Our History

Welcome to the City of Smackover!  Our city is defined less by boundaries on a map than by the sense of shared values our residents hold dear.  We take pride in maintaining a wholesome lifestyle, rich in cultural history, along with a deep commitment to the preservation of our environment and a progressive approach to local business. 

All across America there are hundreds of stories of "boom towns" that appeared virtually overnight. Money poured in from every highway, trail, river and creek, causing a small hamlet whose only claim to fame was a saw mill and a railroad water stop to be flooded within a sea of humanity. Smackover, nestled in the deep piney woods of South Arkansas and Union County is the "boom town" that never died. Its incredible story is one that will be told for generations to come. No movie script could be as colorful, as exciting, or as authentic as you find on the streets of Smackover.

The area was originally settled by French trappers and hunters in the mid-18th century. By 1806, two years after the Louisiana Purchase, a census indicated as many as one hundred people lived along the Ouachita River from Fort Miro (Monroe, La) to Ecore Fabre (Camden, Ar). As a result, landmarks and bayous assumed colorful French designations such as Lapile, Champagnolle, LaBeouf, Parageethe, Tulip's Cache, Chemin Couvert and Sumac Couvert

When land grant settlers settled the Smackover area in the early 1830's, Sumac Couvert (meaning covered in dense sumac vegetation) was quickly Anglicized to Smackover.

The small hamlet was startled from its blissful existence by the discovery of one of America's largest oil reservoirs in 1922. It was pandemonium, pay day, and let the good times roll all punched on a single ticket as a laughing gas atmosphere abounded. Within six months the little town grew to a seam-splitting 25,000 and its uncommon name would quickly attain national acclaim.

Smackover was a boomtown in the purest sense and would claim a permanent place in the annals of petroleum history. Thousands of drill bits discovered oil with a 95% success rate from 1922-1925. Fortune seekers came from every walk of life. They came packed into railroad passenger cars, hanging from windows and perched precariously on the tops of cars. During the first five years of the Smackover oil boom, 600 million dollars poured into South Arkansas from petroleum development.

Today, Smackover has settled down dramatically, but the oil boom lives on in its original architecture, down home working values and its innovative and creative people. Although the shadows of a mineral boom still linger, Smackover has been transformed into a modern city of substance. The petroleum industry still plays a major role in Smackover's economic outlook, with oil still being produced in tidy amounts

The first post office was established in 1890 and the town was incorporated September 30, 1922. Today there are 1865 citizens in the city of Smackover. The town has run the gambit from trading post to farming to lumber and now oil. Smackover is a family oriented town that still believes in commumity and family values.

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