A Brief History of Van Buren

Historical Significance: Established in 1831, Van Buren carries a rich history that unfolds through its well-preserved landmarks and districts. During the Civil War, the city played a crucial role as both a Confederate supply depot and a Union base. The military activity left lasting imprints, with historical sites like the Drennen-Scott House reflecting this era.

Victorian Architecture and Boom Era: The late 19th century marked a period of economic prosperity and architectural splendor. Victorian-style homes and buildings adorned the city, showcasing its affluence. Today, these structures form the Historic Van Buren Main Street District, drawing visitors into a bygone era.

Railroad Heritage: Van Buren’s importance as a transportation hub solidified with the arrival of the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1873. The Historic Arkansas River Bridge, built in 1875, remains an iconic symbol of the city’s railroad heritage.

Present-Day Charm: Van Buren’s downtown exudes charm, housing local businesses, boutiques, and eateries. The King Opera House, built in 1880, continues to host cultural events, seamlessly blending the past and present. Explore the Crawford County Historical Museum for a deeper dive into the area’s history.

Nature and Recreation: Van Buren’s scenic beauty is showcased in its parks, with Lee Creek Reservoir offering fishing and boating opportunities. The city’s dedication to green spaces aligns with its commitment to preserving nature.

Events and Festivals: Annual events like the Old Timers Day Festival and the Old Fort Days Rodeo celebrate the city’s heritage, bringing the community together. The King Opera House hosts various cultural events, contributing to the city’s lively atmosphere.

In essence, Van Buren, Arkansas, is a captivating blend of historical preservation and modern vibrancy. Its streets echo with the tales of the past, while its present-day offerings invite exploration, making it a destination where the spirit of history and progress converge.


Early Settling

The area was settled by David Boyd and Thomas Martin in 1818. After Arkansas became a territory in 1819, Daniel and Thomas Phillips constructed a lumber yard in the community to serve as a fuel depot for traffic along the Arkansas River.

First Post Office

In 1831, a post office was constructed for the community, which had come be known as "Phillips Landing." This post office was named after newly appointed Secretary of State and future President Martin Van Buren.


Renaming & Incorporation

In 1845, "Phillips Landing" was renamed "Van Buren" in honor of former president Martin Van Buren, and it was incorporated as a city.


Battle of Van Buren

On December 28, 1862, Union and Confederate forces clashed in and around Van Buren, resulting in a defeat for the Confederates, led by Major General T. C. Hindman, driving them south across the river with minimal casualties.


Texas and Pacific Railway

In 1873, the Texas and Pacific Railway connected Van Buren to the Gulf of Mexico, enhancing its importance as a transportation center.


Modern Day Van Buren

Today, Van Buren, Arkansas, seamlessly marries historical allure with modern vibrancy. Its well-preserved Victorian architecture complements a bustling downtown filled with local businesses. The city's scenic parks, diverse economy, and strategic location as a transportation hub underscore its contemporary appeal. Van Buren continues to thrive, embracing its rich heritage while offering a welcoming and dynamic atmosphere for residents and visitors alike.

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