Transportation

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Entry Category: Transportation

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. …

Texarkana Regional Airport

aka: Texarkana Air Force Station
The Texarkana Regional Airport is located three miles northeast of Texarkana (Miller County). The airport is a mixed-used facility with the primary focus being general aviation; it also offers limited commercial aviation. In 2015, the total economic impact to the Texarkana area included 420 jobs and more than $32.5 million to the local economy. In 2015, there were sixty-eight aircraft based at the airport, and the airport conducted just under of 48,500 flight operations. The early history of the airport dates back to 1928 when the City of Texarkana acquired 190 acres of land from two local families, the Lathrop and Wheeler families. The following year, the first runways were constructed. Both were made of sod, with one measuring 3,500 …

Thaden, Louise McPhetridge

Louise McPhetridge Thaden was an aviation pioneer and holder of numerous flight records during the late 1920s and 1930s. At one point, she was the most famous female American aviator only after Amelia Earhart. Louise McPhetridge was born in Bentonville (Benton County) on November 12, 1905, to Roy McPhetridge, a travelling Mentholatum salesman who taught Louise to hunt, fish, and fix a car, and Edna McPhetridge, a housewife. She had one sister. Raised on the family farm, McPhetridge discovered an early interest in aviation long before learning to fly. A ride in a plane with a barnstormer fuelled her desire to fly. After attending local public schools, McPhetridge attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1922 …

Thompson-Robbins Air Field

aka: Helena Aero Tech
In about 1940, the United States was planning a build-up in the Army Air Force (AAF) strength. The number of airplanes produced was to be increased to around 50,000, but the AAF’s flying school in Texas could only graduate 500 pilots a year, and most of the current AAF pilots did not have enough flying hours to be instructors. To produce more pilots, the commanding general of the AAF, Henry Arnold, devised a plan for primary contract flying schools located in local communities.   Three primary contract flying schools were located in Arkansas: the first at Grider Field in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), the second at Thompson-Robbins Airfield in West Helena (Phillips County), and the third at Harrell Field in …

Tinker, Frank Glasgow

Frank Glasgow Tinker was a distinguished American mercenary pilot for forces of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). A graduate of DeWitt High School and the Naval Academy, Tinker was the top American ace for the Republican Air Force during the Spanish Civil War. Frank Tinker was born on July 14, 1909, in Kaplan, Louisiana, the son of Frank Glasgow and Effie Tinker. He had two sisters. The family moved to DeWitt (Arkansas County) on July 3, 1924. Tinker graduated from high school in DeWitt in 1926 and, at the age of seventeen, joined the U.S. Navy. Tinker spent three years in the navy before receiving a prestigious appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. After graduating …

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 …

Transportation

The systems of conveyance both through and within Arkansas involve routes that include land, air, and water. Because of Arkansas’s geographic location along the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Red rivers, water routes have been particularly important. Land routes have been much affected by the landscapes of the six natural divisions within the state, and achieving travel avenues of roads and railroads posed many problems, both for transportation through the state and among the divisions within the state. Pre-European Exploration Paleolithic hunters who arrived in Arkansas more than 10,000 years ago appropriated trails beaten down by herds of mastodons and then bison. These trails became the basis for human societal development through transportation. The most significant land route, later called the Southwest …

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 …

Van Buren County Road 2E Bridge

The Van Buren County 2E Bridge is an open masonry substructure bridge crossing a tributary of Driver’s Creek near Scotland (Van Buren County) built under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. In 1940, Van Buren County received a $117,789 grant from the Works Progress Administration to “improve and construct roads. Work includes clearing, grubbing, excavating and surfacing; moving fences, constructing and reconstructing bridges and drainage structures, and performing incidental and appurtenant work.” The construction of a bridge across a Driver’s Creek tributary on a rural Van Buren County road was almost certainly part of this project since no individual WPA project card exists for the bridge. Its designer is not known but could …

Wallace Bridge

aka: Nimrod Bridge
Constructed in 1908, the Wallace Bridge was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as the best example of a Camelback through truss bridge in the Nimrod (Perry County) vicinity. The bridge was also nominated for its associations with the development of vehicular transportation in Perry County. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 1, 2008, it is the last remaining example of this type of bridge in Perry County and one of only three remaining in Arkansas. It is unknown if there was a prior bridge at the current location of the Wallace Bridge. A loss of county records prevents a detailed understanding of the historical locations and types of bridges in Perry County, but at least one …

Walnut Ridge Army Flying School

The Walnut Ridge Army Flying School was one of seven U.S. Army Air Forces pilot training schools established in Arkansas as part of the nationwide expansion of World War II pilot training. Contract primary flying schools were located in Camden (Ouachita County), Helena (Phillips County), and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Newport (Jackson County) and Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County) had basic flying schools, while Blytheville (Mississippi County) and Stuttgart (Arkansas County) had advanced twin-engine flying schools. The Walnut Ridge Army Flying School enrolled during its existence 5,310 students, 4,641 of whom graduated. In early April 1942, a board of three army air forces officers—Lieutenant Colonel Burton Hovey Jr., Lieutenant Colonel John R. Cume Jr., and Captain Blanton Russell—went in search of …

White River

The 722-mile-long White River flowing through northern Arkansas and southern Missouri is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. The river begins in northwestern Arkansas in the Boston Mountains and flows east toward the Fayetteville (Washington County) area, where it then turns north. Near Eureka Springs (Carroll County), the river enters Missouri. It then flows southeast back into Arkansas past Bull Shoals (Marion County), Mountain Home (Baxter County), and Calico Rock (Izard County). At Batesville (Independence County) begins the second section of the river, known as the lower White. From Batesville, the White River flows south for 295 miles through Arkansas’s Delta region, past Augusta (Woodruff County), Des Arc (Prairie County), Clarendon (Monroe County), and St. Charles (Arkansas County), before …

Winslow Tunnel

In September 1880, the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway Company (Frisco) created a railroad subsidiary, the Missouri, Arkansas and Southern Railway of Arkansas. The new subsidiary was authorized “to build in a southerly direction”—likely from Fayetteville (Washington County)—“to some point on the Little Rock & Fort Smith Railway, not east of Clarksville, with total mileage of about 55 miles.” The Little Rock and Fort Smith (LR&FS) in 1876 began rail service between Argenta—now North Little Rock (Pulaski County)—and Van Buren (Crawford County). The broad language of the authorization clearly reflected the uncertainty in constructing a railroad line through the Boston Mountains range of the Ozark Mountains, the highest range between the Alleghenies and the Rockies. The range, the highest elevation of …

Zerbe Air Sedan

The Zerbe Air Sedan is a curiosity in the history of aviation in Arkansas. It was an early attempt to construct a passenger plane, and the only known account of it flying was in 1921 in Fayetteville (Washington County). Aircraft builder Professor Jerome S. Zerbe had not had much success at building flying machines. In 1910, he participated in the Dominguez Air Meet in California. An account from the meet stated that “Professor J. S. Zerbe brought out his curious appearing multiplane and attempted to take off. As it clattered down the field amid the cheers of the crowd, a front wheel hit a hole and collapsed throwing the machine to one side and damaging a wing….” After the meet, …