Conway, Arkansas

Conway is a city in the U.S. state of Arkansas and the county seat of Faulkner County, located in the state's most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area, Central Arkansas. Conway is unusual in that the majority of its residents do not commute out of the city to work.[7] The city also serves as a regional shopping, educational, work, healthcare, sports, and cultural hub for Faulkner County and surrounding areas. Conway's growth can be attributed to its jobs in technology and higher education with its largest employers being Acxiom, the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, Insight Enterprises, and many technology start up companies.[8] Conway is home to three post-secondary educational institutions, earning it the nickname "The City of Colleges".[9]

Conway, Arkansas
City of Conway
Part of Conway's Downtown
University of Central Arkansas
Hendrix College
Hendrix Village
Donaghey Hall
College of Business
Southwestern Energy Offices
Clockwise from top: Toad Suck Square, Hendrix College, Donaghey Hall, SWN Offices, College of Business, Hendrix Village, University of Central Arkansas
Flag of Conway, Arkansas
Official seal of Conway, Arkansas
City of Colleges
Location of Conway in Faulkner County.
Location of Conway in Faulkner County.
Conway, Arkansas is located in Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas
Location of Conway in Arkansas and the United States
Conway, Arkansas is located in the United States
Conway, Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas (the United States)
Coordinates: 35°05′14″N 92°27′12″W / 35.08722°N 92.45333°W / 35.08722; -92.45333Coordinates: 35°05′14″N 92°27′12″W / 35.08722°N 92.45333°W / 35.08722; -92.45333
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Faulkner
MSACentral Arkansas
CSALittle Rock-North Little Rock
IncorporatedOctober 16, 1875
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorBart Castleberry (I)
 • City Council
 • City46.20 sq mi (119.67 km2)
 • Land45.95 sq mi (119.02 km2)
 • Water0.25 sq mi (0.65 km2)  0.54%
312 ft (95 m)
 • City58,908
 • Estimate 
 • Rank7th in Arkansas
 • Density1,471.86/sq mi (568.29/km2)
 • Metro
734,622[4] (US: 76th)
 • CSA
905,847[5] (US: 60th)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code501
FIPS code05-15190
GNIS feature ID0076661
Major airportClinton National Airport (LIT)
WebsiteCity of Conway

As of the 2010 census, the city proper had a total population of 58,908, making Conway the eighth-largest city in Arkansas.[10] Central Arkansas, the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area, is ranked 75th largest in the United States with 734,622 people in 2016.[4] Conway is part of the larger Little Rock–North Little Rock, AR Combined Statistical Area, which in 2016 had a population of 905,847, and ranked the country's 60th largest CSA.[5]


The city of Conway was founded by Asa P. Robinson, who came to the area shortly after the Civil War. Robinson was the chief engineer for the Little Rock-Fort Smith Railroad (now the Union Pacific). Part of his compensation was the deed to a tract of land, one square mile, located near the old settlement of Cadron. When the railroad came through, Robinson deeded a small tract of his land back to the railroad for a depot site. He laid off a town site around the depot and named it "Conway Station", in honor of a famous Arkansas family. Conway Station contained two small stores, two saloons, a depot, some temporary housing and a post office.[11] Despite being founded as a railroad town, there currently exists no passenger service. The disappearance of passenger rail service in the region is attributed to the emphasis placed on the automobile.[12]

In 1878, Father Joseph Strub, a priest in the Roman Catholic Holy Ghost Fathers, arrived in Arkansas. A native of Alsace-Lorraine, Strub was expelled from Prussia during the Kulturkampf in 1872. He moved to the United States, settling in Pittsburgh, where he founded Duquesne University in October 1878. Difficulties with Bishop John Tuigg led Strub to leave Pittsburgh in late October 1878 to travel to Conway.[13] In 1879, Strub convinced the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad to deed 200,000 acres (810 km2) along the northern side of the Arkansas River to the Holy Ghost Fathers in order to found the St. Joseph Colony.[14] This included land on which Father Strub founded and built St. Joseph Catholic Church of Conway.[15] As part of the land deal, the railroad offered land at 20 cents per acre to every German immigrant. In order to attract Roman Catholic Germans to Conway and the surrounding areas, Father Strub wrote The Guiding Star for the St. Joseph Colony. In addition to extolling the qualities of Conway and the surrounding area, Father Strub provided information on how best to travel from Europe to Conway.[16] By 1889, over 100 German families had settled in Conway, giving the town many of its distinctively German street and business names.

