Even thought Magnolia was incorporated and chosen county seat of Colombia county before the outbreak of the Civil War, the city had little importance until 1927 when natural gas and oil were found here. But before that Magnolia was just a regular agricultural community, mostly growing and trading cotton. But the growth of the city went slow due to that poor transportations to and from Magnolia with no river or railroad. Some industries related to the cotton industry were built up in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1909 Southern Arkansas University was opened in Magnolia. When the oil and natural gas was found, in big quantities everything changed. Between the years of 1930 and 1957 the population tripled. In 1957 Magnolia began an expansion program which created 1000 new jobs in industry. Magnolia experienced a great growth at the end of the 1960's and has made the best improvement of all the cities in Arkansas with a population over 10,000.