White County was formed in 1835, by the territorial legislature from parts of Jackson, Pulaski, and Independence counties and was named for Hugh Lawson White, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee. The county seat is Searcy. The landscape of the county is rolling hills north and west the foothills of the Ozarks and Ouachitas, and rich, flat, delta farmland in the southeast. The economic base of the county is diversified with row crops of milo, wheat, soybeans, rice; blueberries, and table grapes; livestock, poultry, and coastal Bermuda grass hay; and a wide range of manufacturing and service industries including a Wal-Mart Distribution Center. Harding University at Searcy and Arkansas State University at Beebe, along with Foothills Vo-Tech School at Searcy draw hundreds of students from all parts of the country. White County has many varied recreational opportunities. The Hurricane Lake Wildlife Management Area, and the White and Little Red rivers offer hunting and fishing and water recreation. The White County Courthouse, built in 1871 is said to be the oldest functional courthouse in Arkansas and has an elaborate clock tower that resembles the Liberty Bell and dates back to 1855. A statue located on the southeast corner of the court square honors the Confederate Soldiers. A new statue built of six tons of granite, was recently constructed on the courthouse lawn honoring those soldiers of White County who died in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, with each soldier's name inscribed on the monument. A Vietnam War memorial already sits on the courthouse grounds. A fire in the courthouse some years ago necessitated extensive repair, and the courtroom was restored to its original 19th century look with hardwood flooring and oak benches. The entire courthouse is outlined in lights and comes alive in December each year when the Christmas "Festival of Lights" is observed. Hundreds of tourists visit the area at this time of year.