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Kansas City and Memphis Railway

  The Kansas City and Memphis Railway Company (KC&M) at its brief peak in 1914 was the largest non-Frisco (St. Louis–San Francisco Railway) railroad in northwestern Arkansas, with 63.97 miles of standard gauge track. The railroad, based in Rogers (Benton County), was formed in 1910. It absorbed the Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad, which ran from Rogers to Siloam Springs (Benton County), and the Monte Ne Railway, which ran from Monte Ne (Benton County) to Lowell (Benton County), in 1911. The business plan projected a western terminus of Wagoner, Oklahoma, and an eastern extension that would serve Huntsville (Madison County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) en route to Memphis, Tennessee. The railroad was backed by prominent Rogers banker William R. …

Kansas City Southern Railway

The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS), the smallest of the large North American freight railroads, has 4,300 miles of track in ten states. It has retained the same name since 1900, a rarity among U.S. railroads. A predominantly north-south railroad in a world of east-west railroad systems, the KCS owns about 200 miles of track in western Arkansas along the border with Oklahoma. Arthur E. Stilwell was the visionary who saw the need for a railroad to link the major agricultural center of Kansas City to a port on the Gulf of Mexico. In 1887, he built the Kansas City Suburban Belt Railway. It was a success, and Stilwell subsequently built two railroads south of Kansas City to serve …

Lincoln Avenue Viaduct

The Lincoln Avenue Viaduct is a single-span Rainbow Arch bridge constructed of reinforced concrete in 1928. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1990. On April 21, 1927, the old Baring Cross Bridge between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County), built in 1873 to carry rail traffic across the Arkansas River, was largely washed away by raging floodwaters despite the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company having weighed it down with coal cars. As the company worked to rebuild the crucial link to its sprawling railyards in North Little Rock, it offered to build a new viaduct linking Lincoln Avenue and North Street above the railroad tracks on the Little Rock side …

Little Missouri River Bridge

aka: Nachitoch Bluff Bridge
The Little Missouri River Bridge, also known as the Nachitoch Bluff Bridge, is a through-truss bridge located north of the Interstate 30 crossing of the Little Missouri River, connecting Clark and Nevada counties. Beirne (Clark County) and Gurdon (Clark County) are the two closest communities to the bridge. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1990, and is depicted on a mural in Prescott (Nevada County) at the intersection of Main and First streets. It closed to traffic in the mid-1990s. Details about the construction of the bridge are scarce. Documentation suggests that it was constructed in 1908 by the Morava Construction Company. The main span of the bridge measures 185 feet and was …

Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad

The Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) railroad span was organized in November 1853 as the Little Rock and Fort Smith Branch of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company. In 1859, while it was still a company only on paper, the Arkansas General Assembly passed a proposed act allowing the Little Rock and Fort Smith Branch to merge with the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad, forming the Central Pacific Railroad. This merger never happened, but it clearly shows the manipulation of railroad markets in Arkansas. The start of the Civil War in 1861 postponed plans for the proposed Little Rock and Fort Smith Branch. Following the war, in 1866, Congress gave the State of Arkansas ten alternating …

Little Rock to Cantonment Gibson Road

The Little Rock to Cantonment Gibson Road was constructed between 1825 and 1828 to connect Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to the military post at Cantonment Gibson in the Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma). The road was used extensively during the forced removal of Native Americans from the southeastern United States to the Indian Territory during the 1830s. On March 3, 1825, Congress approved a bill to establish a road from Little Rock to the Indian Territory, continuing the Memphis to Little Rock Road between the Mississippi River and Little Rock that was authorized a year before. In addition to the $10,000 funding, Congress appointed Arkansas pioneers Benjamin Moore of Crawford County, Morgan Magness of Independence County, …

Main Street Bridge (Little Rock–North Little Rock)

The Main Street Bridge was originally constructed in 1924 as a vehicular structure, replaced in 1973, and altered in 1998; it is one of six bridges linking the downtown areas of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). As the downtown areas of Little Rock and Argenta (now North Little Rock) developed in the 1880s, it became apparent that a toll-free bridge independent of the railroad bridges across the Arkansas River was needed. Some people supported the idea of a bridge at the foot of Little Rock’s Main Street, while others thought it should start at Broadway. After years of debate and a series of bridge commissions, the Main Street site was adopted, and the Groton Bridge …

