Transportation

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Entry Category: Transportation

Climber Motor Corporation

The automobile craze grew by leaps and bounds during the early twentieth century. A 1907 issue of Outing Magazine reported that “In 1906, the cost of the annual American output of automobiles was $65,000,000. There were 146 concerns in business, which represented a capitalization of probably $25,000,000 and were giving employment directly and indirectly to an army of men which reached well up into the hundreds of thousands.” Arkansas was in no way left behind by the explosive growth of the use of the automobile. By 1913, there were 3,596 registered passenger vehicles in Arkansas. Even though automobile production was growing year by year, the improvement of roads to accommodate the new vehicles was severely lagging behind across the nation, …

Coast Guard Auxiliary

aka: U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, established by Congress in 1939 to assist the U.S. Coast Guard with all missions except military operations and law enforcement, is composed of more than 32,000 volunteers worldwide. Its traditional role has been promoting recreational boating safety through public education courses, assisting with search and rescue missions, conducting marine safety patrols on lakes and rivers, supporting regattas and marine events, and offering free vessel safety checks for recreational boaters as well as commercial vessels. Before members of the auxiliary can inspect a boat, a detailed instruction course is required. The course must be repeated every three years. In 1962, eighty avid Arkansan boaters, primarily from two boat clubs in the Little Rock (Pulaski County) metropolitan area, provided …

Coffey, Cornelius Robinson

  Cornelius Robinson Coffey was the first African American to establish an aeronautical school in the United States. His school was also the only aviation program not affiliated with a university or college to become part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP). His pioneering efforts led to the integration of black pilots into the overall American aviation industries, both civilian and military. Cornelius R. Coffey was born in Newport (Jackson County) on September 6, 1903, to Henry Coffey and Ida Wright Coffey. In 1916, Coffey had his first experience riding in an aircraft and was convinced that aviation was his calling. In 1925, Coffey left Arkansas for Chicago, Illinois, to pursue a career in aviation by enrolling in an auto …

Combs, Cass and Eastern Railroad

The Combs, Cass and Eastern Railroad Company (CC&E) has several distinctions. It was the last railroad built in northwestern Arkansas. It reached the highest elevation of the railroads operating in northwest Arkansas and was the sole standard gauge logging railroad there. Prominent Arkansan J. William Fulbright became president at the age of eighteen, thus becoming the youngest railroad president in the United States. Construction of the then-unnamed railroad began in 1913 at Combs (Madison County) on the St. Paul (Madison County) branch of the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (Frisco). The line headed south along Mill Creek for nearly nine miles. Upon entering Franklin County, the railroad encountered difficult rock conditions as it climbed to Summit (Franklin County) at about 1,900 …

Command-Aire

In 1926, the Arkansas Aircraft Company was founded in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to build small personal airplanes. The company represented the first and one of the few aircraft companies that have existed in Arkansas. The Arkansas Aircraft Company, which later became known as Command-Aire, was nationally known for its aircraft, and it was one of the country’s leading airplane manufacturers in the late 1920s. Robert B. Snowden Jr. was the company’s president, and John Carroll Cone was in charge of sales. Albert Voellmecke—a graduate of the University of Braunschweigaud in Germany and an employee of the Heinkel firm, a noted German aircraft builder—was sent to America by the Heinkel firm in 1927 to advise the company. He later became …

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, …