August 12, 1883
Completion of the final (and difficult) section of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) was made at Rob Roy (Jefferson County) on the Arkansas River bridge. The Cotton Belt, as it was known, had begun in Tyler, Texas, in 1875. Construction began in Arkansas in 1881. When completed in 1883, the railroad ran diagonally across the state from Texarkana (Miller County) to St. Francis (Clay County). In 1930, the company operated 712 miles of track in Arkansas. The railway would reach its peak mileage in the state in the early 1930s. By the middle to late 1930s, the Great Depression and declining passenger revenue led the railroad to begin abandonment of many of its subsidiary companies and branch lines.