Transportation

Subcategories:
Clear

Entries - Entry Category: Transportation

Cone, John Carroll

John Carroll Cone was a promoter of aviation in Arkansas and established two significant air organizations in the late 1920s—the 154th Observation Squadron of the Arkansas National Guard and the Command-Aire manufacturing company. During his later career, he advised two U.S. presidents in commercial aviation policy. Carroll Cone was born on July 4, 1891, in Snyder (Ashley County) to Jesse H. and Annie A. Cone. He attended Ouachita Baptist College, now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU), prior to enlisting in the United States Army and volunteering for training in the Army Air Service. A veteran fighter pilot with three probable kills but only one confirmed kill in combat during World War I, Cone proved more valuable as an instructor than as …

Cotter Bridge

aka: R. M. Ruthven Bridge
Completed in 1930, the R. M. Ruthven Bridge, originally named and often still called the Cotter Bridge, is located near Cotter (Baxter County) on the business route of U.S. Highway 62 and crosses the White River between Baxter and Marion counties. Recognizable for its Rainbow Arches, it was the first landmark in Arkansas to become a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and is one of only a small number of bridges designated as such. East-west travelers through northern Arkansas often encountered problems crossing the White River. Although ferries operated at several places along the river, the river had a tendency to flood rapidly, grounding the ferries and hindering traffic sometimes for several days. The fastest detour was to cross 100 …

Cove Creek Bridge

The Cove Creek Bridge is a stone masonry, closed-spandrel arch bridge crossing Cove Creek on Arkansas Highway 309 south of Paris (Logan County). It was built in 1936 under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief agency, as part of a project to develop Mount Magazine. In 1935, the U.S. Resettlement Administration (USRA) acquired 110,000 acres on Mount Magazine in an effort to relocate farmers from the poor land available on the mountain and to develop the mountain for other uses. By 1935, the project was designated as the “Magazine Mountain Forestry, grazing, game and recreational project” in WPA records, and an effort began to improve the road from Paris and Havana (Yell County) to …

Cove Creek Tributary Bridge

The Cove Creek Tributary Bridge is a filled-spandrel cut-stone masonry arch bridge crossing a tributary of Cove Creek on Arkansas Highway 309 about 8.5 miles southeast of Paris (Logan County). It was built in 1936 under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief agency, as part of a project to develop Mount Magazine. In 1935, the U.S. Resettlement Administration (USRA) acquired 110,000 acres on Mount Magazine in an effort to relocate farmers from the poor land available on the mountain and to develop the mountain for other uses. By 1935, the project was designated as the “Magazine Mountain Forestry, grazing, game and recreational project” in WPA records, and an effort began to improve the road …

Cove Lake Spillway Dam/Bridge

aka: Cove Creek Spillway Bridge
The Cove Lake Spillway Dam/Bridge is a five-span, reinforced-concrete, deck-arch bridge above the dam and spillway that created Cove Lake on Arkansas Highway 309 south of Paris (Logan County) at Mount Magazine. It was built in 1937–1938 under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief agency, as part of a project to develop Mount Magazine. In 1934, the U.S. Resettlement Administration (USRA) acquired 110,000 acres on Mount Magazine in an effort to relocate farmers from the poor land available on the mountain and to develop the mountain for other uses. By 1935, the project was designated as the “Magazine Mountain Forestry, grazing, game and recreational project” in WPA records, and an effort began to improve …

Crenchaw, Milton Pitts

Milton Pitts Crenchaw, of the original Tuskegee Airmen, was one of the first African Americans in the country and the first from Arkansas to be trained by the federal government as a civilian licensed pilot. He trained hundreds of cadet pilots while at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute in the 1940s and was the catalyst in starting the first successful flight program at Philander Smith College in Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1947 to 1953. His combined service record extends for over forty years of federal service from 1941 to 1983 with the U.S. Army (in the Army Air Corps) and eventually the U.S. Air Force. Milton Crenchaw was born on January 13, 1919, in Little Rock to the Reverend Joseph C. …

