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Conway, Arkansas

Conway, Arkansas
Part of Conway's historic downtown
Part of Conway's historic downtown
Nickname(s): City of Colleges
Motto: Unto the Whole Person
Location of Conway in Faulkner County
Location of Conway in Faulkner County
Conway, Arkansas is located in USA
Conway, Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Faulkner
Founded 1872
Incorporated October 16, 1875
 • Type Democratic Counsel
 • Mayor Tab Townsell
 • City 60.20 sq mi (91.32 km2)
 • Land 59.99 sq mi (90.77 km2)
 • Water 0.21 sq mi (0.55 km2)
Elevation 312 ft (95 m)
Population (2011 pop. est.)
 • City 60,470
 • Density 1,231.70/sq mi (475.56/km2)
 • Metro 729,135 ('14 Little Rock)
Demonym(s) Conwegian
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 72032 and 72034
Area code(s) 501
FIPS code 05-15190
GNIS feature ID 0076661
Website .org.cityofconwaywww

Conway is a city in and the county seat of Faulkner County, Arkansas, United States.[1] The population was 58,908 at the 2010 census and 60,470 at the 2011 population estimate, making Conway the seventh most populous city in Arkansas. It is a principal city of the Little RockNorth Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had 729,135 people in 2014 and with 902,443 people in the Combined area. Conway is home to three post-secondary educational institutions, earning it the nickname "The City of Colleges."


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Districts 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Education 5
    • Conway Public Schools 5.1
  • Cultural Activities 6
  • Business and Industry 7
  • Notable people 8
  • National Recognition 9
  • Climate 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


The city of Conway was founded by Asa P. Robinson, who came to Conway shortly after the Civil War. Robinson was the chief engineer for the Little Rock-Fort Smith Railroad (now the Union Pacific). Part of his compensation was the deed to a tract of land, one square mile, located near the old settlement of Cadron. When the railroad came through, Robinson deeded a small tract of his land back to the railroad for a depot site. He laid off a town site around the depot and named it Conway Station, in honor of a famous Arkansas family. Conway Station contained two small stores, two saloons, a depot, some temporary housing and a post office.[2] Despite being founded as a railroad town, there currently exists no passenger service. The disappearance of passenger rail service in the region is attributed to the emphasis placed on the automobile.[3]

In 1878, Father Joseph Strub, a priest in the Roman Catholic Holy Ghost Fathers, arrived in Arkansas. A native of Alsace-Lorraine, Strub was expelled from Prussia during the Kulturkampf in 1872. He moved to the United States, settling in Pittsburgh where he founded Duquesne University in October 1878. Difficulties with Bishop John Tuigg led Strub to leave Pittsburgh in late October 1878 to travel to Conway, Arkansas.[4] In 1879, Strub convinced the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad to deed 200,000 acres along the northern side of the Arkansas River to the Holy Ghost Fathers in order to found the St. Joseph Colony.[5] This included land on which Father Strub founded and built St. Joseph Catholic Church of Conway.[6] As part of the land deal, the railroad offered land at 20 cents per acre to every German immigrant. In order to attract Roman Catholic Germans to Conway and the surrounding areas, Father Strub wrote The Guiding Star for the St. Joseph Colony. In addition to extoling the qualities of Conway and the surrounding area, Father Strub provided information on how best to travel from Europe to Conway.[7] By 1889, over 100 German families had settled in Conway, giving the town many its distinctively German street and business names.

Conway was long the home of the late Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice James D. Johnson[8] (1924- 2010), who ran unsuccessful races for governor in 1956 against then fellow Democrat Orval Eugene Faubus[9] and in 1966 against the Republican Winthrop Rockefeller.[10] Johnson, a leading segregation activist during the confrontation over forced integration at Little Rock Central High School, went on to switch affiliation to the Republican Party in the 1980s, after the death of his nemesis Rockefeller. Johnson also lost an important race in 1968 for the United States Senate against the incumbent James William Fulbright.[11] His wife, the late Virginia Johnson (1928- 2007), ran for governor in 1968, while he was running for U.S. Senator.[12] The late country singer Conway Twitty, originally named Harold Lloyd Jenkins, took the first part of his professional name by looking at a map and seeing the town of Conway.


