Blytheville is the county seat and the largest city in Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. Blytheville is approximately 60 miles (100 km) north of West Memphis. The population was 15,620 at the 2010 census.
Blytheville was founded by Methodist clergyman Henry T. Blythe in 1879. It received a post office in 1879, was incorporated in 1889, and became the county seat for the northern half of Mississippi County (Chickasawba District) in 1901. Blytheville received telephone service and electricity in 1903, and natural gas service in 1950.
Forestry was an early industry, spurred by the massive harvesting of lumber needed to rebuild Chicago following the Great Fire of 1871. The lumber industry brought sawmills and a rowdy crowd, and the area was known for its disreputable saloon culture during the 1880s and 1890s.
The cleared forests enabled cotton farming to take hold, encouraged by ongoing levee building and waterway management; the population grew significantly after 1900. On Blytheville's western edge lies one of the largest cotton gins in North America. Soybeans and rice have also become important crops.
The area around Blytheville continues to be farmed, though family farms have given way to large factory operations.
In the 1980s, Blytheville began to develop an industrial base, much of which centered on the steel industry.
Until 1991, Blytheville was home to Blytheville Air Force Base (later renamed Eaker Air Force Base), a major airfield that was part of the Strategic Air Command.