AMTRAK ROUTE GUIDE #50a -- St. Louis, Missouri to San Antonio, Texas
Part 5 - Texarkana to Mineola
Little Rock to Texarkana
Mineola to Fort Worth


489    TEXARKANA station, 100 E. Front Street.  Elevation approximately 305.  This station is actually on the Arkansas-Texas state line; however, the station address is listed by AMTRAK as Texarkana, Arkansas.  Texarkana is located in both Miller Country, Arkansas, and Bowie County, Texas; however, Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas, each have their own separate identities and their own governments.  The name of the city was obviously derived from Texas, Arkansas, and also Louisiana; however, the city is only on the Texas-Arkansas border; the Louisiana border is several miles south.

         Texarkana was originally inhabited by the Caddo Indians and other tribes, who were friendly to the European settlers.  The city is located at the end of the Southwest Trail, which led from St. Louis to Texas.  Texarkana was also the junction point of the Cairo & Fulton Railroad and the Texas & Pacific Railroad, after the end of the Civil War.  A permanent settlement was established here in the 1840’s; however, the first lots were sold in 1874 by James Loughborough of the C & F Railroad.  The C & F soon became the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, & Southern Railroad, and eventually the Missouri Pacific, now part of Union Pacific.

         Texarkana is the home of the Ace of Clubs House and Museum, built in 1885 from the winnings from a poker game.  It is also the home of the Texarkana Historical Museum.  Texarkana was also the home of ragtime musician Scott Joplin, and Indy 500 driver Parnelli Jones.  The city was also used as setting for the 1976 movieThe Town That Dreaded Sundown.

         Enter BOWIE County, TEXAS.  The county was estabpsos9hed in December 1840, and named after Jim Bowie, the Texas revolutionary who dies at the Battle of the Alamo.  The Bowie County Seat is Boston; however, the courthouse is located in New Boston.

         We are also passing through Texarkana, Texas, the twin city of Texarkana, Arkansas.  Like its sister city in Arkansas, Texarkana, Texas, was built at the junction of the old Cairo & Fulton and Texas & Pacific Railroad lines, as they joined here.

491.5 Cross former Kansas City Southern Railroad line.

496.5 Pass through Sulphur, which was settled in the 1870’s when the Texas & Pacific Railway was being constructed.  It was originally known as Sulphur Station.  By 1984, the community was basically gone.

498   Cross Sulphur River and enter CASS County, which was named after Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan, who strongly supported the annexation of Texas.  The county was created in 1846 from Bowie County, and the county seat is Linden.  The county was previously known as Davis County, named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

499    Cross Long Slough, a tributary of the Sulphur River.

502    Pass through Domino, which was established in the late 19th Century as a flag stop on the Texas and Pacific Railway.  The construction of nearby Wright Patman Lake, a flood control reservoir on the Sulphur River, in the 1950’s brought new growth to the area.  The community incorporated during the 1970’s.  Domino is known as the “beer town of Northeast Texas,” since it is the only town in the county which is permitted to serve alcohol; the rest of the county is a “dry county.”

         The hills on the left (southbound) are composed of the Eocene-aged Wilcox Group and the overlying Reklaw Formation and Queen City Sand.

504   Pass through Springdale, originally known as Forest Home.  It was settled in the 1840’s, and changed its name from Forest Home to Springdale several times during and after the Civil War.  The low hills on the west (right if southbound) are composed of the Eocene-aged Reklaw Formation and overlying Queen City Sand.

508    Pass through the unincorporated community of Lanark, which began in 1870 with the coming of the railroad.  Apparently there were problems in establishing titles to the land on which the community was located; therefore, most of those who settled here moved south to Queen City or Atlanta.

509-511 Pass through Queen City, which was named by John C. Hutchison.  Early residents from Georgia had wished for the city to be named “Marietta” after the city in Georgia.  Queen City was incorporated on July 6, 1876.  The earliest industry in the area was iron, and a foundry was constructed; however, it closed eventually since there wasn’t enough iron ore in the area to be economical. Lumbering then took over as the major industry in the area, and reached its peak in the 1890’s.  After that, the town began declining. In 1935, the Rodessa Oil Field opened, and the city began to again flourish.

512-514 Pass through Atlanta, which was named after Atlanta, Georgia, the hometown of many of the early settlers in the area.  The city was established in 1871, but was not incorporated until 1929.  Lumbering was the primary early industry in the area, and with the onset of the great depression, many businesses closed.  Like other communities in the area, the opening of the Rodessa Oil Field in 1935 brought new prosperity to the region.

