Ashdown is around 2.5 hours from Little Rock and is located in Little River County. The county got its name due to the area's close proximity to the Little River, which flows into the Red River near Texarkana. This county, established in 1867, is located in the southwest corner of the state and the two rivers form major parts of its boundary. Towns in the county include Ashdown, Foreman, Ogden, Wilton and Winthrop. Ashdown was first known as Keller, but was nicknamed “Turkey Flat” by early settlers.

The town arose as a result of the construction of the Kansas City Railroad and incorporated in 1892. By 1904 the city was a rapidly developing "boom town.” Although agriculture was the primary source of income, businesses such as sawmills, bottling works, cotton gins, groceries and hardware stores, were opening daily. Schools and churches were an important part of the town's early development. A one-room building owned by Alex Bishop housed the first school in the community.

Ashdown became the county seat in 1906 and constructed the present courthouse a year later. The Little River County Courthouse, Neo-Georgian in design and topped by a dome, has recently been restored to mint condition and is a platform for a gorgeous display from Thanksgiving until New Years when it is covered with Christmas lights. The building is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The biggest impact of the town came with the construction of the Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Mill in the mid-1960s. As one of the largest fine paper mills in the world, it had a dramatic economic impact on the region. Georgia Pacific bought the mill in 1991 and Domtar Industries of Canada purchase it from them in 2001.

In 1980, a modern bridge replaced the Index Bridge over the Red River, which was built in 1919. Four-lane highways have encouraged easy access to Texarkana, now only about a twenty-minute drive from the city.

Ashdown is home to the Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas.

Millwood Lake and Millwood State Park, rated among the best birding sites in the state, are well known for their trophy fishing contests and camping sites. Nine other properties in the county are on the National Register, including the Hunter/Coulter House in Ashdown, the Will Reed House in Alleene, and the New Rocky Comfort House in Foreman. Ashdown also recently established the Two Rivers Museum, sponsored by the Little River County Historical Society. Just north of Millwood Lake is White Cliffs Natural Area. This 573-acre site is the largest, least disturbed Annona Chalk outcrop remaining in Arkansas. Deposited during the Upper Cretaceous period, it marks the inland-most reach of the West Gulf Coastal Plane and is world-renowned among geologists as one of the best fossil-collecting sites in the country. The area is protected by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. The town is also home base to the Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge.