Blytheville is the largest city in Mississippi County and shares a dual county seat with Osceola. Named after Henry Blythe, a Methodist clergyman, who founded Blytheville in 1879 and later incorporated in 1889.
In the 1980s, Blytheville began to develop its industrial base, now thriving with diverse businesses and a globally significant steel sector. Nucor Steel Arkansas is one of the largest rolled sheet mills in the world. Nucor Yamato Steel, a joint venture with Yamato Kogyo, manufactures steel beams and other structural products. A sampling of other steel product manufacturers located in Blytheville include Nibco, a manufacturer of valves, fittings, and flow-control products; and Tenaris, a steep pipe manufacturer are examples of globally-recognized companies in Blytheville building out the steel value chain in Mississippi County.
Eaker Air Force Base, part of the Strategic Air Command, has closed and transitioned to a Municipal airport now named the Arkansas International Airport, home to Aviation Repair Technologies. The 11,600 ft. runway is an asset from commercial aircraft manufacturers and repairs.
Blytheville is not solely about the industry. A charming downtown welcomes shoppers, while events like Mayfest, Festival in the Park, the Blytheville Chili Cook-off, and Lights of the Delta draw visitors from several states. The past editor of Mad Magazine, Al Feldstein wrote science fiction “Chewed Out” for “Weird Science, all based in Blytheville. Famous musicians hail from Blytheville: R&B singer Dee Clark, country artist Trent Tomlinson, R&B singer and saxophonist Junior Walker, and Michael Utley of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. Olympic Bronze medalist for short track speed skating Kimberly Derrick is from Blytheville.