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About Wilson

Wilson, Arkansas

 

 

 

 

City
Downtown Wilson
Downtown Wilson
Location in Mississippi County and the state of Arkansas

 

 

 

 

 

Wilson is a city in Mississippi County, Arkansas. The community is located in the Arkansas delta and is surrounded by fertile cropland historically used to produce cotton. Wilson started as a company town in 1886 by Robert E. Lee Wilson, who would build a cotton empire and run it from the city. The Wilson Company would become so successful that all of the town's buildings were rebuilt in Tudor Revival architectural style following Wilson's son's honeymoon to England in 1925. Wilson did not incorporate until 1959, and remained in the Wilson family until 2010. The community has seen a rapid decline in economic activity and population since the advent of mechanization on the farm, reducing the need for manual labor to produce cotton. The population was 903 at the 2010 census.

 

 

 

 

 

History

Wilson started as a company town for Robert E. Lee Wilson's nearbylogging and sawmill operation founded in 1886. The village prospered when Wilson decided to use the cleared land for agriculture instead of selling it after logging. In 1900, a major archaeological find occurred near Wilson when James K. Hampson discovered the Island 35 Mastodon. All residents of Wilson except the postmaster and railroad employees had access to company doctors for $1.25 annually ($17.65 in 2014 dollars), a rarity in the poverty-stricken Arkansas delta. The company also employed people to work in Wilson's basic service industries, such as drycleaning and automobile repair, keeping the standard of living high.

 
Tudor-inspired post office, 2010

After Wilson's son, Wilson Jr., and his wife returned from their Englandhoneymoon enthralled with theTudor style in 1925, all subsequent public buildings were built with Tudor architecture, including retrofits to all existing public structures. The town incorporated in 1959, selling the houses to the renters living in them and gaining access to tax income it was previously excluded from as a company entity. As technology advanced on the farm, fewer employees were needed and many moved from Wilson to seek other employment.

 

 

 

 

 

Economy

Abandoned Lee Wilson and Company warehouse, 2010

Agriculture is the dominant source of income in the area surrounding Wilson, especially the cultivation of cotton. After the abolition of slavery, sharecropping was the primary means of income for low income families in the area. Mostly for thecultivation of cotton, land would be used by sharecroppers in return for a share of the crop to the landowner. Modern machines like the cotton picker have made the manual cultivation obsolete over time as they took over the work from the hand laborers.

 

 

 


Tourism

Hampson Museum State Park, Wilson, Arkansas, 2010

The Hampson Museum State Park in downtown Wilson exhibits an archeological collection of early American aboriginalartifacts from the Nodena Site 5 mi (8 km) east of the town. The museum documents the culture of a civilization which existed in a 15-acre (60,703 m2) palisaded villageon a meander bend of the Mississippi River in the area around 1400–1650 CE. Cultivation of crops, hunting, social life, religion and politics of that ancient civilization are topics of the exhibition.

In 1964 the Nodena Site was declared a National Historic Landmark, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places two years later.

 

 

 

 

Education

Public education for elementary and secondary school students is available from the Wilson-based Southern Mississippi County School District, which leads to graduation from Rivercrest High School.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson,_Arkansas


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