516   The hillsides adjacent to the railroad are composed of Eocene-aged Queen City Sand overlain by younger Eocene-aged Weches Formation.

519.5-520 Pass through the unincorporated community of Bivins, named after J.K. and Frank H. Bivins., who owned an early sawmill in the area. Lumbering has always been an important industry in this area.

          The small hill on the left (southbound) is composed of Eocene-aged Weches Sand.

522.5-523 Cross Frazier and Camp Creeks.

525.5-526 Pass through Kildare, another former lumbering town.  The town developed in the 1870’s along the Texas & Pacific Railway, and was named after a T & P railroad official.

529    On the left (southbound) is part of the Kildare Oil Field, which is part of the larger East Texas Oil Field.  Oil from the various fields in this region is derived from Cretaceous-aged sandstones and limestones, which are deeply buried beneath the Eocene-aged sedimentary rocks which are exposed on the earth’s surface here.  The Cretaceous-aged Woodbine Formation and overlying Eagle Ford Shale are the source and reservoir rocks for oil in this area.

530.5 Enter MARION County, which was created from the southern portion of Cass County by an act of the state legislature on February 8, 1860.  The county was named for American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox."  The majority of the early settlers migrated from other southern states and brought with them their slaves.  In 1861, the county voted unanimously for secession from the Union. The county benefited financially from Confederate government contracts.  The Marion County seat is Jefferson.

531   Pass through Lodi, which was named after the Italian city of Lodi by J. Lopresto, and early settler who came from Italy.  Like other towns in this part of Texas, Lodi began as a lumbering community, and developed in the 1870’s along the T & P Railway.

532-533 This area of rolling hills is underlain by the Eocene-aged Queen City Sand, a member of the larger Claiborne Group of sedimentary rock formations.  We are passing through the Rodessa Oil Field.

538    Cross Black Cypress Bayou, a tributary of the Red River.

539-541 Pass through Jefferson, the county seat of Marion County.  The city was named after President Thomas Jefferson. The city was founded in 1836, along with the establishment of the Republic of Texas.  Due to its location on Big Cypress Bayou, and a 75-mile long log jam which formerly existed at the junction of Big Cypress Bayou with the Red River at Caddo Lake, Jefferson became the principal river port in the State of Texas.  The first steamboat, the Llama, reached Jefferson in late 1843 or early 1844, and the town was incorporated on March 20, 1848.  In 1873, the log jam, known as the Red River Raft, was blown up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with nitroglycerin, thus making the steamboat navigation business no longer economically feasible. After that time, the economy of Jefferson declined, until the discovery of the Rodessa Oil Field in the 1930’s.

         During the late 1870s the town's attention was diverted from its economic woes by the sensational murder trial of Diamond Bessie Moore. Moore, a native of New York State who had worked for a time as a prostitute in New Orleans and Hot Springs, arrived in Jefferson in January 1877 with her consort, Abraham Rothschild.  A few days later she was found murdered in the woods nearby.  Rothschild was charged with the murder, but found not guilty, and the case has never been solved.

         Jefferson is the home of railroad magnate Jay Gould’s private railcar, the Atlanta.  It is also the home of the Bayou Queen riverboat, the historic Excelsior House and House of the Seasons, the Sterne Fountain, and the Jefferson Historical museum.  Many buildings in town are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Jefferson hosts a number of annual events, including a re-enactment of the Diamond Bessie Moore murder trial.

541    Cross Big Cypress Bayou.

544    Cross Little Cypress Bayou and enter HARRISON County, which was named after Jonas Harrison, a Texas Revolutionary and a lawyer.  The county was settled in the 1830’s, while it was still part of Mexico, and in 1835, the Mexican authorities granted several land grants to immigrants from the United States.  After the Texas Revolution, the Congress of the Texas Republic established Harrison County in 1839, which was created from Shelby County.  The county was organized in 1842.  The area was settled primarily by agricultural settlers from the southern United States, who brought their slaves with them.  For many years, the majority of the population in the county was black.  In 1926, oil was discovered in the county, and the T & P Railway had established shops in nearby Marshall, the Harrison County seat.

          After the Great Depression, most of the black citizens of the county migrated to the west coast, where more jobs were available.  The resulting white majority population migrated here from other areas of the country.

