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Mena City

Mena City Hall is located at 500 Mena Street, Mena, AR 71953; phone: 479-394-1111.

Mena as described in 1941 [1]

Mena, the seat of Polk County, was founded in 1896 when the Kansas City Southern Railway came through. The name Mena, a contraction of Wilhelmina, was a tribute to the reigning queen of the Netherlands by the Dutch investors who aided in financing the road.

In the middle of the town site stood an old log cabin erected in 1851, reputedly a rendezvous for border bandits and guerillas in the hectic 1860s and 1870s. Surveyors and civil engineers for the railroad used the cabin as headquarters, then left it standing in the middle of a square which the called Jannsen Park after one of the Dutch capitalists. Eventually the cabin became the Mena city hall and a gathering point for public assemblies. Such notables as William Jennings Bryan, Carry Nation, and Huey Long made speeches here. The original structure is very little changed, except that a brick chimney built in 1872 replaces the original stick and mud fireplace. A new city hall was built in 1939.

Will Dilg [1869-1927] lived in Mena during the last years of his life. Founder of the Izaak Walton League of America, one of the first and most vigorous conservative clubs, Dilg attracted a wide attention to the need of game, fish and forest conservation. The work of the league has now been largely taken over by the National Wildlife Association, Ducks Unlimited and similar organizations, bolstered by Federal and State legislation.

Aside from its attractions to sportsmen, Mena is the center of a wide trade area, since it is the only large town in the Ouachitas excepting Hot Springs at their eastern extremity. Industrial plants include flour and feed mills, gins, a heading and stave mill, a brick and tile works, several saw mills and a handle factory.

  1. Works Progress Administration, Federal Works Agency, Arkansas Writers' Project, Arkansas: A Guide to the State, American Guide Series, Arkansas State Planning Board, 1941.
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