Dardanelle Pontoon Bridge

The Dardanelle Pontoon Bridge was the largest pontoon bridge in existence in the United States, crossing the Arkansas River between Dardanelle (Yell County) and Russellville (Pope County). A toll bridge, it opened for traffic in 1891 and lasted until the construction of a steel bridge replacement in 1929. The bridge cost $25,000, financed by a group of stockholders and built by Roberts and Sons of Independence, Missouri. Construction started in 1889, and the bridge opened for traffic on April 1, 1891. It was over 2,200 feet long and eighteen feet wide, with a load limit of 9,000 pounds. Originally, each end of the bridge was anchored to a piling, and only the center actually floated. However, the fluctuation of the …

De Soto Expedition, Route of the

When the Spanish expedition of Hernando de Soto crossed the Mississippi River on June 28, 1541 (June 18 on the Julian calendar, which was used at the time), it entered what is now Arkansas. It spent the next eleven months roaming around the state until de Soto’s death on May 31, 1542 (May 21 on the Julian calendar). After his death, the survivors made their way to Mexico. There have been many attempts to identify the expedition’s route through Arkansas, using information from the four written accounts of the expedition. Three of these were written by men who had accompanied the expedition, and the fourth was authored forty or fifty years later, based on interviews with survivors. The route reconstructions …

DeGray Creek Bridge

DeGray Creek Bridge is a pin-connected Pratt pony-truss bridge located near Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed in 1915, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2010. It is the only known surviving bridge of its type in the state. The bridge consists of two steel trusses, seven feet tall and twelve feet apart. A steel deck substructure is attached to the trusses, and pins hold the sections together. The deck is covered by wooden planks. This bridge is connected to the banks of the creek by concrete and is a single lane wide. The bridge and similar bridges were prefabricated to be constructed in a manner that would allow them to be quickly and easily …

Dexter B. Florence Memorial Field

The Dexter B. Florence Memorial Field is an airport located in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Owned by the City of Arkadelphia, the facility serves both local general aviation and as the location for Henderson State University (HSU) flight operations. The first airplane to visit the city landed on May 25, 1918. Other planes infrequently appeared in the city over the next two decades until the first airport was constructed in 1933–34, located across the Ouachita River from Arkadelphia. The first plane landed at that facility on April 24, 1934. The land was leased for only three years, and after the expiration of the lease, the airport closed. It was reopened in 1939 when students from Henderson State Teachers College (which later …

Dockery, Jess Orval

Jess Orval Dockery was an aviation pioneer and an innovator of agricultural aviation in the Mid-South region, based first in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and, later, Stuttgart (Arkansas County) and Clarksdale, Mississippi. He played a leading role in developing aerial application processes, perfecting the science of crop dusting and spreading the practice to the Midwest. Jess Orval Dockery was born on February 26, 1909, in Dallas, Texas, to Jess P. Dockery and Myrtle Kemp Dockery. Confederate general Thomas Pleasant Dockery was his great-uncle, while socialite Octavia Dockery was a cousin. During World War I, his family moved to Lawton, Oklahoma, where his father ran a jitney service to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. This gave Dockery access to the base’s aircraft, leading …

Dollarway Road

The Dollarway Road represents Arkansas’s early twentieth-century efforts at road building for automobiles. Called the Dollarway Road because of its cost, it is important as an early example of the state’s short-lived system of road improvement districts. The Dollarway Road was also the longest continuous concrete pavement in the United States when complete, and it marked the first use of reinforced concrete for bridge construction in Arkansas. Bicyclists started Arkansas’s Good Road Movement, which led to the establishment of the Good Roads League of the State of Arkansas in 1896. Upgrading road conditions and funding roads was a major concern. In 1907, the state legislature created road improvement districts, locally controlled groups that determined where roads would go and who …

Douglas, Paul Page, Jr.