545-546 The hills adjacent to the railroad here are composed of Eocene-aged clay and sand of the Wilcox Group, overlain by clay from the Eocene-aged Reklaw Formation.

547    Pass through the unincorporated community of Woodlawn, which was settled prior to the 1850’s by a group of Baptist citizens.  In the 1870’s, the T & P Railroad came through, and the town began to grow.  In the 1960’s, the nearby Woodlawn Gas Field was discovered, and the city again began to grow.

         Look for gas wells of the Woodlawn Gas Field adjacent to the railroad.

549-550 We are passing through the Woodlawn Gas Field; several wells and production facilities may be seen on either side of the railroad.

552    Holmes Lake is visible on the right (southbound).

555.5 MARSHALL station, 800 N. Washington Street.  Elevation approximately 385 ft.  Marshall is the county seat of Harrison County.  The city was founded in 1841 by Peter Whetstone and Isaac Van Zandt, and named after Chief U.S. Justice John Marshall.  The city was incorporated in 1843.  It was the first Texas city to have a telegraph, and by 1860, it was one of the largest and wealthiest towns in East Texas.  It was known as the “Athens of East Texas” for many years prior to the Civil War.  The area was initially settled by plantation farmers from the East, who came to East Texas along with their slaves. Cotton was a major crop in the area, and the entire State of Texas seceded from the Union prior to the Civil War.  Marshall was the Civil Wartime capital of Missouri, and also the administrative headquarters of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederacy after the Battle of Vicksburg. Marshall was a stop on the stagecoach line prior to the coming of the T & P Railroad in the 1870’s.

         Marshall was an important center for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s, with the organization of sit-ins by students, and the Marshall public schools were finally integrated in 1970.

         Marshall has always been a center for the manufacture of glazed pottery, and has called itself “The Pottery Capital of the World.” It is also a center for the foundry and lumber industries.  A holiday tradition in Marshall since 1987 is the annual “Wonderland of Lights” celebration, which showcases some 2 million tiny lights on many of the historic downtown buildings during the Christmas season. Marshall is also the home of the East Texas Fire Ant Festival, held each October.  This festival includes such activities as a Fire Ant Calling Contest and a competition for the best fire ant alarm, as well as traditional arts and crafts. Marshall was also the home of Wiley and Bishop Colleges, which were built for the higher education of black students (Wiley is now East Texas Baptist University, and Bishop moved to Dallas).  It is also the home of the Michelson Museum of Art and Starr Family State Historical Park.

          Marshall was the home of Lady Bird Johnson, journalist Bill Moyers, football star Y.A. Tittle, and boogie woogie, blues, and jazz pianist Omar Shariff (aka Dave Alexander).  On January 18, 2010, Dr. John Tennison, a San Antonio physician and musicologist, presented the findings of his research into the origins of Boogie Woogie music. Tennison concluded that the music first developed in the Marshall area in the early 1870’s.  On May 13, 2010, the Marshall City Commission unanimously passed an ordinance declaring Marshall to be "the Birthplace of Boogie Woogie."

560.5-561.5 As we round the bend here, we are passing through the outcrop area of the Eocene-aged Reklaw Formation, then traveling downhill and crossing the relatively thin Carrizo Sand, also of Eocene age.  At the bottom of the slope, we are traversing the Paleocene- to Eocene-aged Wilcox Group of sedimentary rocks.

567.5 The highway on the right (southbound) is U.S. 80.

568-569 Pass through Hallsville, which was originally known as Hallville.  The area was settled in 1839, when Fort Crawford was built one mile west of the site of present Hallsville by W. C. Crawford as a protection against Indians.  In 1870, the town incorporated for the first time, and Hallville was a shipping center for cotton, wool, and hides.  In the 1920’s, the town’s name was changed to Hallsville by the post office, and the city reincorporated in 1935.

          Hallsville hosts its annual Western Days Festival during the first weekend of October, and on Friday of that weekend, school students and business people show up at school or work dressed in western clothes.

571.5 As we pass through Lansing, note Highway Lake adjacent to the railroad on the left (southbound). Lansing was settled in the early 1830’s by William Watkins.

573    On the right (southbound) is a Trinity Industries site.  Trinity provides products and services to the energy, transportation, chemical, and construction sectors.

575   Across U.S. 80 on the right (southbound) is Longview Heights, a suburb of Longview.

576.5 Enter GREGG County and enter Longview. Gregg County was named after Confederate General John Gregg.  The county was originally an area rich in cotton plantations which depended on slave labor to flourish.  In 1848, Texas was admitted to the Union, and Gregg County was created in 1873 from parts of Harrison, Rusk, and Upshur Counties.  The county was originally going to be known as Roanoke County.  The county seat is Longview, which we are now entering.