Conway was long the home of the late Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice James D. Johnson[17] (1924– 2010), who ran unsuccessful races for governor in 1956 against incumbent Orval Eugene Faubus[18] and in 1966 against the Republican Winthrop Rockefeller.[19] Johnson, a leading segregation activist during the confrontation over integration at Little Rock Central High School, switched affiliation to the Republican Party in the 1980s, after the death of his nemesis Rockefeller. Johnson also lost a race in 1968 for the United States Senate against the incumbent James William Fulbright.[20] His wife, the late Virginia Johnson (1928– 2007), ran for governor in 1968, while he was running for U.S. Senate.[21]

On April 10, 1965, an F4 tornado struck Conway, causing six deaths and 200 injuries.[22]


Conway is located in southwestern Faulkner County. Interstate 40 passes through the north and east sides of the city, with access from Exits 124 through 132. Via I-40, Little Rock is 30 miles (48 km) to the south, and Russellville is 47 miles (76 km) to the west.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Conway has a total area of 45.6 square miles (118.1 km2), of which 45.3 square miles (117.4 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km2), or 0.54%, is water.[23]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Conway has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[24]

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)67,638[6]14.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]
2018 Estimate[26]
Racial composition 2010[27] 2000[27] 1990[28] 1980[29] 1970[30]
Non-Hispanic White 77.4% 84.1% 90.5% 90.9% 92.0%
Black or African American 15.6% 12.0% 8.5% 8.3%[a] 8.0%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
0.05% 0.03% 0.02% [b]
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.44% 0.36% 0.34% [b]
Hispanic or Latino 5.09% 2.26% 0.43% 0.5% [b]
Asian 1.9% 1.24% 0.46% [b]
Other race or multiracial 4.6% 2.2% 0.12% 0.17%

As of the census[32] of 2010, there were 58,908 people, 23,205 households, and 13,969 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,299.2 people per square mile (501.6/km2). There were 24,402 housing units at an average density of 538.2 per square mile (207.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.4% White, 15.6% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. 5.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 23,205 households, out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.7% under the age of 18, 22.9% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27.3 years. There were 51.7% females and 48.3% males. For ages under 18, there were 49.2% females and 50.8% males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,640, and the median income for a family was $63,860.[33] The per capita income for the city was $42,582.[34] About 9.3% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.0% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over[citation needed].

47.6% of Conway's population describes themselves as religious, slightly below the national average of 48.8%.[35] 44.5% of people in Conway who describe themselves as having a religion are Baptist (21.7% of the city's total population). 9.2% of people holding a religion are Catholic (4.5% of the city's total population). The proportions of Methodists and Pentecostals are higher than the national average.[35]


Conway was home to one of the world's largest school bus manufacturers, IC Corporation. The Conway plant was one of only two IC manufacturing plants; the other is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. IC Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Navistar International Corporation of Lisle, Illinois. IC was previously known as American Transportation (AmTran) Corporation and Ward Body Works. The company was founded in 1933. IC Corporation closed its plant and moved all bus manufacturing operations to their Tulsa plant in 2010, largely due to incentives offered by the city of Tulsa.[36]

R. D. "Bob" Nabholz founded Nabholz Construction in Conway in 1949. It currently employs over 800 people and has been listed by Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine as one of the Top 400 General Contractors every year since 1986. Currently the company is ranked #161.

Conway Corporation handles the local utilities (cable TV, Internet, and telephone services, in addition to electricity and water) for the city of Conway.

