is Arkansas’s Oldest National Park
A historical Arkansas fact was before the state was settled in the early 1800s, the native tribes believed the hot springs had healing powers.
For centuries, the Quapaw people and other Indian tribes protected the hot springs because it was part of their ancestral heritage.
When the first settlers arrived in the early 1800s, the hot springs became their source of leisure, where they could unwind and enjoy a warm bath without the effort of boiling water on the fire.
Today, the hot springs still provide a place where the people of Arkansas relax and enjoy the thermal springs, beautiful forest, and awe-inspiring mountain views.
3. Arkansas Has 5 Official State Animals
An interesting fact about Arkansas is that the state has five official state animals. Like most states in the United States, the land of opportunity chose these animals to represent and symbolize its prosperity and uniqueness.
Arkansas chose these five animals to represent the state: the White-Tail Deer, Diana Fritillary Butterfly, Northern Mockingbird, and Honeybee, and it even has a state dinosaur, the Arkansaurus Fridayi.
4. William Jefferson Clinton Was Born In Arkansas
In 1946, a traveling salesman and his wife gave birth to a baby boy in Hope, Arkansas, whom they called William Jefferson Clinton.
Soon after Williams’s birth, his father died, and his mother sent him to live with his grandparents, where he studied to be a nurse.
William fell in love with politics, and at 32, he was elected the state’s youngest governor. You may wonder who this William is and be surprised that he eventually became America’s 42 President.
William Jefferson, better known as President Bill Clinton, served two successful terms in the White House.
5. Arkansas Is Known For Certain Foods
Like all states in the United States, food plays a big role in their identity, but interestingly, nothing compares to the delicious fried food and desserts from Arkansas.
Visiting Ozark country is life-changing, especially when you taste its Possum Pie, Hush Puppies, and Biscuits with Chocolate Gravy.
The state is the largest rise producer in America, and Alma, a city in Crawford County, is proclaimed to be Arkansas spinach capital.
Food like pulled pork, fried catfish, and coleslaw make Arkansas one of the best states to enjoy its hospitality.
6. Arkansas Flag Caused An Uproar
Flags are symbolic and provide a historical story of a country or state. Arkansas’s flag also provides some insight into the state’s origins, but not before there was some pushback about changes.
Arkansas flag has three blue stars representing falling under Spain, France, and the United States before getting its statehood.
The 25 additional stars represent the state as the 25th accepted state to the Union, and the diamond signifies it as the first United States diamond producer.
Lastly, the flag has two parallel white stars, symbolizing Michigan and the Natural State’s dual admission to the Union.
An uproar arose about Arkansas’s 1861 to 1865 membership to the Confederate States of America, and in 1923, the legislature added a fourth blue star, causing some unhappiness about the flag’s symmetry.
In 1924, the stars were realigned to everyone’s satisfaction and remain that way today.
7. Arkansas Is Home To 5 Billionaires
An interesting fact about Arkansas is that this state is home to five of the richest people in the world, and all of them are billionaires.
Jim Walton, son of Walmart’s founder Sam Walton, holds the title of the wealthiest individual in Arkansas, with a net worth of $57.9 billion. His brother follows closely behind in second place, with a net worth of $56.7 billion.
The third richest person in Wonder State is Johnelle Hunt, who started J.B. Hunt Transport Services in 1961, and today, she has a net worth of $4.2 billion.
Number four on the list of 5 richest people in Arkansas is Warren Stephens, who backed Walmart’s initial public offering and eventually provided him a net worth of $3.2 billion.
Last on the list of Arkansas’ richest people, but worth mentioning, is Barbara Tyson, who inherited a stake in Tyson Foods and has a net worth of $3 billion.
8. Arkansas’ Nickname Changed A Few Times
During the early years of Arkansas statehood, people from around the globe flocked to its cities to partake in its riches.
Today, everyone knows what state you are talking about when you mention Arkansas, but it was a different story when the first settlers arrived in the 1800s.
In 1800, the state was filled with wildlife, and the settlers quickly encountered many bears roaming the landscape.
Those who encountered these beasts referred to Arkansas as “The Bear State,” the name stuck until the 70s when the nickname was changed to “The Natural State.”
9. Arkansas Has A Law About Flirting In Public
It is against the law to flirt with a beautiful woman or man as you pass them on the street; it seems farfetched, but that was the case in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In the early 1900s, Little Rock was well known for its bawdy houses, and the town realized that it was the main cause of chaos in the city. In 1913, the city closed the bawdy houses, which only escalated illicit activity.
In order to put an end to all this illegal activity, the city passed Ordinance 2502 in 1918, which states:
“It shall be unlawful for any person to attract or to endeavor to attract the attention of any person of the opposite sex, upon or traveling along any of the sidewalks, streets or public ways of the City of Little Rock, by staring at, winking at, coughing at or whistling at such person, with the intent, or in any way calculated to annoy, or to attempt to flirt with any such person.”
