Transportation

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Entries - Entry Category: Transportation - Starting with N

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 …

New Hampshire [Steamboat]

The New Hampshire was a steamboat that suffered twelve fatalities when its boilers exploded on the Arkansas River below Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the early morning hours of May 6, 1847. The principal owners of the New Hampshire were William Harvey Allen, who was the captain, and his younger brother George, who was first clerk. An old family friend, Robert B. Cupples, was second clerk on the New Hampshire. The steamboat ran a route between Little Rock and New Orleans, Louisiana, and boasted of being “new, with good accommodations for passengers, and from her light draught, affords better facilities for shippers having their goods delivered without delay, than any boat in the trade.” The vessel was steaming up the …

Newport Air Field

During World War II, one of the army’s seven training airfields built in Arkansas was located at Newport (Jackson County). Over 4,000 men trained during the three years the Newport Army Air Field was in operation. At one point, over 4,800 people were living on the base, more than doubling Newport’s 1940 population of 4,301. Newport was chosen as a site through the encouragement of Congressman Wilbur D. Mills. The flat land already lent itself to airport usage as most trees had been cleared and the ground had been drained for farming. The project was announced in the middle of May 1942, and construction began almost immediately. Thirty-four farm families were displaced from the main site, along with those living …

Niagra and Post Boy, Collision of

The steamboat Post Boy collided with the Niagra on the Mississippi River above Helena (Phillips County) on October 20, 1865, sinking the Niagra and killing seventy-five people, most of them homebound members of the United States Colored Troops. The Niagra was a 797-ton sidewheel paddleboat built in 1864 at Cincinnati, Ohio, by Captain Henry A. Jones and his partners. By 1865, the vessel was running between St. Louis, Missouri, and New Orleans, Louisiana, for the Atlantic and Mississippi Steamship Company under Captain William Fitzgerald and clerk John Greenough. The Niagra had a full load of cargo and people, including 250 bales of cotton and as many as 300 deck and cabin passengers, including 129 former United States Colored Troops who …

Nick Wall [Steamboat]

The Nick Wall was a sternwheel river packet that struck a snag on the Mississippi River near Grand Lake (Chicot County) on December 18, 1870. At least thirty-nine passengers and crew members died in the accident. The Nick Wall, named for a noteworthy Missouri River riverboat captain, was a 338-ton sternwheel paddleboat built in 1869 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The vessel was heading from St. Louis to Fort Benton, Montana, on the Missouri River when it struck a snag near Brownville, Nebraska, in March 1869 and sank. The steamboat was reportedly “raised by Submarine No. 14” in May and sent to St. Louis for repairs, which were completed in June. Thomas Poe of Georgetown, Pennsylvania, bought a half interest in the …

Norfork Dam and Lake

Built on the North Fork River, just upstream from its confluence with the White River in Baxter County in north-central Arkansas, Norfork Dam and Lake are named after the nearby town of Norfork (Baxter County). The dam was authorized by Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1938, and construction began in the spring of 1941, making it one of the oldest U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ multi-purpose concrete structures. The reservoir extends north from the dam site to near Tecumseh, Missouri, and covers portions of Baxter and Fulton counties in Arkansas and Ozark County in Missouri. The drainage area controlled by the reservoir is about 1,806 square miles. The project also contains a powerhouse that houses the generators and …

North Little Rock Municipal Airport

The North Little Rock Municipal Airport, owned by the City of North Little Rock (Pulaski County), is located four miles north of that city’s business district. The airport is an officially designated general aviation reliever airport, meaning that the overwhelming majority of usage for the airport comes from general aviation, not commercial flights. In 2015, the total economic impact of the airport was estimated at 138 jobs and just under $16 million provided to the local economy. In 1949, 570 acres of land were acquired for construction of the airport, which would have two runways. The airport was officially opened in September 1960. Some portions of the airport had already been in use, including a runway. In honor of the …

Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA)

Northwest Arkansas National Airport, or XNA after its International Air Transportation Association (IATA) code, is located in Highfill (Benton County) and is roughly equidistant from Bentonville (Benton County), Fayetteville (Washington County), Rogers (Benton County), Siloam Springs (Benton County), and Springdale (Washington County). It is a mixed-use airport with both commercial and private airplanes. It has the second-largest amount of scheduled commercial service in the state of Arkansas. Local business leaders including Sam Walton, founder of Walmart Inc., and several local and state elected officials joined together to push for a new airport. Due to the rapid growth in population and business (especially the continued expansion of Walmart Inc.), Drake Field, located outside of Fayetteville, was deemed no longer adequate for …