Pine Bluff is a microcosm of the Arkansas Delta: from boom to decline and encompassing the very wealthy and the very poor. Yet there is a collective effort from within and outside to revitalize. Situated beside a deep bend of the Arkansas River, the town was founded in 1819 by Joseph Bonne as a trading post with the Quapaw Indians. Pine Bluff was incorporated in 1839 and developed as an important river port, shipping cotton to the New Orleans markets. In the 1870s, the arrival of the railroad made a lumber boom possible, and wood-related industries maintained Pine Bluff’s economy well into the twentieth century. As the largest city in the region, Pine Bluff is a center for commerce, education, and medical facilities. But in the late twentieth century, Pine Bluff, like many Delta towns, suffered as the economy changed. This has seen the loss of some splendid buildings, while others have faded from their former glory, waiting for new life.
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