McNeil, Arkansas

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McNeil is a city in Columbia County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 662 at the 2000 census. The community was named for William B. McNeil, founder of the College Hill Academy.

Geography

McNeil is located at 33°20′46″N 93°12′30″W / 33.34611°N 93.20833°W / 33.34611; -93.20833 (33.346030, -93.208276)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.5 km²), all of it land.

Logoly State Park, part of the Arkansas State Parks System, is located in McNeil, on HWY 79. At Arkansas's first environmental education state park, interpreters present workshops on ecological/environmental topics. The park's natural resources provide a living laboratory for students and visitors. Most of Logoly's 368 acres (1.49 km2) comprise a State Natural Area that includes unique plant species and mineral springs.

Park facilities include six group tent sites (no hookups), a bathhouse with hot showers, standard pavilion (free to educational groups), picnic sites, playground, trails, and a visitor center with exhibits and an indoor classroom.[2] For generations, mineral-rich spring water welling up in the midst of Arkansas's southern woodlands has drawn people in search of cures and those offering spiritual healing. Today, Logoly State Park draws those hoping to learn to better care for such precious natural resources.

The story of the Logoly dates back more than a century ago, when people traveled to bathe in and drink from the park's Magnesia Springs. It is believed that Caddo Indians native to the area first introduced settlers to the 11 springs and their purported healing powers.

Near the turn of the century, as word of the springs spread, a small community developed. According to Linda Goza, park interpreter at Logoly since 1990, "the Magnesia Springs community had two hotels: the Duke and the Mendenhall. The Cotton Belt Railroad stopped here, and a wagon was sent to bring the tourists to the hotels."

As the popularity of Magnesia Springs grew, so, too, did its affiliation with the Methodist Church. As early as 1888, local Methodists had begun using Logoly as a gathering place. After building cabins, pious locals gathered each summer for a week of revival that revolved around of preaching, singing, socializing and shared food. According to Goza, Logoly was used by the Methodists as late as the 1930s.[3]

Demographics

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 662 people, 237 households, and 165 families residing in the city. The population density was 493.4 people per square mile (190.7/km²). There were 280 housing units at an average density of 208.7/sq mi (80.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 40.33% White, 58.31% Black or African American, 0.15% Asian, and 1.21% from two or more races. 1.36% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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