Pine Bluff Downtown Development
Timber in the Old Days
Beginning in 1885, the harvest of virgin timber brought wealth to the Pine Bluff and Jefferson County area. John F. Rutherford is credited with the start of this timber operation; he organized the O.D. Peck Lumber Company and furnished facilities for small saw mills. He later built his own saw mill and changed the name from the O.D. Peck Lumber Company to the Bluff City Lumber Company. Although there were other large lumber companies in the area, Rutherford dominated the field and was often referred to as Arkansas’ first millionaire. Aside from the lumber company, his dynasty held over 100 pieces of property, the street car system and some 90 businesses and dwellings. His Kearney Lumber Company operated enough buildings, businesses, and homes to form a small town, which was named Kearney. Most of the virgin hardwood lumber was harvested by the end of the 1920’s and little remains of the town that was once located between Jefferson and Redfield.