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Premiere Magizine's Article about Paragould
  In 1882 two railroad lines met in Greene County. The St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad, later to be known as the Missouri Pacific, was headed by Jay Gould, the famous railroad magnate who already controlled five thousand miles of track in Arkansas and the Southwest. The Texas and St. Louis Railroad, later called the Cotton Belt, was a small gauge line run by J. W. Paramore. This line originated in Texas and was used to ship Texas cotton directly to the compresses in St. Louis. The two railroads met because of Gould's strategy to take business from the smaller company.

When a name was sought for the newly created town at the junction of the two railroads, it was formed by combining syllables from the names of the two railroad presidents. "Para" for Paramore and "Gould" for Mr. Gould combined to make Paragould. Legend says Mr. Gould who considered himself first in railroading, objected to having his name consigned as the last syllable. He initially refused to use the name on his schedules and used instead the local name of Parmley.

Paragould was incorporated March 3, 1883, while it was still an uncultivated timber cover tract. On October 6, 1884, the great iron safe containing the county records moved to Paragould under armed guard because the sheriff feared a protest from the defeated citizens of Gainesville, the former county seat.

The timber industry flourished in Paragould from its founding into the 1920s. By 1893, the population was nearly three thousand, and a municipal water plant, municipal power plant, and several private telephone companies were organized. The Thompson Classical Institute, established in 1891, drew students from far outside the northeast area. There was also a business college and a Bible Institute.

Agriculture succeeded timber as the county's chief industry as the tree-stripped land was perfect for farming. The Greene County Fairgrounds were acquired before 1900 by the Fair Association which still sponsors a lively and well-attended annual county fair.

Today the fourteen plants in Paragould employ over 5,000 of Paragould's 20,712 people. Agriculture is still the biggest producer in the county.

Several parks are available for recreation:

  • Harmon Playfield with a football field, track, and open grounds
  • Labor Park with a baseball diamond and a neighborhood center building
  • Reynolds Park with a lake, picnic areas, and swimming pool
  • Rotary Park, near Paragould High School with tennis courts and soccer fields
  • Rotary Park on Carroll Road with six baseball fields
  • Francis Bland Community Park
  • Crowley's Ridge State Park, nine miles west of Paragould on U.S. 412, then two miles south on Ark. 168, offers cabins, campgrounds, fishing and swimming lakes, pavilions, and trails.

There are also two country clubs - Paragould and Fox Hills - with golf courses and swimming pools.

Visit the Paragould/Greene County Chamber of Commerce site for more information about our flourishing Northeast Arkansas community. The information on this page is a summary of the detailed history available there.


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