10. Arkansas Has A World Championship Duck-Calling Contest
In recent years, just about any activity has some world championship, no matter how ridiculous it may seem.
In the early 1900s, adding a world championship title to any sport was a definite no-no, but not for those professional duck whistlers from Arkansas.
Local hunters in Stuttgart, Arkansas, had a dispute about the best duck whistler, and to settle the dispute, Thad McCollum arraigned the first duck whistling contest in 1936.
Today, duck whistlers from around the world compete every five years in Stuttgart to crown the Duck Wistling World Champion.
11. Arkansas Had An Ice Storm In 1983
Arkansas is known for its fair weather and seldom reaches temperatures that shock even those living in Antarctica.
They experienced mild levels of snow and even temperatures that forced you to wear a second jacket, but never to the extent brought by the 1983 storm.
In 1983 Arkansas experienced a devastating ice storm that lasted more than ten days, and those who remember it still “Burr!” just thinking about it.
During the ice storm, temperatures went as low as 0 degrees, and the few who braved the outdoors said that winds created temperatures 40 degrees below freezing.
12. Arkansas Is The World’s Biggest Producer Of Bromine
Generally, most people have heard about Bromine, but few know what it is and what it is used for.
Bromine is a reddish/brown liquid belonging to the halogens chemical family, including chlorine, fluorine, and iodine. Bromine is used in various products worldwide, i.e., in make-up.
An interesting fact about Arkansas is that this state is the largest Bromine producer in the world. Other than Bromine, Arkansas also produces natural gas and petroleum.
13. Arkansas Has A Castle Completely Covered In Rocks
There most likely is no stranger place than Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where everything is odd and eccentric. 274 Quigley Castle Road, Eureka Springs, is a great example, and the street is named after a house built there in 1943.
Since childhood, Quigley Castle owner Elise Quigley collected stones and decided she wanted a house built with them.
The strange yet captivating home draws a lot of attention, and since the 1950s, the family began charging those who wanted a peak.
Today, Quigley Castle is a historic museum and garden, and in 2003, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
14. Arkansas Is The Only United States State That Produces Diamonds
An amazing Arkansas fact is the 911-acre Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only place that produces diamonds in the United States, and some of the biggest diamonds in the world are found there.
The first diamonds were discovered there in 1906, and today, it is the only diamond-bearing site open to the public.
The Crater of Diamonds State Park produced the renowned Strawn-Wagner diamond in 1990, which contained Uncle Sam – the biggest diamond ever found in the United States. Uncle Sam was founded in 1924 and was a mind-blowing 40 carats.
15. The Delicious Cheese Dip Was Created In Arkansas
Cheese dip existed but not in the United States before 1935. A mouthwatering Arkansas fact is that Little Rock, Arkansas, was home to a restaurant called “Mexico Chiquito,” and in 1935, the owner introduced the first cheese dip in America.
Since its first appearance in the 1930s, Arkansas’s cheese dip has become so famous that filmmaker Nick Rogers made a documentary film called “In Queso Fever” about it.
16. The Only Garden Tiller Race Is In Arkansas
It may seem like a joke, but thousands flock to Arkansas’s PurpleHull Pea Festival World Championship yearly to watch or partake in the Rotary Tiller Race.
The small town of Emerson tests the design and running skills of those who believe they are the fastest tiller and lures them with a fun day and a $500 prize.
In 1990, the PurpleHull Pea Festival introduced the Rotary Tiller Race, which has become its main attraction.
Most people love to watch, and not everyone has the stomach to run 200 feet behind a monstrous speed tiller.
17. Arkansas Has The World’s 7th Largest Spring
Every state in the United States has something unique and amazing, but none as spectacular as Arkansas Mammoth Spring.
One of the greatest Arkansas facts is that this large spring is the 7th largest spring in the world and produces 9 million gallons of water every hour.
The millions of gallons run into a 10-acre lake, forming the Spring River that runs southwards and is a big attraction for trout enthusiasts.
There is a lot of rich Arkansas history connected to the Mammoth Spring, and today, remnants of a hydroelectric plant, a mill, and an old train depot still stand as a reminder of its significance.
18. There’s A McDonald’s Golden Arch In Arkansas
Nothing is more American than McDonald’s, and the famous golden/yellow double arch can be seen in every state, town, and city around the United States
Few know that the double arch was a later design and that the original McDonald’s sign had a single arch.
Original McDonald’s owners created a single-arched roof as a structural design, which later became a double arch, signifying the “M” in McDonald’s.
Today, there are only 12 original single-arch McDonald’s signs left, making it a rare occurrence to see one.
A fun fact about Arkansas is that the state has one of the most famous single-arch McDonald’s signs, which belonged to McDonald’s Store #433 in Pine Bluff. Today, sign #433 is part of the United States National Register of Historic Places.