Marr’s Creek Bridge

The Marr’s Creek Bridge is a reinforced concrete bridge with an open spandrel arch. It was built to carry U.S. Highways 62 and 67, as well as South Bettis Street, over Marr’s Creek in Pocahontas (Randolph County) near its confluence with Black River, although the bridge is no longer an active part of Highway 67. The Marr’s Creek Bridge was an important component of New Deal recovery programs in Arkansas and was constructed in 1934 as one of the Public Works Administration (PWA) projects in Arkansas. The construction of Highway 67 and its subsequent bridges, including the 135-foot-long Marr’s Creek Bridge, was a part of a larger modernization campaign to rebuild Highway 67 into Pocahontas. This campaign created jobs within …

Maumelle River Bridge

The Maumelle River Bridge formerly carried Arkansas Highway 300 over the Maumelle River, approximately half a mile southwest of the town of Natural Steps (Pulaski County), before the highway was relocated. However, the bridge remains a part of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2020. The Maumelle River Bridge is an example of a Pratt through truss, which is a type of bridge developed by Caleb Pratt in 1844. Pratt truss bridges are characterized by diagonals in tension and verticals in compression. The through truss is designed to carry the traffic load with the bridge’s bottom chords or beams. The Maumelle River Bridge is a riveted seven-panel Pratt …

McNeely Creek Bridge

The McNeely Creek Bridge is a single Warren pony-truss bridge near the community of Beirne (Clark County). Constructed in 1923, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 2004. Beirne is an unincorporated community founded in 1880 along the Cairo and Fulton Railroad. Settlement of southern Clark County progressed slowly before the establishment of the railroad, with few roads connecting the area with Arkadelphia (Clark County) or other communities. With an economy based on timber, the community grew as it became one of the best shipping locations for raw timber in southwestern Arkansas. The community was linked by road to nearby Gurdon (Clark County), about four miles to the northeast, likely shortly after construction of …

Memphis and Little Rock Railroad (M&LR)

The Memphis and Little Rock Railroad (M&LR) was the first railroad to operate in the state of Arkansas. The M&LR was a 133-mile-long railroad line that ran from Hopefield (Crittenden County), just opposite Memphis, Tennessee, to Little Rock (Pulaski County). A five-and-one-half-foot-gauge railroad, it was constructed between 1854 and 1871. At the beginning of the Civil War, only the eastern portion of the railroad between Hopefield and Madison (St. Francis County) was in operation. Construction on the eastern and western thirds of the railroad was complete in 1862, but the Civil War interrupted construction of the middle division of the railroad. During this period, the M&LR played a vital role for both Confederate and Union forces and was under Union …

Memphis to Little Rock Road

aka: Military Road (Memphis to Little Rock)
The Memphis to Little Rock Road was one of the first major public works projects in the Arkansas Territory. Spanning the swamplands of eastern Arkansas, the heights of Crowley’s Ridge, and the expanse of the Grand Prairie, it opened the state to emigrants from the east. The road was also a major route for Native Americans during the forced relocations of the 1830s. The Memphis to Little Rock Road, also known as the Military Road (as were most of the early Arkansas roads constructed under the auspices of the U.S. Army), was authorized on January 31, 1824, when the U.S. Congress passed an act for construction of a road opposite Memphis, Tennessee, through the swamps of eastern Arkansas to the …

Metroplan

Metroplan is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for central Arkansas. Metroplan’s core responsibilities are to determine long-term transportation needs and priorities for federal funding for the region. It does so through a council of local governments, the Arkansas Department of Transportation, and local transit agencies. From its inception in 1955, Metroplan evolved from an organization focused on planning needs in Pulaski County to a multi-county association with a federal mandate. Metroplan is supported by member dues and federal and state grants. Membership is open to local governments and covers five counties: Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner, Lonoke, and Grant (non-voting). Its office is housed in the Pulaski County Regional Building in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Originally named the Metropolitan Area …