Brigadier General Paul Page Douglas, a Paragould (Greene County) native and an air force “ace,” was one of the most highly decorated fighter pilots from 1940 to 1970. In 1940, he joined the Arkansas National Guard, and he retired as commander of the 836th Air Division at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in 1970. The tactics he developed for the P-47 Thunderbolt during World War II made that plane one of the most successful fighter planes of the war. Douglas was born in Paragould on December 23, 1919, to Bess Douglas and Paul Page Douglas. His father was a conductor on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Douglas attended public schools in Paragould and graduated from high school in 1938. That fall, …

Dover to Clarksville Road

The Dover to Clarksville Road is an early nineteenth-century road through what is now Pope and Johnson counties. A surviving segment of the road is significant for its connections with routes taken during the Indian Removals of the 1830s. That segment—located on Hickeytown Road east of U.S. Highway 64 near present-day Lamar (Johnson County)—was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 2005. In March 1834, Lieutenant Joseph Whipple Harris left the eastern United States with a party of 125 Cherokee and set out for the Indian Territory, picking up hundreds of other emigrant Cherokee before crossing the Mississippi River and entering Arkansas. His detachment numbered more than 500, many of them ill with measles and other …

Eagle [Steamboat]

The Eagle was a 118-ton steamboat that was the first steamer to navigate up the Arkansas River to Little Rock (Pulaski County), stopping at the capital on its way to deliver supplies to Dwight Mission near modern-day Russellville (Pope County). The Eagle, which was built in 1818 and commanded by a Captain Morris, reached Little Rock on March 16, 1822, having left New Orleans, Louisiana, seventeen days earlier and taken fifty-one hours to reach the territorial capital from the mouth of the Arkansas River—a journey that would have taken up to a month by keelboat. The Arkansas Gazette reported that Little Rock’s citizens were “very agreeably surprised” by the vessel’s arrival, which “reflects much credit on Capt. Morris for his …

Eberts Training Field

Established next to the town of Lonoke in 1917, during World War I, Eberts Field ranked second among aviation training fields maintained by the U.S. government, and it was one of the leading training centers for aviators during the war. Named for West Point graduate Captain Melchior McEwan Eberts, an early Arkansas aviator, it had an enlistment of about 1,000 cadets being trained in aviation. About 1,500 enlisted men and officers were stationed at the field. Lonoke County outbid Pulaski County to get the aviation school to locate in Lonoke, which offered 960 rent-free acres and a new railroad spur connecting the field with the Rock Island Railroad tracks. The U.S. government accepted the Lonoke offer on November 19, 1917, …

Fordyce, Samuel Wesley

Samuel Wesley Fordyce was a businessman who spearheaded efforts to build thousands of miles of railway in the South and Southwest during the late nineteenth century, including the Cotton Belt route that crossed Arkansas. He also was a major force behind the transformation of Hot Springs (Garland County) from a small village to major health resort. The town of Fordyce (Dallas County) is named for him, as is the Fordyce Bath House in Hot Springs. Samuel Fordyce was born on February 7, 1840, in Senecaville, Ohio, the son of John Fordyce and Mary Ann Houseman Fordyce. As a boy, he never liked school, but he attended Madison College in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and North Illinois University in Henry, Illinois, before becoming …

Fort Smith Regional Airport

The Fort Smith Regional Airport is a mixed-use airport located three miles southeast of Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The airport has two asphalt runways and scheduled commercial aviation to airports in Atlanta, Georgia, and Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas. The initial ideas for an airport date back to the Depression era. In 1939, two sod runways, built on land purchased with a municipal bond authorized in 1936, opened for business. The initial decade saw improvements such as hangars (1941) and paving of the runways (1945). During expansion projects, the two runways were extended from their initial length of 3,500 feet to 8,000 feet for the longer runway and 5,000 feet for the shorter. Construction of the control tower in 1951 permitted greater …

Fort Smith to Jackson Road

The Fort Smith to Jackson Road was one of several “military roads” the U.S. Congress funded during the 1830s to improve transportation in territorial Arkansas. A Baxter County segment of the road over which the John Benge detachment of Cherokee traveled in 1838 during the Trail of Tears was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 2004. On November 1, 1833, the Arkansas Territorial Assembly petitioned Congress to finance a road across northern Arkansas on the grounds that in “an immense extent of country, situated in the upper waters of White River comprising the counties of Lawrence, Izard and Washington, there is no great public road leading through any portion thereof [and the petitioners] would therefore suggest …

