Crawford County was the largest county in Arkansas when it was established in 1820. Originally, Crawford County included parts of eight counties as well as part of the Indian Territory. Crawford County features rugged terrain from the Ozark Mountains in the northern half to rolling farmlands, forested ridges, isolated mountains, and lakes in the southern half. Van Buren is the county seat. The main economic base of the county is agriculture and affiliated industries including soybeans, fruit and vegetables, beef cattle, and poultry. Tourism is growing steadily as visitors frequent the lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys and the scenic views.
The Crawford County Courthouse is listed in the National Historic Register and is thought to be the oldest active county courthouse west of the Mississippi River. The original portion of the courthouse was constructed in 1842. People are attracted to historic downtown Van Buren that has six blocks of restored architecture, including arts, crafts, and antique shops. Several motion pictures have been filmed in Van Buren. Crawford County's 2010 census count was 61,948, a 16.3% increase since 2000.