West on the Bentonville Branch

Discussion in 'Ft. Smith Subdivision' started by U-3-b, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    I wasn't sure where to post this so I'll stick it here with the picture of Chester.

    FRISCO ICC map of Chester, AR ca 1918.


    Attached Files:

  2. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi All!

    In the interest of accuracy of shared information, I need to correct an assumption made on my part over the years that I posted here:

    My incomplete resources indicated there were service facilities at Chester, however the hand-drawn map I have stops at the turntable and doesn't show all the yard or service facility that existed at Chester. I have recently revisted that map after many years, and rediscovered that the map stops at the turntable thus doesn't indicate anything south of it. ("CRS" syndrome is the pits. :D )

    According to sources here, there isn't any solid indication of a roundhouse (however small) at Chester. Turntable, yes. Small service facilities, yes. However, as yet no hard data exists that indicate a roundhouse/enginehouse was at Chester.

    My assumption for a small roundhouse/enginehouse was based on the fact that Chester was a division point until 1897/98 (when the division point was relocated to Ft. Smith), and I ASSUMED that as a division point, there would be a small roundhouse/engine house of some sort to effect light running repairs. Perhaps that assumption is not correct... but I have a hard time accepting that there was no service/light repair facility at a division point location. Chester was the division point from about the early 1880's all the way up to 1897/98. That's about 15 years. Like I said, hard to imagine there wasn't at least a single stall enginehouse there. (Same argument can be raised concerning Talihina, I.T. when it, too, was a division point over the same span of time.)

    As we all can see, scant "hard facts" information is available as to the very early years of the Frisco's Central Division. (Darn.) Such is the life and times of a late 1800's fanatic like me!

    However, the thrill of the chase and the hope of discovery is part of the fun of pursuing such an obscure era.

  3. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    In my stack of stuff, I have this small stereopticon image of the Chester Roundhouse.

    Attached Files:

  4. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Well I'll be dadgum. Karl... that is amazing. (Thank you SO MUCH for sharing.)

    Just when I had almost thrown in the towel on my thinking of Chester having a roundhouse, or any form of enginehouse... you come along with this little nugget! Do you have ANY IDEA how rare and obscure that little pic is??? A pic like that is what makes this history thing so fun.

    SO... if this is indeed the roundhouse at Chester... then what I've heard in the past WAS accurate. Word of mouth as well as deduction isn't always reliable, 'ya know.

    Do you by ANY chance have a way to scan that fantastic little picture at a larger resolution? I would love to have a larger resolution scan to study. It would be really rewarding to make a virtual model of that structure and have it in place at "my" V scale Chester.

    Thanks again.

  5. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter


    I regret that this is as good as it gets. This was an Ebay miss; someone else wanted it a lot more than I did.

  6. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    I understand completely on the high price of history.

    IF one shows up again, maybe you and I can pool resources and snag it. I would be just as happy to have a hi-res scan as I would be possessing the original.

    As you and I both know: That is a very rare picture!!!

    I can't remember where I found it, but I have another very rare picture: A view of the ORIGINAL Fayetteville & Little Rock constructed Combs depot. The picture was taken long before the "Standard" SLSF depot replaced it. Finding little gems like this just make my day!

  7. tomd6

    tomd6 Passed Away February 11, 2018

    Goodspeed's History states the Chester roundhouse was built in July 1887. Prior to the opening of Chester the Frisco built a two stall roundhouse at Rogers, AR in the summer of 1882. The dilapidated Rogers roundhouse was still standing per a 1900 court case involving the Frisco and the Arkansas & Oklahoma that in November 1900 became the FRisco's Bentonville Branch.
  8. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    What a perfect illustration of the fruit of continued sleuthing in regards to history and what can be turned up given this fantastic tool called the "internet".

    It was previously thought:

    And now, we have a picture of the Chester roundhouse (SIX stalls, no less!), and Tom has since discovered and shared hard data concerning it's construction date, neither of which were known earlier in this thread!

    This internet thing is one powerful tool, and this forum is an excellent resource.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2013
  9. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I'll second that.
  10. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter


    If you want to see another photo showing "old" Chester find a copy of Steven and Ray Hanley's Postcard History Series "Sebastian and Crawford Counties" (page 120). The photo is dated 1912 (I know, too recent.) A good view of the Frisco water tank is in the foreground with "downtown" Chester in the background. The wooden buildings have an old look to them, perhaps from the era you are modeling?

  11. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi John!

    Any recommendations as to WHERE to find said book?
  12. gbmott

    gbmott Member

    With reopening of this thread by the remarkable discovery of the photo of the Chester roundhouse, I am reminded that I never heard back from my inquiry about Supt. Cantrell's notebook. Is the original in your possession or (hopefully) is this something publicly available?


  13. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Do a Google search for "Steven and Ray Hanley's Postcard History Series "Sebastian and Crawford Counties" and it'll show up for sale at a ton of sites.

    I'm surprised that so many outlets sell it.
  14. tomd6

    tomd6 Passed Away February 11, 2018

    Winslow turntable
    Extract from Early -Day Winslow by Lyda Winn Pace (Washington County HIstorical Society Flashback, August 1951.page 21):
    "Another interesting feature of the early days was the "turn-table" about a quarter mile north of the depot, on a side track especially designed for it. A "roundhouse was located at Chester, 12 miles south and trains coming across the mountains had an extra engine put on at Chester to help make the grade. The "hill-engines" were turned on the turn-table at Winslow , to go back to their destination. It was used only for a few years and the engones backed down the mountain instead. The old-turn table was left on the siding though for several years"
  15. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Again: See? Isn't it amazing what we can learn through pooling our resources.

    Thanks for some additional input, Tom.

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