In the Beginning

Greenwood was founded in 1851 when its location was selected for the first county seat of Sebastian County.  The town was named for Judge Alfred Burton Greenwood.  Judge Greenwood had been elected the previous year to serve as Circuit Judge over ten Northwest Arkansas counties.  The first court house was a log structure, replaced in 1865 by a frame court house which was built in the center of the public square.  This courthouse later burned and in 1916 the courthouse was relocated south of the square.  Since that time the square has become a city park and the site of many festivals, city picnics and celebrations.

The growth of Greenwood was comparatively slow, but by the breaking out of the Civil War it had attained some importance as a business center and by 1889 its business directory listed General Merchandise, Drugs, Groceries, Cotton Gin, Grist and Saw Mill, 3 Hotels, 3 Blacksmith and wood shops, 3 physicians, 1 dentist and 7 attorneys.

Greenwood has withstood many economic changes and setbacks but perhaps its strongest test came when a devastating Tornado swept through the community in April of 1968.  There were 13 lives lost and countless businesses and homes destroyed. From that experience seemed to come a strength and determination to rebuild one of the finest communities in the state.

One of the town's most famous sites is a park located in the center of town.  Known as "Town Square", the area stands as a reminder of the past and a center for town activities.

The clock and bell tower that stands in the middle of town square was designed and built in 1976 in recognition of our Nation's 200th birthday.  The bell tower houses the clock and bell that was once in the courthouse that was destroyed by the tornado.  The clock and bell were used in the bell tower to recognize and remember the 13 who died during the tornado.

The square was also the site for the Sebastian County Court House until 1916 when a new one was built across the street to the south.  The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce annual Freedomfest on July 4th takes place in the park as well as many other community gatherings.

You can find more information about Greenwood's History at Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, in "History of Arkansas Illustrated 1889" published by Goodspeed, "Greenwood 100/110 Years a County Seat" written by Means Wilkinson or the "Key Magazine" published annually by The South Sebastian County Historical Society.

Historical Content Courtesy