Transportation

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Entries - Entry Category: Transportation - Starting with G

G. A. Thompson [Steamboat]

The G. A. Thomson was a sternwheel paddleboat that struck a snag and burned on the Arkansas River near Irwin’s Landing some fifty miles above Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) in the early hours of April 9, 1869; seventeen people died in the accident. The 366-ton steamboat G. A. Thomson was built at Eureka, Wisconsin, and finished at St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1865 for Captain James Alexander Fraser of Cincinnati, Ohio, and James H. Kelly of Racine, Wisconsin. The vessel normally ran between St. Louis and New Orleans. Kelly had apparently sold his interest in the G. A. Thomson to Captain Ben F. Davidson by mid-March 1869 when the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Davidson had accepted an offer from parties in …

General Bem [Steamboat]

The steamboat General Bem struck a snag below Walnut Bend on the Mississippi River in 1854, losing fifteen passengers. The General Bem was a 116-ton sidewheel steamboat built at Paducah, Kentucky, in 1849. The vessel was going downstream from Cincinnati, Ohio, heading for the Arkansas River under a full head of steam on January 3, 1854. As it approached the “Grand Cut-off” near Walnut Bend, east of Marianna (Lee County), at around 9:00 p.m., it struck a snag. According to reports, the General Bem “poised herself for a moment” on the snag and then “commenced swinging, in which operation she was torn into a thousand atoms.” The crew and several passengers rushed to the upper deck after the collision, with …

Great River Road-Arkansas National Scenic Byway

The Great River Road-Arkansas National Scenic Byway is part of a ten-state driving route along both sides of the Mississippi River, from its headwaters at Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. In Eastern Arkansas, the route travels through ten counties that are along the river or historically associated with the river. The route began in 1938 when the Mississippi River Parkway Planning Commission was formed through the urging of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. After more than ten years of discussion, a feasibility study was completed in 1951 by the Bureau of Public Roads (the predecessor of the Federal Highway Administration), and the National Park Service. The study recommended that, rather than constructing a …

Green, Marlon DeWitt

In 1963, Marlon DeWitt Green, an Arkansas-born African American and former U.S. Air Force pilot, broke the airline industry color barrier when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Continental Airlines had to comply with the State of Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws—there being no conflict with any federal statute—and required that the company hire him. He has been described as the “Jackie Robinson of the airline industry” for overcoming discrimination to become the first black pilot hired by a regularly scheduled commercial passenger airline. Marlon D. Green was born on June 6, 1929, in El Dorado (Union County) to McKinley Green, who was a domestic worker, and Lucy Longmyre Green, a homemaker. He had four siblings. Despite growing up economically disadvantaged, Green …

Greers Ferry Dam and Lake

Greers Ferry Dam on the Little Red River, approximately three miles north of Heber Springs (Cleburne County), is a concrete dam built between 1959 and 1962. The dam’s primary function is flood control, but it also serves as a hydroelectric power plant. Greers Ferry Lake, created as a result of the dam, is a popular recreational destination. The flow of the Little Red River was uncontrolled during the first half of the twentieth century, resulting in almost yearly flooding downstream; high water levels in the Little Red River could compound flooding problems further downstream along the White River. In 1938, Congress passed the Flood Control Act, which authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build dams on most of …