Freedom Rides

The Freedom Rides were a tactic employed by civil rights demonstrators in 1961 to place pressure on the federal government and local leaders to end segregation in interstate transportation facilities. Ultimately, the Freedom Rides in Little Rock (Pulaski County) led the local African-American and white communities to address the lingering issue of segregation in the city. In 1947, the national civil rights organization the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) held its Journey of Reconciliation to test integrated interstate transportation on buses ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1946 Morgan v. Virginia decision. The journey involved an interracial team of bus passengers traveling through upper South states to make sure the law was being implemented. Their journey met with mixed results. …

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 …

Haggard Ford Swinging Bridge

aka: Bear Creek Bridge
The Haggard Ford Swinging Bridge, located on Cottonwood Road eight miles north of Harrison (Boone County), is a single-span wire cable suspension bridge anchored by concrete towers and floored with wooden planks. Spanning Bear Creek, it was constructed in 1941 with assistance from the Works Projects Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 30, 1995. With its rugged, hilly landscape, Boone County still presented difficulties in the 1930s for travelers and farmers seeking to bring their products to market from remote areas. The county took advantage of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration (later Works Projects Administration) after its creation in 1935 to cut or improve roads and make …

Hallie [Steamboat]

The Hallie was a shallow-draft steam packet built in the spring of 1873 to trade along the waters of the Arkansas River. It was scuttled during the Brooks-Baxter War in 1874 after the Battle of Palarm. Captain A. M. Woodruff built the Hallie in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the spring of 1873 to provide reliable transport services on the Arkansas River, which was often difficult to traverse because of low water. He named it for the young daughter of Captain J. N. Jabine, who also commanded steamboats on the river. It made its maiden run to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in early April, with the Arkansas Gazette reporting on April 13 that the vessel “proves to be one of …

Handywagon

The Handywagon, built in 1964 for the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company (Arkla), was intended as an economical vehicle for use by the company’s Gaslite and domestic appliance servicers, meter readers, collectors, and meter setters. The small wagon was designed to be easily reparable and average thirty-five miles per gallon. In mid-1963, Arkla board chairman Wilton “Witt” R. Stephens asked company lawyer Raymond Thornton to design a utility vehicle that could operate economically, have a 900-pound load capacity, weigh less than a ton and a half, and be company-built. In 1964, Thornton chose Ed Handy, a company construction engineer, to collaborate with him on the project. After much research, the two men found the power train they needed in Holland. Van …

Highway 7/51 Bridge

aka: Arkadelphia Bridge
The Highway 7/51 Bridge crosses the Ouachita River in Arkadelphia (Clark County). The bridge was originally placed in 1933 at the Arkansas Highway 7/U.S. Highway 67 crossing of the Caddo River north of Arkadelphia. It was moved to its current position in 1960 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 1, 2006. It is also known as the Arkadelphia Bridge. The Ouachita River played an important role in the settlement of Arkadelphia, with the town growing along the western bank of the river. While the shallow nature of the river made most water travel impossible, locals were able to ship goods down the river in small craft. The arrival of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad in …

Highway 79 Bridge

Located in Clarendon (Monroe County), the Highway 79 Bridge spanned the White River for eighty-eight years until the structure was demolished in 2019. Constructed in 1930–1931, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 1, 1984. The western approaches were added to the National Register on September 28, 2015. The first settlers in the Clarendon area arrived around 1816. More people began to settle in the community, and by 1828, both a post office and a ferry across the White River opened. Located just south of the mouth of the Cache River, the city grew over the decades, although it was plagued by floods and was completely destroyed during the Civil War. After the war, …

Hunt, Johnnie Bryan “J. B.”

