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 903.792.7191

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819 N State Line Ave,  Texarkana, USA 75501

© 2018 by Texarkana Arts & Historic District Committee

As legend has it, it was a day in 1542 when Hernando DeSoto ordered a mutinous

follower hanged from an oak tree near an artesian spring in the Territory of the

Grand Caddoes. Little did he know that less than a half-hour march to the South

was the site of a city which, 400 years later, would boast 60,000 in population,

would lie squarely in two states, would be named for three states, would be the

focal point of four, and would be the crossroads of the entire Southwest.

As early as 1840, rudiments of a permanent settlement in the old Caddo Territory

began to take form and, shortly thereafter, the stamp of official approval was

awarded in the form of a post office. Location of this institution was at Lost Prairie,

some 15 miles east of the present site of Texarkana.

Railroads were quick to see the possibilities of this vast new territory and, in the

late 1850's, the builders of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad were pushing their

railhead steadily across Arkansas. By 1874, they had crossed Red River and were

at the Texas state line. Between February 16 and March 19, 1874, trains ran

between the Texas state boundary and Red River, where passengers and freight

were ferried across to Fulton, to continue by rail to their destinations. The Red River

Bridge was opened on March 20, 1874, and from that date, trains have run directly from Texarkana to St. Louis.

Keen rivalry was the vogue among railroad builders in the 1870's. Among the pioneer railroads was the Texas and Pacific which stretched its steel ribbons across the vastness of the State of Texas to the Arkansas line. It was only logical that the point at which two railroads converged would be ideal for a city. Consequently, the Texas and Pacific Railroad sold the first town lots on December 8, 1873. The first lot, bought by a J.W. Davis, is the present-day location of Hotel McCartney, directly opposite Union Station.

Although many have contended for the honor, it is not known officially who gave Texarkana its name. One popular version credits a Colonel Gus Knobel who, surveying the Iron Mountain Railroad right-of-way from Little Rock to this section, came to the state line, marked the name "TEX-ARK-ANA" on a board and nailed it to a tree with the statement, "This is the name of a town which is to be built here." It was believed at the time that the Louisiana boundary was just a few miles to the south (actually it is thirty miles), and Colonel Knobel, in selecting the city's name, derived it from TEXas, ARKansas, and LouisiANA.

 

- Adapted version courtesy of Texarkana Chamber of Commerce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                 2015 KTBS Rick Rowe Segment                                                           Chamber of Commerce newsreel produced in the mid 50s

 

Texarkana History