History

One of the oldest communities settled by homesteading pioneers in this region of Arkansas, Clinton’s dynamic history dates to the 1870’s. It’s a gem of natural beauty with strong regional heritage holding a special attraction to both visitors and long-time residents.


  • 1803

    Louisiana Purchase

  • 1833

    Clinton Post Office opened

  • 1844

    Named seat of Van Buren County

  • 1851

    Incorporated on January 9, 1851

  • 1865

    Courthouse burned by Civil War bushwhackers

  • 1878

    Clinton’s first newspaper ‘Clinton Banner’

  • 1926

    US Hwy 65 is designated a national highway

  • 1926

    Fire destroys Clinton’s main business district

  • 1934

    Van Buren County Courthouse built

  • 1963

    Dedication of Greers Ferry Lake

  • 1980

    Titan II Missile Accident

  • 1982

    Great Clinton Flood of ’82

  • 1986

    First Championship Chuckwagon Race

  • 2003

    “Three Rivers Trailhead” dedicated

  • 2008

    Tornado outbreak

  • 2013

    Greers Ferry Lake 50th Anniversary


Clinton was named for DeWitt Clinton, the New York governor who built the Erie Canal. The land was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, and settlers from the East soon began to populate the area. The first Clinton post office was established in 1833. The city was incorporated for the first time in 1851.

Clintonites have ruggedly persevered through conflicts and natural disasters over the generations. A fascinating tapestry of history spans from ancient rock shelters and Spanish explorers, railroads and steam-powered mills, to nuclear technology, massive highway expansion, and industrial growth.


Van Buren County Courthouse

Built in 1934

The Van Buren County Courthouse, located on the historic downtown square, is on the National Register of Historic Places.



    Three Rivers Trailhead

    Main Street Park

    This monolithic sculpture by Arkansas Living Treasure, Hank Kaminsky, is one of Clinton’s historic & artistic treasures. It depicts the tapestry of Van Buren County history in beautifully carved native stone rising from the convergence of three bodies of water.

    Find all the hidden symbols in the rocks!



    Van Buren County Museum

    311 3rd Street (off Main Street)

    Don’t miss a visit to the museum! Open Monday-Thursday. Call 501-745-4066 museum@artelco.com

    The VBC Historical Museum houses a diverse collection of items donated by the community, carefully displayed in exhibits that range from prehistoric artifacts to pioneer & farming life, WWI & WWII, and memorabilia from noteworthy events & figures from the area’s history.

    Admission is always free, but donations are welcome to help continued preservation efforts.