Concord in Cleburne County
is one of few
rural areas with its own school district
Written by: Tracy Crain
April 15, 2001
described as a “wondrous” little community,
and it’s home to some rather eccentric,
“My current job includes holding down the
bench at the Thomas Homegrown General
Store,” resident Richard McCracken, said,
laughing. “You know, somebody’s got to do
McCracken, a retiree, is known around the
store for his witty repartee.
The Thomas Homegrown General Store is a
treasure to this town. It’s reminiscent of
the old-time general stores often found
among the prairie towns in olden days.
In addition to its rustic antique charm, the
store offers customers a choice of select
fruit, canned goods as well as a few other
items such as rows of candy jars filled with
big pieces of peppermints, licorice and
There’s a lot to be said for the curious
town of Concord, located at the intersection
of Arkansas 25 and 87 in Cleburne County.
Most residents were born and raised under
the starry skies here.
“Just about everybody knows everyone,”
McCracken said. And those residents, all 262
of them, have their choice of attending
seven churches inside the city limits or the
two other churches located outside the city
Industry here is interesting. Residents have
access to a convenience store, restaurant
and the general store.
The town, for the most part, is described as
a chicken poultry-producing community.
Banquet Foods once considered the area for
its office headquarters before later
deciding to build in Batesville. The poultry
raised in Concord today is distributed to
Two other industries have also made the area
home. They are the Martin Lumber Company,
which sold and went to Heber Springs, and
Concord Specialty, which relocated to
Batesville due to lack of expansion
Despite its challenges, Concord does seem to
offer convenient access to those journeying
to nearby Greers Ferry Lake for a day in the
sun. It’s also geographically positioned at
the corner of Stone and Independence
counties and is the only township in
Cleburne County to be a part of Batesville.
Connecting it all is Arkansas Highway 25,
running through the heart of the community,
which has a lot of interesting history
attached to it.
For instance, it’s recognized as the Old
Military Highway that was built during the
Civil War. “The road ran from here to Fort
Smith,” McCracken said.
One visit here and its easy to see that the
highway connects more than communities. Ask
Jim Thomas, store operator for Thomas
Homegrown General Store. He will tell you
that there is no place like home.
“…A lot of good people live here,” he said.
“I joined the Navy 25 years ago, and I have
seen the world. During that time, I didn’t
see any place better than Concord.”
The Brock family is believed to have been
one of the first families to settle in the
area during the 1800s. “There are still a
few of them living in the area today,”
As for the name of the town, Concord was
once called “Tina,” after a lady that used
to run the first post office. “That building
is now called Tina Lodge,’ he said.
One of the more famous residents who helped
put this area on the map is race car driver
Mark Martin’s father, Julian Martin, who
died three years ago in a plane crash.
When it comes to life in this versatile
little township, McCracken wouldn’t change
it for the world. “You can do your own thing
and nobody bothers you. There are a lot of
individuals out here doing just that,” he
McCracken’s wife, a retired schoolteacher,
is a recognized artist in the local area.
“We built a house here 25 years ago and love
being here. The town’s just a hole in the
road, but we know everybody.”
Lindele Brackett, known as one of the oldest
residents in town, is considered the town
historian. Although there is no mayor of
Concord, the town does have a city marshal.
“We elected Robbie Cooper to watch over
things for us. He’s the best of the best,”
McCracken continued. “When we need
something, he’s always there.”
Concord is one of the few remaining small
towns in the area to have a school district
in place. The Concord School District serves
kindergarten through 12th grades. There is
also a Head Start Program for younger
children and a city park where kids can play
“All in all, it’s a good place to live.
Everyone is very nice here,” he said.
(This article was revised 12/09 for
historical archiving and is an excerpt from
Road Trips; a weekly feature of small towns
in Arkansas, which was written by Tracy
Crain and published by the Arkansas Democrat