Established in 1875, Beebe, Arkansas was named for Mr. Roswell Beebe, a surveyor and railroad executive. The inviting town of Beebe has grown from a simple railroad intersection to a beautiful and welcoming community. It is the perfect balance of “small town charm” with all the conveniences of larger cities. Those moving from larger cities will be pleasantly surprised by the range of shopping, healthcare, and entertainment found in the area.
The railroad and historic train depot was a lifeline to the early development of this area as it stopped in Beebe to take on wood and water to power its steam engines. The first post office was established on April 30, 1872. Three years later, after thirty two citizens signed and submitted a petition to the state, Beebe became incorporated on May 4, 1875.
By 1890 the town had grown and now included several businesses. Beebe was home to several stores, hotels, boarding house, meat markets, blacksmith and wagon shops, a combined sawmill and grist mill, cotton gins, livery stables, a photo gallery, and a fruit evaporator. In addition to the several business now located in Beebe, the town also included the White County Bank, separate churches for white parishioners and African Americans, a public school for white children, five physicians, a dentist and two weekly newspapers.
Electricity came to Beebe around 1904 and was provided by a gasoline-powered generator which could be heard all over town. Electricity was provided to certain areas of town on certain days and was turned off at 9:00 or 10:00 pm each night.
Beebe has grown from a meager population of 904 in 1900 to its current 2020 census population of 8,806. Situated in White County in the northern stretches of central Arkansas, it sits at the crossroads of HWY 64 and Interstate 167. Beebe is located 16 miles south of its County seat and municipal airport and is only 30 minutes north of the Little Rock Air Force Base. This central location is ideal for easy travel to Little Rock, Fort Smith, St. Louis or Memphis.
Founding of the public school system - Beebe School District, Home of the Badgers (1898)
The Beebe School District’s history began in 1898 when the first school was established in the southern portion of White County, Arkansas. Historical records indicate the school district consisted of grades one through twelve from 1898-1964. In 1964, under the Superintendency of A.S. “Bro” Erwin, the district added the first kindergarten classroom.
Historical records do not indicate the names of superintendents prior to Bro Erwin, who served in the role from 1954-1969. However, there have been six superintendents since Erwin’s tenure, Bill Hefner (1969-75), Darrel Hall (1975-81), Floyd Marshall (1981-95), Keith Williams (1995-2008), Belinda Shook (2005-2018), and Chris Nail (2018 - present).
Originally the Beebe School District only provided educational opportunities for students residing in Beebe. Over the years the district expanded to include students residing in the surrounding towns of Antioch, Floyd, and El Paso. In 2004 the District consolidated with the McRae School District to include students from McRae and Garner.
Six schools make up the 5A district - Little Badger Pre-K, Beebe Early Childhood (K-1), Beebe Elementary (2-4), Beebe Middle School (5-6), Beebe Junior High (7-8), and Beebe High School (9-12). 7th-12th grade students also have the option to enroll in our Virtual Academy if they find that remote learning is their best fit. The district employs 408 staff members, with 244 of those being certified.
Over the past 50 years, two bypasses have been built around Beebe. One of those bypasses, Dewitt Henry Drive, is a main thoroughfare and a thriving business area. The other bypass, HWY 67/167 gives people the ability to work in Little Rock (Pulaski County) but live in Beebe or one of the outlying rural communities.
In 2025, the City of Beebe will celebrate 150 years!
For more information about Beebe…
Founding of the college - Arkansas State University-Beebe (1927)
In 1927, State Senator William H. Abington, a medical doctor and a prominent member of the Beebe community, proposed and successfully lobbied for legislation to establish an agricultural school in the center of the State of Arkansas. The legislation was written specifically to set up such a school in Beebe, the only town that met the act’s criteria and that made a bid for the institution. Arkansas General Assembly Act 132 stated that the school should be within 50 miles from the center of the state and at least 70 miles from another agricultural school. In addition, the town gaining the school had to donate at least 320 acres of land near a hard-surfaced road within two miles of a railroad. The road at the time was the Des Arc Road (now Highway 31), and the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern Railroad Company had created the Beebe station in 1872. Two brothers, William and Eugene Abington, and others donated the land.
Signed into law March 8, 1927, Act 132 also stipulated that courses would include experiments and lectures on agriculture, horticulture, poultry, dairying, truck farming, small fruit growing, and marketing of farm products. The principal of the school would be a graduate of an agricultural school.
Act 282 of the 1927 Arkansas General Assembly established the institution as the Junior Agricultural School of Central Arkansas. After the first building was completed, the following buildings would be constructed by the students, and no tuition would be charged. The first classes were held in October 1929 with 38 students enrolled.
Today, Arkansas State University-Beebe is an operationally separate, two-year institution of the Arkansas State University System. With campuses located in Beebe, Heber Springs, Searcy, Little Rock Air Force Base, and online, ASU-Beebe offers associate degrees, certificates, and non-credit training for business and industry.