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Harrison was named after M. L. LaRue Harrison, a union officer who surveyed and organized the lot divisions.
Harrison is the Boone County seat and has roughly 13,500 people and county population of approximately 40,000. It is several hours north of Little Rock and about half hour from the popular tourist destination Branson, Missouri. The completion of recent highway upgrades puts Fayetteville, Arkansas within an hour’s drive.
The Fayetteville area is home to nationally acclaimed Arkansas Razorbacks. There are many top standing universities all within a two hour or less drive to Harrison. Located nearby in Fayetteville area is the corporate headquarters of Wal-Mart and Tyson foods.
Many choose to live in Harrison because many things are in reach, but their day to day lives are lived in a setting that is traditionally small town Americana.
Harrison has little unemployment, although wages and professional incomes for the most part, fall below the national average. Still, the town retains a certain charm that many believe offsets this. Also, land and housing is of high quality, but less expensive than most places.
Tourism is important to the area. Harrison is not considered a destination in and of itself, but it is a safe, quiet, and relaxing area that serves as a hub. Nearby is the Buffalo River, The Buffalo River was the first National River to be designated in the United States. It is popular for canoeing, hiking, and all types of out door fun.
To the NE of Harrison (20 miles) is Lead Hill, Diamond City, and Bull Shoals Lake known for its Bass fishing, scuba diving, boating, and camping. Maintained by the Corps of Engineers it is a local favorite. Also, nearby is another campground park, Tucker Hollow, a lesser used, but still very nice lake area.
Branson, the little Country Music Capitol, is 35 minutes north and an hour from Harrison to the north is Lampe, Missouri that hosts country and classic rock concerts in their well maintained outdoor Black Oak Amphitheater.
45 minutes from Harrison going NW is Eureka Springs. It is considered to be one of the top honeymoon destinations because of its vast Victorian architecture, springs, wedding venues, and more.
The city started out with a very conservative residential and business base. The famous, “Christ of the Ozarks” was established in 1966 by Gerald L.K. Smith and his wife. They also began the widely acclaimed Passion Play about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Smith was in association with Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Elizabeth Dilling, Father Coughlin, and others known for their pro-American activities. Smith was an early supporter of local Boone county preacher Thom Robb and all have been labeled by some as racist. Though Lindbergh, Ford, Dilling, and Coughlin are all deceased, they maintained at the time as well as Thom Robb does today, (He also serves as the national director of The Knights Party) to be pro-white only.
Harrison is most often mentioned in the news due to the location of the organization’s headquarters 2 miles from Zinc and 17 miles from Harrison. Robb had his office on Stephenson street just off the square in Harrison for many years as well as overlooking Harrison on Harrison Hill but moved it outside of the city to have room to build a church and family retreat to host conferences. Some in the city resent the attention he brings while most are either ambivalent or quiet supporters.
Spring and Fall bike tours are seen zipping along the Ozark Mts. because of the beautiful foliage. Harrison has numerous hotel rooms available and nationally recognized chains.
The racial makeup of the county is 97.60% White, 0.11% Black, 0.71% Indian, 0.32% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. 1.06% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
The crime rate in Harrison is quite low, but not absent – though it is mostly petty crimes. Harrison just recently within the last couple years legalized the sale of liquor. It has created some tension in the community between those for and those against alcohol sales. Many voted against it not so much for the sake of being against individual choice to enjoy wine or beers, but in the hopes that it would deter too much of a rapid and injurious growth of the city and county. The issue seems settled now and no friendships ruined over it. It isn’t a party town, but a few little eateries offer specialty beverages.
The schools in the county receive below the national average in funding, but still enjoy high academic success! All of the districts in the area have received awards for their excellent scholastic scores. In our opinion, we can boast some of the best schools in the country.
Harrison and the surrounding area have some fantastic events throughout the year. Some are sponsored by local church groups, art galleries, or the Regional Chamber of Commerce and none have ever had any problems with flash mobs. All retain a family atmosphere and a commitment to wholesome festivities.
The Boone County courthouse in the middle of Harrison’s historic downtown square is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. Monuments, benches, gorgeous flowers, and flowering trees cover the little downtown area. And there are lots of cute little shops.
Just south of the square is Lake Harrison bridge and Lake Harrison recreation area. The lake is made up by Crooked creek and several large springs that flow into the small lake. A walking tour around the park area shows several different monuments and talks about the history surrounding the springs.
Lake Harrison is home to a well equipped play ground, numerous picnic tables, biking and hiking trails, a running/walking track and lays adjacent to a soccer complex, tennis and basketball courts, and numerous spots for fishing or swimming.
Harrison has been recognized as one of the best small towns in America and one of the best places to retire or raise a family!
Check back often as we report on more fun and interesting things happening in and around Harrison.