Norman, Arkansas, was originally called Womble, after its founders. It was a thriving community which grew up two miles west of Black Springs. When the railroad was planned through the area around the turn of the century, it led to fights over where and how the railroad should be built. The Womble Brothers realized that it was a good opportunity to start selling land in the Womble area. In 1909 most businesses relocated from Black Springs to Womble. Womble became the largest town in the county, being the only town with a railroad, a depot, and the first to have electric lights and a library. The town was home to the first accredited high school in the county and home to the first football team.
Womble fought to become the county seat, but lost. The courthouse was placed in Mount Ida. In 1917, the residents of Womble decided they wanted to change the name of the town to Norman, thus leaving all the bickering behind to get a fresh start.
The Caddo River defines the city’s southwestern boundary. It has flooded the town three times. The river has provided outdoor enthusiasts with reason to visit this small town.
Caddo Valley Academy/Old Norman High School is like taking a trip back in time. The stately two-story edifice was built in 1924 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Renovations led by the Norman Historic Preservation Program (NHPP) continue and a tour becomes a trip through mini-museums depicting the school as it was many years ago as well as the history of an old “sawmill” town. Special tours can be arranged by calling in advance. The old Home Economics bulding is now a cottage available for lodging on the grounds.
The City had two hotels throughout its history. One was turned into a boarding high school in the late 1970’s, but has since closed. Now, visitors can find a variety of short-term rentals in the area.
The main source of income for the almost 400 residents of Norman, Arkansas, is agriculture, poultry and logging. In addition, Norman enjoys a brisk tourist trade during the spring and summer.
There are so many things to do in Norman, Arkansas. You can go hiking and canoeing. There are campgrounds and cabins along the Caddo River.
Situated in southeast Arkansas, Norman is close to Mt. Ida, Mena, Hot Springs, and Murfreesboro. It’s easy to get here, too! Just find us at the intersection of Hwy 8 and Hwy 27.
A Caddo Native American burial ground is on the southern end of town. It was discovered by city officials while digging for public works. Bones and other artifacts were found, which prompted city officials to halt construction and protect the site with a wooden fence. Recently, descendants of the Caddo added to the site a footpath and benches. Open year round and free to the public, it contains the Elmo Clark Honor Path, which runs a quarter of a mile along the perimeter. This allows visitors easy access to the twenty-one signs that explain the culture and history of the Caddo Indians. The path runs parallel to the Caddo River and its tributary, Huddleston Creek, which form the southwestern and northwestern boundaries.
The Norman Library, until recently dethroned, held the Guinness Book of World Record’s “Smallest Library” title. The library is located in the center of the town square on Highway 8. Pinkerton’s Garden Club obtained Works Progress Administration funds in 1939 to beautify the town square. A barbed wire fence that once lined the square was replaced with a rock wall of native stone; in addition, funds were also used to fill the square with beautiful native trees and flowers.
The Norman Historic Preservation Program, Inc. is a 501c3. They have been working hard restoring the old Norman High School. You can visit and see the old classrooms and memorabilia from when it was still being used. There are also little flea market items you can purchase to support their mission.
The Crystal Campground is located on Forest Road 177 in Ouachita National Forest, northeast of Norman, Arkansas. The campground has nine campsites and a picnic shelter, and provides access to outdoor recreational activities including hiking, swimming, and fishing.
The CCC Company 741 Powder Magazine Historic District, located near Norman, Arkansas, consists of two small stone and concrete structures originally constructed to store powder and blasting caps for use by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) while working on projects in the Ouachita National Forest.
City Council meetings are held the second Monday of each month.
Assistant To Mayor
Ashley Collins McKamie
Irene Deedee Ethridge