Stamps is a small town located in Lafayette County. It is the only town in the nation named ‘Stamps’ and is around 2.5 hours from Little Rock. The town was named in honor of Hardy James Stamps, an early settler of the area, and was the childhood home of author Maya Angelou.
The town was a flag stop on the St. Louis and Southwestern railroad (known as “The Cotton Belt” line), which was put through town in 1882. The first Post Office was established in 1887 and the town was incorporated the next year with J.W. Parkers serving as first mayor.
Early Stamps owed its development to the lumber industry. At one time the town had the largest sawmill in the South. One of the largest of these lumber mills was the Bodcaw Lumber Company of Louisiana which was in town from 1889-1931.
From a small beginning, the company became the target of three major corporations. After the mills were built and in full operation the town was thriving by 1899. The company included two saw mills and a tramway that eventually grew in the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway Company, later a part of the Kansas City Southern Railway System. The mill was associated with the interests of William Buchanan, the largest manufacture of yellow pine lumber in the world at the time. The area also has oil production with the Dorcheat, Stamps-Lewisville, and Bodcaw Fields nearby.
As the lumber company thrived so did the L. & A. Railroad which transported the huge timbers to the mills. This railroad and the Cotton Belt railroads transported the finished lumber throughout the nation.
Industry was at a peak during World War I as lumber was in great demand for ship building. As the virgin forests of south Arkansas were cut out, the mills closed and moved elsewhere in the 1920’s and 30’s. The 1930’s and Great Depression signaled the end for the lumber mills.
Stamps was the childhood home of author Maya Angelou and was depicted in her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Angelou spent much of her youth in the town in the home of her paternal grandmother. Her grandmother ran the only African American general store in the African American community.
One of the oldest business establishments in town is the Bodcaw Bank, which opened 1902. The First Presbyterian Church of Stamps is on the National Register of Historic Places. The church was founded by the owners and operators of the Bodcaw Lumber Company. The abundant natural resources of the Timberlands attract sportsmen to the area. Some consider southern Arkansas the best deer hunting region in the state. They also come in search of the lunker bass that reside in the area's legendary lakes and rivers. A popular lake in town is Lake June, named after Mrs. June Brown, wife of one of Bodcaw’s officials, and site of the Annual Lake June Fishing Derby held in May.