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Another Day in Arkansas 5/8/2021

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I woke up in Alma, Arkansas and after our morning rituals, we checked out and had MacDonalds, which we ate in the car as there was nothing else around. I drove us east to our first station of the morning.

Our first station of the day was in Ozark at the Missouri Pacific station built in 1910. I drove to Altus where we found our next station.

The Missouri Pacific Altus station built in 1920. I then drove us to Clarksville.

The Missouri Pacific Clarksville station built in 1910.

The plaque on this station.

One of the posters in the windows.

Before leaving Clarkville I spotted this mural. I next drove us to Russelville where we found more railroad equipment than we expected.

Trackside view of Stoby's Restaurant.

Rock Island parlor car 95047, previously 1815 and originally 3505.

Rock Island suburban coach 2572.

Illinois Central coach 2697 which became Rock Island maintenance-of-way 196695. These three cars make up Stoby's Restaurant which opened in Russellville in 1984 and is somewhere we need to eat in the future.

The Missouri Pacific Russellville station built in 1916.

The Missouri Pacific logo on the station building.

The plaque on the station building.

"The Conductor", a statue by Jim Westbrook, stands in front of the station. We continued on to Atkins and filled the car with petrol at Casey's.

The Missouri Pacific station in Atkins built 1910.

The City of Atkins plaque waiting to be installed on the building. Our next town was Beebe.

On the way to Beebe, Arkansas.

A joke. Greg Smith, Union Pacific does run trains during the day at Beebe.

The Missouri Pacific Beebe station built in 1910. From here I drove us to Searcy.

The Doniphan, Kensett and Searcy Railroad station. Our next destination was Bald Knob.

The Missouri Pacific Bald Knob station built in 1915 for St. Louis Iron Mountain Railroad.

St. Louis and Iron Mountain mail car built in 1894 by St. Charles Car Company. It is being stripped down to its frame and will be built new with original hardware.

Missouri Pacific steel caboose 11018 built in 1937 and on the National Register of Historic Places, as is the depot.

Missouri Pacific caboose 13675 built in 1976. Both cabooses were retired within four months of each other. This depot also houses a hobby shop and we went in and were introduced to the owner, Craig Christansen who is a State Representative of District 47 in Arkansas. He then decided to give us a tour of the depot and watched a short video on the depot's history, as well as many interesting anecdotes and the trials and tribulations of dealing with Amtrak on adding Bald Knob as a station stop for the Texas Eagle.

Two views inside the station of the model railroads and equipment. They are in the midst of a major renovation of the station.

Craig took us outside and showed us the Russell station across the street, which was an emergency use station. If a station was destroyed by tornadoes, floods or wrecks, this station would be used in its place until a new one was built.

This hotel, which they also own, used to a brothel and was one of three in town. It had been a most enjoyable and educational experience meeting Craig and the rest of his staff. We signed the guest book before we drove to Newport.

The Missouri Pacific Newport station built in 1912 by the St. Louis and Iron Mountain. We continued up U.S. Highway 67, the same highway that runs through La Plata, Missouri, to Walnut Ridge.

The Missouri Pacific Walnut Ridge station built in 1910 by the St. Louis and Iron Mountain. The platform is also the stop for the Texas Eagle.

I found a little bit of rock and roll history here in Walnut Ridge. I drove Elizabeth and I east to Paragould where the two hungry travellers had an excellent meal at Iron Horse Barbeque and Steakhouse where I had an eight ounce flatiron steak and Elizabeth enjoyed a baked potato with pulled pork. Elizabeth found this restaurant on her phone out of desperation as we had not had lunch, so made it a linner.

A picture of the Iron Horse Barbeque and Steakhouse.

We entered Missouri and drove in Cardwell.

The Frisco Cardwell station. Our final station stop of the day was in Gideon.

The Frisco Gideon station was one of the hardest to find because it is in an alley away from the right-of-way, so we have no idea how it got there but at least we have pictures. It has obviously been there for quite some time. Tired, I drove us the rest of the way to Charleston where we checked in to the Quality Inn, then relaxed and worked on the story before calling it a night.