Blytheville is a city in and one of the two county seats of Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 18,272 at the 2000 census, with an estimated population of 16,638 in 2005. Blytheville was founded in 1879 by the Methodist clergyman Henry T. Blythe. Blytheville is located in Mississippi County approximately 60 miles north of West Memphis. Because of the abundance of trees, the city grew quickly and was incorporated in 1889. According to records, the city had a large and diverse population in 1890. As the vast forest began to shrink, the people of Blytheville started growing cotton. Blytheville was a huge agricultural community until 1980, when farming was increasingly mechanized. Since then, Blytheville has developed a growing industrial base, much of which is centered around the steel industry. Blytheville is the home to Arkansas Northeastern College, a two-year community college. It was formerly known as Mississippi County Community College until the merger with the Cotton Boll Technical Institute. Until the 1990s, Blytheville was home to Blytheville Air Force Base later renamed to Eaker Air Force Base, a major airfield that was part of the Strategic Air Command.