Mississippi, Ouachita and Red River Railroad

The Mississippi, Ouachita and Red River Railroad Company (MO&RR) was the first railroad to begin construction in Arkansas. Chartered in 1852 by John Dockery of Columbia County, the railroad began at Eunice (Chicot County), south of Arkansas City (Desha County), in 1854. At the onset of the Civil War, the railroad was incomplete, extending approximately seven miles south and west from the Mississippi River. Completion of construction and actual operation of the railroad did not occur until well after the Civil War. The road never made a profit and was merged with the Little Rock, Pine Bluff and New Orleans Railroad in 1873. The first articles of incorporation for the MO&RR were filed with the State of Arkansas by John …

Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad (M&NA)

The Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad (M&NA) was a regional carrier that, at its peak, stretched from Joplin, Missouri, to Helena (Phillips County). The railroad was plagued with weather-induced disasters, periods of labor unrest, questionable decisions by absentee managers and owners, unforgiving topography, economic conditions, fires, and bad luck. After the completion of the line, it existed for only four decades. The M&NA was the victim of a territory that could not produce sufficient revenue to support it. It had tough competition from the Missouri Pacific’s two routes through the region and their stronger traffic connections. The railroad was also constructed in a less-than-substantial fashion, which led to its many washouts, floods, and infrastructure failures. The railroad began as a …

Monte Ne Railway

  Monte Ne (Benton County) resort promoter William “Coin” Harvey built the five-mile standard gauge Monte Ne Railway to link the new resort to the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (Frisco) main line at Lowell (Benton County). Frisco surveyors laid out the route, and Frisco workers assisted in track construction prior to the June 19, 1902, opening. (Harvey’s fellow “free silver” proponent William Jennings Bryan spoke at the grand opening, but the event was sparsely attended due to heavy rain and a charge to hear the speaker.) The Monte Ne Railway used poor quality fifty-six-pound rail purchased from the Frisco, which, like other big railroads, sold worn-out main line and side track to smaller companies. The Monte Ne Railway shared the depot at …

Museum of Automobiles

The Museum of Automobiles is located atop Petit Jean Mountain in Conway County. This museum is primarily dedicated to the exhibition of quality antique and vintage automobiles, as well as related items for the cultural and educational benefit of the general public. Additional exhibits include an antique gun collection, a display of Arkansas license plates, and a player piano. When Winthrop Rockefeller made Arkansas his home in 1953, he developed Winrock Farms on Petit Jean Mountain. In 1961, he purchased a collection of fine antique and classic cars from the James Melton museum of Hypoluxo, Florida. He had a building constructed on Petit Jean Mountain to house the cars and named it the Museum of Automobiles. He opened the museum …

Narrow Gauge Railroads

Arkansas was home to nine narrow gauge railroads that offered freight and passenger service to the public. The three-foot gauge was most common; a pair of 3½’ gauge railroads later converted to the yard-wide gauge. Arkansas’s narrow gauge mileage peaked at more than 550 miles in the mid-1880s but declined rapidly thereafter. Narrow gauge railroads required less capital because they used narrower right-of-way and followed the terrain closely to minimize the cost of moving earth for cuts and fills. Passenger and freight cars were smaller, lighter, and supposedly more efficient than standard gauge equipment. Narrow gauge steam engines required lighter track and less-expensive bridges. The disadvantage of narrow gauge was a lack of easy freight interchange with the standard gauge …

Nevada County Depot and Museum

The Nevada County Depot and Museum, founded in 1976, is the only museum in Nevada County. Located in the 1912 Iron Mountain Railroad Depot in downtown Prescott (Nevada County), it is a non-profit organization that preserves and promotes the history of Nevada County. In 1968, passenger service from the Prescott Depot was suspended by the successor to the Iron Mountain Railroad, the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The City of Prescott purchased the building and its adjoining parking lots from the Missouri Pacific in 1970 for one dollar. Over the next two years, the building was used for a variety of purposes, but the noise of passing trains soon forced the city simply to use the depot for storage. During the 1972 …