One of the most successful entrepreneurs in Arkansas history, Johnnie Bryan “J. B.” Hunt rose from humble beginnings to found one of America’s largest trucking firms, J. B. Hunt Transport Services. Today, his company is one of the largest employers in the state, with nearly 15,000 employees and a fleet of 9,688 trucks. The firm is consistently listed among Forbes magazine’s largest corporations. The son of sharecroppers, J. B. Hunt was born on February 28, 1927, in rural Cleburne County. He left school after the seventh grade to work at his uncle’s sawmill and eventually found other work picking cotton and selling lumber. In 1952, he married Johnelle DeBusk, and the couple went on to have two children. A year after their marriage, …

IC Corporation

aka: Inc. Ward Transportation Services
IC Corporation, formerly Ward Transportation Services, Inc., is a school bus manufacturer that started up in Conway (Faulkner County). In 2008, the company had a sixty-two-percent share of the North American school bus market. The company has often been technologically innovative and, in 1936, was the first to produce a steel-bodied school bus. IC Corporation also offers hybrid technology in its buses. IC Corporation was founded in 1933 by blacksmith David H. Ward as Ward Body Works, a company that originally made school bus bodies from wood. The name was later changed to Ward School Bus Manufacturing, Inc., a subsidiary of Ward Industries, Inc., and then to Ward Bus Company. In 1968, the company was handed over to Ward’s son …

Interstate 630

Interstate 630 is an eight-mile-long east-west expressway running through the center of Little Rock (Pulaski County), connecting Interstates 30 (to the east) and 430 (to the west). It was constructed during a two-decade period beginning in the 1960s and is blamed for significant social alterations in the state’s capital city. The interstate originated with Little Rock city planner John Nolen’s work in the 1930s envisioning a cross-city expressway in Arkansas’s largest city. As the city’s population began moving to the west in the 1950s, interest grew in a highway that would provide easy access between the jobs and shopping based downtown and the homes to the city’s west. In 1958, Metroplan (the metropolitan area’s planning organization) released a tentative plan …

J. B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.

J. B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., based in Lowell (Benton County), is Arkansas’s largest trucking company and one of the largest transportation logistics providers in North America, acting as the agent for the companies whose goods they are shipping. This Arkansas-based company employs 14,667 people and operates 9,688 tractors and 24,576 trailers, with annual revenues exceeding $3.7 billion. Company founder Johnnie Bryan Hunt was born in 1927 in rural Cleburne County and left school after the seventh grade to work in his uncle’s sawmill. He spent his early adult life working jobs that ranged from picking cotton to selling lumber to driving a truck and eventually to serving in the Army. After returning from the Army in 1947, Hunt’s first business venture …

Jones Truck Lines

Jones Truck Lines was a catalyst for change and growth in Springdale (Washington County). Established in 1918 by businessman Harvey Jones, the company made Springdale a regional center for the transportation of goods. In 1918, Harvey Jones began hauling dry freight for individuals and businesses. Originally, he hauled hardware and groceries from Springdale to Rogers (Benton County) and Fayetteville (Washington County) with two mules and a wagon. Local business owners quickly discovered that they could place an order one day and have it delivered the next. Jones sold his mules and wagon in 1919 and bought his first truck. When the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad (M&NA) went on strike in 1920, Jones began hauling freight between Seligman, Missouri, and …

Jones, Harvey

Harvey Jones founded Jones Truck Lines and made it the largest privately owned and operated truck line in the United States. By 1980, Jones Truck Lines was traveling more than 100,000 miles a day, with forty-one terminals in fifteen states and 2,300 employees. Harvey Jones was born on August 19, 1900, just east of Springdale (Washington County) to farmers Taylor and Jimmie Jones; he was the older of two children. At age sixteen, Jones moved to Springdale, where he set up his first business venture, a mercantile store. Two years later, in 1918, when the railroad went on strike, Jones purchased an old Springfield wagon and two mules and began hauling goods between Rogers (Benton County), Springdale, and Fayetteville (Washington …

