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Lonoke, AR

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This small central Arkansas community can trace its name to a landmark: a huge, lone red oak tree located between two prairies. As with many Arkansas towns, Lonoke's history is tied to the railroad. 

Located around 20 miles east Little Rock, Lonoke is near the geographical center of the same-named county. Today, with easy access to U.S. 70, I-440, and I-40, Lonoke is popular community that has a small-town atmosphere. 

Attractions include the historic Lonoke County Courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the restored Lonoke Depot, which houses the Chamber of Commerce, and the Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery, one of the world's largest working fish hatcheries, that also has aquariums, bird watching opportunities, and demonstrations of fish farming methods.


Originally, Lonoke was cattle and lumber country, but later, the prairie lands were converted to farmlands. Cotton, corn, and hay were grown and shipped out on its railways. In the spring of 1897, W. H. Fuller planted the first rice crop in Lonoke County. The flat land, with its abundance of water, was ideal for this new crop, and soon, rice rivaled cotton as the area’s most profitable harvest. Around 1940, soybeans joined the agricultural mix, and today it is also a crop of economic importance to the area.

In 1928, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission built what was then the world’s largest fish hatchery on the south edge of town. Today named the Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery, its fifty-seven ponds cover 267 acres and comprise the largest state-owned fish hatchery. Farmers developed much of the flat land around Lonoke into their own fish and minnow farms, creating another large part of the local economy.

Natives of Lonoke include: Eddie Hamm, called “the South’s first national champion” by the Atlanta Journal, who set an Olympic record in the broad jump in the 1928 Olympics; Jim Lee Howell, who served as head coach of the New York Giants from 1954 to 1960, winning the championship in 1956; and Elsijane Trimble Roy, who was named the state’s first female judge in 1966 and Arkansas’s first female federal judge in 1977.

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