Old Arkansas 51, Curtis to Gum Springs

Old Arkansas 51 is an abandoned highway located in Clark County between the towns of Curtis and Gum Springs. Constructed in 1931, it was replaced by U.S. Highway 67 in 1965. This stretch of highway was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2004. The communities of Curtis and Gum Springs were settled in the late nineteenth century, and each served as stops on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The two settlements were connected by roads, which were improved over the decades. The roads evolved from the Southwest Trail, one of the earliest roads in the state. Named Arkansas Highway 51, the road linking the communities became part of the Arkansas Highway System when it was created …

Old Highway 16 Bridge

The Old Highway 16 Bridge, located on Lakefront Resort Road near Edgemont (Cleburne County), is a reinforced concrete, closed-spandrel deck-arch bridge built in 1936 with assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 11, 2011. Edgemont began as the Kinderhook settlement in the mid-nineteenth century but did not thrive until the arrival of the Missouri and North Arkansas (M&NA) Railroad in 1908, after which the town had a bank, three sawmills, a cotton gin, a lumber company, and several restaurants. A result of the railroad construction was the “Edgemont Cut,” which sliced through a steep ridge that ran between Edgemont and the middle fork …

Old River Bridge

The Old River Bridge spans a section of the Saline River at the end of River Street in Benton (Saline County). It is one of the oldest remaining bridges of its kind in the state. The Old River Bridge spans 260 feet and is composed of iron beams, two large trusses, and a wooden platform supported by iron columns. The bridge itself dates back to an act of the Saline County Court, which appropriated $5,000 “for the construction of an iron bridge over the Saline River at the Military Road Crossing” in 1889. Construction was completed in 1891 by Youngstown Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio. The land around it is also important, having been the site of William Lockhart’s settlement …

Old U.S. 79 Kingsland Segment

Constructed in 1916, Old U.S. 79, Kingsland Segment, is a historic road located in Kingsland (Cleveland County). The segment measures almost 2,150 feet in length. Added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2005, it continues to serve as a local road. Kingsland incorporated in 1884, shortly after the Cotton Belt Railroad was constructed in Dorsey County. The heavily timbered county was renamed Cleveland County in 1885 to honor President Grover Cleveland. The railroad and other transportation systems became vitally important to the development of the economy of the county, as they were ways to get timber and other crops to market. By 1890, Kingsland was a thriving small community with a post office, a furniture factory, …

Old U.S. Highway 67

Highway 67 was one of the original highways included when the Arkansas State Highway System was formed in 1923; it was also one of the first Arkansas highways to be integrated as part of the U.S. highway system in 1925. By the late 1920s, Highway 67 was in need of serious improvement. The Arkansas State Highway commission began a major effort to upgrade and improve Arkansas’s major highways, including Highway 67, through the 1930s. Five sections of the highway and one rest area from this period, as well as a bridge and a rest area, have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The route of the highway followed that of the Southwest Trail of the early 1800s, …

Old U.S. Highway 71

Originally constructed over several years in the 1920s and 1930s, U.S. Route 71 began serving as a major thoroughfare in western Arkansas. Bypassed by new construction between the 1950s and 1980s, what is now referred to as Old U.S. Route 71 has six sections listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Each section listed on the register continues to carry local traffic in the twenty-first century, which is a testament to the sturdiness of the construction. The various sections of the road were constructed in a similar manner. Made of Bates-type concrete, the road surface includes tan stone mixed with concrete and laid over a wire frame. The road includes nine-foot-wide lanes that are separated by a four-and-a-half-inch-wide gap …

Pig Trail Scenic Byway

The “Pig Trail” is the name of a winding, mountainous byway between Fayetteville (Washington County) and Ozark (Franklin County), one used for decades by students from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville and sports fans. A driver following the route travels on State Highway 16 southeast from Fayetteville just past Greasy Creek in Madison County to a junction called Brashears Switch, then turns right on the southbound State Highway 23 to Ozark and the intersection with U.S. Highway 64—some fifty-two miles. The Pig Trail Scenic Byway is a nineteen-mile stretch of this road located in the heart of the Boston Mountains, running through Ozark National Forest and over the Mulberry River. Today’s traveler is more likely to use the …