Jonesboro Municipal Airport

The Jonesboro Municipal Airport is located three miles east of the Jonesboro (Craighead County) central business district in the northeastern part of Arkansas. It is a mixed-use airport, with the overwhelming majority of usage coming from general aviation. In 2015, it provided 284 jobs in the Jonesboro area and had a local economic impact of over $40 million. In January 1934, the Civil Works Administration (CWA) granted $13,000 to the city of Jonesboro to build an airport near the community of Nettleton (Craighead County). Originally covering 190 acres, the airport was little more than a dirt runway by 1935, due to disputes over the leasing of the land. The board of City Water and Light voted in April 1935 to …

Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern Railroad

The Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern Railroad (JLC&E) was chartered in 1897 and operated in northeastern Arkansas until being sold to the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway Co. (SLSF), better known as the Frisco, in 1925. The company provided a vital service to the people of the region for over twenty-five years and was crucial to the area’s development. Although there were several railroad lines in northeastern Arkansas by the 1880s, they had not ventured into the sunken lands created by the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811–1812. However, the expanding timber business demanded a better way to transport its product to sawmills. In the East Bottoms of northeastern Arkansas before 1895, the logs were conveyed by oxen pulling broad-wheeled wagons along …

Junction Bridge

The Junction 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 Junction Bridge was originally constructed as a railroad bridge in 1884; it was rebuilt in 1970, then converted to serve as a pedestrian bridge in 2008. Its southern end rests upon the geological feature that gave the city of Little Rock its name. The Little Rock, Mississippi River and Texas Railroad and the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad created a partnership in the early 1880s, envisioning a route that would stretch from the Gulf Coast to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). A new bridge across the Arkansas …

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 …

Lindbergh, Charles, First Night Flight of

In the acclaim for Charles Augustus Lindbergh following his solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, few people recognized the small but significant role Arkansas played in the historic event. Today, a modest monument off Highway 159 near Lake Village (Chicot County) marks the Arkansas site that contributed to one of the greatest stories in American history. In April 1923, Charles Lindbergh was a young airmail pilot who had taught himself to fly. He had engine trouble on a flight between Mississippi and Houston, Texas, and landed near Lake Chicot in Lake Village, in an open space which was used as a local golf course. The nearest building was the clubhouse. The keeper, Mr. Henry, and his family sometimes used the building …

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 Air Force Base

The Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB) is located on 6,412 acres of land within the city limits of Jacksonville (Pulaski County). The base is a self-contained community that has contributed greatly to the economy and growth of the area since it became operational in 1955. The LRAFB is the largest C-130 base in the world. In 1951, members of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce learned that the Air Force was considering locating a new base in the central United States but that Congress was not interested in purchasing land for the base because the United States already owned some World War II airfields that could be converted to active bases. Everett Tucker, manager of the Industrial Department …

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 Aviation Supply Depot

During World War I, an air supply depot was constructed at Little Rock (Pulaski County) south of 12th Street near the Little Rock airport. Construction began in 1918 of the complex of structures encompassing fifty-five acres and designed to house up to 500 officers and men. The main warehouse was planned as an exact duplicate of the warehouse at Dayton, Ohio. The depot acted as a distribution point, with raw materials necessary for the function of an air service being gathered and sent to production facilities, while finished products were stored and the parts distributed to flying fields as needed. At one point, approximately 13,000 motors were stored there. Although the depot mainly supplied equipment to flying fields in the …

Little Rock Port Authority

aka: Port of Little Rock
The Port of Little Rock, part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, is operated by the Little Rock Port Authority (LRPA). The LRPA oversees the port, which provides intermodal transportation services to connect U.S. markets to the deep-water ports of the Gulf of Mexico. The port encompasses an industrial park located along the banks of the Arkansas River, approximately seven miles from downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County); the 2,600-acre industrial park has more than forty businesses. The Port of Little Rock operates two river terminals (a river port and a slackwater harbor) and a short-line railroad, as well as Foreign Trade Zone 14. (Foreign-trade zones are designated locations in the United States in which companies are able to delay …

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 …