When Craighead County was created and Jonesboro laid out in 1859, the log store of fur trader William Puryear was designated the temporary courthouse until a building could be constructed. Jonesboro is situated on a level expanse of Crowley’s Ridge and named for state senator William Jones. Railroads in the early 1880s boosted the town’s economy, which was largely based on sawmills and agriculture. Today, while other towns in the Arkansas Delta are losing population, Jonesboro has continued to grow and is the largest city in northeast Arkansas. It is surrounded by fertile farmland and grain systems, has diversified industry, leads the area in retail development, and is home to Arkansas State University, which during the academic year adds approximately fourteen thousand students to the town’s population. Consequently, many of Jonesboro’s one- and two-story commercial buildings downtown have been revitalized into shops, entertainment venues, loft apartments, and offices.
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