I think that all of us who post on this forum do their best to be accurate. Your statement the the Frisco could have built the bridge any time is not supported by facts. (I)The following extract from Mike Condren's FSVB web site sets forth in more details the Frisco problems with the Corps of Engineers in respect of the proposed bridge: "Congress authorized the Frisco railroad bridge at Van Buren on July 3, 1882 - subject to approval of the company's plans by the Chief of Engineers, United States Army. On November 6, 1882, W. W. Belknap submitted the Frisco's plans for the proposed bridge. They were rejected on November 24th. Grounds for rejection: 1. Map submitted by the railroad company was not in conformity to law. 2. Bridge would be near the head of a bar that split the River. During low water boats take the channel to the right of the bar, whilst at ordinary high water the other is used. 3. The direction of the axis of the bridge and the location of the draw span are not favorable to navigation of the channel next to the town. 4. The difference between high and low water, as assumed by the company, is 32.5 feet, whereas it was 35.5 in 1844 and 39 in 1833. 5. The proper location of the bridge would be from 1,800 to 3,000 feet farther upstream. On December 5, 1882 the Frisco replied that: 1. The location suggested is impracticable, since the curve approaching the bridge would require tunneling through the side of a steep bluff from 200 to 300 feet high, at an enormous expense, amounting to a prohibition to build the bridge at all. 2. That the draw-span is located where the main channel has been for thirteen years. 3. That the law declares that the bridge would be located at Van Buren. 4. That the navigation interests of the Upper Arkansas are insignificant. 5. That the company expects in good faith to conform to the requirements of the act as to the width of draw-spans and height of bridge. It was stated that "excessive cost of the approach on the Van Buren side, which involved a curved tunnel in very difficult soil, amounted to a prohibition of the work." On December 12, 1882 the Frisco submitted an amended bridge plan, to conform with the high water of 1844 (raised grade 3 feet). A special board considered the Frisco's proposal and rejected it. They recommended a compromise location 550 to 600 feet further upstream. A group of owners, captains, pilots and others engaged in commerce on the Arkansas also transmitted a protest against the proposed location. Frisco then, on March 8, 1883, replied that: (A) There would be little difference in either proposed site in regard to currents in the River. (B)The proposed location would endanger the transfer boat of the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railway Company, "used by them jointly with that company, which carries almost the entire traffic of Fort Smith and vicinity and would be endangered by close proximity to the bridge while under construction at the upper location."(C)The cost of the bridge would be $50,000 greater than at the proposed Van Buren location, while commerce on the Arkansas River was so insignificant that it was not worth the sacrifice. The Army Engineers replied on March 22, 1883 that: (A) The bridge approaches and piers would contract the width of the river and increase the velocity at Van Buren even more. (B) The danger to the transfer boat could be obviated by providing her with "ordinarily powerful machinery." (C) The $50,000 estimate seemed rather large. They also felt that they had already "given in" enough, especially since they had agreed to allow the construction some 2,000 feet downstream of the original site they had selected. The Frisco then suggested that a Van Buren location would allow the bridge to also function as a wagon bridge, but that could not easily be done further upstream. (This was probably done in part to win more support in Van Buren. Many people there were opposed to the bridge as it would decrease the importance of Van Buren as a shipping point.) November 6, 1883 a "memorial" from the citizens of Fort Smith suggested that "the rapidly increasing trade of that place, and that the region of country trading with it has a population of about 50,000, and ships from 20,000 to 30,000 bales of cotton besides other merchandise, which, owing to the bad condition of the navigation of the river, is dependent upon the two railroads crossing the Arkansas in a transfer boat at Van Buren, which only takes two cars at a time, and that for the want of a bridge at that point the commerce of that region is seriously embarrassed." On January 26, 1884 the Frisco formally agreed to the last set of modified terms, and to take whatever steps might be necessary to restore navigation if the bridge disrupted it, and the bridge was erected at Van Buren. Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers, United States Army to the Secretary of War, 1884. (Part 2, Vol. II, pp 1792-1796) " II.Mike Condren's Fort Smith Van Buren website has some early photos. None of them show an interlocking tower. III ICC Finance Docket No 9883 at ICC Reports 193,p29 effective April 27, 1933 authorized the Missouri Pacific to abandon operations into Fort Smith using the Frisco's Van Buren bridge. The decision noted that the MP had access to Fort Smith via its own bridge and that The MP had paid the Frisco $60,123 intrackage fees for the five years ended December 31, 1932, an amount almost equal to the MP's cost of taxes and maintenance on its own bridge.The MP application noted there had been a sharp decline in Fort Smith freight business that rendered use of the Frisco bridge redundant. From this document I would deduce that henceforth the MP used the Frisco bridge solely for diversions. IV The ICC Valuation Report for the Fort Smith & Van Buren Bridge Company, ICC Valuation Reports, Volume 41, p 558-9 does not contain any reference to Little Rock & Fort Smith/MP ownership of the Frisco's Van Buren Bridge. If the MP had an ownership interest the bonds issued to build the bridge would have shown two obligors. V. Gould's alleged interest in delaying Frisco construction through Oklahoma may have been rooted in a desire to protect the monopoly the Gould controlled MKT had on rail traffic to and from the Lone Star State.