First settled around 1832, Jacksonville is named for Nicholas and Elizabeth Jackson, landowners who deeded the land to the Cairo & Fulton Railroad for railroad right-of-way in 1870. The community evolved from the settlement surrounding the railroad depot, eventually incorporating in 1941. In 1955, a major military installation, the Little Rock Air Force Base, was built and the town began to blossom and has continued to do so. The base, which is home to the world’s largest C-130 training program, is open for group tours, with prior arrangement. Every other year, the facility has an open house attended by tens of thousands.
The Jacksonville Military History Museum spans the town’s military history from the Civil War to Vietnam. Housed in the old Arkansas Ordinance Plant Administration Building, it includes such items as a Christmas card signed by Adolph Hitler and over 100 propaganda posters from both World Wars. A marker highlighting the Battle of Reed's Bridge on Ark. 161 tells of the skirmish which was fought during the 1863 Little Rock Campaign as Union soldiers attempted to move south while Confederate Troops tried to protect the Capitol. The battlefield which is being developed into a city park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Little Rock Campaign route is a part of the Arkansas Heritage Trails System.
Jacksonville also has several hotels, a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from unique, locally owned gems to fast food, and a selection of antique shops and flea markets. The town’s annual fall celebration, the Wing Ding Festival, is held in early October.
Jacksonville is located within very easy driving distance of Little Rock and its major attractions: the River Market District, the Clinton Presidential Center and Park, the Old State House Museum, the Historic Arkansas Museum, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, the Arkansas Arts Center and more, including the Old Mill, U.S.S. Razorback submarine, and Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.
Jacksonville is 15 miles north of Little Rock on U.S. 67/167.