Open main menu

Helena is the eastern portion of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, a city in Phillips County, Arkansas. It was founded in 1833 by Nicholas Rightor and is named after the daughter of Sylvanus Phillips, an early settler of Phillips County and the namesake of Phillips County. As of the 2000 census, this portion of the city population was 6,323. Helena was the county seat of Phillips County[2] until January 1, 2006, when it merged its government and city limits with neighboring West Helena.

Helena, Arkansas
Downtown Helena
Downtown Helena
Location of Helena, Arkansas
Location of Helena, Arkansas
Coordinates: 34°31′34″N 90°36′5″W / 34.52611°N 90.60139°W / 34.52611; -90.60139Coordinates: 34°31′34″N 90°36′5″W / 34.52611°N 90.60139°W / 34.52611; -90.60139
CountryUnited States
StateArkansas
CountyPhillips
Area
 • Total8.9 sq mi (23.0 km2)
 • Land8.9 sq mi (23.0 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation
197 ft (60 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total10,032
 • Density902/sq mi (290.89/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
72342
Area code(s)870
FIPS code05-31180
GNIS feature ID0077157

Helena is the birthplace of Arkansas' former Senior United States Senator Blanche Lincoln. Helena is home to the longest running daily radio program in the U.S., King Biscuit Time.

From 1906 to 1946, Helena was a terminal point on the former Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad, which provided passenger and freight service to Joplin, Missouri.[3] After, a loss of rail service in early 2015, a successful effort was launched by the Helena-West Helena/Phillips County Port Authority to have freight service restored.[4] The service was restored on October 1, 2015 and two new freight customers were quickly gained.

GeographyEdit

Helena is located at 34°31′34″N 90°36′5″W / 34.52611°N 90.60139°W / 34.52611; -90.60139 (34.526223, −90.601377).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, Helena had a total area of 8.9 square miles (23 km2), all land.

DemographicsEdit

Census Pop.
1850614
18601,551152.6%
18702,24945.0%
18803,65262.4%
18905,18942.1%
19005,5507.0%
19108,77258.1%
19209,1123.9%
19308,316−8.7%
19408,5462.8%
195011,23631.5%
196011,5002.3%
197010,415−9.4%
19809,598−7.8%
19907,491−22.0%
20006,323−15.6%
201012,28294.2%
Est. 201411,320[6]−7.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 6,323 people, 2,312 households, and 1,542 families residing in Helena. The population density was 710.7 people per square mile (274.3/km²). There were 2,710 housing units at an average density of 304.6/sq mi (117.6/km²). The racial makeup of Helena is 67.93% Black or African American, 30.59% White, 0.13% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. 0.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,312 households out of which 32.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.8% were married couples living together, 28.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.3% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.28.

In Helena, the age distribution included 32.5% of the population under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 22.1% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.5 males.

The median income for a household in Helena is $18,662, and the median income for a family was $21,534. Males had a median income of $27,203 versus $17,250 for females. The per capita income for Helena is $13,028. About 38.4% of families and 41.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 54.9% of those under age 18 and 24.1% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and cultureEdit

BluesEdit

Robert Palmer noted that in the mid-1930s Helena was "the blues capital of the Delta". Among the musicians who regularly visited and performed in the area at that time were Robert Johnson, Johnny Shines, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Robert Nighthawk, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Memphis Slim and Roosevelt Sykes.[9]

Historic buildingsEdit

Helena, Arkansas is home to a number of historic buildings such as the Sidney H. Horner House and the Centennial Baptist Church.

EducationEdit

Helena-West Helena School District operates schools in what was Helena.

Schools in the former West Helena.[10]

  • J. F. Wahl Elementary School[11]
  • S.T.A.R.S. (Students Tapping Academic Resources for Success) Academy (alternative school)[12]

Eliza Miller Junior High School and Central High School, the designated secondary schools, were in West Helena.[13][14]

Helena previously had a Catholic grade school for black children, St. Cyprian School; it closed in 1963. [15]

Notable peopleEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Helena, Arkansas." City-data.com. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  2. ^ "Phillips County, AR." National Association of Counties, January, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  3. ^ "H. Glenn Mosenthin, "Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad"". encyclopediaofarkansas.net. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  4. ^ "Helena Harbor celebrates return of rail service to Phillips County - Talk Business & Politics". Talk Business & Politics. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  9. ^ Robert Palmer. Deep Blues. Penguin Books. pp. 117–8. ISBN 978-0-14-006223-6.
  10. ^ "CENSUS 2000 Block Map: WEST HELENA city" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2019-11-02. - Index Map - See Page 1 and Page 2
  11. ^ "J. F. Wahl Elementary School". Helena-West Helena School District. 2004-05-29. Retrieved 2019-11-02. J. F. Wahl Elementary School 125 Hickory Hill Dr. Helena, AR 72342
  12. ^ "S.T.A.R.S. Academy". Helena-West Helena School District. 2004-05-29. Retrieved 2019-11-02. S.T.A.R.S. Academy Students Tapping Academic Resources for Success 390 Highway 20 Helena, AR 72342
  13. ^ "Miller Junior High". Helena-West Helena School District. 2004-07-06. Retrieved 2019-11-02. Central High School 103 School Road West Helena, AR 72390
  14. ^ "Central High School". Helena-West Helena School District. 2004-06-10. Retrieved 2019-11-02. Central High School 103 School Road West Helena, AR 72390
  15. ^ Hargett, Malea (2012-05-12). "State's last black Catholic school to close". Arkansas Catholic. Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  16. ^ Smith, Lindsley Armstrong (29 October 2009). "Dorathy N. McDonald Allen". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
  17. ^ "Bruce Bennett (1917–1979)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  18. ^ "Saxophonist Red Holloway Dead at 84 Chicago tenor was prolific leader and sideman for six decades". Jazz Times. Archived from the original on March 27, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  19. ^ "Alex Johnson Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  20. ^ "LINCOLN, Blanche Lambert, (1960 – )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  21. ^ "The Roberta Martin Singers". AllMusic. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  22. ^ "Conway Twitty". AllMusic. Retrieved February 25, 2013.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit