Texarkana metropolitan area

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Texarkana USA
—  City  —
Texarkana Post Office, located in two states.
Nickname(s): TXK, T-Town, TK
Motto: A City So Great It Took Two States
Coordinates: 33°26′14″N 94°4′3″W / 33.43722°N 94.0675°W / 33.43722; -94.0675Coordinates: 33°26′14″N 94°4′3″W / 33.43722°N 94.0675°W / 33.43722; -94.0675
CountryUnited States
StateArkansas, Texas
List of counties in the United StatesBowie County, Texas, Miller County, Arkansas
Government
 • Texarkana, Texas MayorSteve Mayo
 • Texarkana, Arkansas MayorN. Wayne Smith
Elevation299 ft (91 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total143,027
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes75500-75599 (TX); 71854 (AR)
Area code(s)Area code 903, 430 (TX)
870 (AR)
FIPS code48-72368[1]
GNIS feature ID1369752[2]
 
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Texarkana USA
—  City  —
Texarkana Post Office, located in two states.
Nickname(s): TXK, T-Town, TK
Motto: A City So Great It Took Two States
Coordinates: 33°26′14″N 94°4′3″W / 33.43722°N 94.0675°W / 33.43722; -94.0675Coordinates: 33°26′14″N 94°4′3″W / 33.43722°N 94.0675°W / 33.43722; -94.0675
CountryUnited States
StateArkansas, Texas
List of counties in the United StatesBowie County, Texas, Miller County, Arkansas
Government
 • Texarkana, Texas MayorSteve Mayo
 • Texarkana, Arkansas MayorN. Wayne Smith
Elevation299 ft (91 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total143,027
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes75500-75599 (TX); 71854 (AR)
Area code(s)Area code 903, 430 (TX)
870 (AR)
FIPS code48-72368[1]
GNIS feature ID1369752[2]
Vietnam Memorial in Texarkana honors those killed from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The Texarkana, TX-Texarkana, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget, is a two-county region anchored by the twin cities of Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas, and encompassing the surrounding communities in Bowie County, Texas and Miller County, Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the MSA had a population of 143,027.[3]

Contents

History

Map of the city in 1888

Texarkana

Texarkana was founded in 1873 on the junction of two railroads. The name is a portmanteau of TEXas, ARKansas, and nearby LouisiANA. One tradition tells of a Red River steamboat named The Texarkana, c. 1860. Another story mentions a storekeeper named Swindle in Red Land, Louisiana who concocted a drink called "Texarkana Bitters". A third account states that Col. Gus Knobel, a railroad surveyor, coined the name.[4] Local lore suggests that, before Texas' annexation by the US, lawlessness ruled in the area that at times was claimed by various nations.

In 1876, Texarkana, Texas, was granted a charter under an act of the Texas legislature, and a Texarkana, Texas, post office operated from 1886 to 1892. Later, Congressman John Morris Sheppard (D-TX) secured a postal order officially changing the name to "Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas".[4]

Texarkana metropolitan area

The Texarkana metropolitan area was first defined in 1960.[5] Then known as the Texarkana, TX–Texarkana, AR Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, it consisted of Bowie County, Texas and Miller County, Arkansas. In 1963, the area was renamed the Texarkana, TX–AR Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area,[6] only to return to its original name in 1971.[7]

Little River County, Arkansas, was added to the SMSA in 1973.[8] In 1983, the official name was shortened to the Texarkana, TX–Texarkana, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is still in use.[9] That same year, Little River County was removed from the MSA. The two-county MSA had a population of 137,486 in 2000.

Demographics

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 137,486 people, 72,695 households, and 55,524 families residing within the MSA. The racial makeup of the MSA was 53.49% White, 43.28% African American, 0.60% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.94% from other races, and 1.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.57% of the population.

The median income for a household in the MSA was $31,976, and the median income for a family was $38,887. Males had a median income of $32,482versus $21,408 for females. The per capita income for the MSA was $16,901.

Economy

Texarkana's top employers2010 comprehensive annual financial report[10]
EmployerLocal employees
Red River Army Depot & Tenants7200  
Christus St. Michael Health System1883  
Cooper Tire & Rubber1700  
Domtar1300  
Texarkana (TX) Independent School District1100  
Walmart967  
International Paper960  
Texarkana (AR) School District835  
Wadley Regional Medical Center778  
Southern Refrigerated Transport750  

Texarkana began as a railroad and lumber center, and developed in the 20th century as a regional agricultural processing, retail, wholesale, and service center.[11] Red River Army Depot and Lone Star Army Ammunition Depot were the largest regional employers from the 1940s through the 1970s. Paper mills near Ashdown and Atlanta, as well as other industrial facilities, brought new jobs to the area in the 1970s. Today the Texarkana area is a diversified economy whose pattern of employment categorized by industry is very similar to the entire state of Arkansas.[12]

Geography

Texarkana's Federal Building/Post Office is located in the median between northbound and southbound traffic on State Line Avenue.[13]

Texarkana consists of two separate municipal designations:

State Line Avenue follows the Texas-Arkansas state line throughout much of Texarkana. The two "sides" of Texarkana are separate only from a political standpoint. Thousands of locals actually live in one state and work in the other.

Owing to its divided political nature, Texarkana has two mayors and two sets of city officials; however, the two sides share a federal building, courthouse, jail, post office, labor office, chamber of commerce, water utility, and several other offices.[4]

Transportation

Texarkana is on Interstate 30, located close to halfway between Dallas, Texas, and Little Rock, Arkansas. Other major routes in Texarkana include:

As of October 2010, multiple highway projects are in progress to expand area highways and relieve strain on the Richmond Rd. and Summerhill Rd. exits. Continuous access roads, expanded bridges, and a new I-30/US 59 interchange are under construction. I-49 is being extended from Shreveport, with a future extension planned to Kansas City in the US 71 corridor.

Culture and education

Museum of Regional History in downtown Texarkana

Notable historical buildings in Texarkana include the post office and federal building that straddle the state line, the Ace of Clubs House, The Perot (Theater), and the Regional Museum. The Aces of Clubs House is shaped like a club on a playing card and supposedly inspired by a winning poker hand.

The Texarkana Symphony Orchestra was established in 2005, providing the community with several professional concerts of classical music every year. In 2007, the Texarkana Youth Symphony Orchestra was established, presenting spring and winter concerts.

Texarkana College, a community college whose origins date to 1927, enrolls more than four thousand annually. Texarkana College provides associate degrees in with Art, Behavioral Science, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Drama, Foreign Language, Government, History, Journalism, Music, Nursing, Social Science, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Math and Physics. Also, Certificate programs in workforce training are offered in HVAC, Auto Body Repair, Auto Technology, Computer Technology, Construction Technology, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Diesel Technology, Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counseling, Electricity, EMT, Management, Marketing, Office Careers, Small Engine Repair, Vocational Nursing and Welding. Texarkana College has two student resident halls for full-time students. Students and community members alike can enjoy a full service recreation facility complete with the area's only Olympic-sized heated indoor swimming pool. The Continuing Education Department offers non-credit enrichment classes for the community, local businesses wishing to provide targeted skills training to their workforce and also children in the area. More information can be found on their website at www.texarkanacollege.edu.

In 1971, East Texas State University began offering classes at the campus, an institution that later became Texas A&M University–Texarkana. Texas A&M University-Texarkana has constructed a large campus at Bringle Lake. Historically an upperclassmen and graduate institution, in 2010, TAMU-T began accepting freshmen and sophomores. In 2011 the first dormitory opened at Bringle lake campus.

A branch from The University of Arkansas Community College at Hope (UACCH) recently opened in Texarkana.

Local lore

Owing perhaps to its nature as a divided city and its remoteness from large urban areas, Texarkana has long been known as a hotbed for ghost stories, mysteries, and other colorful local lore. However, most of them are untrue.

The Phantom Killer

In 1946, Texarkana was the site of one of America's first widely-publicized serial murders, in which five people were killed and several others injured by an unknown assailant. Dubbed the "Texarkana Moonlight Murders" by news media, the violence focused on couples occupying popular "make-out" spots in and around the town, such as back roads and "lovers' lanes". The only description of the killer was that he carried a handgun and wore a mask. The case was never solved and the spree ended with no suspects arrested.

