The community of Curtis, south of Arkadelphia on U.S. Highway 67, was first established in the 1870s along the route of the Iron Mountain Railroad. Railroad officials chose the location as a fuel stop along the rail line, about halfway between Arkadelphia and Gurdon. At first, trains picked up wood there, and later, they stopped for coal.
The first train to receive supplies at the Curtis fuel chute arrived on June 30, 1873. A group of area residents celebrated the even, but realized the place had no name. According to local legend, the train’s engineer stated that he had never had a town named for him, so his name—Curtis—was proposed. The name stuck. Perhaps many of the community’s residents moved there as a result of its inclusion in railroad company brochures which extolled the virtues of lands along the rail lines.
Richter, Wendy Bradley, "Curtis, Clark County, Arkansas" (2016). Articles. 243.