Our Communities

A rich and diverse lifestyle and close-knit community await those who make their home in Mississippi County. From the larger dual county seats of Blytheville and Osceola, which offer a thriving steel industry and strong business climate to smaller communities like the culturally rich and quiet towns of Manila and Wilson, Mississippi County delivers numerous benefits for both its businesses and residents.

The Cities of Mississippi County

City of Blytheville

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. 

City of Osceola

Southern hospitality flourishes in Osceola. Founded in 1837 and incorporated in 1853, Osceola is a thriving Mississippi River town, now home to one of the largest and most technologically advanced steel mills in the world, Big River Steel. Osceola is a dual county seat with Blytheville, proudly displaying this role with a 1912 neoclassical, copper-roofed dome courthouse in the town square. Many structures In Osceola are on the National Register of Historic Places and celebrated in the Hale Avenue Historic District. 

In addition to recognition for steel production, many manufacturers enjoy the business climate in Osceola. American Greetings, the world’s largest greeting card producer, operates from the largest manufacturing facility under one roof in Arkansas, equivalent to 60 acres under the roof.

Osceola is famous for blues music. Main Street Osceola hosts the Osceola Heritage MusicFest. Notable musicians from Osceola include Albert King, Son Seals, Jimmy Thomas of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, and Reggie Young who played guitar with Elvis. Dale Evans, television and movie star, as well as the wife of Roy Rogers, lived in Osceola. Another accomplished Osceolan is Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inn.

City of Manila

With origins in the late 1860s as a herdsman camp, Manila later grew and incorporated in 1901, named to honor George Dewey’s 1898 victory in the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-America War. In 1910 the railroad was built through Manila, a significant advantage at that time. 

Now Manila is a quiet small town in the center of Mississippi County, favored as a desirable place to buy a home. The Manila Depot recognized on the National Register of Historic Places is noteworthy of transportation origins, while the Manila City Airport now brings more significant value for Manila residents, visitors, and flying enthusiasts.

Out of Manila’s back door, you will find Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Mallard Lake. Big Lake Country Club and Manila Water Park are also favorite outdoor venues.

City of Wilson

Robert E. Lee Wilson founded Wilson, Arkansas as a company town in 1886 to support his logging and sawmill operation, and later to build his cotton empire.  It was a desirable place to live as a community that met all the needs of workers, even access to company doctors for only $1.25 annually, equivalent to $19.13 in the year 2020. In 1925, Wilson’s son honeymooned in England.  This trip transformed the city as it was subsequently rebuilt within Tudor Revival architecture. Public roads and municipal government were put into place with city incorporation in 1959; houses were sold to renters to foster a tax base.

Today, as travelers pass along US Highway 61 over the Great River Road into Wilson, they are immersed in the beauty of English architecture in the heart of Mississippi Delta agriculture, yet with modern upscale amenities: dining, wine tasting, specialty mercantile, Wilson Music Series with world-class performers. Cultural amenities at the Hampson Archeological Museum honor Wilson’s past while The Delta School prepares youth for the future with a progressive approach to education.

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