Acxiom Corporation, an interactive marketing services company, was founded in 1969 in Conway.

On June 19, 2008, Hewlett-Packard announced it would be opening a 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) facility with 1,200 employees in 2009. The building, which will be owned by the Conway Development Corporation and leased to HP, will be located in The Meadows Office and Technology Park – on the southern outskirts of town,[37][38] and is built by Nabholz Construction.

Top employersEdit

Updated March 2016[8]

Rank Employer Employees
1 Acxiom 1,500
2 University of Central Arkansas 1,500
3 Conway Regional Health System 1,330
4 Conway Human Development Center 1,200
5 Conway Public School District 1,100
6 DXC Technology 900
7 Wal-Mart 825
8 Kimberly-Clark Corporation 700
9 Southwestern Energy Company Natural Gas 600
10 Virco Manufacturing 600
11 Snap-on 570
12 Nabholz Companies 500
13 City of Conway 415
14 Kroger 400
15 Home BancShares 385
16 Hendrix College 350

Arts and cultureEdit

Downtown Conway

The Conway Symphony Orchestra performs many times throughout the year,[39] and the Conway Community Arts Association has been presenting theatre and other art opportunities to the community for over 40 years.[40] The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, based in Conway, is the state's only professional Shakespeare theater. It holds an annual summer festival in June.[41]

There are also art, music and theater opportunities provided by Conway's three colleges. The University of Central Arkansas's Public Appearances program provides dance, music, and theater offerings each year.

The national award-winning community theatre, The Lantern Theatre, is located downtown and offers a wide variety of plays and musicals year round.

Conway Public Schools has theater and music programs, with large concert and marching bands that consistently receive high marks in regional competitions.

One of the city's largest annual events, Toad Suck Daze, has been held since 1982. The three-day community festival incorporates live music, food and craft vendors, and amusement rides during the first weekend of May. Proceeds from the festival fund college scholarships for local students.[42]

Conway is a popular sport-fishing destination and is home to largest man-made Game and Fish commission lake in the United States. Lake Conway, home to largemouth bass, crappie, gar, catfish, bream, bowfin, etc. The Arkansas Crappie Masters state tournament is held here every year.

The city held its first ever EcoFest September 12, 2009, in Laurel Park. EcoFest included exhibits and events relating to "green" and sustainable initiatives, including a cardboard car derby and an alleycat bicycle ride. According to organizers led by Debbie Plopper, the event was a success. Mayor Tab Townsell said the event indicated to him that "interest in sustainability is flourishing in this community."[43][44]


Bailey Library at Hendrix College

The city is served by the Faulkner-Van Buren Regional Library System, a two county library system formed in 1954.[45] Originally the city was served by the Conway Library from 1935 until the merger into the current system.[45] Today the Conway Library serves as the headquarters for the eight library regional system.

In addition to this, the students of UCA and Hendrix have free access to both the Torreyson Library at the University of Central Arkansas, and the Bailey Library at Hendrix College by showing a current student ID from their respective college.[46]


College and universitiesEdit

UCA along Bruce Street

Conway is home to three institutions of higher learning, earning it the nickname City of Colleges. The University of Central Arkansas is a public research university with an enrollment of approximately 12,000 students.[47] It is well known for its Norbert O. Schedler Honors College, being one of the first and most modeled after honor colleges in the United States.[48] Hendrix College is a nationally recognized private liberal arts college with an enrollment just over 1,300 students.[49] With an average composite ACT score of 29, it is the highest of any college in the state.[50] Central Baptist College is a four-year private liberal arts college with an enrollment of nearly 900 students.[51] These colleges together contribute to over 40 percent of Conway's adult workforce having a bachelor's degree or higher, making it one of the most educated cities in the state.[52]