Conway is located at .[13]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 60.20 square miles (155.9 km2), of which 59.99 square miles (155.4 km2) is land and 0.21 square miles (0.5 km², 0.60%) is water.


The area of the city east of Donaghey Avenue is called East Conway, the area west of Donaghey Avenue is called West Conway. Conway has two historic neighborhoods: the Asa P. Robinson Historic District and the Hendrix Addition.

Since 2000, downtown Conway has seen tens of millions of dollars in public and private investment. The revitalization has brought new retail, office, restaurant and residential construction to the historic downtown.

Downtown Conway at the intersection of Oak and Chestnut


As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 43,167 people, 16,039 households, and 10,168 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,231.7 people per square mile (475.5/km²). There were 17,289 housing units at an average density of 493.3 per square mile (190.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.0% White, 12.1% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 1.25% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.98% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. 3.47% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,039 households out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 22.4% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 16.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there are 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,063, and the median income for a family was $47,912. Males had a median income of $35,021 versus $25,418 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,509. About 9.3% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.0% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.


Conway is home to the following colleges and universities:

More than 36 percent of Conway's adult workforce holds a baccalaureate degree or higher, making it the third best-educated city in Arkansas with a population greater than 10,000, after Maumelle and Fayetteville.

UCA offers more than 100 undergraduate courses of study, 33 master's degree programs, and four doctoral programs for students to explore. More than 11,000 students from 66 different countries and 39 states are part of UCA’s community.

Conway is also home to two private schools: Conway Christian School and St. Joseph Catholic School.

Conway Public Schools

With more than 9,400 students, Conway Public School District is the eighth largest in Arkansas. The district has 16 schools: one high school (grades 10-12), one junior high school (grades 8-9), four middle schools (grades 5-7), nine elementary schools (grades K-4) and a pre-K center. In fall of 2012, Conway Public Schools opened a new elementary school and completed the construction of the new Conway High School campus. Conway High School's mascot is the Wampus Cat, a fierce, fictional creature with six legs: "Four to run at the speed of light, two to fight with all its might."

Pre-K Center:

  • Sallie Cone Pre-School Center

Elementary Schools:

  • Carolyn Lewis
  • Ellen Smith
  • Ida Burns
  • Julia Lee Moore
  • Florence Mattison
  • Marguerite Vann
  • Jim Stone
  • Theodore Jones
  • Woodrow Cummins

Middle Schools:

  • Raymond and Phyllis Simon
  • Ruth Doyle
Construction of Conway High School
  • Bob Courtway
  • Carl Stuart

Junior High School:

  • Conway Junior High School

High School:


  • In 2011, 13 Conway High Graduates were National Merit Scholars. (3rd in the state)
  • Conway finished 2nd out of the state's 40 largest school districts on the statewide benchmark exams. Conway ranked 14th out of all 247 Arkansas school districts.
  • Of the more than 500 public elementary schools in Arkansas, Conway has three campuses in the top 15.
  • More than half of the teaching staff at Conway Public Schools have at least a master's degree.[17]
  • The district has 35 National Board certified teachers
  • The ACT composite score for the 2011 graduating class was 22.6 (national average is 21)

Cultural Activities

Part of Conway's historic downtown

The Conway Symphony Orchestra performs many times throughout the year,[18] and Conway Community Arts Association has been presenting theatre and other art opportunities to the community for over forty years.[19] The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre is the state's only professional Shakespeare theater and it is based in Conway with an annual summer festival held in June.[20]

There are also art, music and theater opportunities provided by Conway's three colleges. The University of Central Arkansas's Public Appearances program provides dance, music, and theater offerings each year.

Conway Public Schools has theater and music programs, with large concert and marching bands that consistently receive high marks in regional competitions.

