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In 1880, the town of Smackover was officially established in Union County. Some

say the name was given because the town was “smack over” the creek. In 1922,

when oil was discovered, some said the black gold gushed “smack over” the

derrick. In fact, the story of Smackover’s name goes back much farther. There are

stories that French explorers two centuries earlier had commented on how the

area was covered with sumac, or in French, sumac couvert. In fact, a French

soldier in 1789 refers to the Bayou de Chemin Couvert, or the covered way,

referring to the thick undergrowth of all kinds that hindered travel. Whether or

not Chemin Couvert is truly the origin of the name is still an open question, but

there is no question that Arkansas is home to the only Smackover in America!

Daniel Boice, University of Arkansas at Monticello