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History

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Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is said to have explored the area in 1541 and found the Osage Indians living here on what was later called the Chactas Prairie.

This is where Russellville now stands. P.C. Holledger tamed the area by building the first house in 1834. Dr. Thomas Russell purchased the house in 1835. The Chamber staff feels a deep sense of history and commitment to our city because the first house built in Russellville and the home of the town’s namesake was on the site where the Chamber of Commerce now stands.

Dr. Russell was a well-respected doctor and surgeon.

Our heritage has served us well as Russellville has continued to prosper and attract business and residents from all over the world. It is easy to see why Russellville has become the trade center for the River Valley.

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Even in the early days, when Russellville’s population was less than 2,000 inhabitants, there were several industries. Some of these were the Melrose Cotton Mill, a gristmill, a planing mill, a cotton gin and a wool-carding mill. There was also a wagon and plow factory that had a capacity of 400 wagons a year, a canning and evaporation plant, and a large foundry and machine shop. The proud tradition of industry continues today as Russellville supports a nuclear power plant, poultry processing plants, automobile parts manufacturing, frozen foods and many, many others. A total of 48 manufacturers employing 8,000 citizens now call the River Valley home.

The natural choice in the natural state, Russellville is located approximately 75 miles from Little Rock, Fort Smith, Harrison and Hot Springs.

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