One of the city's largest annual events, Toad Suck Daze, has been held since 1982. The three day community festival incorporates live music, food and craft vendors, and amusement rides during the first weekend of May. Proceeds from the festival fund college scholarships for local students.[21]

Conway is a popular sport-fishing destination and is home to largest man-made Game and Fish commission lake in the United States. Lake Conway, home to largemouth bass, crappie, gar, catfish, bream, bowfin, etc. The Arkansas Crappie Masters state tournament is held here every year.

The city held its first ever EcoFest September 12, 2009, in Laurel Park. EcoFest included exhibits and events relating to "green" and sustainable initiatives, including a cardboard Tab Townsell said the event indicated to him that “interest in sustainability is flourishing in this community.”[22][23]

Business and Industry

Downtown Conway

Conway was home to one of the world's largest school bus manufacturers, IC Corporation. The Conway plant was one of only two IC manufacturing plants; the other is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. IC Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Navistar International Corporation of Illinois. IC was previously known as American Transportation (AmTran) Corporation and Ward Body Works. The company was originally founded in 1933. IC Corporation closed its plant and moved all bus manufacturing operations to their Tulsa, OK plant in 2010, largely due to incentives offered by the City of Tulsa.[24]

R. D. “Bob” Nabholz founded Nabholz Construction in Conway in 1949. It currently employs over 800 people company wide and it has been listed by Engineering News Record (ENR) magazine as one of the Top 400 General Contractors every year since 1986, currently the company is ranked #161.

In 1965, Baldwin Piano Company began manufacturing upright pianos at a plant in Conway. Over the years, other piano models were added to the production line. By 1998, the company's 270 employees were manufacturing 2,200 grand pianos a year. Baldwin Piano was acquired by Gibson Instruments in 2003. Gibson has now closed the Baldwin factory. The Slingerland drum company, also acquired by Gibson, was also located in Conway and manufactured drums at the Conway plant. These business are no longer located in Conway.

Conway Corporation handles the local utilities (cable TV, Internet, and telephone services, in addition to electricity and water) for the city of Conway.

Acxiom Corporation, a global interactive marketing services company that uses consumer data, analytics, information technology, data integration, and consulting solutions to help companies conduct direct marketing programs, was founded in 1969 in Conway. Though it has its corporate headquarters in Little Rock, a large presence in Conway still remains.

On June 19, 2008, Hewlett-Packard announced it would be opening a 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) facility with 1200 employees in 2009. The building, which will be owned by the Conway Development Corporation and leased to HP, will be located in The Meadows Office and Technology Park - on the southern outskirts of town,[25][26] and is built by Nabholz Construction.

Notable people

Zach Cates drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 MLB draft by the San Deigo Padres s.

National Recognition

Conway and the surrounding MSA has been recognized nationally for its quality of life and growing economy.

  • Named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists (2011)
  • 7th Best Value for a City for 2011 - Kiplinger (2011)
  • 14th Best City for Young Professionals - Forbes (2011)
  • 6th "Geekiest" City in America - (2011)
  • 14th Cheapest City in the U.S. - Forbes (2011)
  • 25 Best Places to Retire - CNNMoney (2011)
  • 100 Leading Locations: Desirable Places for Doing Business - Area Development Online (2011)
  • 40 Strongest Metro Economies - Bloomberg BusinessWeek (2012)
  • 10 Cheapest Cities in the Country - Yahoo! Homes (2012)
  • Best Places for Business and Careers, Metro Areas - Forbes (2012)
  • 13 Highest Percentage of Job Growth in the United States, county - CNNMoney (2012)
  • 25 Best Places to Retire - CNNMoney (2012)


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Conway has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[33]


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  4. ^ After 131 years, Spiritans might leave Conway
  5. ^ The story of the Holy Ghost Fathers and St. Joseph Church
  6. ^ History of St. Joseph Catholic Church
  7. ^ St. Joseph Colony
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  25. ^,-92.4278315,13z/data=!4m5!1m2!2m1!1shp+conway+ar!3m1!1s0x0:0xc16f2b4f45a97af1
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  33. ^ Climate Summary for Conway, Arkansas

External links

  • Access Conway, the official government website of the City of Conway
  • Conway Area Chamber of Commerce official website
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