Railroads

In the mid-nineteenth century, the newly created state of Arkansas needed an efficient means of transportation to speed its development. Railroads were constructed in order to get goods to markets elsewhere and to bring in new technologies, as well as people to work in and populate the state. The construction of railroads had a significant impact on the state, creating towns where none had existed while all but eliminating others due to their lack of ready rail access. Many of the cities and towns in the state were named after prominent railroad executives who influenced, and in some cases were essential to, these communities’ development. While very little passenger service still exists, many of the same routes are used to …

Roads and Highways

From the creation of Arkansas Territory to present-day Arkansas, road construction has been critical to the development of the state. The construction of roads helped to increase the population of the state in the early years by improving access to areas west of the Delta. The Delta, made up of swamplands, streams, and rivers located in eastern Arkansas, had always been a major obstacle to travel west from the Mississippi River. The earliest routes used for transportation in Arkansas were rivers and creeks due in large part to the number of open waterways in Arkansas and the fact that travel on foot was difficult in swampy areas. These waterways were used by Native Americans and early explorers. Later, Indian trails …

Rock Island Bridge (Little Rock–North Little Rock)

aka: Choctaw Bridge
aka: Clinton Presidential Park Bridge
The Rock Island Bridge is a lift-span bridge crossing the Arkansas River between downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). One of six bridges linking the two downtowns, the Rock Island Bridge was originally constructed as a railroad bridge in 1899; it was converted to serve as a pedestrian bridge in 2011 to complement the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. In late 1898, the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad was organized with the goal of establishing a railroad into the Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma). Congress passed legislation authorizing construction of a new bridge across the Arkansas River in January 1899, and the Little Rock Bridge Company formed that May to develop plans for constructing the …

Rock Region Metropolitan Transit Authority

aka: Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA)
The Rock Region Metropolitan Transit Authority (Rock Region METRO), previously the Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA), is the largest public transit agency in Arkansas. Rock Region METRO provides public transportation services for the metropolitan Little Rock (Pulaski County) area seven days a week. The twenty-two fixed routes and four express commuter routes provide transportation service to 10,000 riders every weekday. A “demand response” Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) para-transit service operates alongside the fixed route hours and coverage area. A heritage streetcar system called the River Rail System operates approximately 3.4 miles of track throughout downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Prior to the creation of CATA, the public transit system was owned and operated by private …

Sebastian County Road 4G Bridge

The Sebastian County Road 4G Bridge, located on what is now West Harmony Road where it crosses a tributary of Sugar Loaf Creek near West Hartford (Sebastian County), is an open masonry substructure bridge constructed in 1940 through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief agency. Sebastian County leaders in 1939 decided to undertake an ambitious and widespread effort to improve rural roads throughout the county with assistance from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies. They applied for funding from the WPA and on December 11, 1939, that organization approved $1,226,362 for a county-wide project to “improve roads, including clearing; grubbing; excavating and grading; constructing curbs, gutters and bridges; draining; laying pipe; surfacing; and performing incidental and …

Shady Lake CCC Bridges

The Shady Lake CCC Bridges were nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A with local significance for their association with the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Polk County. The bridges, completed by crews from Camp Shady in December 1936, were constructed as a part of the Shady Lake Dam project begun in October 1935. The CCC originally developed the area for recreational purposes, and the bridges and road still service numerous camping and picnicking sites around the lake in the twenty-first century. The Shady Lake CCC Bridges were also nominated under Criterion C with local significance as a good example of CCC native-stone bridge construction. These single-span structures are supported by arched, corrugated …