19. Arkansas Has A Phenomenon Called The Dover Lights
Arkansas is no stranger to unusual and bizarre phenomena, and some things like the Dover Lights cannot be explained.
In the Ozark National Forest, mysterious lights appear every night on the hillside, and there has been much speculation about its origins. The lights were first recorded in the 1800s and sparked conversation, leading to numerous myths.
One of the most famous myths tells the story of Spanish Conquistadors who died while searching for gold on the hills and explains that the Dover Lights are their spirits.
Spirits of the dead seem to be the best explanation because another myth attributes the Dover Lights to the spirits of old Native Americans buried there.
20. The Ouachita Mountains In Arkansas Are One-Of-A-Kind
Arkansas always has something that sets it apart from the other states, and its geographical layout shows some surprising and one-of-a-kind mountain ranges. For most, a mountain is a just mountain, but not the Ouachita Mountains.
The Appalachian and Rocky Mountains run from north to south, but not the Ouachita Mountains.
The Ouachita Mountains run across the state from east to West, making it a one-of-a-kind. Natives noticed the uniqueness of the mountain’s direction, which led to a legend that rebellious spirits caused it.
21. Magazine Mountain Is The Highest Point In Arkansas
An Arkansas fact is that they claim the highest point in the United States interior highlands. Magazine Mountain is flat, with two summits towering over all the other mountains.
The highest summit, Signal Hill, is 2,753 feet, and Mossback Ridge is 2,700 feet. Mount Magazine is known for its hard rocks and harsh cliffs but, most of all, for its giant appearance and one of Arkansas’ most beautiful sights.
22. Arkansas Has Famous People
Arkansas has American history and famous people, especially in arts and music. Arkansas has produced legends like singer Glenn Campbell, known for his Rhinestone Cowboy.
The biggest state legend of all time is Johnny Cash, who wrote over 1,000 songs before he passed in 2003 and was a country legend.
Other famous people are Sister Rosetta Tharp, Scott Joplin, and Levon Helm, but probably not as famous as the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton.
23. Largest Horn Circumference On A Steer Ever In Arkansas
An Arkansas fact is that it is known for having the biggest diamond in the United States, but everything in the state is larger than the average.
Gassville is the birthplace of an African Watusi steer called Lurch, who became the most famous bull in the world.
Lurch’s owner, Janice Wolf, realized that he was special when his horns kept growing, and in 2003, his horn circumference measured 37.5 inches.
After the 2003 measure, Lurch was measured again, and his horns grew to over 38 inches, but unfortunately, he passed shortly after in 2010.
24. There Was A “Hangin’ Judge” Of The Old West In Arkansas
Many states in America are known for the time when Cowboys and Indians occupied the western country.
In the 1800s, the West was tough, and few survived the harsh conditions and unlawful acts that plagued the towns. As civilization came to these small towns, the law was introduced, and Isaac Charles Parker fully punished the lawlessness.
An Arkansas fun fact was that American politician Isaac Parker was the first judge appointed by the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.
Parker, known as the state’s “Hanging Judge,” tried 13,490 cases over 21 years and sentenced 160 people to death. Judge Isaac Parker hanged 79 people, and 81 died in prison awaiting execution.
25. The First Walmart Opened In Rogers, Arkansas
The most famous store in the United States is Walmart, with over 10,500 stores today. The biggest Arkansas fact was in 1962, businessman Sam Walton opened the first Walmart in Rogers to give Arkansans a cheaper, better, and more diverse shopping experience.
Thanks to Arkansas and business genius Sam Walton, everyone in the United States can enjoy a Walmart, and there are 132 stores in this state alone.
26. It’s Illegal To Kill “Any Living Creature” In Arkansas
Arkansas has some towns with laws that may seem excessive and odd to some. Fayetteville City, Arkansas fact is that it has an ordinance prohibiting anyone living or visiting the city from killing any animal.
Ordinance 92.03 states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to shoot, hunt, kill, chase, wound, or molest any wild animal within the city’s corporate limits.”
If you visit the city, do not worry; they do not prosecute you for swatting a fly or mosquito, and the law mainly protects warm-blooded animals.
Quick Fun Facts About Arkansas
Arkansas houses the only active diamond mine in the United States.
In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte sold the entirety of French Louisiana (including Arkansas) to the United States.
Arkansas is the largest producer of rice in the United States.
Hey you! Enjoyed reading about these fun facts about Arkansas? Then share them with your friends. Oh, and if you know some fun Arkansas facts yourself, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!
- 26 Kentucky Facts: Fun Facts About Kentucky You Need To Know - November 3, 2023
- 26 Florida Facts: Fun Facts About Florida You Need to Know - October 20, 2023
- 26 North Carolina Facts: Fun Facts About North Carolina To Know - October 13, 2023