An innovative community
Newport was founded by innovators who, in the heyday of the steamboat era, realized that rail transportation was the future. The small unincorporated community raised the equivalent of $500,000.00 to bring the rail through their town, changing the history of Jackson County.
As World War II broke out, aviation was the new technology, again Newport supported innovation in welcoming the construction of an Army Air Corps Field. The field trained Army and Marine aviators who turned the tide of the war toward victory.
Young Sam Walton, Entrepreneur and Innovator in Newport
The seeds planted in a Ben Franklin’s store on Front Street, just two blocks away from Tech Depot, continue to drive innovation in the retail sector. Sam Walton started his career and developed many of his strategies in Newport, Arkansas, strategies that would build the world’s greatest retail empire.
The music innovation that rocked the world
In the 1950’s a new and innovative musical style began to shake up the country and the world. As Rock and Roll was being birthed in the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta, Newport quickly became the epicenter of the new sound. Newport and Jackson County had more night clubs and honky tonks along U.S. Highway 67 than Memphis or any other region in the Delta. Several times a week, young musicians like Elvis Presley, native Sonny Burgess, Louis Armstrong, and many more honed their musical skills in a community that wholeheartedly embraced them.
Agriculture and technology
Through the 1960’s and 1970’s, farmers in Newport and Jackson County quickly adopted new farming technology. The small subsistence farms became corporations that used innovative equipment and methods to make Jackson County one of the largest rice producing counties in the nation. Jobs that were previously driven by strong backs, now needed strong minds.
Innovation in education
Newport, like many rural communities, struggled as manufacturing jobs began to leave in the 1990’s. Rather than give up Newport made the huge step of recruiting a stand-alone community college, Arkansas State University-Newport. The college has focused on industry driven technology education in the fields of health care, manufacturing, agriculture, and utilities. Tailored courses in Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Agricultural Technology, High Voltage Electrical Technology, and a number of other areas, provide a technical workforce for industries throughout Arkansas. This dedication to technology-based training has made the college one of the fastest growing community colleges in the South for over a decade.