Southwest Trail

The Southwest Trail is a general term referring to a network of routes connecting the mid-Mississippi River Valley (the St. Louis-St. Genevieve area of Missouri) to the Red River valley (northeast Texas) in the nineteenth century. Most of the trail crossed Arkansas from northeast to southwest, entering at Hix’s Ferry (later Pitman’s Ferry) across the Current River in Randolph County and exiting at several crossings of the Red River south and west of Washington (Hempstead County). It followed the edge of the eastern terminus of the Ozark Plateau in northeast Arkansas and of the Ouachita Mountains in central and southwest Arkansas. The trail avoided the swamps, which covered much of eastern Arkansas, while skirting the foothills of the Ozarks and …

Springfield to Fayetteville Road

The Springfield to Fayetteville Road was built upon elaborate networks of horse trails that were likely established by the Osage. The trails extended into northwestern Arkansas and as Springfield, Missouri, was being established in southwestern Missouri in the late 1820s, settlers co-opted the established trails for their own use. The trail from Springfield to Fayetteville (Washington County) came to be called by that name and was established in 1835, totaling 146 miles. It was the major road prior to the 1838 establishment of what later became known as the Wire Road or Telegraph Road by the United States military. Also called Pioneer Road, the Springfield to Fayetteville Road was employed by the U.S. Army in 1838 to remove Native Americans …

Springfield–Des Arc Bridge

aka: Springfield Cadron Bridge
aka: Springfield Bridge
The Springfield Bridge is the oldest bridge in Arkansas, although it has been moved from its original location. It was erected in 1874 across the North Cadron Creek three miles east of Springfield (Conway County) on the Springfield–Des Arc Road. This early thoroughfare connected Des Arc (Prairie County), a thriving port for steamboat traffic on the White River, with Springfield, the county seat of Conway County from 1850 to 1873. Before the bridge was built, C. A. Simmons operated a ferry at the river crossing, charging five cents for a pedestrian, fifteen cents for a person on horseback, or seventy-five cents for a two-horse spring carriage. On November 8, 1871, Conway County awarded a contract to the King Bridge Company …

St. Francis National Scenic Byway

The St. Francis Scenic Byway is a twenty-one-mile stretch of road wholly within the St. Francis National Forest linking Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) and Marianna (Lee County) and traversing the hilly southern portion of Crowley’s Ridge; it is designated a National Forest Scenic Byway. The route merges Arkansas Highway 44 and Forest Service Road 1900, combining nine miles of pavement and fourteen miles of well-tended gravel. Rambling across national forest lands, this corridor is included in both the Crowley’s Ridge Parkway and the Great River Road. The Federal Highway Administration oversees the National Scenic Byways Program, America’s Byways, yet the title “byway” may be bestowed by some 600 byway organizations, both government and private. The National Forest Service initiated its …

St. Joe Historical Missouri and North Arkansas Depot and Museum

The St. Joe Historical Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad Depot and Museum, which is located in St. Joe (Searcy County), is a repository of railroad and local history. It also serves as an area tourist information center. The museum, which opened in May 2011, is housed in the 1902 Missouri and North Arkansas (M&NA) Railroad depot. When the M&NA ended area service in 1946, the depot closed after over forty-three years of operation. Over the next few years, the building was used as a church, to provide classrooms for the local school district, and as a feed store. Once the feed store went out of business, the vacant building began to deteriorate into a community eyesore. A movement to preserve …

St. Louis Southwestern Railway

aka: Cotton Belt
The St. Louis Southwestern Railway began in Tyler, Texas, in 1875. Construction began in Arkansas in 1881. When completed in 1883, the railroad ran diagonally across the state from Texarkana (Miller County) to St. Francis (Clay County). In 1930, the company operated 712 miles of track in Arkansas. The Cotton Belt, as it was better known, would reach its peak mileage in the state in the early 1930s. By the middle to late 1930s, the Great Depression and declining passenger revenue led the railroad to begin abandonment of many of its subsidiary companies and branch lines. Southern Pacific Railroad gained control of the Cotton Belt in 1932 in an effort to gain connections to eastern markets at St. Louis, Missouri, …