Primary and secondary educationEdit

The Conway Public School District serves the city. It is overseen by the Conway Board of Education, made up of seven citizens that are elected every third Tuesday in September annually in a citywide vote.[53] Operating with a $88 million budget, the district enrolls approximately 10,000 students, making it the eighth largest in the state.[54][55] The district consists of 16 schools: 1 pre-school, 9 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 1 junior high school, and 1 high school.[54] Over 65 percent of teachers in Conway Public Schools hold a master's degree or higher, and 67 are National Board Certified.[54]

Conway is also served by two private religious schools, Conway Christian High School and St. Joseph Catholic School. Conway Christian has an approximate enrollment of 400 students while St. Joseph School enrolls about 500 students.[56][57] Conway previously had a Catholic grade school for black children, Good Shepherd School; it closed in 1965. [58]

Notable peopleEdit

Sister citiesEdit

Conway has one official sister city agreement with the city of Quakenbrueck, Germany. In 1986, the first exchange of visitors occurred between the cities. Starting in 1992, Dr. Oudekerk, a professor from Hendrix College, has taken several groups to the sister city in Germany. Since then, the high schools of each city have exchanged students to experience the different cultures. The 25 year anniversary of the relationship was recently celebrated with a festival in Quakenbrueck with the theme of building bridges across the Atlantic.[62]


  1. ^ The 1980 U.S. Census referred to the "Black or African American" as a truncated "Black".
  2. ^ a b c d The 1970 U.S. Census did not record Hispanic American, Native American, Pacific Islander, or Asian American. The race selections on the census were truncated, so other race would be the default.[31]


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  2. ^ "City Council". City of Conway. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Metropolitan Statistical Area". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Combined Statistical Area". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on August 10, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  7. ^ "Statistics". Conway Development Corporation. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
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  9. ^ "Higher Education". City of Conway. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  11. ^ "Faulkner County Historical Society: Conway". Faulkner County Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  12. ^ "Railroads". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  13. ^ After 131 years, Spiritans might leave Conway
  14. ^ The story of the Holy Ghost Fathers and St. Joseph Church
  15. ^ History of St. Joseph Catholic Church
  16. ^ St. Joseph Colony
  17. ^ Jones, William Jr. "Arkansas Courts Historical Background". Arkansas Judiciary. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
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  24. ^ Climate Summary for Conway, Arkansas
  25. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  26. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
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  33. ^ About Conway
  34. ^ Federal Reserve of St. Louis (January 1969). "Per Capita Personal Income". St. Louis Federal Reserve. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  35. ^ a b Religion in Conway, Arkansas
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  37. ^ Google Maps
  38. ^ Lamb, Joe (2008-06-20). "HP cat out of bag, officially". Log Cabin Democrat. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
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  40. ^ "About CCAA". Conway Community Arts Association. Retrieved 20 Apr 2015.
  41. ^ "About Us". Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  42. ^ Glover, Jeremy (2006-04-30). "Festival was Cabin editor's brainchild". Log Cabin Democrat. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
  43. ^ "Conway EcoFest". 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  44. ^ Lamb, Joe (2009-09-12). "EcoFest draws big crowd". Log Cabin Democrat. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
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  46. ^ "Borrow from Another Library". University of Central Arkansas. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  47. ^ "Retention and Average ACT Score Increase for Fall 2016". University of Central Arkansas. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  48. ^ "About". Schedler Honors College. University of Central Arkansas. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  49. ^ "Fast Facts". Hendrix College. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
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  51. ^ "CBC Breaks Enrollment Record for Fall 2015". Central Baptist College. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
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  53. ^ "Meet our School Board". Conway Public Schools. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  54. ^ a b c "District Profile" (PDF). Conway Public School District. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  55. ^ "2016 Largest School Districts in Arkansas". Niche. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  56. ^ "About CCS". Conway Christian School. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  57. ^ "About Us". St. Joseph School. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  58. ^ Hargett, Malea (2012-05-12). "State's last black Catholic school to close". Arkansas Catholic. Retrieved 2017-07-31.
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  62. ^ "Conway, German town celebrate 25-year relationship". Log Cabin Democrat. Retrieved 11 October 2016.

External linksEdit