Youell Lee Swinney, who was 29 at the time, was arrested but released. He was later released from prison in 1974 after serving 28 years for the theft of a car and other crimes, but he was never convicted of any murders. He had been implicated by his wife who claimed she was present when he had committed the murders, yet her accounts of the incidents varied over several tellings. Swinney himself denied having any involvement—a denial he maintained until his death in 1993 at age 76 in a prison hospital (where he had been held for counterfeiting and other crimes). Many believe nevertheless that he was the murderer, including several of his prison inmates who claimed Swinney had confessed to them[citation needed]. His sister, Mildred Swinney-Sones, also believed he had committed the murders.[citation needed].

These events inspired the film The Town That Dreaded Sundown, released in 1977, written and directed by Charles B. Pierce, and starring Ben Johnson, Dawn Wells, and Pierce himself. Some of the facts of the original case were fictionalized or altered for the film, including victims' names.

In recent years, most area police and sheriffs' records of the case were discovered by investigative journalists to be mysteriously missing. No active files of the cases are currently being maintained by area law-enforcement agencies. Some locals believe that the Phantom Killer died long ago; some claim that he was a member of the local upper class aristocracy, which collaborated to keep his identity quiet to avoid scandal. Local lore maintains that he was more a supernatural force than a human being, and that he will return one day to resume his bloody deeds[citation needed]. Technically the case is still open, though as of 2006 it is considered cold. If the killer is still alive, considering when the crimes took place, he would likely have been born c. 1928 at the latest, which means he would be in his 80s today.

Fouke Monster

The swampy terrain of Boggy Creek, near Fouke, Arkansas, a small Miller County town southeast of Texarkana, is the reputed home of an anthropoid cryptid similar in appearance and behavior to the Pacific Northwest's Bigfoot and Sasquatch, and to the Skunk Ape of Florida legend. A film dramatizing these stories, entitled The Legend of Boggy Creek, was released in 1972. Two sequels, Return to Boggy Creek (1977) and The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II (1985) (AKA Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues; the "official" sequel made by the original film's director, Charles B. Pierce) followed with very little commercial success (although The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II was featured in the tenth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000). Locals commonly refer to this creature as the "Fouke Monster" and a number of persons have reported seeing the creature in various locations in and around Fouke. Most of the reported sightings have occurred during the hours of darkness, which has contributed to the lack of adequate descriptions of the creature itself.

Notable people from Texarkana

References

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "2010 United States Census Results" (Interactive Map). 2010 Census data by state, including population change. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2010. http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/index.php. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c [ttp://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/hdt2.html The Handbook of Texas Online]. Texas State Historical Association, University of North Texas. ttp://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/hdt2.html. 
  5. ^ "Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs) and Components" (TXT). Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by Office of Management and Budget, November 1960. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2000-10-25. http://www.census.gov/population/www/metroareas/lists/historical/60mfips.txt. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  6. ^ "Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs) and Components, 1963" (TXT). Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by Office of Management and Budget, October 18, 1963. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2000-10-25. http://www.census.gov/population/www/metroareas/lists/historical/63mfips.txt. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  7. ^ "Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs) and Components, 1971" (TXT). Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by Office of Management and Budget, February 23, 1971. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2000-10-16. http://www.census.gov/population/www/metroareas/lists/historical/73mfips.txt. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  8. ^ "Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs) and Components, 1973" (TXT). Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by Office of Management and Budget, April 27, 1973. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2000-05-01. http://www.census.gov/population/www/metroareas/lists/historical/73mfips.txt. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  9. ^ "About Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas". United States Census Bureau, Population Division. http://www.census.gov/population/www/metroareas/aboutmetro.html. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  10. ^ "Economic Development, Major Employers". Texarkana Chamber of Commerce. 2010. http://www.texarkana.org/Economic_Development/Major_Employers.aspx. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Texarcana, TX". The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hdt02. 
  12. ^ "Year End Employment by Industry - Texarcana, TX". Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. 3 February 2012. http://www2.fdic.gov/recon/show_gif.asp?type=Chart&name=I3045500.gif. 
  13. ^ Google Maps, Texarkana.

John Goforth. Record Producer, Guitarist, Composer, Owner of Covered Bridge Records, Third Millennium Artists. Producer of the Stateline Music Fetival.

External links