St. Louis–San Francisco Railway

aka: Frisco
The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway Co. (SLSF), better known as the Frisco, was organized in 1876 in Missouri. By 1881, the company consisted of a handful of lines concentrated in central and southern Missouri but reaching to Wichita, Kansas; Vinita, Oklahoma; and Fayetteville (Washington County), Arkansas. Although the Frisco never built into the heart of Arkansas, its feeder lines across northwestern and northeastern Arkansas connected communities with other lines across the state as well as the markets throughout the nation, allowing development of agricultural resources, industrial hubs, and resort communities on the periphery of the state. The Frisco was built on remnants of the older Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, acquiring right of way and trackage in Missouri and Indian Territory (present-day …

Sulphur Rock Street Car

The town of Sulphur Rock (Independence County) was the location of the nation’s last mule-drawn (also called bobtail) street car, which ceased operation in 1926. The demise of the street car line was considered so significant that it was commemorated by the United States Postal Service. Sulphur Rock was bypassed by less than a mile when the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad was constructed in 1883. Only very poor roads connected the town to the railroad. To overcome that obstacle, local street car service was provided, with the Sulphur Rock Railway Company building that connection within two to six years after the railroad passed through, according to various sources. The single track from the depot split before it …

Telegraph Road (Northwestern Arkansas)

Telegraph Road in northwestern Arkansas was an important transportation thoroughfare of the nineteenth century, linking St. Louis, Missouri, with Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The road brought settlers, supplies, communication, and commerce to northwestern Arkansas. Telegraph Road was initially built by the U.S. Army in 1828, thus starting its existence as a military road; it did not get the name Telegraph Road until a telegraph wire was strung along its path in 1860. The first travelers on the road were with the army, which moved supplies and mail between Springfield, Missouri, and the garrison at Fort Smith. Beginning in 1838, thousands of Native Americans traveled along the road in their forced removal from their ancestral homelands, during the Trail of Tears. …

Trammel’s Trace

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Americans from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri moved down the Southwest Trail into Arkansas in search of land and opportunity. Crossing Arkansas diagonally from northeast to southwest, the Southwest Trail ended in U.S. territory at the Great Bend of the Red River, where Fulton (Hempstead County) was later founded. From that river crossing, Trammel’s Trace emerged as the first road from Arkansas into Texas from the north, terminating at the El Camino Real in Nacogdoches. Named after Arkansas trader and horse smuggler Nicholas Trammell Jr., the route was a former Indian path that was adopted for smuggling horses as early as 1813. (The spelling of the name of the Trace with one “l” mirrors its …

Trucking Industry

The trucking industry plays a significant role in Arkansas’s agricultural and industrial life. Trucks transport many Arkansas products through and out of the state, including poultry, lumber, sand and gravel, cotton, and farm produce. Trucks also bring necessities and luxuries into Arkansas. Businesses such as Walmart Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc. rely on the trucking industry for their survival. Although Arkansas’s location was a detriment to industrial development and the transportation that accompanied industry prior to World War II, several factors have made the state a leader in trucking since the middle of the twentieth century. Large agricultural establishments such as those of the Delta region of Arkansas were not viable in the hills of northwest Arkansas, which resulted in …

U.S. Highway 62

aka: Highway 62
U.S. Highway 62 crosses the northern counties of Arkansas. It passes through eleven counties, from Washington County in the west to Clay County in the east. Some portions of Highway 62 were proposed by William Hope “Coin” Harvey, who wanted to facilitate automobile traffic to his tourist destination, Monte Ne (Benton County). Route U.S. Highway 62 begins in El Paso, Texas, and runs through ten states to Niagara Falls, New York. It is the only east-west highway in the United States that connects Mexico to Canada. The entire length of the highway is 2,245 miles, of which 329.9 miles cross the state of Arkansas. U.S. Highway 62 enters Arkansas from Oklahoma as a two-lane highway. It runs through Summers (Washington …

U.S. Highway 63

U.S. Highway 63 enters Arkansas at Junction City (Union County) and leaves Arkansas at Mammoth Spring (Fulton County). Between these two cities, it also serves Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), West Memphis (Crittenden County), and Jonesboro (Craighead County). Much of the highway is part of the interstate system, including sections of I-530, I-40, I-55, and I-555. Route U.S. Highway 63 extends from Ruston, Louisiana, to Benoit, Wisconsin, a path of 1,286 miles. In Arkansas, it travels through fourteen counties, covering a little more than 400 miles. The highway enters Arkansas in Junction City, a municipality that exists in both Arkansas and Louisiana, making it the southernmost community in Arkansas. The four-lane highway runs concurrently with U.S. Highway 167 from its origin …