          Before the Great Depression, Gregg County was primarily agricultural, but soon the black plantation workers began leaving to find better jobs in the north.  Oil was discovered in the county in 1930, near Kilgore.

578    LONGVIEW station, 905 Pacific Avenue.  Elevation approximately 344 ft.  Longview is the county seat of Gregg County, and was founded in the 1870’s by Ossamus Hitch Methvin, Sr., a Scot who came here from Georgia.  He named the city after the “long view” he was able to get from his home.

         In July 1919, while reporter S.L. Jones of the Chicago Defender was in Longview looking into the mysterious death of a black man named Lemuel Walters, an armed white mob attacked a home where Jones was staying.  A gunfight began, but eventually, Jones made a getaway. The white mob then began to burn buildings in the black section of the town.

         Longview is the home of the Big Inch Pipeline, which, from 1943 to 1945, transported over 261,000,000 barrels of crude oil to the East Coast.  At the time of construction, Big Inch and its smaller twin, Little Inch, comprised the longest petroleum pipeline ever built in the world.  Both were integral in supplying the United States war effort in World War II.  Longview is located in the heart of the large East Texas Oil Field.

         Longview is the home of a Stroh’s brewery, the largest brewery in the State.  It is also the home of the Caddo Indian Museum, the Gregg County Historical; Museum, and the Longview Museum and Art Center.  Each July, the city hosts the 3-day Great Texas Balloon Race, which began at the opening of the Longview Mall in 1978, when balloon pilot and dentist Dr. Bill Bussey, agreed to advertise the Mall opening by flying his balloon over downtown with a Longview Mall sign draped over it.

580.5 On the right (southbound) is Lake Lamond.

581.5-582.5 On the right (southbound) is another section of Longview.  On the left is the community of Greggton, a farming community which was originally known as Willow Springs.  Greggton was annexed to Longview during the 1950’s.

584   Lake Harris is visible on the right. We are now entering a large oil field, a part of the East Texas Oil Field.  For the next several miles, look for numerous oil wells and production facilities on both sides of the railroad.  The oil is produced in Cretaceous-aged (70-150 million years old) limestone and sandstone.

586    On the left (southbound) is a large gas processing plant.

588   Lake Devernia is visible on the right (southbound).  We are still passing through the huge East Texas Oil Field.

590.5-592 Pass through Gladewater, named after nearby Glade Creek, a stream which rises in nearby barren reaches called the Glades.  The city was founded by the T & P Railway Company in 1873.  The city was incorporated in 1874, but the incorporation eventually lapsed, and a new charter was later drawn up in 1931.  Early industries in the area were lumbering and farming.  On April 7, 1931, the first Gladewater oil well was completed, and located one mile outside town along the Sabine River.  Oil production led to a population increase during the 1930’s from about 500 persons to around 8000.  In 1940, after the oil boom, Gladewater had a population of less than 4500.  Eventually, the oil wells around the town were affected by salt water intrusion, in which saline water from depth is drawn upward into shallower formations by continual pumping of oil wells. Salt water intrusion, if not controlled by adjusting oil pumping routines, can eventually affect domestic potable wells, and can lead to their degradation.  In the 1970’s, the economy of Gladewater changed from primarily oil to more diversified industries, such as lumbering.

         Gladewater is known as the “antique capital of East Texas,” due to its many antique shops in the downtown area.  Gladewater is the home of the East Texas Gusher Days in April, the Gladewater Roundup Rodeo in June, and the Arts and Crafts Festival in September, plus Christmas in November.

592    Cross Glade Creek and enter UPSHUR County, which was established on April 27, 1846. The county was named after Abel Parker Upshur, President John Tyler’s Secretary of State.  The county seat is Gilmer.  Early industries in the county were agriculture and lumbering.

         After the Civil War, with the emancipation of the slaves, many of the plantations in Upshur County were abandoned, and many of the former slaves became sharecroppers.  With the coming of the railroads in the 1870’s, the economy of the county improved. With the discovery of the East Texas Oil Field in the 1930’s, the economy improved more.

595    Pass through Wilkins, originally known as Wilkins Mills.  This community was settled in the 1870’s with the coming of the T & P Railway.

