Van Buren is one of the oldest cities in Arkansas. In 1818 Thomas Phillips bought land rights to the site, and for a time the community was known as Phillips Landing. Soon after, with the assigning of a post office and the sale of several lots, a courthouse was built for Crawford County. During this period a number of shops, stores, taverns and branch banks were opened, and Phillips Landing was renamed "Van Buren" in honor of Martin Van Buren, when he was Secretary of State under President Andrew Jackson.
At the time of its incorporation in 1845, Van Buren had a population larger than that of our neighbor, Fort Smith. Both towns were slow to grow following the Civil War. But with the advent of the railroad from Little Rock in 1873, Van Buren became an important junction for shipping farm products. In the late 1950s and early 60s, Van Buren/Fort Smith began to emerge as the manufacturing capital of Arkansas. Our area holds that title even today.
Van Buren has grown from 8,373 residents in 1970 to some 22,791 in 2010. Even with its continual growth, the people of Van Buren hold strong beliefs in family, community, and volunteerism. From City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, our schools and hospital, to our neighborhoods, businesses and industry, we strive to build a community that is economically sound, aesthetically pleasing, and caring of one another.
Please feel free to contact the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce for any further information you might need and also take a look at the Member Service Directory for a complete list of chamber members in Van Buren that will be pleased to serve you.
We're sure you, too, will find a home in Van Buren.