U.S. Highway 64

aka: Highway 64
aka: U.S. 64
U.S. Highway 64 crosses the state of Arkansas, connecting Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to West Memphis (Crittenden County). It passes through eleven counties of the state. In western Arkansas, it travels the Arkansas River Valley and parallels Interstate 40; in eastern Arkansas, it transverses the Mississippi River Delta significantly north of the Arkansas River and the interstate highway. Route Highway 64 runs 2,326 miles from Arizona to North Carolina, passing through six states, including Arkansas. Its route covers 246 miles in Arkansas. The highway enters Arkansas as a four-lane bridge over the Arkansas River. It rises over the Harry E. Kelley River Park, Belle Point, and the Fort Smith National Historic Site and continues through Fort Smith as Garrison Avenue. …

U.S. Highway 65

aka: Highway 65
aka: U.S. 65
U.S. Highway 65 is a major north-south corridor in Arkansas. Passing through eleven counties, the highway includes Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Conway (Faulkner County), and Harrison (Boone County) among the cities it serves. Route U.S. Highway 65 begins in Clayton, Louisiana, and crosses Arkansas, Missouri, and Iowa before ending in Minnesota. The entire highway is 966 miles, of which 313 miles are in Arkansas. The highway enters Arkansas as a two-lane road in Chicot County not far from the Mississippi River. It runs parallel to the railroad tracks through Eudora (Chicot County), Chicot (Chicot County), and Lake Village (Chicot County), where it widens to four lanes. The highway continues north to McGehee (Desha County) before cutting …

U.S. Highway 67

aka: Highway 67
U.S. Highway 67 stretches from the southwestern corner of Arkansas in Texarkana (Miller County) to the northeastern corner of the state north of Corning (Clay County). It passes through thirteen counties, generally following the course of the military road known as the Southwest Trail, which was established across Arkansas during territorial times. In 2009, the Arkansas General Assembly designated a portion of the road as the Rock ’n’ Roll Highway—a reference to the musical heritage of the road. Route U.S. Highway 67 extends 1,560 miles, beginning in Presidio, Texas, at the border with Mexico, and ending near Sabula, Iowa. The Arkansas portion of the highway is roughly 280 miles. The highway enters Arkansas in the city of Texarkana as a …

U.S. Highway 70

U.S. Highway 70 runs from southwestern Arkansas through Hot Springs (Garland County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) to West Memphis (Crittenden County). It passes through thirteen counties in Arkansas. Until the completion of Interstate 40, it was the main highway linking Little Rock to Memphis, Tennessee, and it continues to be the principal route bringing travelers to Hot Springs. Route U.S. Highway 70 begins in Globe, Arizona—originally a mining settlement—and runs east 2,385 miles to Atlantic, North Carolina—an unincorporated community on the East Coast. About 280 of those highway miles are in Arkansas. The highway enters Arkansas about eight miles west of De Queen (Sevier County), where it is called the Collin Raye Highway. In De Queen, it runs through …

U.S. Highway 71

In Arkansas, U.S. Highway 71 stretches from the southwestern border of the state south of Kiblah (Miller County) to the northwestern corner north of Bella Vista (Benton County). It passes through nine counties in Arkansas, generally following an alignment of the Ozark Trail. Route U.S. Highway 71 extends 1,532 miles beginning near Krotz Springs, Louisiana, and passes through Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota before ending at the U.S.-Canadian border north of Bemidji, Minnesota. The Arkansas portion is approximately 300 miles. The highway enters Arkansas south of Kiblah as a two-lane highway heading north, passing through Doddridge (Miller County) and Fouke (Miller County) before reaching Texarkana (Miller County). At Texarkana, Highway 71 has a short concurrence with U.S. Highway …