Saint Paul, Arkansas History

Saint Paul today is a modest town of about 100 folks. It is situated along the White River in southern Madison County Arkansas. All but a few of the old buildings of the town are gone. But, at one time, it was a thriving community of over 2000 people supported by the timber industry.

Osage Indians hunted in this area of the Boston Mountains, before settlers began developing farms here in the early 1800’s. By the 1860’s Saint Paul had a regular weekly service by the Butterfield Overland Express stagecoach. Then, on July 4, 1877, the St. Louis / San Francisco Railway completed a spur to Saint Paul, and the timber boom began. At one time there were 12 lumber mills in the immediate area. They produced mainly railroad ties and bridge timber, but smaller mills also made wagon wheel hubs, felloes, and spokes, wagon bows, and barrel staves.

At its peak, Saint Paul sported a bank, a drug store, post office, railroad station, four hotels, blacksmiths, several general stores, barber shops, and a distillery. Residents built several churches, a Masonic Lodge, movie theater, and a jail, as well as a two story school house. Augustus Lowe, began publishing The Saint Paul Republican newspaper in 1887.