Union Station Van Buren Arkansas

Discussion in 'General' started by john, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    Here's a little bit of information about the first (?) Frisco depot at Van Buren, Arkansas. (Don't know who owned it but it was used by the early Frisco.) If anyone has any additional information or knows where to find a photo of this building, the information would be appreciated. The map which is attached is a section from an 1888 map of Van Buren, Arkansas. The building in question is located just to the northeast of the bridge (at the SLSF/LR&FS crossing).

    Goodspeed History of Crawford County, Arkansas (also 1888): "Van Burenites took $10,000 of stock in this (SLSF) road. It was practically completed in the middle of 1882 and this led to the building of a union depot at the crossing of the roads (SLSF and LR&FS), although the freight depot is situated at the upper end of Main Street." The first (SLSF) passenger train arrived at 6:00 pm on Nov. 15, 1882 (footnote attributes this information to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat).

    The first train crossed the new Van Buren (SLSF) railroad bridge at 3:30 pm on 9 Feb 1886. Photos taken at the time the bridge was built fail to show the "union station" so it was apparently constructed after the bridge was built, between 1886 and 1888.

    Does anyone know where the Frisco passenger station was between 1882 and 1888?

    Does anyone know when the "Union Depot" shown on the map was built and when it was discontinued? Was it in use until the present brick station was built in 1902?

    Thanks, John

    Attached Files:

  2. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi John!

    Hope you're doing well and enjoying your retirement. I'll join you in 4 years, 8 months, 23 days, and 14 hours... but who's counting?

    Ah yes... the joint depot that you and I cussed n' discussed a couple years ago. Got a feelin' we've both ventured out into some pretty scarce territory with our diggins' on the early Central Sub that existed down our way. Hopefully additional info will come forth... but I suspect it won't... 'cause it's about got to the point that YOU know more about this area than any of us! So, if YOU don't know it... it ain't known anymore.

    Having said that, it is amazing how accurate those old artistic map views were in regards to correct placement of the elements. I also have other such maps for other lines I'm interested in, and they too, are very helpful. (In particular the artistic map of Buena Vista, Colorado, circa early 1880's on my South Park hobby route effort.)

    If you'll recall, the above map you supplied me with essentially caused me to back date my V scale Central Sub effort from the 1907-08 era down to 1889. LOVED the atmosphere that can be seen in those Van Buren and Fort Smith artist maps. (Also liked the more simplistic track arrangements at Fort Smith.)

    Wow... it's been a while since I've toyed with my Frisco Line V scale project... hmmmm.

    Anyway good to "see" you on here and hope it represents that ol' John is still a' kickin' and raisin' dust here n' there.

    Your ol' bud over in Oakieland
  3. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    Hi Andre,

    As you already know, the early Sanborn maps of Van Buren ignore the Frisco (out of town). There is no Frisco passenger station at the present location on the 1897 map (first to show the area where the present passenger station sits "up on the hill") so my guess is they were still down at the bridge (which still isn't shown in 1897).

  4. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi Again John!

    Since we're talking this joint depot: Did you notice the 1888 artist map indicates the Little Rock & Fort Smith was still in control of the track that would later become the Iron Mountain?

    What's your take on this?

    Have you unearthed any accurate information that indicates just WHEN the Iron Mountain assumed the Little Rock & Fort Smith?

    Thus, in my 1889 target era wondering if those tracks should have Little Rock & Fort Smith equipment on it... or Iron Mountain?

    Also: Wonder when the LR&FS/IM&S rails were extended northwest to Muskogee, Coffeyville, etc?

    Soooo many things still unknown.
  5. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    I don't have the answers, probably someone on here does. I believe that Gould purchased the Little Rock and Fort Smith shortly before he started building the Iron Mountain down to Jenny Lind and Greenwood (supposed to go on down to Gurdon, but that is another story, too many proposed tunnels kept getting in the way of completing it). I've heard everything from 1882 to 1886 for his purchase of the LR&FS. My GUESS ca. 1884-85. It may be one of those gradual things that are difficult to pin to an exact date? The Little Rock and Fort Smith originally ran into the Cherokee Nation and ended at what we now call Moffett (across the Arkansas River west of Fort Smith). LR&FS called it Cherokee at that time. The first LR&FS train is said to have reached Van Buren on June 24, 1876 and Cherokee (Fort Smith) at about that same time. The Cherokee Nation managed to get the tracks in their lands removed in early 1879 and that's when the first transfer boat was placed on the Arkansas River at Van Buren. After the Frisco arrived at Van Buren it built tracks into Fort Smith (ca.1883?) along side the LR&FS tracks and used their transfer boat. When the Frisco bridge was finished in 1886 the "Missouri Pacific System" used it too, I believe as the Little Rock and Fort Smith. I don't know if the tracks between Van Buren and Fort Smith were ever formally part of the Iron Mountain. When Jay Gould expanded across the Indian Territory it was as the Kansas and Arkansas Valley Railway, not the Iron Mountain. The first train on it ran Aug. 13, 1888. A couple of years later the track was again layed down to Cherokee (Moffett) and the Iron Mountain bridge from Indian Territory to Fort Smith was built. Someone correct me on this, but the impression that I have is that the Iron Mountain from Cherokee Jct (later Greenwood Jct.) down through Fort Smith to Greenwood was physically isolated from the rest of the Iron Mountain, at least for an extended period of time. I don't know when, or even if the Iron Mountain ever took control of the LR&FS but I do know it was many years before it was formally merged into the Missouri Pacific. Sorry, I know this appears to have little to do with the Frisco, but Gould and Huntington got control of the Frisco and an amazing amount of short-lived cooperation between the Frisco and "Missouri Pacific System" took place in Fort Smith. I know it sounds unlikely, but there are even stories that they ran trains over each others rails at this time (not a formal trackage arrangement). Gould wanted to turn the Texas and Pacific into a transcontinental railroad at this time but was blocked and ended up in a partnership with Huntington. This pretty much killed the Frisco's chances of making it to California, since neither Gould or Huntington had any incentive to push that in competition with their new transcontinental system.

  6. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Your guess is good e'nuf fer me: On "my" version of the Frisco Line in 1889, it will be the Iron Mountain in VB.

    Interesting about "Cherokee/Moffett". Seeing as the Helen Gould Bridge opened in 1891, I would guess that the rails were not relaid through "Cherokee/Moffett" in 1889? IF that was the case, then all Greenwood traffic would have come through Ft. Smith via the Frisco bridge and then the Iron Mountain would have diverged onto their own rails (at a place called "Ft. Smith Jct" in the 1898 Frisco ETT) through town. However, my virtual world is not a perfect world... anachronisms exist. Once such anachronism is that the Iron Mountain track is already in place from Cherokee Jct. to "Cherokee"... and the rails to Ft. Smith are magically floating above the river awaiting the construction/installation of a virtual Helen Gould Bridge. :D

    Enjoying the exchange John... even if it is only the two of us!

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