596.5 Cross Little White Oak Creek.

599.5 On the right (southbound) is the site of the former Ambassador College, which was established in Pasadena, California, in 1947, by radio evangelist Herbert W. Armstrong, of the Worldwide Church of God.  This was the third campus for Ambassador, and was established in 1964.  The school was regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but closed in May, 1977, for financial reasons.

          Cross Big Sandy River just past the former college.

601-602 Pass through Big Sandy, which was established in the 1870’s when the T & P Railway came through the area. The town was originally called Big Sandy Switch, named after a switch built to connect the T & P Railroad line with the Tyler Tap narrow-gauge railroad.

          On July 10–11, 1986, more than 1000 law enforcement officers responded to the Big Sandy Chief of Police’s request for assistance after convicted murderer Jerry "the Animal" McFadden escaped from the Upshur County jail with jailer Rosalie Williams, the wife of a Department of Public Safety trooper, as hostage. McFadden was later recaptured and returned to jail without a shot being fired; however he was later paroled, in spite of a past marked by violence, due to prison overcrowding.  McFadden was finally executed in October. 1999. for the murder of Suzanne Denise Harrison, a teen from nearby Hawkins.

          Big Sandy is the home of Jerry and Anita Gentry, who began the needlecraft mail order business known as “Annie’s Attic.”  It is also the home of Lovie Smith, head coach of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.

          Hills along the railroad are composed of Eocene-aged Queen City Sand, which is overlain by the Weches Formation and Sparta Sand, both which are also Eocene-aged formations.

604   Enter WOOD County, which was organized in 1850 from a part of Van Zandt County.  The county was named after George T. Wood, Governor of Texas from 1847 to 1849.  The county was originally agricultural, but became more industrial after the coming of the railroad in the 1870’s.  In 1941, oil was discovered in Wood County.  The county now subsists on the oil and cattle industries, as well as tourism and light manufacturing.  The Wood County seat is Quitman.

605.5 On the right (southbound) is Jarvis Christian College, a historically black college affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  It was founded in 1912, and is known for the East Texas Natural History Collection, housed in Frost Hall.  The specimens are primarily from the herbarium (plants) and entomology (insect) collections.

606-607 Pass through Hawkins, established in 1873 when the railroad came through. In the latter part of they 19th Century, the area was a lumber and agricultural area.  In October, 1940, oil was discovered in the Hawkins Field here, and the city became an overnight boomtown.  Humble Oil Company (now Exxon) was the primary oil field driller/operator at that time.  Oil is produced from Cretaceous-aged limestone and sandstone.  Each October Hawkins celebrates its oil-based economy with the annual Oil Festival.

610    At Angler, we are crossing Brumley Lake, which is located in the flood plain of the Sabine River.

613.5 Pass through the unincorporated community of Crow, which was originally called Graham. The railroad came through in 1876, and the town received a new post office in 1906, and was renamed Crow in honor of Wilson Crow, who worked at a local sawmill.

          We are now traveling along the edge of the Sabine River flood plain.

616    Cross Lake Fork Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River.

617    Cross Black Creek, another tributary of the Sabine River.

618.5 Woodvale Lake is visible on the left (southbound).  On the right is the small community of Hoard, also known as Democrat, after the former Democrat School which was located here.  When the T & P Railway came through in 1873, the community took the name of a nearby mill owner.  The community is nearly a ghost town now.

624.5 MINEOLA station, 115 E. Front Street.  Elevation approximately 416 ft.  Mineola was organized in 1873 after a race between the T & P Railway and the International-Great Northern (I-GN) Railroad.  The I-GN won the race and Major Ira H. Evans laid out the townsite. The town was named after either Evans’ daughter Ola and her friend Minnie Patten, or after Mineola, New York, the home town of another railroad official.  Mineola was incorporated in 1877, then a fire during the 1880’s destroyed much of the downtown area. Like other towns we have passed through, Mineola’s early industries included agriculture and lumbering.  Cotton, livestock, fruit, and berries were produced here in the early days.  In the 1940’s, the discovery of oil in the area also spurred the economic growth of the region.  Currently, the manufacture of women's clothing, sporting goods, electronic connectors, fertilizer, and cattle feed and the packaging of dry beans and meat provide employment for many people in the area.

               Mineola is the home of the Mineola Watermelon Festival, which began in 1948.  Mineola is also the home of former San Francisco Mayor and Speaker of the California Assembly Willie Brown, country singer Kacey Musgraves, and country songwriter Jack Rhodes.