FSRA Partner: Van Buren

Van Buren is a town with a rich heritage, diverse industry, and a focus on the future. It is the second largest city in the Fort Smith metro area and serves as the county seat of Crawford County. Its prime location and convenient access to major roadways and the Arkansas River are just part of the town’s appeal for local businesses and residents. It sits at the Interstate 40 and 540 junction, with U.S. Highways 59, 64 and 71 also nearby. Van Buren is bordered to the south by the Arkansas River, with major commercial operations in its port and along its banks. Its historic downtown has been the backdrop for major motion pictures and continues to serve as a commercial center for the city. The Van Buren School District is well-known for its award-winning fine arts programs, progressive STEM education programs, and partnerships with local universities to promote higher education and career readiness.

Van Buren Population
Population: 22,791

Education
Van Buren School District

Transportation
Interstate 40 and 540
Sits on the Arkansas River
Port of Van Buren
Three Class 1 Railroads (Union Pacific and Arkansas & Missouri Railroad)
Fort Smith Regional Airport (11 miles)
Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (73 miles)

Utility Providers
OG&E (Oklahoma Gas & Electric)
Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative
AOG (Arkansas Oklahoma Gas)
Van Buren Municipal Utilities
AT&T
Cox Communications
Pinnacle Telecom

Major Employers
Experian Consumer Direct
Bekaert Corporation
USA Truck, Inc.
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Sparks Medical Center – Van Buren

Website Links
Van Buren Chamber of Commerce
City of Van Buren
Van Buren Advertisting & Promotion Commission
The Old Town Merchants Association

Van Buren Chamber of Commerce Phone: (479) 474-2761

Social Media
Van Buren Chamber of Commerce Facebook
Van Buren Chamber of Commerce Twitter

Interesting Highlights

Van Buren is proud of its rich heritage, which dates back to its incorporation in 1842. Over the past 170-plus years, leaders have sought to preserve many unique elements from the town’s past. These include rows of one-of-a-kind buildings on Main Street, historic churches, the notorious King Opera House, and the home of the city’s founder, the Drennen-Scott Historic Site.  One of the city’s most well-known structures is the Crawford County Courthouse. Constructed in 1843, it holds the distinction of being the oldest operating courthouse west of the Mississippi River. Many also make their way to Van Buren’s Old Frisco Depot to board the excursion train, which takes travelers on a fully-restored vintage rail through the scenic Boston Mountains. The vintage trolley car is also popular with residents and visitors alike, giving riders a chance to take in the downtown sites, before grabbing a bite to eat or doing a little shopping in one of the many merchants along Main Street

In addition to its historical gems, the city is home to a number of recreational and cultural treasures. Trails along the river and family-friendly parks are among just a few of the outdoor options for local residents. The Center for Art and Education offers monthly exhibits featuring talented artists from across the region, while the Van Buren Fine Arts Center plays host to nationally-recognized acts and shows.