Located in northeast Arkansas, Mississippi County was established by Act of the Territorial Legislature on November 1, 1833, and was named for the Mississippi River which forms the entire eastern boundary.
The City of Osceola was the original county seat. The County became a dual seat by Act 81 of 1901. This Act divided Mississippi County into Judicial Districts, the Osceola District and the Chickasawba District. The Blytheville Court House was first erected in 1902. In 1919, the present Blytheville Court House was erected.
Mississippi County's rich Delta soil still supports a large but more various farming industry; including cotton and soybeans. Additionally, the County is a strong producer of wheat and rice. The drastic move away from labor intensive methods, however, has brought new challenges to the county's people and their leaders. The move toward a more machine intensive output allows for increased productivity and capital use.
After a period of population loss, due to the closing of Eaker Air Force Base, which effected employment numbers, the county began to work to attract industry that would create a broader and more stable economic base.
Mississippi County now has Nucor-Yamato and Nucor Steel in Blytheville, and other steel processing plants which officials say, makes this County one of the top steel producers in the country. American Greetings, Creative Foods LLC, Maverick Tube Corp., Coil Tec, Terra International, Milwaukee Tool, Siegel-Roberts, NIBCO, and other businesses of various kinds thrive over Mississippi County.
Cotton Boll Technical Institute, and the first all solar-powered college in the nation, Mississippi County Community College is now Arkansas Northeastern College, offers a variety of educational experiences to upgrade the skills of the work force at every level.
Mississippi County leaders have implemented intensive grant research and application projects. Recently, the County received a $2.9million Enterprise Community Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and has received designation through the Foundation for the Mid-South (funded by Pew Charitable Trusts) as a Workforce Alliance Community to increase work force labor skills and training initiatives.
Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the oldest federal refuge in Arkansas, is the only comparatively large area remaining in northeast Arkansas that contains a significant amount of virgin timber. About 5,000 acres has been designated as a National Natural Landmark. It contains the 500-acre Bald Cypress Research National Area of century-old cypress trees. Evidence has been found of almost 25 centuries of human occupancy of this region.
Big Lake Wildlife Management Area is one of the last remaining large tracts of bottomland hard-woods in northeast Arkansas and offers good hunting and fishing. The southern end contains a unique cypress-tupelo brake that is outstanding for bird watching, thus making Mississippi County popular with bird watchers and outdoor sports fans.
This information was researched from This Is Arkansas, 1993; Mississippi County Arkansas: Through The Years; and The Delta Historical Review, Summer, 1993.