Wynne, Arkansas

Wynne is the county seat and largest city of Cross County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 8,615 at the 2000 census. Nestled between the Arkansas Delta & Crowley's Ridge, Wynne is home to the largest state park in Arkansas, Village Creek State Park. Currently, Paul Nichols serves as the mayor of Wynne.


Wynne lies at (35.227435, -90.789435), the boundary between two distinct geographical areas of Arkansas: the fertile farmland of the Arkansas Delta (which is a part of the larger Mississippi Alluvial Plain), and Crowley's Ridge, a distinct rise marking the New Madrid Fault Line.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21.2 km²), of which, 8.1 square miles (21.1 km²) of it is land and 0.12% is water.


According to the census of 2000, there were 8,615 people, 3,245 households, and 2,323 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,056.5 people per square mile (408.1/km²). There were 3,476 housing units at an average density of 426.3/sq mi (164.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.91% White, 32.32% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.27% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. 1.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,245 households out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were non-families. There are 93 unmarried partner households: 87 heterosexual, 6 same-sex male, and 0 same-sex female. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.7% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,125, and the median income for a family was $35,714. Males had a median income of $30,506 versus $20,567 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,800. About 17.9% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.7% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.


Wynne was named for Captain Jesse Watkins Wynne. A Texan, Wynne achieved the rank of Captain in the Civil War at just 21, and was famous for once leading a group of captors up to the Confederate line, where he then marched them to headquarters as his own prisoners.

In 1867, Captain Wynne moved to St. Francis County Arkansas and joined the firm of Dennis & Beck. At the time, Dennis & Beck held savings for firms and individuals, but eventually, the "Bank of Eastern Arkansas" was formed, and Captain Wynne became its first president.

From 1880-1885, as the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern railroad was under construction, active steamboat riverports like Wittsburg, at that time the county seat of Cross County, were deserted for the rails.

The settlement of Wynne was first located in 1882 when a train derailed, leaving one boxcar without wheels and off the tracks. The boxcar was placed upright, and as a compliment to Captain Wynne, designated "Wynne Station." On 27 September, 1882, the Wynne Station Post Office was opened.

When the east-west branch of the railroad was completed, it crossed the north-south branch near the boxcar, and the name "Wynne Junction" became prominent. On 28 May, 1888, the "junction" was dropped, and the town of Wynne was incorporated.

By the early 1890s, the railroad traffic and subsequent activity in Wynne had made it an even more vibrant town than Vanndale, which had been the county seat since 1886. In 1903, Wynne became the county seat of Cross County.

An unofficial town nickname, "The City with a Smile," was first coined in 1956 by KWYN disc jockey Bud Raley.

Notable residents


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